I don’t even know when it came to me. Did I read it some where? Did I dream it? Or did it just reveal itself as an obvious truth?
The worst punishment of all is to spend eternity with everything one has killed.
The old lake of fire is a popular notion. Searing pain without end sounds dreadful, and what’s more painful than fire, right? But anyone who’s been seriously injured knows that even the worst pain can be endured, after a time. One gets used to it.
What we don’t get used to is the pricking of conscience–when we have to face what we’ve done, how we’ve lived. When the proof of it is right there in front of us and we know this is what our lives meant. This is the impact of our existence.
When I thought about this, I imagined if I had ever killed someone through military service, through defense of another, or murder, what would it be like to look them in the eye forever? What would they say?
And then I realized it was far more. My hell will be filled with everything that has ever died because I lived. It starts with everything I’ve eaten.
Vegetarians get off easy. They might think they died and went to some celestial produce section. I can’t be vegetarians, though. Tried it, and it wasn’t right for me. Those of us with O Type blood do better with animal proteins.
So what will all those animals look like? Are they healthy? Good color? Do they look how I imagine they should? Have they seen the sun, wallowed and grazed in fresh air? Did they experience what it means to be alive before they were poultry, pork, and beef?
Or are they deformed from life in a cage? Are they scarred from electric prods with ears and tails gnawed off? Are they dying of acidosis at the ripe old age of one, barely able to climb the ramp to the killing floor?
I’ve seen a variety of films that have shown me what those animals endured to become food. Hurts to think about it.
That isn’t even close to where the list ends, though. Every mosquito, roach, and spider. Every accidental roadkill. Every petroleum drenched bird, otter, and seal for the oil that fed that car.
What about the things I buy? Was it tested on animals? Has anyone died in poor working conditions because I wanted a cheaper pair of shoes or a new cell phone?
And I realize that, yeah, they probably have. There is no way to negotiate or rationalize around it. I have to think about the way I live and the impact of my life on others: human, animal, or other.
I’m not even religious. All that sunday school nonsense and hypocritical judgment is just lingering noise in my ears. But I know as sure the sun rises that this world is a single, connected ecosystem. There is an awareness that transcends what we can perceive. It loves us and wants us here. That’s why there are so many delicious things to eat, why warm sun and cool breeze feel so good, why everything we need to live long, contented lives is all right here in front of us…
Karma requires no one to believe in it. Karma manifests because cause and effect will always exist. Our Karma is the world we live in. The one we make every single day. If I imagine myself divorced from that world or that I’m helpless to act, I’m not absolved of my involvement. I’m still a part of this world, whether I act in it or not.
That’s how I know, from balls to bones, that at the end of my life I’ll have to confront the impact of my life. Everything I’ve ever killed will be waiting for me in judgment. When I think about it, it’s daunting. I hate to think that my appetites have had such real and far reaching consequences. But they have.
Maybe you’re thinking about your life, and how you’ve impacted the world. I hope so. It’s something we all should do, to really think about what we’re doing and never, ever allow ourselves to believe we’re not causing the problems we see around us.
The daily bombardment of our senses to make us consume, so that the economy will grow, so that there will be more jobs in the service sector just rings hollow. If we have to buy a bunch of useless crap, eat more than we need, upgrade long before the old is obsolete/broken, burn more fuel than we have to, all so that there will be more minimum wage jobs at Wal-Mart, then we’re doing it all wrong. We’re feeding pointless greed, an insatiable hunger. Craving and impulse without end. Always more.
The Wendigo thrives in our modern times. It’s alive and well in the form of corporations like Monsanto, Bechtel, Pfizer, and BP. They’d have us gnawing each others’ bones to maximize shareholder value. That isn’t good business, it’s psychopathy.
These cycles of pointless consumption cannot go on. Stupidly squandering Nature’s gifts is a tragic sin. Somewhere, we all know that it’s going to catch up with us. Wendigo Capitalism has to end, one way or the other.
Please consider the things you want and then ask yourself what has to happen for you to get them. Once you understand the effect your choices have and how far they reach, you can’t help but see what really matters in life. We could do with so much less, and we’d be happier for it.