Monday, January 17, 2011

Sheena Blackhall's "The Animal Refugees"

Oh dear, Leao the loyal canine in Brazil started it all. After reading his story, I couldn't help but look for more animal stories. I found this poem on the internet, written by Sheena Blackhall, about animal refugees. It's a very thought-provoking one... And once more, it's us humans who bring destruction and despair to the natural world and the world of other beings. Now we're also destroying our Earth, our only home, through our destructive habits of excessive consumerism. However, it seems that the main culprit of the most destruction -- polluting our oceans; deforesting our rainforests; impairing human health, those who live in the vicinity, through toxic gas and fumes and waste lagoons -- is the livestock industry. We're decimating biodiversity, human as well as animal. Going veg, being vegan, reducing meat consumption, is the first step we can take to protect all lives, as well as preserve our planet for posterity.

The Animal Refugees
By Sheena Blackhall

I’m the only elephant in Phnomh Penh
No more of my kind you’ll see
My wife ran off from the killing fields
She’s an animal refugee

I’m a Mekong crocodile from Vietnam
When the napalm scorched each tree
I swam to Laos at dead of night
I’m an animal refugee

I’m a slithery snake from Angkor Wat
Where the mountains churned the sea
Now tourists squat in my habitat
I’m an animal refugee

When people’s homes are ripped apart
There’s appeals on world TV
No one saves us. There’s little fuss
For an animal refugee.

Words of a Piglet

I just can't help it. Busy or not, I have to share this poem. It kinda makes you pause and think a little bit. This poem also reminds of a story my older sister told me a long time ago. When she was younger, much, much younger, years ago, my parents raised some farm animals. My sister fell in love with a little piglet. It was her playmate, her best friend. One day she came home from school and couldn't find the piglet. She asked the housekeeper and discovered that her playmate, her best friend, had been slaughtered for dinner that day. Decades later, my sister still couldn't eat pork because it reminded her so much of her little piglet friend.

The day I met you first
Was the day of my birth
Pink and round, me oh so plump
With Mom I gaily frolicked.
Lovingly you looked at me
Praising, “Oh, so round, what a cutie!”

Every day you came by to visit
Bringing cool water and delicious veggie treats.
Mommy and I were so touched
Your kindness worth more than gold
I lived a peaceful life
Under your care and protection
Growing more plump with each passing day
Just eat, rest and play…

So lovely was this early morn
As clouds were drifting across the sky
Cuddling together, Mommy and I
Unaware of the befalling tragedy!

Two brawny young men
Strong like tigers and elephants
Squashed my tiny body
Flat into a cage of horror!
There was no way to escape!
O God, what purgatory was this?

I wailed in fear and terror
Mom, oh Mom, please save me!
Oh caretaker,
please come protect me quickly!
Rescue my life, I’m still at a tender age!

Mom was crying out in sorrow
Tears of desperation filling her eyes
The immense Heavens cannot contain
This horrendous emotional pain!

My caretaker turned away
Hands busy counting a stack of money
Haplessly I rolled around in the car trunk
Breaking heart more painful
than bodily misery!

The two young men bantered:
“This piglet will be so tasty!
Tomorrow we’ll slaughter him
To celebrate the birth
of the wife’s newborn baby!”

Oh, how ironic this life
My soul is shattered
Tears flow in my heart
Like blood running in rivulets.

I thought you loved me
Nurturing me to maturity
But all this was a sham
For you, it’s just profit and gain!

Tomorrow my body will be cut to pieces
My flesh and bones
turned to sheer torture
Just so people can laugh in merriment
At their happy feast and gathering.

To your children and others’ too
I wish them all long lives
So the family can stay together
Not endure the same fate as mine…

I pray the whole family lives nobly
To be human in many lifetimes
And never be reborn as pigs
Paying forever karmic debts!

Alas, good-bye life…
I ache for my gentle suffering mother
In tears I am overcome…
Oh, Mommy! Mom…Mom…

The following video of "Words of a Piglet" is an artistic presentation of the poem, broadcast on Supreme Master Television and can be download free of charge. The language is originally Vietnamese. 

Over a Cup of Bitter Coffee

So much to share, but I had no time
I wrote them all in my head instead
At a later date on my blog I shall post!
When night wanes and morning arrives
What I want to write
Have all taken wings
Soaring high
In the sky of my imagination

Over a cup of black coffee
Bitter to no end
Wondering what to write
As the clock goes tick tock
Alas! Time has run out on me!

Bitter coffee
An empty page
The dawn of a new day
But now I must flee
Work, work, work
No time to play

The Loyalty of Leao

Innocently reading my email, I didn't expect to be emotionally affected this morning over black coffee. (I don't like black coffee but I ran out of my vegan almond milk.) I didn't expect such an innocuous looking email to affect me so much. I couldn't help it. My heart broke when I saw this photo and read the caption.

A dog, "Leao", sits for a second consecutive day, next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in the week's catastrophic landslides in Brazil, at the cemetery in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janiero, on Jan. 15.  Courtesy of MSNBC 
My heart went out to Leao the dog. Perhaps Cristina Maria Cesario Santana was his whole world, his only family. Now she's buried under a mound of earth, never to be seen again. He won't ever get to be hugged or feel her loving touch anymore.

