When I know someone’s trying to sell me something, whether it be cleaning supplies, a timeshare or a religious perspective, I shut down. I don’t want someone else telling me what to believe or how to spend my money. Yet, when I first went vegan, I tried to sell it to people. Once people hear how wonderful this lifestyle is for their health, for animals and for the environment, they’ll thank me for enlightening them.
Um, hello REALITY CHECK! I was just turning people off.
Still, I know that if people really discovered how wonderful veganism is that many of them would fall in love with it too. So what do I do?
The Buddha suggests openness.
I’m currently reading Walk Like a Buddha by Lodro Rinzler, and I was struck when I read his response to the question about how the Buddha would deal with the challenges of our times. He said, “Forcing fixed views on other people is just another form of aggression. Society does not need more aggression. …If you want to shift the psychological environment of a group, you have to do it from a place of openness rather than from your own sense of what is right and wrong.”
Maybe this way of changing the world doesn’t happen overnight, but I believe that it is the only viable way to change the world.
Anywho, that’s how I see it.
Photo courtesy of jonathanstormet.com.
I love the Buddha and I would love to have a more quiet approach in general but I am not wired that way. I also think we are running out of time. If we don’t have a quantum leap in consciousness we will destroy the planet and by this I mean man’s ability to co-exist on Earth. We will die and possibly some species but then nature will take over and eventually the planet will re-new itself without humans. The abolution of slavery did not happen because we allowed the south to raise their consciosness regarding the issue of slavery. No, indeed not–we wound up in a civil war to free the African. Did the nazi genocide of the jews end because we allowed the Germans to come to a better understanding of Jews? No, indeed not–we actually had a world war over that one. So, then why should we just allow time and passivity to take place in hopes that consciousness regarding non-human sentient beings will ultimately take place? Indeed I think not. A revolution is occuring with the ultimate goal of freedom for the animals that are enslaved on our planet. So, while I do think Buddha’s attitude of complacency has it’s merits in many areas of our lives I am not so sure this complaceny really fits well with the revolution to free the animals out of slavery. What I do think has much merit is Buddha’s idea of compassion which is lacking on a grand scale on our planet. Sometimes change occurs because the few who see things otherwise and have the gumption to go about getting laws changed inspite of those who chose cruelty over compassion. Any how that’s how I see it. 🙂
Hey Ivonne! You bring up some great points chica. The only thing I will say in response is that I don’t think the Buddha or I meant to respond with complacency. That’s not the heart of what I’m trying to communicate. I don’t think we should do nothing, hell no! I’m just saying that trying to force someone to see things the way I see them may backfire, whereas being open may actually accomplish more in the long run. I may be wrong, as my husband likes to inform me that I make mistakes from time to time. Perhaps we need both your approach and my approach to wake up the world. In any case, I certainly appreciate all you’re doing for the sake of animals. And I pray that both of our efforts have an impact. Celeste 🙂
Celeste, I do think that the world needs both approaches. I do not think my approach by itself would work nor do I think a more passive approach by itself works either. I think your more gentle approach has probably influenced many people to become vegan. But I do think that we are reaching a point of critical mass on our planet. The good news is that Bill Gates is behind veganism–hopefully his investments in vegan companies are going to bring about big changes just like his software changed the face of computers.
Yea Bill Gates! I seriously hope his efforts make a HUGE impact!!!
I always said that I couldn’t change the world, but I could change MY world and so I did. I have never tried to convert others, but if they ask I will spend as long as they want talking about it. It tends to be woman who are looking to loose weight and I try and explain that it’s not a diet, it’s a way of life…. 🙂
Hey Wendy! Changing YOUR world is changing the world!!! Like ripples in a lake, everyone has an impact. Thank you for doing your part chica. Celeste 🙂
Love that quote x
Thanks Elaine – I appreciate your support chica! 🙂
Yes! Yes! This is exactly how I feel. I’ve never read that book but have heard the title. I think I’ll pick it up!!
