I am sitting at home with my son, who has been home from school for two days (so far) in anticipation of the Coronavirus working through his school. I am considering many things, as I do. I am thinking of the effects this pandemic will have on our cultures, but also considering causes, karma and many other things.
Experience as a Religionist
First, a bit about me. I am an Atheist (I don’t like this term as it suggests what I am not – not a “theist” – rather than defining what I am). I have been one since 1992. Before that, I was a Christian. My undergraduate degree was in theology and I was going to travel the world as a missionary for my denomination. That thought makes me cringe somewhat, but that was a long time ago. After I studied theology enough to realise that Xnty (Christianity) was nothing special, I became a free-thinker in 1992 and I never really looked back. Yes, I missed old friends. Yes, I felt there was a bit of a divide in my life between my past self and the awakened me. At no point would I have wanted to go back any more than any of us would want to go back to believing in Santa.
From 1992 to 2014, I went on with life. In 2014, when I became single again, I remembered my interest in vegetarianism – something that started when I was eight and watching a pig being slaughtered. I decided that I was in the perfect situation to become a vegetarian. I made the transition to pescetarian first, as my son loved our Saturday Sci-Fi Night fish and chips. After awhile, I dropped fish. A voice inside me began to say things like, “What about leather things you have?” and “Can you be a feminist and allow females to suffer for your dairy?” While becoming vegetarian was quite easy, it didn’t seem to resolve issues, but actually created more things for me to consider. I slowly began to remove more animal suffering from my life.
Then, at the start of December, 2018, I watched a video of cows who had been in a dairy walking across a road. They could barely walk. There were many in the video, but I remember one in particular who could only use three legs, with the fourth one not touching the ground. I watched the video and realised that I could never again be a part of this. I googled a few vegan recipes and made overnight oats for breakfast the next morning. I haven’t knowingly consumed anything from an animal since and I gave away leather coats, bags and similar.
Finally Knowing Peace
Something happened. I felt free. I felt honest and whole. I felt a burden lifted from me. Many talk of peace, kindness, compassion and similar, but don’t live it. From that first morning, I was living a life of peace.
The Spiritual Path
The world is now in mounting fear of a pandemic that started with the exploitation of other beings. So many diseases have crossed to humans from our exploitation of other life. Watching the suffering we bring to others come back to us makes me begin to realise that there is no spirituality but kindness, compassion, empathy and walking gently on this earth. If you want spirituality, cast aside the rules of those long dead and live a true spiritual life – committing yourself to (as much as possible) doing no harm.