What are his thoughts as he sits there, waiting by her graveside? Does he know that she is gone forever from this physical existence? Or is he like us humans, knowing that our loved one is gone, yet we can't help but wish and pray that our beloved come back to us again? I've read of stories where dogs, even horses, wouldn't leave their deceased human companions' grave until they themselves died of starvation or loneliness. In one story, the villagers took pity on the dog and put up a makeshift shelter by the grave, bringing food now and then for the canine for years until he too passed away by his owner's mound of earth. A friend told me another story about a dog who, after his owner passed away, he kept the daily routine with his owner, going to the train station every day, waiting for his owner to walk back home with him. Thinking about that story now got me all teary.

His loyalty moved me to tears. How could anyone not be affected? I wish and pray someone will adopt him and take him to his owner's grave often to visit. I hope that he will go on. Waiting in loneliness for someone who will never ever come back again is a painful existence. At least we have to live on, carrying the happy memories of our beloved in our heart.

Because we cannot see with our physical eyes, we cannot know that death is not the end. Our loved ones are on the other side, waiting for us, guarding, and protecting us. If only we can see. Sometimes if we yearn so desperately, then we see our deceased family members return to us in our dreams. I think this applies to animals as well. After all, the souls of animals are also sparks of the Divine.

Death isn't the end. We just need to go on and live our life as best as we can. I hope that Leao can find happiness and not starve himself to death in loneliness and yearning.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Angel on Our Plate

by Farm Sanctuary
At one time or another, we all have heard or read of a compelling reason why we should stay away from eating animal flesh. In fact, many religions make reference to the abstinence from meat. Here are a few examples:
Regarding the eating of animal flesh and abstinence therefrom, know thou of a certainty that, in the beginning of creation, God determined the food of every living being, and to eat contrary to that determination is not approved.
~ The Bahá’í Faith, Selections from the Bahá’í Writings on Some Aspects of Health and Healing, Pages 7-8
If you know the animals were killed for meat, but we still eat, we’re already committing the sin of killing. If the animals are killed because of us, then the sin belongs to us, and the soul of the dead will resent us, not the killer. If we are willing to eat that meat, that shows that we are cruel and ruthless! Therefore, only a ruthless heart can eat meat or that meat eaters have a ruthless heart.
~ The Bhiksu Sangha Buddhist Association, The Book of Truth, Pages 201-202, lines 25-33
Bhagavan, having heard the Buddha said that, in the six paths, all the meat we eat are of the relatives of our own, we now know that meat eating makes us the big enemies of living beings, destroys our great merciful seeds, increases evil karmas, and is the root of great suffering.
~ Buddhism, Lankavatara Sutra (Tripitaka No. 671)
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.
~ Christianity, Holy Bible, 1st Corinthians 6:13
He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take his birth.
~ Hinduism, Mahabharata, Anu. 115.47. FS, pg. 90
Allah will not give mercy  to anyone, except those who give mercy  to other creatures. Where there is an abundance of vegetables, a host of angels will descend on that place.
~ Islam, Hadith
Those plants, I, Ahura Mazda (God), rain down upon the earth, to bring food to the faithful, and fodder to the beneficent cow; to bring food to my people that they may live on it.
~ Zoroastrianism, Avesta, Venidad Fargard 5-20
I have read all this. Some of it is pretty scary especially the excerpt from the Buddha about eating our own relatives because, for some reasons, they might have reincarnated onto this plane again in an animal form. The Buddha is certainly a much more enlightened being than me, and highly revered and respected all over the world, so I take his word for it. A good reason to be vegetarian or vegan. But nothing made a deeper impression on me than what I've read today in Dolores Cannon’s book, Convoluted Universe III. To illustrate the point, I have to excerpt a little bit. What follows is a conversation between Dolores and a form of energy that has a personality and can communicate in human language, through a person whom Dolores was regressing using hypnotherapy.
D: Is there anyone that tells you what you have to do, and where you have to go?
P: Not really. When we join and kind of blend together, it becomes, I guess, a group decision. The energies join together and you come out with a direction. Where to go. What to do.
D: Then you all work together?
P: Not necessarily, no. But the All helps the one determine what would be best for all.
D: Then eventually, you do have to go someplace and help?
P: There’s no have to. You don’t have to go. But we feel a responsibility, because we go places and raise energy in places that need it.
D: Places where the energy is too low, or ....
P: And dense, yes. Earth would be a place.
D: Have you been there before?
P: Many times. The energy is very dense. But we go and we create pockets of energy. And just by being there, it raises the frequency.
D: Do you have to be in a physical body when you’re there?
P: No, we can do it either way. If it serves the purpose, we can become a form; a human form, animal form. We can also exist there as the air.
D: So if you feel the need to go and just raise the energy of a
certain area?
P: We go, yes.
D: You said, pockets of energy? (Yes.) How do you do that?
P: Just the same bellows thing I was telling you about. Going in and coming out, in this energy shape. It’s kind of a rhythmic pulsation. And it lifts the vibration.
In order to uplift the vibration of our planet, of any planet, this energy “can become a form; a human form, animal form.” That sentence got me. According to what I’ve read, our planet is in a really critical state right now and the call has gone out throughout the universe for volunteers to come and help restore the balance and protect our planet. These volunteers, loving beings who have been living in bliss in their home planets, come to Earth in many different forms, sizes and shapes, and some of them may come in as animal forms to bless our planet with their pure and loving energy. They are what we call “guardian angels.” We are used to guardian angels as brilliant beings of light with delicate and transparent wings. That's what I thought too, that all angels look like that. Apparently not. They can be angels in disguise, wearing the skin of an animal so they can be closer to us humans so they can help us even more. And yet, we kill them and serve them up, angels on our plate, as dinner, every day, all over the world, millions and billions of them.

