I am aware that people have different levels of capacity for empathy. Some feel a lot for their own family, but struggle to feel anything for others. Some feel a lot for animals and children, but not so much for adult humans. Some of us put aside the things that happen in the world just to get ahead in our own struggling world. I understand that people process information differently, some need a barrage of details and facts and others are more intuitive thinkers. However, with all this observation, I am still confused by the blindness and self-centeredness of the human race.
How does the human race not see their self-induced injustices? I’m human, I see. As a so-called “more evolved” species, how do we not see the injustice of creating enemies with our “us vs. them” label, of enslaving and killing more than 56 million land animals a day, and of thinking we have a right to to dominate? This inordinate naivete is beyond my comprehension, so I too share it so that it works without being overwhelmed by the charade of my existence. Beyond being vegan, beyond nonviolent communication, beyond self-exploration, “how can I use my energy to create a world of peace for all beings?”
We think we have many options, but in fact our enculturation limits us. We have the illusion of being free, but we are all caught in a smokescreen. A screen or filter that is imposed as girls and is perpetuated in the country in which we live, and the people with whom we align ourselves. This is not freedom, it is a slave way of thinking that preserves the status quo. When we break away from this ingrained thinking, we are met with enormous political, economic, and emotional resistance. Is it enough that I question social beliefs, practice veganism and nonviolent communication, and am open to other ways of being?
Finding our own truth is not easy. Martin Luther King Jr. once said:
“And there comes a time when you have to take a position that’s not safe, it’s not political, it’s not popular, but you have to take it simply because it’s the right thing to do.”
Veganism is my truth because it is about creating a utopia where all peoples, and all animals, can live in peace on a good planet. Consequently, if I want to have an impact on the way others see peace, I must be the change I want to see. To optimize my performance in this quest, I want to be the best I can be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
To keep inner peace alive, I use this guide as a foundation for optimizing my well-being.
In my body,
I will treat my body with nourishing food.
I will avoid highly processed vegan foods loaded with sugar, salt, and fat.
I will learn from the vegan nutrition experts (PurePlant Nation, the Buddhist chef) what feeds my body best.
I will stock my home with vegan essentials like non-dairy milk, spices, cooked beans, frozen vegetables, sauces, seeds, nuts, grains, a blender, and a steamer.
I will sleep at least six hours each night.
I will drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.
I will exercise regularly to build strength, endurance, and flexibility.
in my thinking,
I will focus on the task at hand and put aside distractions.
I will sharpen the saw through continuous learning.
I will practice win-win in all my communications.
I will respect the decisions of others.
I will challenge my own assumptions, triggers, and behaviors.
I will practice patience daily by being present and observing.
I will learn to communicate nonviolently (Marshall Rosenberg).
I will practice open-hearted thinking.
I will be a good listener.
I will be a collaborator.
In my spiritual self,
I will honor myself by staying focused on optimizing my energy.
I will spend time in nature or visualize a natural environment that brings me together.
I will be persistent in valuing peace by optimizing my energy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I will be brave listening to my heart, listening to the cries of those who have no voice and surrounding myself with people and places of positive energy.
You may never see the historical turning point that changes these basic inequalities. I find comfort and inspiration in spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, and many others. I’m not alone and neither are you. We can help shape the world by giving our best and expanding our community. This is my search and this is my happiness.