Funny how we make such short order of drawing distinctions between those lives we deem as “valuable” and those we don’t. It never ceases to amaze me – how we can go to such great lengths to honor, cherish and protect some, while entirely disregarding, dismissing and negating others.
A headline column appeared in my local paper a few weeks back. It reported on a local farm that hosted an annual “Animal Prayer Day”, where owners were encouraged to bring their beloved pets to be “blessed” by a community pastor.
Initially, I was favorably impressed and pleasantly surprised to find such care and devotion to animals being considered as front page fare – especially in a community comprised largely of livestock farms and hunters. But as I read on – my optimism hit a brick wall when I came upon the passage that read, “the animal prayer ceremony was followed by a cookout”!?
Is it just me? Or is there something terribly wrong with this picture? How can one pay spiritual homage to one animal – and in the next breath – slaughter and consume another?
Of course, my question is a rhetorical one. I know, all too well, how this is possible – as we engage in this type of hypocritical behavior on a daily basis. Whether animal, vegetable or mineral, we are operating under a guise of separatism that dictates that these stark distinctions be drawn. But there is another way…
Unifying our Consciousness Field
It’s really nothing new. In every major, world religious scripture – we find the directive – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Whether in the Baha’i Faith, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, or any other “ism” – the words may differ – but the sentiment’s the same. We are one.
This realization is the basis of compassion, empathy and unconditional positive regard. And compassion, empathy and unconditional positive regard are the bases of divine power – the power to love.
Whenever I’m faced with moral dilemmas, I pose the following questions to myself – “Would I want to trade places with this person, animal, plant, etc.? Would I want to be treated in this way?”
If the answer is clearly a “yes” – then I feel reasonably certain that I’m on solid ground. However, if these questions are met with uncertainty or an unequivocal “NO!” – then I stop dead in my tracks.
I often get embroiled in heated debates with dairy farmers that revolve around this same issue. I ask, “would you want to be repeatedly restrained against your will and artificially inseminated? Would you want to give birth to your babies while head-locked in a metal stanchion – only to have your newborns taken from you moments after birth with no-one concerned with your mournful cries? Would you want to have machines attached to your breasts 2 to 3 times a day to drain your baby’s rightful milk from your body for years on end – only to be slaughtered when you finally ran dry?”
I must say, that I have yet to come across any human being willing to “trade places” with a commercial dairy cow. And although we would not want to be treated in this way – we devalue the thoughts, feelings and spirits of these animals to justify our quest for material gain and consumerism.
If You Had One Wish…
Have you ever been asked, “if you had only one wish…what would it be?” After careful consideration, here’s my response.
I wish that every human being be infused with an involuntary, undeniable sense of empathy toward all that exists. To see, feel, and regard others as oneself. In other words, to unify the collective consciousness field to reflect empathetic choices and responses in all circumstances.
Perhaps, in the not too distant future, we will all be crying over spilled milk.