Why can’t they protect themselves from being killed if they are angels? Good question. I asked that question too. Based on what I've read that once they are in the human forms, they are restricted by the physical limitation, and like all of us, the true purpose of their existence has been erased from their memory; otherwise, it would be too unbearable, too painful, too miserable, for them to continue living on Earth in such a dense and restrictive form.

We can’t tell really which animals are angels incarnate who have descended to help our planet…we don’t have the wisdom or the third eye to even discern who they are. I, for one, can’t tell. When I read that part, it tore at my heart somehow: in our ignorance we eat up our guardian angels. How sad is that?

Do we really need animal flesh to sustain our physical existence? There are so much information out there and plenty of research studies that say otherwise. Check out the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. We need to inform ourselves about the best dietary choice for our health, our conscience, and for our planet…because the next time we eat animal flesh, it may be an angel that’s on our plate.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nick Vujicic: A Gift from the Heart

I was sitting there, just minding my own business, living in my own world in my head, when a friend skyped this link to me...and changed a little bit of my world:

I didn't know what to expect, but as the video unfolded before my eyes, I heard the beating of my heart, I saw my face smile, and my eyes, they were welling up. And I thought: Wow! What an amazing human being. What an awesome personality! He might not have arms or legs, but his presence filled the room...and reached out beyond the flat monitor and touched my heart and the heart of thousands, maybe millions of others who chance to see his presentation.

For many of us, having no arms or legs is a tragedy, a life born with heavy karma. I used to think like that, but I don't anymore. I realized all of us have a role to play on this physical plane. We choose our parts, our fleshly costumes. Many of us choose ordinary, everyday fleshly costumes, while others choose extraordinary ones, like Nick Vujicic. Being who he is, he is touching the lives of others, inspiring them, giving them confidence, hope, and a sense of self-worth. His message is so much more powerful, so much more convincing, coming from someone like him -- a person without arms and legs,  challenging the odds to live an "ordinary" life. 

I don't think many of us could do what he is doing, perhaps that's why there is only one Nick Vujicic. What an amazing human being. I didn't know what to expect...but I know it has changed something inside me. If he could do what he is doing with all those physical limitations, then I can keep on smiling and charge forward with my life. God has given me two arms and legs, I can change the world -- at least my world. 

God bless people like Nick Vujicic.

New York Governor David Paterson Pardons Immigrants

We are all immigrants of sorts. It’s just a matter of how long we’ve lived (or our parents or grandparents) in a certain location. It depends on how far back we go into the history of our family, maybe even the history of the country – and if you want to stretch your imagination a little bit, even the history of our planet. I’ve read that once upon a time, when planet Earth was merely an infant planet, there were no life whatsoever on this. None at all. It was a collaboration of many beings from different planets who came to our Earth and “seeded” life. Yep, “seeded” – this word always make me pause, trying to wrap my brain around the concept of being “seeded.” So, depends on how far back we want to go into the past, once upon an immemorial time, we were immigrants, not natives of this Earth. In a much more recent era, this land was inhabited by different tribes of native Americans. There were no other races here.

We human beings tend to forget that we live on a shared planet. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily lives, trying to make a living and survive, we hurt other human beings with our thoughts of separation, our actions of violence, our words that sometimes maim and hurt or incite hatred. Thank God that there are also plenty examples of wonderful human beings who, by their way of life, remind us that we are more noble than the selfishness of our habits – Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Prophet Muhammad, Kabir, Gandhi, Mother Theresa and many, many more.

"The individuals pardoned committed past offences but paid their debt to society. They now make positive contributions to our state and nation, and I believe they should be protected from inflexible and misguides immigration statutes.”

He even created a review panel in May 2010 for all cases of immigrants pending deportation, saying it was “abundantly clear that the federal government's immigration laws are often excessively harsh and in need of modernization.” Governor Paterson is the kind of governor that I’d like to be in office. He has compassion for his fellow human beings. Who was it that said, “Rules are made to protect human beings, not human beings protecting the rules.” Something like that. Kudos to the New York governor for his wisdom! (Too bad he's no longer the governor of the Big Apple.)

