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Veganism is an act of courage and rebellion

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The Rebel © Osho Zen Tarot

“The rebel: His very being is rebellious – not because he is fighting against anybody or anything, but because he has discovered his own true nature and is determined to live in accordance with it. (…) The rebel challenges us to be courageous enough to take responsibility for who we are and to live our truth.” (Osho Zen Tarot Cards, Rebel)

Will Tuttle describes veganism as one of the most rebellious acts we can take, because we break with our conditioning what it means to be human, to live in community. Veganism challenges the idea that we are omnivores, that we are born and meant to kill other living beings in order to be healthy and strong. Veganism challenges the idea that barbecuing, roasting, and stuffing slaughtered animals is an essential part of our culture of celebration. Veganism challenges our belief that doing what others are doing and going with the flow, ‘being easy’, is a condition for belonging, acceptance, and harmony.

I’m noticing I’m getting judgmental of anyone who rather buys cheap hamburgers than take the time to learn about the lives and deaths of their food. I ‘m getting judgmental of anyone who doesn’t have the guts to watch a documentary, go to the slaughterhouse, or kill their food themselves. I have the guts to cut off a tomato, dig up a potato, pluck an apple. You want to eat pork? Raise and kill the pigs yourselves.

Ten years ago I was judgmental of vegans. I remember when my friends and I went out for dinner. There were 12 of us, so it was a hassle to write down everyone’s order. When it was Paul’s turn, the whole process slowed down. “Do you have soup?” “Yes, we do.” “Is it made of animal products?” “Well, we can take out the meatballs, and you’ll never notice they were in it.” No, that didn’t work for Paul. “Well, we have cheese, that doesn’t require the killing of animals.” No, that doesn’t work either. It was made of the inner lining of calf stomach. Gosh, Paul, can’t you just order what we eat? No, Paul decided to stick with a salad. What a kill joy.

In retrospect, I admire Paul. He stood up for his principles and his truth, even though he must have heard my non-verbal criticism loud and clear. He wasn’t making a fuzz at all, he wasn’t proclaiming he was right, and we were wrong. He honored whom he was, and the natural choices that followed his being. A rebellion doesn’t fight anyone or anything. A rebellion decides that society has conditioned her long enough. Now it’s time to decide for herself whom to be and what to do. A rebel follows her own heart. That’s courage.


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