In a previous posting, I wrote an article entitled “One Love, One Heart, One World,” which explained my beliefs about how we are all connected. I would like to continue this series by writing about my beliefs as to how we are connected to animals.
Back in the mid-80s, I was driving to work on the back roads one morning, when I deer jumped out from the side of the road and hit the front of my car. I never saw her coming. I immediately flew out of my car and ran over to her in the ditch where she lay dying. Kneeling over her side, I petted her and bawled like I haven’t bawled in a long time. All of a sudden, she turned her head over her back to look me straight in the eyes, and I heard her say just as if she were verbally speaking to me, “It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me. I forgive you.” I cried for several weeks straight over her death. I would rather have totaled my car than to have taken her life.
Ever since I was a young child, we have had pets of some sort or another: dogs, cats, gerbils, fish, rabbits, and horses. I have always loved animals. I always felt a connection with animals, but it wasn’t at a soul level.
As the years wore on, I began to become more and more attached to animals almost on a cosmic level. I became very sensitive to their feelings; and yes, animals have feelings. To this day, it really bothers me to see a dead animal because I can sense the pain and fear that they felt the moment they died.
In 1995, I saw a wonderful movie called “Powder.” It was about a sixteen year old Albino boy who was called “Powder” because of his flour white skin. Up until this time, he had been living in his grandparent’s cellar, but after they died, he was taken to live in a small Texas town where a pair of educators learned that he could control electricity and had an IQ that Einstein would envy. While on a hunting expedition with the town Deputy and other boys, he had gotten separated from the group, as he had no interest in killing any animal. All of a sudden, he hears a shot and goes running towards the direction of the sound. There he finds that the Deputy had shot a deer and he and the other boys were standing around admiring their ‘kill.’ Powder grabs the Deputy’s arm, and then lays his other hand on the deer’s stomach. The Deputy was able to feel everything the deer was feeling as she lay dying: the fear, pain, and confusion. It so impacted the Deputy that he put away his guns and swore that he would never kill another living thing again. You can only imagine how hard I cried when I saw this scene.
You see, I totally and sincerely believe that animals have souls. I also believe that they feel everything we feel; only they are not able to process those feelings. An animal feels happiness, sadness, pain, fear, depression, loneliness and any other host of emotions. There is even evidence that fish feel pain.
My belief is that animals are just like humans, the same beings, but we just look different. After hitting the deer, I became a vegetarian (working on vegan). I love animals too much to justify eating them, and to me, eating them is like being a cannibal.
Usually if I speak to someone about my being vegetarian and my love of animals (and only if they bring it up), I almost always get the argument that God put animals on the Earth for us to eat. They can even come up with Bible verses. The thing is, there are just as many verses that prove that we are not supposed to eat animals. For every argument someone has for eating animals (health or otherwise), there are just as many arguments as to why we shouldn’t eat them.
As a spiritual being, I totally believe that we are all one. There are many religions, which teach that we should not eat animals because we should respect and revere all life. I could go on into the health reasons for not eating animals, but that is not the purpose of this writing. I am also not telling anyone that they should believe the way I do, nor will I argue. If I had my way, no animal would be killed for any reason and we would find a way to live with all beings. But this is a personal issue and a belief system, and I in no way will try to force my beliefs on anyone, no matter how passionate I feel about the issue.
My only wish is that people would examine their hearts and souls and decide if it is really worth killing such beautiful creatures. If we can see God in people, why not animals?