Wouldn’t it be great if one day we can travel anywhere in the world without the need of a visa? Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we longer label ourselves citizens of Earth instead of a tiny little country? I'd like to live to see that day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eben's "How to Feed the World by Going Veggie"

I came across this blog post and I thought it was interesting. Rather than summarizing or paraphrasing it and losing all the good stuff in between, I'm re-posting it here:

I don't eat bacon cheeseburgers. About three years ago I gave up red meat and pork. I am American, and brother do I love bacon cheeseburgers. But I decided that as part of the imperfect project of trying to live a decent, moral life, I could no longer chow down on bacon cheeseburgers. I could not put my preference for the taste of a certain type of protein above the hunger of starving babies, or the imperative of tackling climate change.

It is one of the great failings of the environmental movement—and successes of the food lobby—that most people have no idea that bacon cheeseburgers have anything to do with starving babies, or climate change. Meat production is incredibly energy intensive. According to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, meat production accounts for 18% of annual greenhouse-gas emissions — more than transportation, which accounts for roughly 14%. What's more, millions of acres of rain forest are cleared each year for cattle ranchers and suppliers of animal feed, wiping out one of the world's great "carbon sinks" and further accelerating climate change. A simultaneous problem is that meat production is also incredibly energy inefficient. We feed far more calories to cattle in the form of grain than we consume from their flesh. In a world where hundreds of millions of people go hungry, we snatch food from the mouths of starving babies and feed it to plump beasts.

Anyone doubting the severity of the issue would do well to spend a few hours browsing through the collection of 21 studies published today in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The special issue, published by the Royal Society and overseen by the UK government chief scientist John Beggington, looks at the issue of food security in 2050—by then, the population of the earth is predicted to reach around 9 billion, meaning that global food supplies will need to increase by as much as 70% to meet increased demand. Clearly that's not possible if all 9 billion people want to eat bacon cheese burgers.

The special issue looks at various technological innovations that could help tackle food scarcity, including the possibility of growing meat in test tubes or using nanotechnology to deliver medication to livestock. It also talks about the importance of reducing food waste, particularly in developed countries (we end up throwing away a third of our food). Some of the scientists in the issue express optimism that global food security is achievable. And the issue points out that there will be some benefits from global warming when it comes to food production: extra carbon dioxide in the air could actually help increase yields and reduce water consumption, according to one study by a team of scientists at Rothamsted, a British agricultural research center. The Guardian offers a good summary of the entire special publication here.

There's no doubt that the task of feeding the world and tackling climate change would be helped if people fortunate enough to afford to eat meat decided to stop doing so. In 2008, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggested that the most useful step ordinary citizens could take to help combat climate change would be to embrace a vegetarian diet. Even meat reduction can be useful: in Belgium, the Flemish city of Ghent has designated every Thursday as "Veggiedag" — Veggie Day — calling for meat-free meals to be served in schools and public buildings, and encouraging vegetarianism among citizens by promoting vegetarian eateries and offering advice on how to follow a herbivorous diet.

Maybe it's time to follow the lead of the enlightened citizens of Ghent. In his great profile this week of the novelist Jonathan Franzen, TIME's Lev Grossman writes about how Franzen believes Americans would do well to adjust their conception of the concept of "freedom." To Franzen, constraints can actually be liberating. I know what he means. When I stopped eating meat, I felt free from the guilt of eating meat. By constraining my freedom of choice, I felt more free. So altruism, in a sense, can be self-serving and liberating. That's an alignment of incentives that even the most red-blooded, meat-loving American could appreciate. (Man do I miss bacon cheese burgers though).

I Know I'm Losing It

I know I’m losing it when I can’t even find my coffee mug this morning. I threw all the cabinet doors opened, looking for it. I could have sworn I just saw it a moment ago. Maybe I forgot to wash it? So I checked the sink. Nope. No mug there. I checked the dish strainer. Nope, no coffee mug there either. What in the world? I thought I was losing my mind. Then my brain suddenly registered the humming of the microwave behind me. I turned around and there was my coffee mug going for a merry-go-round ride with the vanilla almond milk. Now I remembered. I took it out of the cabinet earlier, poured some almond milk and was heating it up so I could add it to my coffee. Yep. For sure I was losing it, driving myself crazy because I forgot I had the mug in the microwave!

You ever got one of those days? I'd feel like getting back into bed and starting my day all over again.

Unexpected Kindness

I got home from work late one night, hungry and tired and ready to just chill out on the living room couch. Unfortunately, as I was walking away from my car, I noticed a bothersome thing: one of my front tires was flat. Staring at the tire, my mind staunchly dredged up the last reservoir of energy to convince my body to take care of the matter immediately instead of waiting until tomorrow morning. Shutting down my mind from thinking any further (in case it started to rationalize and try to wheedle itself out of a tiresome task), I got back into my car and got it into gear and headed out.

As I was driving slowly down the streets, I mentally tried to remember the gas station that would have an air pump. Rejecting a few as being too far away, I headed for the Mobil station near the freeway. With the hazard lights blinking, I crawled down the streets. Thankfully it was late at night so I wasn’t causing any unnecessary delay for people rushing home from a long day at work. My heart was creating havoc in my chest as I listened to the uneven clunking of the car dragging itself courageously to the gas station with me.

