Friday, January 29, 2016

Yoga Is About The Self, Yet It Is Also About Others.

This week's topic concerns a wide range of topics which revolve around two main topics: environmental sustainability & animal welfare.

2015 was a very life-changing year. I would largely attribute it to the influence of my Feveret Human, who is much more knowledgeable than me when it comes to current issues of the world.

The very first documentary I watched was Earthlings.

Yesterday Feveret Human & I watched Cowspiracy.

Please make time to watch these two documentaries, or any other documentary that catches your fancy. I promise you, life will never be the same again. Go to YouTube & type search for Gary Yourofsky. He is an animal activist & gives pretty damn good talks on veganism & animal welfare.

Or click here: Best Speech You'll Ever Hear - Gary Yourofsky.

Now don't get me wrong. I used to eat meat too. In fact I still crave the taste of meat more often than not. Yet I choose to abstain from it after coming to terms with the truth. & I too got very annoyed & irritated when people 'forced' these truths on me. I chose to be continue being comfortable by turning a blind eye to what really goes on in & around the meat industry.

I had never watched an in-depth documentary prior to Earthlings. I am usually the kind of person who avoids gory links & videos that people share on social media. Even if the thumbnail or description is eww-wy, I completely avoid it. So I don't know what came over me, or how I found out about the documentary; I just randomly thought to watch it one night.

& man did it disturb me. I cried most of the time. & it stunned me into really accepting the fact that I was just lying to myself all this time. Throughout my life I always thought myself & my family as animal lovers. Yet all of us consumed meat. Vegetarianism was not given a thought, it was just something that other people do. & there were many people around me who loved animals, yet could not bear to watch videos/photos of animal abuse, accidents, not even wildlife documentaries where a natural predator kills its prey; let alone a documentary about the process of how animals are turned into our food. So I myself avoided these issues. Like I said earlier - I was comfortable lying to myself.

& I think I am lucky in the sense that I watched Earthlings first, then Cowspiracy. Earthlings shocked me into awareness, it showed me what really goes on in the meat industry. Whereas Cowspiracy approaches the topic in a calmer & more logical way. I really liked how the main idea of Cowspiracy is about individual responsibility: 'What am I doing to contribute to this problem?', 'What can I do to make a change?' A few weeks ago Feveret Human & I watched another documentary, The Age of Stupid. It was a brilliant documentary. The only thing I did not really like about it is that it tries to address the problem with external solutions - what biotechnology, what science can do.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to our greed. It is human nature to always want more. & nature is generous, but even her generosity has its limits. So we can research & advance all we want, but if our greed & selfishness is not addressed, everything else is for naught.

It takes so much more vegetation to 'grow' meat for human consumption. Ironically a high percentage of crops are going into feeding animals rather than feeding humans. Not to mention the consumption of water & other resources.

At the same time, have you ever wondered about the by-products of the meat industry? Where does all that waste & faecal matter go to?

& what about the animals themselves? Is it enough to allow them 'natural lives' when at the end of the day we are going to kill them anyway? What kind of freedom is that? & how can one say, 'I love dogs & cats,' so they don't eat those species of animals, but then cows, pigs & chicken are 'made to be eaten'???

I am also hugely thankful to my cat Karas for helping me realize the need for me to go vegan.

Even if it was not for matters of the world (which are indeed very pressing matters & need to be dealt with immediately for the collective good), compassion & kindness were lost when I chose to eat meat. I was allowing animals to be treated badly. I was allowing animals to be denied their freedom & right to life.

I used to be outraged at news of dog or cat meat being sold in certain countries. But it did not disturb me watching hundreds of cows & chickens being farmed & butchered in the market. Funny how the human mind works, huh?

How does one decide which life matters more than the other???

I chose to cover this topic today because yoga is about self, yes - Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are all about the self. He always addresses the inner, never the outer. But you see, once the inside is pure, everything else falls into place. The principle of Ahimsa (Non-violence) is pretty much self-explanatory.

Similarly, in Matthew 7:12 of the Bible: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.

Is my own selfishness harming others? Why am I eating meat - to satisfy my tastebuds? Why do I use products made out of animal by-products? Because it's more 'classy'?

To awaken is a painful process. But it is even worse to choose to remain asleep.

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