It’s a powerful book and I love how it’s written in a casual, accessible style. 🙂
The idea of respect is, I think, a very complicated issue in nonhuman animal advocacy. I believe that aggression accomplishes very little and in, many ways, harms our mission! If we are marginalized as being fanatics, we lose our ability to inform and to persuade. So, while I do not respect people’s decision to turn away in spite of the growing and irrefutable information about the ongoing cruelty perpetrated on nonhuman animals for our own pleasure, comfort and tradition, I try to be respectful of the people themselves.
I am mindful of the lack of respect afforded nonhuman animals and the urgency of their plight, Respect and action are, in my view, not mutually exclusive. I think that we need to continue to inform in respectful ways, even if we get blank stares and opposition.
I admit, that I have not been good at this. I have been worried about offending and providing misinformation that hurts the credibility of my advocacy,so I have held back. This is why I am educating myself so that I have the truth on my side in potentially contentious situations. I also want to be able to have an intelligent response when people show genuine interest.
It is not easy, but, It is necessary for the sake of the nonhuman animals with whom we share this planet. In the words (paraphrased)of Dr. Jameth Sheridan, “If I were the only vegan left on this earth, I would stand alone, come what may”. Therein lies our own salvation.
Thanks for broaching this tough concept, Celeste.
What a great comment Anne! It’s such a fine line. We’re all doing the best we can to make an impact, and I do believe we’re succeeding. You certainly are making a difference Anne. I can tell you this with certainty because you’ve changed my behavior regarding palm oil. Celeste 🙂
Hi Celeste, many thanks! You help me too!
Hi Celeste 😀 I just love the tattoos on the soles of your feet. Show me your hands now please ? Ralph xox ❤
That’s funny because I woke up the other day and found that I had tattoos on both my palms. I don’t remember getting them, but my hands now say in bold black letters, I LOVE RALPH. Oops, no, I read that wrong, they say I LOVE RALPHING. Guess I was really drunk the other night! 🙂
I asked that question my friend because funnily I also woke up the other day with I LOVE CELESTE tattooed on my hands and I read it wrong as well as it said I LOVE CELESTING. A very strange coincidence indeed 😉 lol ❤
Here’s what ralphing means to an American:
intr.v. ralphed, ralph·ing, ralphs Slang
Just sayin’ 🙂
Oh Celeste, you say such the sweetest things to me. That’s why I love you 😉 ❤
Celesting however, pronounced "Kale-Sting", is derived from a Tuareg dialect from central Sahara which means:
هي التي تنام في السرير الشيخ يجب أن تكمن في ذلك، ولكن إذا يقول الحقيقة يصبح حمامة واحة
Just saying 😉
Hi Celeste! I really like the idea of sharing through openness to change the world and you’ve given me food for thought, so I thank you for another inspiring post! 🙂 xo
Thank you so, so much Violet!! It really means a lot to me to know that I’ve made an impact on someone. 🙂
See, you made a difference already! 🙂
Okay here is an example of something I have been thinking about doing. I get traumatized every time I walk through the butcher section of a supermarket–why is it always next to the vegetables or diary–can’t avoid the meat if you tried. Besides all the other crap on the shelves pretending to be food as you walk through the aisles. So I was thinking about getting a t-shirt made up probably with some graphic of factory farming that I could wear while going grocery shopping. And rather than scurrying by the meat section I would linger a bit. My message would get out if any one happened to see the t–shirt but it’s not like I would be staging a protest in the store. Just a quiet protest via my clothing. It’s something I have been thinking about.
Hey Ivonne! Yes chica, this is your style. You’re an entertainer and this type of protest suits you. I say go for it! Who knows, you might make an impact on someone. I have to tell you that I can’t stand walking through the butcher section of the supermarket either. The smell just makes me ill. I just want people to recognize how sad this is, why don’t they get it? Celeste 🙂
I have found t-shirt activism to be very effective. And the beauty is that when someone asks you about the message on your shirt (and they will), you at least know that they’re interested in hearing about it. 🙂
Hi! I just stumbled on your blog and it’s great. It’s exactly what I would like to do as well hence my WordPress.com account. I’m taking a plant based cooking course online though and so the blog and figuring out WordPress is on the back burner for now. I have days where I am patient and my message is calm, but I also have days I’m sad, angry and frustrated and I regret some of my FB posts I’ve made. But I am evolving and so the person I am today is making mistakes to become the more enlightened person I’ll be tomorrow. Anyway, I commented here because I too find going to the store very depressing and sad…and I hate to say it but I do “judge” the carts! I love the T idea. I do the same with bumper stickers. I have three: Factory Farming IS Animal Abuse, I Shop Cruelty Free, and Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge. I love the bumper stickers because who doesn’t read bumper stickers? You must if the car is in front of you. I also try to get in front of the numerous chicken trucks that are all over the county where I live. I’m not sure the drivers can see my bumper sticker, but it makes me feel good to give the animals in those trucks a voice. I don’t have a vegan bumper sticker…because there will be people that will be angry just reading it. But I think everyone can agree that factory farming IS abuse. I’m “seed planting” every time I get in my car. You never know what discussions are occurring in the car behind me based on those stickers. I often wonder if kids read them and ask their parents what is meant by it? You just never know : )
I found this quote on my fb feed this morning. I think it is at the core of the issue.