After five minutes, I managed to safely cross a seemingly too big boulevard and turned into the gas station. Heaving a big sigh, I started to look for the air and water pump…and didn’t see any! Mentally berating myself for not noticing the flat tire sooner, I started to circle the dark gas station, peering into the darkness for anything that looked like an air pump. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a mechanic carrying a table inside, about to close up shop for the day. Unhesitatingly, I drove right up to him.

“Is there an air pump here?” The tired mechanic nodded and pointed to a dark corner off to the side. Thanking him, I made my way over to the air pump. When I stepped outside, I was immediately assailed by the stench of urine and some off-putting odor. Ignoring all that, I peered at the air pump, wondering what to do. Obviously this was my first time doing this. Noticing that I had to pay 75 cents to get the air going, I rummaged around inside the seat, looking for loose change. With the coins in  my hand, I peered at the flat tire, wondering if I was supposed to loosen some screw or twist some top or something when the mechanic came over.

“You need air for your tire?”

“Yeah. My front tire is flat.”

“Come on over. I still have some air left. Just pull right up to the first door.” He had turned off the compression but there was still some air left. Wow! Thank God! Problem solved! I didn’t have to try to figure out what to do. I hopped back into the car and drove up to the garage. He came out with a pump and started to unscrew the air thingy on my tire (you can tell by now I am completely clueless about cars and stuff). As he was putting the air in the tire, I asked him all sorts of questions about putting air into the tire and when to stop otherwise the tire would blow up. (That was a joke. I have no idea if it would blow up or not if I put too much air in it.)
After he put the air in the tire, I gratefully thanked him for his kindness and he proceeded to check all four of my tires, filling them up with air. What a nice man! During the course of the conversation, I found out that he worked seven days a week, not even taking a day off! Even though it was late at night and he definitely looked really tired, yet he went out of his way to fill up all four of my tires, not asking for anything in return. His gesture of kindness touched me and made my day. As I was driving away, I was telling myself: “I’m bringing my car back next time to get an oil change from him.”

It’s amazing how little acts of kindness, especially when most unexpected, can really bring joy to the receiver. When I got home, I didn’t feel tired or grumpy. Rather, I was feeling happy, grateful, and lighthearted. God bless him, for his kind soul.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Face of Terrorism

A friend of mine skyped me the other day: “I don’t want to stay longer in the US. You guys have people who go into schools and shoot up students and principles?!” He was visiting from Australia. That made me pause. I thought about Columbine. I thought about my high school experience when a former student came back and held up the senior Humanities class for the whole day before the some male students jumped him when he was careless and ended the situation bloodlessly. I could only reply, “Yeah, we do.” His next comment took me back a bit, “So the days of innocence in the US were only in the 60s and 70s, huh?”

What had happened to our country? I don’t want to list a bunch of examples, but if we look back in history, right after World War II, it seems like the US involvement in wars and spy games have escalated since then. I’m no expert, but it seems that way to me. And then I read today in the news about the shooting of a federal judge, a Congresswoman, the killing six others and wounding more. How horrible is this? This is terrorism. When we bring violence to another being, instilling fear in them, that’s terrorism. Then there are people, respectable people, pundits and politicians, who espouse violence on other human beings – that’s also terrorism, inciting violence and harm. How can anyone condone such behavior, especially from public figures? Where is the outcry? It doesn’t matter which party we belong to, inciting violence should not be supported or tolerated.

We are all human beings. All of us are trying our best to live our lives and make a difference somehow to the lives of others, be it our friends, neighbors, constituents, or the entire nation or the world. I believe all of us have an innate desire to help, to make others happy, to bring goodness to the world in some form or shape. It’s the duty of politicians, religious figures, and public entities to guide and provide role models for the right way to live. Inciting violence, spewing hatred, calling for the assassination or the torture of another human being is utterly unacceptable. That’s terrorism.

I read somewhere once: victims of violence or wars actually go to a better place after their death. The people who commit those violent acts are the ones who will suffer their own private hell because their conscience cannot forgive them. Because what they have done is totally against the core value, the intrinsic nature, of humankind or any “kind.” It’s against the universal law of love. I still haven’t quite grasped it yet, but it makes sense to me. Notwithstanding, we should never condone or tolerate any kind of violence, even with spoken words, against anyone. The trauma of the violence, the suffering, the anguish -- they leave an indelible mark on a soul, something we can't ever forget. Why inflict that upon another being?

My prayers go out to the victims and their families. May God bless them.

The Unique Consciousness of Our Planet

This part is so interesting, I had to blog about it. It makes my heart jumps a little, touched at how true it is.
J: Also look at the fact that, as a consciousness, you see yourselves as separate. Consciousness on this planet was created in a unique way to be able to experience itself as separate. Most races do not see that. Regardless of where they are, they don’t experience themselves as separate from their Source. Your planet has.   

D: So the ones who are part of the Federation, and work on the ships, know their Source, and know where they come from? 

