....Oh to see ourselves as others see us.
In my job as a private tutor we have been doing a month long book study about my favourite book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. It is always enlightening to share this book with someone who is unfamiliar with it, especially if they only know the film version.
The main characters all have a fervent desire for something they truly believe they don't possess.
The Scarecrow wishes for brains, but comes up with loads of clever ideas to help them through their journey such as suggesting how they could build a raft to travel down a river or use a tree as a bridge to cross a canyon.
The Lion believes himself to be a coward, but shows many acts of bravery such as fighting the Kalidahs (head of a tiger, body of bear).
The Tin Woodman thinks he has no heart and desires one so he can love and be kind and yet he repeatedly shows great depth of feeling. My favourite example is where he accidently trods on a small beetle and it causes him to cry so much he rusts his jaw shut. The Tin Woodman is almost like a Jain Monk here--even the smallest insect matters.
Often we already have the very qualities that we wish to acquire.
But the reverse is true as well.
Sometimes how we see ourselves is more generous than is actually true.
I received this in my inbox recently and it got me thinking.
I know LOTS of big-hearted people in the world. People who care deeply for animals. People who are shocked and appalled by animal cruelty. People who would adopt every stray that they meet. People who would do anything, give anything they had for the animals in their care.
But only SOME animals.
Dog and cats.
It is a type of selective compassion. It is a type of speciesism. It is saying that "some animals deserve our care and love and some do not." The magnificent book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy delves into this idea.
I know and love many good hearted people who see themselves as good hearted people. They see themselves as kind and compassion, as a righter-of-wrongs. But they are selective in who they extend that compassion to.
I was once like this. I was a big-ole animal lover (despite my crippling allergies to most conventional pets) who from my teens was a passionate animal rights activist. I researched and boycotted companies who tested their cosmetics and shampoos on animals. I refused to buy Tide to wash our clothes because of P&G's record of animal abuse. I gave a shit about animal testing long before *anyone* else I knew did.
But I was still eating animals.
I hadn't made the connection.
It took me many years for my eyes to open and see that ALL animals deserve our respect. ALL animals deserve our compassion. ALL animals have a mother and NO animal wants to die.
I think of what I want for myself-- a life free from fear and pain. Why would I not wish this for every living being on this planet? This is universal compassion.
Being a vegan is the best thing I ever did with my life. It is my proudest achievement. Because I know, that every choice I make is a choice to end suffering for ALL of God's creatures (not just SOME) and that everything I do with my life is in the spirit of LOVE.
Peace Begins On Our Plates.
I want the world to wake up and think about the pets they adore and see every animal in the same light--with the eyes of love and compassion.
I have a dream......