“Openness, not awareness, is the real key to change. Besides the fact that “seeing” is rarely the real issue anyway, most of the time, when we’re trying to get someone to “see” something, we’re really asking them if they might be willing to at least consider adopting a different behavioral course ~ Dr. George K. Simon”
Hmmm – food for thought! 🙂
That’s wonderful and very thought provoking!
Thanks for stopping by Poppy!! 🙂
Always a pleasure!
It’s hard when you’re so passionate about something to keep yourself from trying to share it with everyone, isn’t it? I often find that people are quite curious about a vegan lifestyle, so if someone asks me about it, I try to choose my words quite carefully. Even if I want to spout off random statistics and information about animal care practices 🙂
It really is hard not to share with everyone. I still share, but like you I’m more selective about what I say now. Thanks so much for your comment – I appreciate it!! 🙂
I so agree w/ you. I think when a person tries to convince someone about something, the listener has a hard time buying it. But when a person comes from a place of openness and enthusiasm and wanting to share, it’s easier for the other person to be open, interested, and receptive too. But I too have been someone who has tried to push my passions and beliefs on others… 🙂 I was definitely coming from a good place but ya, people were definitely less likely to want to take in what I had to say.
I think all of us push our beliefs on others at times – it’s only human. Anywho, thanks so much for your thoughts chica!! Celeste 🙂
Celeste, since I have known you I think you have done a great job of ‘walking the talk.’ As for the talking part, I think you are a good teacher, especially knowing your heart is committed to the topic of vegan eating, in addition to your poise and communication skills. I cannot even remember when you turned by head, but it has been fun following along. – Mike
How to change the world indeed. Ah, if we knew the answer to this question, our job would be that much easier eh? 😉
Yes, I don’t think we can force views on others either. Who am I to do so?
I feel like it’s really difficult to “wait” for people to see the light, so to speak. I understand all too well that people can have all the information they need and still they don’t want to make the change. I find it impossible to learn something–a new way to live, a new perspective, whatever–and not have it affect me somehow. Even before I went vegan I was always trying new ways to eat, be healthy, and generally decrease my footprint on the planet. But when I found out about veganism, and how this accomplished all those tasks in three meals a day, I was hooked. I often worry about people who aren’t as compelled to make those changes as soon as they can. I still haven’t reconciled their “role” in the world and in my mind–even though I have no ill will towards them and will always treat them with kindness and patience. Great post–I like this very much.
I have always told my youngest daughter that she can bring people to her way of thinking by example and little tasty samples. She brings the fruit trays and veggie trays to our family gatherings, sometimes tries a bite or two of the foods others, like her sister in law or sister have prepared. My son is the one who makes the meats and sometimes, the soups that she won’t try. She hopes that he understands, trying not to go on about the ‘why’ but if anyone asks how she is feeling, she does reply, “So much better since I have changed my diet and food choices.” She will say she doesn’t feel so much pain in her joints, etc. if anyone asks for specifics. I feel that religion and spiritual choices are ones, that living the way you wish others to, is the best way to go. Celeste, you are a genuine inspiration and very gentle teacher and leader. I enjoy reading your posts!
Celeste, I couldn’t agree with you and the Buddha more. Forcing anything, even something beautiful, on anyone does not work. And like Stacilys says: Who am I to do so?
May I reblog this?