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  • Angela A. Art

Soul Nurture

Yoga is a beautiful way to quieten and focus the mind while balancing and aligning the body.

We are lucky to have a very special yoga teacher in our local area, and her unique and holistically enriching classes nurture body and soul..... as she shares wisdom and calm throughout the practice.

One of her comments sticks with me as gentle guidance and a reminder that our time is fleeting - so make it count.

She simply noted, (as we, in the class, carefully arranged our stiff and unsure bodies into shapes and stretches);

"This precious human life, dont waste it".

Our teacher was encouraging us to be in the moment, arrive and be present with every in breath and let go and contemplate the emptiness on the out breath.

She encouraged us not to push or strive to be more, do more, be something else...but rather to be fully and totally aware and 'here' in this moment...this breath. With the reminder that deep within in our core self, it takes very little to be incredibly joyful - simply acknowledging the miracle of being here, in this body, in this life, in the now.

"This precious human life, dont waste it".

Her words coaxed us not to allow focus on negativity to bring tension and pain into our minds and bodies. Letting go of worries, fears and hurtful memories; committing to living with positivity, gratitude and self awareness.

Loving and nurturing self and bringing an energy of heart to all one does, all one encounters, all one is.

Being the best one can be is not just about kindness and compassion to self- but that is the place where we start if we are to be truly authentic beings.

How else can we offer love and positive energy to the world or to anyone or anything - if it does not come from a place of self acceptance and genuine gratitude and love for our own self?

What do we have to offer another human if we tell them "I love you" but cannot say the same words to ourselves? It would be like giving someone a food that we believe tastes terrible or is poisoned.

When we are our best self then we radiate and offer love from a place of peace and harmony. We don't drain or take from others- and we give without depleting ourselves.

"This precious human life, don't waste it".

Those words resonated with me.

They reached into my heart as a call to action.

While still in the yoga class I was reflecting deeper on their meaning and how I could honour that teaching.

Speaking up for animals and living as authentic and genuine a life I can as an ethical vegan has become the essence of who I am.

I feel pain and sorrow when I contemplate the horrible suffering of many beings on Earth and I do find some comfort in the knowledge that I am doing what I can to reduce my contribution to this.

I imagined, as I held poses in the yoga class - my legs shaking with the stretches....

.....The human opportunity that each of us has - to do good and actively combat evil, violence, aggression and suffering.

Yet so many treat their human life like a dodgy holiday camp- running amok, disrespecting their own health and body, disregarding others, being openly and blatantly selfish, arrogant, cruel and abusive. Wilfully ignorant and apathetic, many close their minds, harm their bodies, other people, the environment, animals and the planet itself.

Hedonistic and focused on self, mindless pleasures and instant gratification.

Is this the definition of ' This precious human life; dont waste it" ?

Maybe it seems that way at the time- self centred and self absorbed- oblivious to destruction of self and others - the disconnect is real.

But we are all connected- one interwoven web of life in the mysterious universe.

I imagine the result of the hedonistic holiday campers - reincarnated into a life of suffering on Earth - to try and learn the lessons of their own mistakes.

In such a scenario- what body would they return in ....I wonder?

The chicken held prisoner in a cramped battery cage with others of her kind?

- her feet sore and aching from standing on wire day and night.

Never breathing fresh air or seeing and feeling the sunlight.

Constantly stressed from the close proximity of other bored, frustrated and stressed individuals - all of whom are in mental and physical pain.

Gathered up one day and thrown and crammed into even tighter crates and taken for slaughter- hung upside down by legs - dipped in electrified water, throat slashed, heads cut off, feathers ripped out... many struggling and missing the stunning process- suffering unthinkable agony and terror.

The pig ?

- standing endless days and nights in cold concrete and metal pens and stalls. Either crowded in communal pens when young or placed in individual crates or stalls as they grow.

Unable to turn around. Struggling to lie down or stand up. Poked with electric prods to be made to stand up every day to lessen the risk of pressure sores- yet still suffering wounds and bruises. Going crazy with frustration, chewing the bars of the cage and screaming.

Food at one end of the tiny prison, waste hosed away at the other.

A pig is a being at least as intelligent and capable of emotions as the family dog.

The mental and physical suffering is awful to consider.

The slaughter process is deeply disturbing. The pigs are loaded tightly into trucks where they are without food or water and are prone to suffer from heat, dehydration, fear and exhaustion. At their destination they are harried towards the gas chambers - where they are lowered in crates into dense carbon dioxide gas which burns their lungs as they struggle violently for up to two minutes.

You can see for yourself here;

Pigs are scalded in boiling water to prepare to remove the hair from their skin. They are not always unconscious - there are dreadful first hand accounts of pigs drowning in unbelievable suffering.

"The sheer number of animals killed makes it impossible for them to be given humane, painless deaths. Because of improper stunning, many pigs are alive when they reach the scalding tank, which is intended to soften their skin and remove their hair.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documented 14 humane-slaughter violations at one processing plant, where inspectors found hogs who “were walking and squealing after being stunned [with a stun gun] as many as four times.”

According to one slaughterhouse worker, “There’s no way these animals can bleed out in the few minutes it takes to get up the ramp. By the time they hit the scalding tank, they’re still fully conscious and squealing. Happens all the time.” "

There are countless other examples of victims suffering brutal violence, agonizing deaths and lives of pain, frustration, boredom, misery, grief and fear.

I can imagine in my musings - the human who wasted their opportunity in the precious human life... coming back to experience one of these situations.

The Mink - crammed in a tiny wire cage then electrocuted anally and skinned alive for its fur - for clothing and false eyelashes.

The Shark- its fins sliced off and its body dropped helpless to the ocean floor.

To name just another two.

What would happen.... I wonder..... to the spirit , experiencing this contrasting life after a human indulgence of wilful ignorance, selfishness and destruction?

Would there be learning and growth?

Or would a future human incarnation mindlessly return to holiday camp hedonism and not only miss the lesson but continue on the path of wasting the human opportunity yet again......

So creating an endless self perpetuating spiral of misery and fear. Fed even further by the modern human societal machine, running on power and greed.

What a daunting and depressing thought.

We have a choice. To indulge in the current legitimized society norms which support and perpetuate violence and selfishness - and live a life of self seeking, surrounded by excuses and defensive justifications not to change.

Or we can truly strive to be the best we can be.

Create a cycle of love, harmony, joy, peace, kindness and compassion. Build a world where all beings are respected and not seen as commodities to be exploited and commercialized.

"This precious human life, dont waste it".

There is a kinder world in the future - it just needs each of us to choose it.


*Image is of a lentil based pasta sauce, gluten free pasta and assorted vegetables.

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