From the depths of our hearts we can hear the cry of countless animals being slaughtered, we can feel the hands of starving children reaching out. In our own dwellings we can taste the toxins in the water, and in our own cities we can smell the pollution in the air. The animals, the children and the earth are calling us. now is the time to put compassion into action and become part of the solution.
At times we may feel lost in a world which is full of such atrocities. We may ask ourselves, "The problems seem so large, what can I do about it?".
When I heard of the injustices in the world in my early teen years, I, as many do, felt confused and overwhelmed but never hopeless. I wanted to make positive changes in society, but how does a teenager go out in to the world and make a difference? I was soon to realize the power I have in me, as we all do.
"Each man is haunted until his humanity awakens."
I became a vegetarian when I was 7 years old. The idea of eating animals was abhorrent to me. I could not believe that people actually ate living creatures. Many people came down on me for my decision, but I persisted and stood up quietly. Nonetheless, this was a wonderful lesson for me and certainly the commitment and will power that I developed during those years has carried me through
When I was 16 years old, I met someone who was to have a lasting affect on my being. He was my high-school teacher. He believed in me and my vision, which was all I needed to believe in myself and in my inner strength. Together we started an animal rights and environmental organization in our school which served to inspire countless individuals.
"Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life."
One experience that had a profound affect on me, happened shortly after I had begun my activism. I was asked to do a presentation on animal rights in front of the whole school! How could I get up and talk to 2000 people! They would surely laugh at me and what I had to say. Despite my fears, I thought that if I could just touch one person in the audience then all my effort would be a success. Before I got on stage I prayed, "May I be the voice of the voiceless, and may the animals spirit speak through me." Immediately I felt a presence with me and I mustered up all the courage I had and walked up on stage. I could not believe that after the presentation I received a standing ovation. People were actually cheering! After that experience crowds of people approached me and told me how they had been inspired and had started to change their lifestyles. I was deeply touched and understood that one person could make a difference!
"Never doubt that a small group of dedicated individuals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Thereafter, I have been involved in many organizations for animal rights, environmental, and social reform. I am currently executive director of Compassionate Living, a non-profit organization through which we serve to inspire and motivate people to live a compassionate lifestyle. Our main focus is education. We go into schools, churches and various organizations to teach individuals how to live with ahimsa. We cover everything from what you eat, wear and buy, to how you think, act and communicate in this world.
"Animals are my friends. I don't eat my friends."
George Bernard Shaw
One of my most favorite pastimes is eating. Consequently, I enjoy teaching people how to cook healthy, organic, vegetarian food. I inform people that one of the most dramatic and positive changes you can make for your health, for all creatures, and for the world is to adopt a plant-based diet. I love doing this because many people want to change their diets, but do not know where to start. When they can see how wonderfully tasty and fun a plant-based diet can be, they inevitably want to eat this way.
Due to the fact that there are so many harmful and toxic detergents and soaps, I also market cruelty-free environmental products. It is so important that as consumers, we use our tremendous buying power to support ethical and environmentally sane companies. Together, we can have a huge global impact.
"We must become the change we wish to see in this world."
Our thoughts and our actions must be in accordance with how we would like the world to be. In this way we can live in harmony with the planet, the animals and ourselves.