I was asked by a lovely lady the other day if it is wrong for us to exploit animals for food, clothing, etc. This has been a question that I have often been asked and one that I have contemplated for many years. Most people who have had the fortunate opportunity to give and receive love from a pet often find compassion in those animals that are being used for people’s benefits. Many vegetarians choose this lifestyle so that they won’t participate in what they believe is causing animal suffering.
I once had a veterinarian associate who was a hunter. He loved to hunt and looked forward to hunting season like a child anticipating Christmas. Many of his clients, who found out he was a hunter, chose to move to another vet. They believed that a veterinarian who hunted animals was a hypocrite.
It is pretty easy to watch a video of cattle or other animals being moved through the slaughter house and feel remorse about what is happening. It certainly brings out the compassion in us. When this compassion arises, what then, do we ultimately do as a response. When the compassion arises, how do we respond? This is ultimately what we need to look at to determine how this experience might benefit us.
In my many years of studying and practicing spirituality, there are very few things that I have learned that are certain. One thing that I know, is that how we react to a situation tells us a lot about ourselves and ultimately, what reality we are going to create in that reaction. Just like many other emotional issues, if we react with a fearful reaction (anger, frustration, rage, threats, etc.), then we can expect that we will get a fearful experience in return. The old saying, “What we believe, we see” is true. If we believe that the animal is suffering, in OUR reality, it will because we create our own reality.
In the case of the exploited animal, if compassion arises and we turn that compassion into a fearful reaction, we have missed the opportunity to choose love instead of fear. You might be thinking, “Well, this is not right, and I should be angry. Those poor animals are suffering.” What is actually happening is that your mind is defending your reaction and causing your suffering. The event is not causing your suffering, but your mind’s story is. All of life’s events are neutral. It is you that flavors the event in the manner that you believe.
When we react fearfully, there is something inside of us that doesn’t feel right. Immediately, our personal mind picks up that feeling and starts to justify it. Remember when you were a child and you poked your brother. Mom, immediately told you not to do that. You, in turn, started telling her all the reasons he deserved his punishment. It is an old conditioned pattern that our mind wants us to cling to.
When we feel bad about something, it actually means that we are not understanding the Truth about it. You probably know by now that you are a spiritual being occupying a physical body. This body/mind that has been keeping your attention keeps you from realizing the spiritual being that you are. You might call this your soul or higher self. Each time you have a bad feeling, you are being told that you are not in alignment with your soul. The further away you have moved from your soul, the more painful the experience.
Unfortunately, you don’t have the awareness of the BIG picture, or what some refer to as the Divine Plan, that your soul has. The only way you have to determine if you are in alignment with your soul is by being aware of your feelings.
If you start to think that killing a cow for its meat or hunting a deer for its meat is wrong and you feel bad about it, it is for certain that you are not in vibrational alignment with your soul’s interpretation of the event. It is the energetic contrast that causes you to feel bad. This is when we have to rely on Faith. It can be hard to experience an animal being used for a human’s benefit and doing something about it personally is never wrong. It is never wrong for a person to have compassion for another being nor is it wrong to have a reaction, leading to action that might be in alignment with your personal beliefs. But, if your thoughts, feelings or actions are not in alignment with your soul’s awareness, you will feel bad. You might be a hero in many people’s eyes. You might be the champion for the animals, but, unfortunately, there will be suffering.
Back to how I answer the question that I am often asked about whether animals suffer at the expense of human exploitation. I don’t believe that they do. Animals, whether they are cows, pigs, sheep, horses, dogs, cats and so on, all have souls. If you don’t believe it, take a moment and look deep into your pet’s eyes. You will know that they do, because you will feel the alignment between your soul and your pet’s soul.
Each soul, human or animal, has chosen a pathway to follow before coming back into this three dimensional life experience. According to some enlightened beings, it appears that the opportunity to come into this world is a great opportunity and each animal soul has the opportunity to choose how to do this. These animals who give their lives as a source of meat, etc., apparently have chosen to do this. Now, no one living as a human can be for sure, but if this is true, then we have the opportunity to have a natural change in our reaction. This awareness takes the blame away from the experience and allows it to happen on its own without a reaction.
What about pain and suffering of the animal. Is there pain involved? It appears there is. Is there suffering? No, animals don’t personalize experiences as that requires a mind that evaluates the situation. But, if the animal is aware of its soul or higher self, perhaps it is aware that the event is expected, accepted and blessed.
Our life is based on the appearance of duality so that we might have experiences. We cannot experience happiness without comparing it to unhappiness. There can be no compassion without the appearance of suffering.
The coyote eats the rabbit, the lion eats the gazelle, the orca eats the baby seal. This is life happening with its own Divine plan. Life gives each one of us these experiences so that we might think and feel and learn the Truth about ourselves.
If we can have Faith that this is what is happening, we can choose to have compassion for the animal and offer our love and blessings for its sacrifice. This is what many native cultures have done for thousands of years. If we are moved by love to intervene and do something, then it will be in alignment with the soul’s plan and all of life will benefit. In my limited mind, it appears that it keeps us in a mindful state of love instead of fear and ego-reaction. This feels a lot better to me. Hope this helps.