Recieved: 1999/11/25 20:51
Subject: Re: [K-list] carnivores/vegetarians.
On 1999/11/25 20:51, Ckress posted thus to the K-list:
In a message dated 11/25/1999 12:26:03 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> I was a meat-eater for 47 years until last year. I loved meat and always
> looked forward to my favourite meal of chicken vindaloo. then one
> I was eating my favourite dish when suddenly the site of the pieces of
> chicken started to disturb me. I felt a great surge of compassion - not
> intellectual or emotional but as a stream of energy flowing into me. I
> started to cry out loud in the
> restaurant and silently asked forgiveness from all the animals that I had
> eaten and thanked them for giving their life so that I might live.
This kind of thing happens when the heart breaks open: the sudden merging of
one's consciousness with the consciousness of other living beings. It has
hit me many times in my life. Once I felt blasted by the pain of all animals
in captivity and it hurt so much I impulsively released my pet canary
outdoors. It soared like a golden rocket into the brilliant summer sky...
and probably died a few days later of hunger or shock. But at that moment,
giving it even a day of freedom seemed the most important act of attrition I
could offer it. In retrospect, most animals born in captivity would probably
not like being "released" any more than any one of us would want to be
suddenly dropped alone into the wilderness to fend for ourselves, although
some part of me wants to believe that at least in that first moment of
skyward liberty, the canary was ecstatic.
I had another heart-expansion some years ago when, while out in my garden, I
suddenly merged with the consciousness of everything growing there. The
energy of the plants and flowers was unbelievably blissful and serene, and
most awesome of all were the trees. I felt them to be in a state of samadhi,
just luminous, pure love-satchidananda almost too beautiful for me to bear.
Then a day later, the mail came and it was mostly a heap of junk mail.
Suddenly I felt the tragic impact of all the lives of the
illumined-spirit-trees which had been sacrificed for this pile of crap. I
wanted to tear out my heart and run screaming down the road, screaming and
screaming, knowing that I could do nothing to stop my species from continuing
such acts of ignorance-bred savagery. My mind was racing and I thought, "I
have to refuse to ever again accept any junk mail. I have to send it all
back and write to all these companies and tell them... wait, I can't write to
them, that would mean more butchered trees!" So then I realized I couldn't
write anything hard copy ever again (which is radical for me, since I'm a
writer)... and I could never again use a kleenex... or any toilet tissue...
And I started to spin with this deeper and saw all the complications, so no
matter how I tried to get out of it, it became a catch-22. "I'll give up
everything! I'll live naked in a cave and live on rain water... no, there
are conscious organisms in rain water! I'll... I'll commit suicide... no,
that would kill metropolises of tiny organisms living in my body..." So
there I was, mentally at a deadend, half-crazed with grief, until finally I
had to accept that I couldn't opt out. I couldn't remain alive on this plane
without being in some way instrumental in inflicting suffering on other
beings. And I came to realize that all I could do was to try my best to
minimize the damage I cause. Try to be as sparing and careful as I can. And
to have compassion on myself and on all other beings who are here who share
this same predicament with me.
It was during this time that I wrote my "Stigmata" poem, which I later posted
to the K-list. I didn't preface the poem with any explanation when I posted
it, and it seemed then that no one but a Vietnam war veteran on list related
to it. Here's the poem:
by El Collie
The heart sees: everything is soaked in blood.
The language of suffering is universal and often loudest in silence.
Everything is stained an invisible red, even the shadows, even the stars.
Everything is desperately, rhapsodically bleeding.
It is unstaunchable.
The blood is always there, seeping through.
Everything is drenched and screaming in a world that claims to be deaf and
We carefully wash our hands, pretending not to see
that everything is a testament to the wound of living.
We agree not to know what we know while our ignorance turns us to stone.
But the heart sees very well: the whole world is a hemorrhage.
Everything is sticky with blood, inside and out.
Everything is gushing and scarlet,
even this page,
even this moment,
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