At its essence, animal liberation is actually human liberation, the letting go of attachment. It may seem strange and uncaring to suggest this, but there is a basis in the exploration of our true selves, which confirms the core of this statement.
Bear in mind these are only words, and if you don’t resonate with them, or they cause frustration, then look at the source of the frustration to find the answer. Please don’t blame the messenger, or if you do, that is OK as well, but think more deeply about your own relationship to the world, and find a place in your heart for acceptance of diverse opinions, for this is the place from which I am writing.
I watched Tom Thomas on BATGAP INTERVIEW during the week. He is a great example of ‘live and let be’ and really demonstrated Zen realism in his simple non-discriminatory approach to the “awakening individual.”
The message I got, quite firmly, is that life is a possibility, a potential, which manifests as the entities and personalities in accordance with a divine grace. What has been intriguing for me in many of Rick Archer interviews is this interplay between the divine and one self, the relative and the absolute. He often says, “we are all one, but not only all one.” That is, recognition of our personality or soul, or little self, is still an important factor for our consideration in daily life. We are in a body, ‘our body’ having this experience and conversation, so to dismiss this apparent factual element of the relative world, and to think and consider and act as if we ‘do not exist’ is to deny the totality of the experience, it is to selectively believe, as if we KNOW something special, rather than “HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING.”
Tom Thomas is very clear here, he puts the case simply; that we can all adopt beliefs, and these beliefs by their inherent nature form the limitation by which we define boundaries of our experience and existence. Principally we can be and can do anything and everything, that is the ultimate potential of the consciousness that we are, but we define ourselves by our beliefs. In this defining, what is happening is a strengthening of our belief system, the inclusion of ideas, people, and actions that reinforce our selves. As everyone does this, to take a global or world-view for a moment, then what we see is a plethora of various ‘realities,’ based on the commonly held preference or belief of that reality. Much the same as Yahoo groups, in a computer age social metaphor.
As we step back from the realities we have realised that exist in the breadth of our own growing up and experience of the world, such as when there is a major ‘awakening’ of our consciousness, a getting out of the way of the beliefs we hold and trust, and accepting for an instant or longer, the POSSIBILITY of living in some one else’s reality for instance, we see that the world appears as a different place, it has different values, beliefs and experiences in this adopted positioning. We know this through our understanding of life, so it does not seem significant at first, but when we TRULY REALISE the implication, what we are left with is just what Tom Thomas suggests, a series of realities available for the want of our inclusion in their manifestation, a willingness on our part, to join and live that experience. Ultimately, this is the world we live in, this expression of personal belief and reality and experience is always limited, we don’t have the time, inclination or capacity to do everything, which is why it is important to seek inside ourselves what we truly need to express our inner most capacities.
Thus, I come back to this initial statement, that animal liberation is actually human liberation. It seems so glib to say that we are all ok as we are, each with our own suffering, whether it is another person, or a caged animal, or a tortured mind or body screaming for release from suffering. Yet if we are to understand more deeply, the capacity for the human intellect to both rationalise and empathise, to explore the paradox, which good and evil provoke, then we are left with our realisations.
This exploration of our realisations does not need to be formed into a belief system; it is enough for it to just exist in its own right. From this opening of us, to multiple realities, comes the possibility of finding an outlet for the release of suffering. Whether it be the tree, the insect, the dolphin in Laurie Anderson’s famous Sea World story, wondering whether all seas have walls, or the shock of the harpoon as the great whale dives again and again, to brush against only the water it inhabits, with no means of release.
Animal liberation is a reality for some people, and for others, they live and work and think in another way, part of another reality, just as real for them as our beliefs are for us. We know this, and we also believe, that deep down everyone knows this. So one reason why we don’t see the suffering we cause, is because we are oblivious to the means of contact within ourselves which could overcome, or allow us to grow, out of the ignorance we inhabit.
And so, animal liberation IS human liberation, it is the measure of our own nature, the level of growth and awareness of our connectedness to all life, the pointer for each of us toward tolerance and growth within ourselves, so that tolerance and growth can manifest and extend into the wider community.
Each time we release suffering, we release the bondage of suffering in all life.