Compassion Corner

 

Compassion Corner at MarlaMartenson.com

Hello and welcome to Compassion Corner. As an ethical vegan, I do my best to educate as many human’s as I can about the plight of our fellow sentient beings and our environment. I also hope to encourage my fellow human beings to look into your hearts and souls and hopefully come to the conclusion that peace begins on our plate.

My message is self love and also loving and respecting all beings that share space with us on this amazing blue ball. We are all connected. My spiritual path and energy is something that I am particularly sensitive to. For me, spirituality and diet go hand in hand.

I would like to share with you some of my story why I became a vegan.

The excerpt below is from my memoir, The Buddha Made Me Do It.

Like many middle-class kids, I grew up on t-bone steaks—I liked mine rare—pork chops, ground beef casseroles, chicken cacciatore, and boxes of Kentucky Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, and biscuits, especially enjoyable from TV trays on Sunday afternoons while watching Tarzan on channel eleven with the family and acquiring a mustache of 2% milk drunk from the large glass that accompanied each meal.

However, at the age of about nine, I slowly realized that something was going on which no one was in any hurry for me to know about. Directly behind our back yard was a pasture of several acres that belonged to the Salmon family—nothing to do with any kind of fish. A barbed wire fence separated our property from the Salmon’s who acquired four young steers every spring and raised them to adulthood. I loved petting the steers on the head, looking into their soulful big brown eyes softened with long eyelashes. I picked long, tender ferns from our yard, and offered them through the fence. Their heads pressed up to the barbed wire, and their long rough tongues lapped in the delicious foliage right from my hands, and they munched away.

I always became attached to the beautiful animals, sometimes naming them, only to find one day in the late fall that they had disappeared. That year I was nine, I was horrified to discover that the Salmons sold the steers for slaughter.

Over dinner one night, I said, “I don’t think that was right to murder the steers, especially Maxwell and Freddie.”

“Yeah,” Dad said, “but you sure like eating that big juicy steak on your plate, don’t you?”

Yes, I sure do, I thought, but still, something about it just wasn’t right.

Then, in my senior year of high school, I took a class called “Single Survival” that taught us how to cook, grocery shop, and other skills that we would need to know as adults living on our own. The teacher showed us a poster with a picture of a steer on it only it had no skin, so we just saw the muscles. Each section bore the name of the cut, chuck, rib, round, flank, sirloin, brisket, and more. The teacher explained that we were actually eating the muscles of the animal. I had no idea that I was eating muscles. Seeing that animal reduced to cuts of muscle was so disturbing that I went off beef then and there.

In my late twenties, I married a French chef named Bruno. We went to France and stayed at his parents’ home in the countryside. His father was also a chef, but to bring in extra money, his father also raised a few pigs, chickens, and sheep to sell for slaughter. Each evening I would carry out the scraps from our dinner to feed to the pigs. A neighbor also raised pigs yet on a larger scale. Enormous female pigs lay in cubicles in the barn with their babies. The farmer, Maurice, picked up one of the piglets and handed it to me. It was the sweetest little thing, all soft and pink with splotches of black. I kissed the piglet on its head, my heart breaking, knowing this beautiful, sentient creature would soon be killed and carved up. Similar experiences brought me to the understanding that I could not claim to love and care about animals and also eat them.

Most of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, enjoying the circus and the zoo. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. Supporters of animal rights believe that animals have an inherent worth—a value completely separate from their usefulness to humans. So this brings me to my other level of consciousness that is in harmony with a vegan lifestyle, that of oneness with other beings—which definitely heightens my spiritual experiences.

Dogs and pigs have the same capacity to feel pain and similar intelligence, but it is prejudice that allows us to think of one animal as a companion and the other as dinner. I believe that every creature is given a will to live and has rights that exclude systematic cruelty. All animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, friendship, and motherly love.

Ovo-lacto vegetarians (those who consume a diet containing milk, milk products, and eggs) may seem like an in-between option, but for me, this isn’t acceptable because the competitive factory farming system causes such cruelty and suffering of the animals, I can’t bear to even read about it. Yet, I can’t ignore it and pretend that my spirituality is separate from the agony the animals must endure to produce what goes into my mouth. More and more, we learn that each emotion that humans and animals experience have corresponding biochemistry in the body, including eggs and milk products. Even if I were ignorant of the animals’ suffering, do I need the additional chemistry of their stress in my food?

Mother earth is stressed as well. Animal activist Erin Janus who has assembled extensive research on this subject says:

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental damage. There is nothing destroying the earth (and rainforests) more than raising animals for consumption. A pig farm of 5,000 pigs for example, produces as much fecal waste as a city of 50,000 people. It’s a total disgrace to the earth to eat animals at this time in history. The demand for meat and dairy (animal agriculture) is also the leading cause of water pollution, ocean dead-zones, habitat destruction, and greenhouse gas emissions. We are out of line with nature. There is more harm being done to the planet than good.

I found it fascinating to read that psychic/medical intuitive Teal Swan needs to stay extremely grounded and therefore doesn’t drink alcohol or take drugs. However, to keep her spiritual abilities in working order, she is a lifelong vegan, which doesn’t stop her from also being an avid food lover and organic cook.

Teal says, “When you go on a spiritual path, you will find that your physiology will resonate at a different level. That instantly means the more and more spiritual you get, certain foods will resonate or not resonate with you. This is the real reason why in a lot of spiritual circles, you will see the same kind of diets among what people would call spiritual masters. It is because they have ascended to a certain level where the only foods that are able to resonate with where they are—physically and mentally—are these certain kinds of foods.  So…, if you are following the path to spirituality you will be naturally inspired to eat these types of foods.”

I think of the quote from the great philosopher Pythagoras, “Men dig their graves with their own teeth, and die more by those instruments than by all weapons of their enemies.”

 

Some non vegans ask, “why do vegans flip out at the slightest provocation?”

Why ARE we so sensitive and quick to jump down people’s throats? Why do we have to be so annoying and self-righteous? This video answers all of these questions for all my non-vegans friends out there who might be curious.

This video was made by the amazing Emily of Bite Size Vegan

Bite Size Vegan is an ever-expanding video-based free educational resource for information on all aspects of veganism consisting of a youtube channel and accompanying website. I encourage you to check Emily out. For a bite size nugget, she packs a punch, and she’s fun!