J: Of course. And they love you humans. You don’t even know what you’ve done. They recognize there are primitive behaviors on the planet, but to reach the level that you have, based on the restrictions that you’ve had to work within. It’s amazing. Your capacity to love is deep. Your capacity of fear is deep. That’s the power of control that gets everybody in trouble. Fostered by the fear.
I’ve always thought all beings in the universe experience a sense of separation from the Source, God, or Creation, however you want to call it. I thought everyone think like us humans on this planet: that we are separate individuals leading separate lives. But, this part in Dolores Cannon’s book, Convoluted Universe III, says otherwise. Due to our disconnectedness to the Divine Source, we feel alone, separated, a single flame in the night. At least that’s how I feel sometimes. I wonder, what does it feels like to always be connected to the Divine Source, the Ocean of Love, or the Sound Stream, as some schools of thought put it.
“Your capacity to love is deep. Your capacity of fear is deep. That’s the power of control that gets everybody in trouble. Fostered by the fear.”
It is so true that we as a race seem to be in the grip of fear, most of the time. Through fear, prejudice and racism is born. Through fear, war and the need to hoard take form. Through so much fear that we shed rivers of blood on our planet, hoping that it would appease the gnawing feeling of incompleteness, of emptiness. It looks like we’re going about it the wrong way and is bringing much harm to our planet. Thank God that not all of us are like this. I read that our collective human consciousness is on the rise, elevating more and more, and we’re fighting back with all our might to quell our fear. We progressing and growing. It’s a good thing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Farmed Monkeys? What?!

I couldn't help it. I couldn't stop my tears from welling up when I read the story. I was researching on the Internet and came across a Dailymail article, "Caged and bound for Britain: Factory-farmed monkeys are being shipped in their thousands to UK laboratories." I was shocked. I have heard of the horrible and cruel conditions the livestock and dairy industries, but I didn't know people also farmed monkeys.

Even though the monkeys are not raised to be eaten, but their fate are probably worse. They are destined to be separated from their mom (caught in the wild to abused as a breeder -- the horror!) and shipped to civilized nations to be cut up and tested for the rest of their lives in the name of research, medicine, and science. My God! A fate of torture and abuse. If it was me, in their shoes, an imprisoned lab rat who was treated as nothing more than a mere object for the cold calculations of science...I'd rather kill myself.

Pharmaceutical companies, universities, and those who are actively engaged in these heartless and cruel experiments: Go stuff yourself. I don't care for your pills and treatments, your products obtained through torture, cruelty, and death. I refuse to be a part of these inhumane practices. How can anything be called "life-saving" if it requires the killing and torturing of life?

Seriously, what are the world governments doing? There are so many wrongs in the world that the leaders and politicians haven't done enough to correct them. Stop the bickering and start ruling from the heart. Do the job that you have been voted into office for: to improve the quality of life of your citizenry, and animals are a part of that because they have enriched our lives in so many ways.

We as a people of the world, by being silent, also become complicit in their wrongdoings. In the end, it's our conscience and our heart that will hurt, that will condemn us to our own private hell until we try to live honestly and truthfully with ourselves. It's not easy a path to lead, but in the end, it will be worth it.

"A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace"

I was doing a little research for an essay that I had to write and I came across this thought-provoking excerpt of Rabbi Kook's "A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace." According to Wiki, Rabbi Kook was a renowned Torah scholar. By no means am I Jewish...nor does religious boundaries matter to me since I truly believe that all religions have their own inherent goodness; sometimes it's us humans who just mess up the teachings of the saints and ancient masters and create havoc for ourselves...But this is not the topic of today's post.

Rather than trying to paraphrase a great piece of writing. I took the liberty of posting the entire article which I've stumbled upon. Perhaps you can discover some gems of wisdom from this excerpt that may help connect the dots of your life journey, as it did mine.
"A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace"
By HaRav Avraham Yitzchak Kuk
As edited by his disciple, HaRav David Kohen, the Nazir of Jerusalem
Translated by Rabbi David Sears
The Just Treatment of Animals
Chapter 1
There is a fundamental part of a lofty, humane, and progressive sensibility that, according to the present state of the prevailing culture, exists today only in the pleasant dream of a few extremely idealistic souls: an innate ethical striving, a feeling for what is humane and just, to consider the rights of animals, with all that this entails.
Certain cruel philosophies, especially those that denied belief in God, according to their views on human ethics based upon reason, have advocated that man completely stifle within himself any sense of justice for animals. However, they have not succeeded, nor shall they succeed, with all their self-serving cleverness, in perverting the innate sense of justice that the Creator planted within the human soul. Although sympathy for animals is like the glow of a smoldering ember buried under a great heap of ashes, nevertheless, it is impossible for them to negate this sensitivity within every feeling heart. For as a rule, the lack of morality among all humanity consists in failing to heed the good and noble instinct not to take any form of life, whether for one's needs or physical gratification.
Our sages did not agree with these philosophical views. They tell us that the holy Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi was visited with afflictions because he told a calf being led to slaughter, that had sought refuge in the skirts of his garment, "Go! This is the purpose for which you were created." His healing, too, was brought about by a deed, when he showed mercy to some weasels (Baba Metzia 85a). They did not conduct themselves like the philosophers, who exchange darkness for light, for the sake of pragmatism. It is impossible to imagine that the Master of all that transpires, Who has mercy upon all His creatures, would establish an eternal decree such as this in the creation that He pronounced "exceedingly good," that it should be impossible for the human race to exist without violating its own moral instincts by shedding blood, be it even the blood of animals.
Man's Original Diet Was Vegetarian
Chapter 2

