It has been interesting to look back at some of the posts I’ve written relating to animals and to compare them to our mission statement. Sometimes my attitude when writing about animals doesn’t quite reflect the magnanimous tenants that those of us on Life As a Wave believe in. I think to myself, “Will people read the mission statement and then wonder how I can be hating on the king of Spain or factory farm workers?!”
I know that at the gut level it is hard for me to feel anything but disgust toward people who are exploiting or abusing animals; it is next to impossible to feel that I am connected to them on some metaphysical level as two waves of the same grand ocean. Yet from time to time I am inclined to step back and ask myself to check in with that contempt and judgment that I harbor for them. Are those people not me? Am I not them? Don’t I exist only as part of their existence?
Hold on. That’s too deep for right now…It’s almost 1am for goodness sakes. Let’s start again.
Basically, it is good to love. So yes, I love animals. I can love my loving neighbor. I can love my family. But can I love the (alleged) enemy in this scenario? Can I love the people who are performing vivisection? Or who are skinning animals alive for fur? Are they really even my enemy? (By the way, sometimes when I see my own writing style I think I should just rename this blog, The Blog of Important Rhetorical Questions.) When I step out of my gut and get into that place of higher self I realize that there is love in me for them. It takes work to plug into it and it may be just a fraction of its potential, but it is there. I don’t like what they do and I would take action to make them stop but I don’t hate their essence…because I truly think it springs from the same source as mine. We are not so different.
I can feel compassion and sorrow for them. I can acknowledge my ignorance of their experiences and pains. I can wish for them better. I can hope for them joy and peace and happiness…just like I hope those for myself. It does my soul good to remember all of this. It stirs up my Love. And I want to act out of Love. I don’t want my advocacy to become aggression, neither mental nor physical. And I don’t want my compassion to diminish. I don’t want to vilify.
I recently heard a sermon given by Ishmael Tetteh in which he used the following analogy to describe our existence:
“Every wave comes into being by the collective power of the entire ocean.”
One wave would not be, were it not for every other wave. And every other wave would be be were it not for that one. Obviously this reminded me of our blog. And thinking about our mission statement–about what it means to live this life as a wave–is what led me think about all of this that I’m now writing. My new mantra, solemnly taped to by bathroom mirror, is:
“I come into being by the collective power of the entire universe.”
This is true moment by moment and eternally. I believe it. I believe I come into being through connection to every other person, galaxy, drop of rain, tree, animal, and ocean wave. So I guess it’s not too deep after all to ask about people “Don’t I exist only as part of their existence?” My best conclusion right now is, Yes.