“Love is the most powerful force in the universe. All we need to do is get in synch with it” — Judy Carman
The following piece contains excerpts from a Vegan Spirituality article, edited and republished with permission www.veganspirituality.com, written by Judy Carman © 2014. To read the unedited article in its entirety from the original blog click here. Judy Carman is the author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul and creator of the Animal Prayer Flag Project. She is also co-author with Tina Volpe of The Missing Peace: The Hidden Power of our Kinship with Animals and co-founder with Will and Madeleine Tuttle of The Prayer Circle for Animals.
In excerpts from Judy Carman’s article “What is Vegan Spirituality?”, reframed below, Ms. Carman reflects on the paradoxes often found in traditional religions and other spiritual practices, the human experience and our true nature of compassion. Ms. Carman writes “We are dual-natured individuals. We have a survival nature that tells us to protect ourselves at the expense of others if necessary; and then we have our true nature of compassion that longs to care for others, even at the expense of ourselves.” It is at this fork and intersection, where these seemingly separate realities meet, where love and true spirituality through actions can be found.
Judy Carman writes:
“Eckhart Tolle said, ‘All the things that truly matter—beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace—arise from beyond the mind.’ Spirituality is what we feel and deeply know in our hearts and spirits, i.e., “beyond the mind.” Spirituality is the unseen, but deeply felt, Love that dwells in our hearts. In this sense, caring about the suffering of animals, in spite of society’s pressure to ignore it, means you are in touch with your true heart and your true spirit.
The two most radical and revolutionary ideas ever conceived are the Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and the profound counsel, ‘Love One Another’. While many religions are rooted in the acknowledgement that faith is based on that radical love, there have been added loopholes that make it possible to rationalize not doing unto others (such as, animals, slaves, women, etc.) as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule idea is revolutionary because it asks us to act from our spirit, which is unselfish, connected to all life, and free of cultural and religious dogma. It is the highest ideal for human behavior. If we evolve in that direction, we will become “Homo Ahimsa”—the kind, compassionate, nonviolent human being we are destined to be. By taking the vow of ahimsa, of nonviolence and love, also known as veganism, you have demonstrated what it is to live a spiritual life—one in which your heartfelt beliefs are in synch with the way you live. You are demonstrating how to love one another, not just the human ones, but everyone. You are demonstrating what spirituality truly is.
Many people are on a journey to live from the highest ethic, to discover their own true nature, to awaken in consciousness, to find lasting inner peace, to understand their soul’s mission on earth, and to learn to live in a sacred and mindful manner on the earth. When we understand what spirituality really means, it helps us to assist other spiritual seekers to see that veganism is an essential part of a spiritual path. There will always be a sense of incompleteness and numbness until one opens one’s heart to the animals. Tina Volpe and I wrote The Missing Peace to demonstrate through the stories of many people that the ultimate inner peace is found when we give it to others—not just human others, but all others. When we really think about it, veganism is the ultimate spirituality, the highest form of consciousness in which one realizes that all life is sacred.”
(Images above: Vegan Spirituality logo, Peace to All Beings book cover art, The Missing Peace book cover art and the Animal Prayer Flag Project.)
Vegan Spirituality is a network of spiritual seekers, vegans, animal advocates and artists working to create a more compassionate world for all life. Vegan Spirituality offers grassroots outreach, community, retreats, workshops, Compassionfests, events, online gatherings and resources. Founded and directed by Lisa Levinson of In Defense of Animals, Vegan Spirituality was originally a program of Public Eye: Artists for Animals and has since grown to extend nationwide in its community network for peace for all life. www.veganspirituality.com