There can be no doubt in the mind of any intelligent, thinking person that when the Torah instructs humankind to dominate – "And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves upon the Earth" (Genesis 1:28) – it does not mean the domination of a harsh ruler, who afflicts his people and servants merely to fulfill his personal whim and desire, according to the crookedness of his heart. It is unthinkable that the Torah would impose such a decree of servitude, sealed for all eternity, upon the world of God, Who is "good to all, and His mercy is upon all His works" (Psalms 145:9), and Who declared, "The world shall be built upon kindness" (ibid. 89:3).
Moreover, the Torah attests that all humanity once possessed this lofty moral level. Citing scriptural proofs, our Sages explain (Sanhedrin 57a) that Adam was not permitted to eat meat: "Behold, I have given you every tree... yielding seed for food" (Genesis 1:29). Eating meat was permitted to the children of Noah only after the Flood: "Like the green herb, I have given you everything" (Genesis 9:3). Is it conceivable that this moral excellence, which once existed as an inherent human characteristic, should be lost forever? Concerning these and similar matters, it states, "I shall bring knowledge from afar, and unto my Maker I shall ascribe righteousness" (Job 36:3). In the future, God shall cause us to make great spiritual strides, and thus extricate us from this complex question.
Vegetarianism and Enlightenment
Chapter 12

When humanity reaches its goal of complete happiness and spiritual liberation, when it attains that lofty peak of perfection that is the pure knowledge of God and the full manifestation of the essential holiness of life, then the age of "motivation by virtue of enlightenment" will have arrived. This is like a structure built on the foundation of "motivation by virtue of the law," which of necessity must precede [that of "motivation by virtue of enlightenment"] for all humanity.
Then human beings will recognize their companions in Creation: all the animals. And they will understand how it is fitting from the standpoint of the purest ethical standard not to resort to moral concessions, to compromise the Divine attribute of justice with that of mercy[1] [by permitting mankind's exploitation of animals]; for they will no longer need extenuating concessions, as in those matters of which the Talmud states: "The Torah speaks only of the evil inclination" (Kiddushin 31b).[2] Rather they will walk the path of absolute good. As the prophet declares: "I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; I also will banish the bow and sword, and war from the land [and I will cause them to rest in safety. I will betroth you to Me forever; and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness, with justice, with kindness, and with compassion; and I will betroth you to Me with faith, and you will know God]" (Hosea 2:20).
Shechita: Humane Slaughter
Chapter 14

The act of slaughter (shechita) must be sanctified in a unique manner – "as I have commanded you" – with a minimum of pain to the animal. Thus, the person will take to heart the fact that this is a sentient being; he is not involved with a random object that moves about like an automaton, but with a living, feeling creature. He must become attuned to its senses, even to its emotions, to the feeling it has for the life of its family members, and to its compassion for its own offspring. Thus, it is biblically forbidden to kill the mother bird with her children on the same day, or to slaughter a calf before it is eight days old; and it is a positive precept to send away the mother bird before taking her young.
Cover the Blood
Chapter 17, abridged

"If anyone of the Children of Israel or a convert who joins them traps an animal or bird that may be eaten and spills its blood, he must cover [the blood] with earth" (Leviticus 17:13).
The obligation to cover the blood teaches us to see the shedding of a [non-domestic] animal's blood as an act akin to murder; thus we should be ashamed to shed the blood of a [domestic] animal, as well. It was not deemed necessary to cover the blood of a domestic animal because it is slaughtered in an area where people are commonly found. Thus it is preferable to leave the blood of the animal in plain sight, that it may remind others that slaughtering an animal is like murder. This is not the case with [non-domestic] animals and birds that are trapped and slaughtered far from human habitation, whose blood is not seen. Here, by contrast, the obligation of covering the blood teaches that this is a shameful act.
Do Not Cook Meat and Milk Together
Chapter 20, abridged

"The first of the new produce of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord, your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk" (Exodus 23:19).
The mother animal does not live so that a person, simply by his right of ownership, may exploit her for his own purposes; rather, her milk is intended for her own young, whom she loves. The kid, too, is entitled by its natural disposition to the pleasure of its mother's loving breast. However, the cruelty of the human heart, produced by our coarse materialism and moral weakness, distorts and perverts these principles. Thus, the tender kid, according to the assessment of man's inferior ethical sensitivity, has no right to nestle against its loving mother, nor to enjoy the light of life, but deserves only to be slaughtered in order to provide food for the bellies of gluttonous human beings, whose debased souls insist, "I will eat meat" (Deuteronomy 12:20).
According to this, what should be the purpose of the milk, if not to cook in it the slaughtered kid? Is this not a natural combination of these two essential foods, the milk and the tender kid that derives nurture from it? However, humanity, let your ears hear something behind you, the voice of God that loudly cries out: "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk." No, the purpose of the kid is not merely to be food for your sharp teeth, sharpened and polished by your lowliness and gluttony in eating meat; and certainly the milk is not intended to be a condiment for the satisfaction of your base desire.
The Law of the Treifah
Chapter 26, abridged

