I recently watched a deeply disturbing documentary called “Earthlings”. It had shocking and horrendous footage of the most severe atrocities that humans afflict on other humans and non-humans that I have ever seen. It really was a deeply disturbing experience to watch this film.
I was curious why I choose to watch it. I had some warning that images were graphic and the content painful to witness. It is my usual choice to stay away from such content. But I chose to watch this one and I invite anyone who eats meat, wears leather or fur, purchases leather furniture, gambles on the horse races, goes to the circus or purchases products that have been tested on animals to watch this one! I am guilty of much of the above.
This documentary may be a very extreme look at the treatment of animals in our world, and hopefully not the norm, but I think it is important. It highlights to an extreme the disconnect between many of our comforts and the tremendous suffering from which most of them come. I am curious how it reflects on the climate of human life, in which such terrible abuses come to be and do become accepted. We seem so comfortable with our trendy leather jackets and shoes. We don't think much about our big BBQ's in the summer with ribs and steaks and burgers and sausages. Many of us love to gamble on the horse races and we happy put on makeup, deodorant and body stuff without a thought for the path it took before coming to our bathroom.
Everyone knows their steak once was alive. Everyone knows their leather couches came off some animal's back side. Everyone knows that the animals at the circus aren't entertaining us for the joy of it. Yet we let it all continue. We do not like to look at the cost of our comforts...the steak, the leather coat, the smart looking leather couch etc. We go to great lengths not to look directly at the suffering of the non-humans of our earth that only happens because of our choices. We are complacent about the suffering that exists on our planet. Would we make different decisions if we could feel the suffering in each product? Would we choose something different if we witness the journey of the product from its beginning to its end, all done for our comfort.
As I was thinking about this, it struck me that we are equally complacent to the atrocities we inflict upon our body. The same cruelty we have become accustomed to in our world, we have become accustomed to in our bodies. Do we think of our body as a marvelous collection of cells, working together endlessly, to provide health, energy and joy for us, its host. If we really thought that, would we act different? Would you put down the burger if you knew and understood that it drastically impeded your white blood cells from keeping all the germs, bacteria and cancers away? If you could see the trouble you just caused them! Would you care that your cells are all having a very difficult time in their job today because you are drinking coffee and they just need a little more water? Would you care that your body is continually striving to keep you healthy though you often do very little to support all that work? In fact most of what we do impedes it or makes the job so much more difficult and in many cases those cells struggle so much that a cancer or another equally destructive disease begins to take over.
I see a strong parallel between the disinterested and disconnection for the life on this earth and the life in our body. It is as if our addictions to comfort....the leather couch to finish off our living room, the burger at the drive through, the ice cream cone at the beach, the safe shaving lotion that won't make us blind....our addictions to our own comfort....and I'm not even sure if that is the correct word...I would instead call it numbing...our addiction to our own numbing unleashes unbelievable and undeniable assaults on our earth and our bodies. We seem to be unconsciously yet consistently choosing death while still banging on in our slowly dying bodies within our polluted earth. Like we have a chip on our shoulder for being given this opportunity to experience life. “I'm not going to do anything to move with this flow of abundant health and life and vibrancy, in fact I am going to make choices that impede it at every turn.” This seems to be a prevalent attitude! “I'll talk about anything unless it makes me feel uncomfortable. Don't even think of asking me to turn off all my weekly sit coms and reality shows on the television, or take a week of from Facebook, or take off my leather jacket, or not get the sale on beautiful leather sofa's or question my roast beef dinner that was on special and just so cheap, and don't expect me to change my dish detergent or deodorant and please don't go on about needing to exercise!”. It just goes on and on. A refusal to explore anything that could actually move with all that is here and desiring to thrive on this planet.
Its as if we have polluted minds. Polluted minds, minds that have been polluted with the need to numb, minds that cannot allow the beauty of life to flow without having to mute it, numb it, hold it, squash it or control it. Polluted minds lead to the pollution of the inner and outer landscapes. But why are we all so polluted and how on earth did we get to be this way?
It is so stunning to me that we treat our bodies and our earth with the same overriding disrespect, disinterest and disconnection. Our treatment of that which lies around us and that which lies within us is so strange when you think of its infinite beauty and innocence. We have so much. We have so much!
TURNING IT UPSIDE DOWN
I start from the premise that when we are experiencing what we don't want, we know clearer than ever exactly what we do want. Located in the depths of the worst that can happen or be imagined is precisely where we discover the beginning of the road to the very best.
We are at a time of immense contrast. As humans living on this planet we are at the peak....peak population, peak oil consumption, peak cancer rates, peak everything. We are peaked right out! We have spun out in one direction almost as far as we can go. And when we reach the farthest distance in this one particular direction I believe it will provide the momentum and motivation for the biggest movement in the opposite direction. A peak crisis. Much like a health crisis. When we reach as far as we are willing to go with what we don't want or cannot stand or will not live with, we have reached a peak crisis. Huge transformation is then possible. Prior to a peak crisis there is not enough momentum or motivation to change much of anything. But when you experience something that feels immense and earth shattering, which can be vastly different for all of us, but when you experience that something, that something that startles you to your core, you wake up and are propelled into action. Never again can you numb out.
For me the wake up came with a whopping great diagnosis at age 38. That terrified me in such a way that from then on everything that I believed about my life got torn down and stripped. From that place I was able to look around and really see what was going on for me. I knew I could never move back into the comfortable naivety I had previously experienced. That was as extreme an experience of sickness that I ever wanted to know and so it propelled me on my way to the greatest health I have ever known! The momentum and the motivation to change everything about my health came from the exact opposite of what I had wanted.
I hope that this is going to happen for us human earthlings. I hope we are reaching the place, where enough of us have absolutely and undeniably had enough of the stuff we continue to do that is making our bodies and our world sick! I think it has to start with a crisis of some kind. I would never have changed my diet so radically, nor embraced exercise nor explored to such depths our capacity for healing had I not had cancer. Simple as that. So we need that cancer to catapult us all into meaningful and lasting change. Watching Earthlings was another one of those catapulting experiences for me. I need many more, as I continue to do some dumb habitual things that I know is a step towards death not life. My goal is to make more and more of my steps towards life! So if you are experiencing a catapulting time in your life, or you have hit the wall in one unwanted direction then get excited! You've landed on the road to thriving! To get on the thriving road start with the Six Steps for Thriving to get started!
Here's the full movie of Earthlings....be warned...for me it was a deeply painful movie to watch. Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below. Or join in our discussion on the forum.