Conviction and Conversion

Conviction and Conversion

When I say a prayer for an injustice in the world or for a being’s suffering, I am aware that my prayer alone will not solve the problem.

Likewise, my conversion to veganism is not something I view as a cure all for my relationship to the environment.

What I do know it as is a decisive shift to no longer participate in habits that are inarguably cruel and abusive to our fellow species.

I have spent my entire life consuming animals and using products that relied on animals (too often in inhumane ways) for their production,  sale and consumption.

I had a couple of vegetarian stints in which I continued to use mass produced dairy products, completely unaware of how the horrors extend to the dairy industry as well.

The root of all the inhumane practices I refer to are suffering. Animals seen from birth as ‘product’ and raised as a soulless object. Profitable yet disposable and born to serve the consumption desires of humans as well as greed.

I realized by mid September of this year that I had already been eating predominantly vegan for a couple of months.  Spending so much energy and time wondering whether I could “do without” certain products based on animal parts was suddenly such a useless indulgence to me. By the time I realized this, I was ready to commit fully.

“What I’ve come to realize in my 34 years living as a vegan in this culture is that going vegan is profoundly challenging for most of us because it forces us to realize that our home culture and every institution, even including our family, are relentlessly propagating violence and disconnectedness. This painful realization is ultimately profoundly liberating, however, making veganism like a second birth in many ways. We are forced to leave the comfort of the familiar as our evolving awareness ejects us from the womb of unquestioning loyalty to our inherited food choices. Simultaneously, we are born into a new adventure: a life where we can live at a whole new level of joy, creativity, and freedom from exploiting and exploitation.”
~ Will Tuttle, Ph.D, author of the Best-Selling The World Peace Diet

What has quietly astonished me is how this change has really been a conversion for me. It does feel like coming home and an awakening.  It does feel like both refuge and release.

It is not simply a decision to change my diet, use products not tested on animals or not wear items that caused suffering and death of fellow animals. These are all indeed very important as well as personal decisions that affect every nook and cranny of my daily life.

But at the root, this was a decision of spirit. A decision that led to an unraveling awareness and intensely changed view of the world.

I converted because it felt right.  I stirred and followed my sense. This change always has an energy of sorrow to me, because the awareness of the abuses that are happening all the time in order to satisfy our consumption needs is a deeply tragic reality I pray to see ended.

But the change also has meant joy for me. Relief. I could feel the joy and clear sobriety of my ethical commitment to the path grow each day.

I did not go 100% vegan overnight and I do believe converting to a life that uses no products with animal parts at all can be challenging as such use is so pervasive.

But the commitment strengthened and as I began to delve into the sites and stories of animal rights activists,  researchers, vegan companies, individuals and brands,  I saw what I may have once referred to as a ‘diet’ transform in my understanding to the reality of what it is- a philosophy, a lifestyle and a world view.

Conviction. It’s in my heart. I did not know it was possible, but it grows stronger each day.