"People of holiness you shall be unto Me; you shall not eat the flesh of an animal that was torn (treifah) in the field..." (Exodus 22:30).
Distinctive [among the traits of Israel] is the compassion that waits to blossom into manifestation from amidst the feelings of the pure-hearted, and spread from humanity to all living creatures. This compassion is nascent within the prohibition of eating neveilah (an animal that has died as a result of sickness) or a treifah (an animal that has died as a result of bodily injury).
Just as we naturally feel greater pity for sick or injured human beings than we feel for the healthy, the unfortunate injured animal deserves our additional sympathy. Having internalized the ethical implications of the Torah's prohibition of eating the flesh of a torn animal, our hearts can fully experience the spirit of enlightenment that relates the precept of visiting the sick, prompting us to relieve their distress.
The commonality that exists between our feelings of compassion [for both animals and human beings] also expresses itself in connection with the need to guard our health, both spiritually and physically, and in not putting ourselves on the same plane as the predatory beasts. Rather, [the Torah] imposes upon us the further obligation to bring about their good, to benefit and to enlighten them. How could we consume the treifah lying in the field, which would appear like "dividing the spoil" with [the wild beasts], and constitute a tacit approval of their predatory habits?
It is true that, among the various categories of treifah discussed by the Talmudic sages, we must distinguish between a mortally injured animal in the field and a terminally ill human being. However, the suffering of both creatures calls for our compassion, which initially should be awakened on behalf of the wretched and the outcast. The law of the animal that died as a result of sickness prepares the heart to feel even greater repugnance toward exploiting the misfortune of other creatures in the event of their deaths. This sensitivity signals a sense of comradeship, sharing another's pain, and our having entered the borders of their inner world. With this, the "motivation by virtue of enlightenment" will supercede the "motivation by virtue of the law," causing us to distance ourselves from committing any evil upon these, our comrades in the universe, since we all come forth from the hand of One Creator, the Master of All His Works.
Animals During the Messianic Age
Chapter 31
At the end of days an inner thirst will prompt each person to search for someone upon whom to confer benevolence, upon whom to pour forth his overflowing spirit of kindness, but none will be found. For all humanity already will have attained happiness, living lives of delight, gratification, and prosperity in every sense – materially, ethically, and intellectually.
Then, with all its store of wisdom, its collective insight and experience, humanity will turn toward its brothers on lower levels of Creation, the mute and the downtrodden, including the animal kingdom. And they will seek means to share wisdom with them, to instruct and enlighten them according to their abilities, thus to elevate them from level to level. There is no question that humanity will take an active part in this when the time comes to accomplish this mission. Beyond all doubt, humanity will share the enlightenment of the Torah with the animal kingdom, affecting their physical development and, all the more so, their ethical and spiritual development. This state of enlightenment will reach such a lofty level that we cannot imagine it at present, due to our lowliness and lack of wisdom. All beings shall receive a new, exalted form – a new world. [This is implied by the words of our sages:] "If they so desired, the tzaddikim could create a world" (Sanhedrin 65b).
The Spiritual Perfection of Animals
Chapter 32

As a consequence of their spiritual elevation in general, the lofty level attained [by animals] in the course of their development will also affect their senses and feelings, to attune and refine them. Indeed, a higher nature comes with this. "And the oxen and the young donkeys who work the soil shall eat enriched food that was winnowed with the shovel and with the fan" (Isaiah 30:24). For according to the loftiness of their souls, the faculty of taste will be developed to a higher degree of sensitivity, as befits their spiritual stature.
With a "still, small voice" does the wisdom of Israel, the Kabbalah, speak: the level of animals in the future will partake of the level of humanity as it is today, due to the "ascent of the worlds." [3]
This is the radiant vision the prophets disclosed to us of the civilized state that will be attained by the predatory animals of today: "And a wolf shall dwell with a lamb, and a leopard shall lie with a kid, and a calf and a lion cub and a fatling together, and a small child shall lead them. And a heifer and a bear shall graze together; their young shall lie down together, and a lion, like the ox, shall eat straw. And an infant shall play over a viper's hole, and over the den of an adder shall a weaned child stretch forth his hand. They shall neither harm nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the knowledge of God shall fill the Earth as the water covers the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9).

[1] Bereishis Rabba 8:4.
[2] See Sefer HaIkkarim 3:15.
[3] Kabbalistic literature describes the sequential emanation of four "worlds," or levels of reality: Action, Formation, Creation, and Emanation. When the spiritual disharmony on a lower level attains tikkun, or rectification, that level enters into a state of unification and harmony with the level above itself. This process is known as aliyah, or ascent.

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