THE POPPY LADY

poppies-on-crossesThe idea for a memorial emblem of the red poppy came in a moment of revelation to an American teacher, Moina Belle Michael. It was the Saturday morning of the 11th November, 1918 —the day the Armistice was signed. A young soldier had placed a copy of the Ladies Home Journal on her desk where she was on duty for a Conference of the Overseas YMCA at Columbia University in New York City.  She found time to read it and discovered the marked page which carried John Macrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’:

“I read the poem…  The last verse transfixed me:    

‘To you from failing hands we throw
The Torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields’.

This was followed by a spiritual experience. It seemed as though she heard the silent voices of the dead, whispering and sighing in anxiety and anguish. In a moment of high resolve she pledged to KEEP FAITH WITH THEM and wear a red poppy as a sign of remembrance with all who had died.  She felt impelled to make a note of her pledge and, as she was hastily scribbling it down on the blank side of a used envelope, three men from the conference approached her with a gift of ten dollars to buy some flowers in appreciation of her work for the conference.  Looking up from her intense reverie of dedication and noting the coincidence, she had replied:

“How strange. I shall buy red poppies —twenty-five red poppies. I shall always wear red poppies of Flanders Field! Do you know why?”

Moina then showed them the poem by John Macrae and shared her inspiration. They were duly impressed and took the poem back with them to the Conference room. The conference were equally pleased and the men returned asking for red poppies to wear.

That Saturday afternoon Moina went poppy hunting in New York City and eventually found twenty five small silk red four-petaled poppies, fashioned after the wild poppies of Flanders. On her return to the university the men came crowding round for poppies to wear. She pinned one on her cloak collar and gave out the others.  This was the first group ever to ask for poppies to wear in memory of their soldier dead.

As a result of ‘The Poppy Lady’s’ tireless campaigning, her dedication to the cause and the inspiration her idea gave to others, the red field poppy has become an internationally recognized symbol of Remembrance and continues to draw heart-felt public support as a fund raiser to relieve distress among war veterans and their families.

Yet the revelation that came to Moina was that the ‘war dead’ were not dead. They communicated that they were in a state of “anxiety and anguish”.  Generating money from poppy sales gives much needed practical help to those who survived.  But can we help the ‘war dead’ who are trapped in the mental torment of violent deaths and the grief of unfulfilled lives? The poppy represents the sacrifice associated with two world wars and today many think of the lives lost in Vietnam, The Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria…

Moina’s heart had been stirred by a poem written from the heart of a poet. This opened an access point to the ‘war dead’ and she spiritually heard their grief and suffering.  We too can feel the heart open on reading the old war poems, or on hearing current war news (and not being entertained by sensationalism and human tragedy). On Remembrance Day (Memorial Day in May in America) the poppy can remind us of those who died in battle and is a point in time which can be used for heart communion with the ‘war dead’.

There is a recorded personal story of a soldier killed in 1918, ‘Private Dowding’, which describes his experience of ‘death’ in the battle-field. He had been sure death would mean extinction and he knew that many believed this. It was because extinction did not come to him that he was drawn to communicate his experience hoping that it would prove useful to some.

He did in fact ‘move on’ and describes inhabiting heaven worlds. The writer of this article mentions ‘Private Dowding’ because of a coincidence that happened one November morning. She had been reading this book when the author of ‘Centre’ happened to visit. She told him about Private Dowding’s story and how his book had opened the way to make sense of the soldier’s afterlife story. As Brian Taylor listened he had looked at his watch and quietly observed that it was exactly 11am – it was Remembrance Sunday (2012).

The ‘war dead’ have their suffering to wake up from; the living can recognise them when they come. We can share their Communion and unlock the meaning of that wonderful word.

Further Reading:

Flanders Field (11.11.12)

Centre: The Truth about Everything

Private Dowding

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DOES A PIG SUFFER?

Passing by a butcher’s shop in an indoor market I was stopped in my tracks by the sight105218753
in a low-level window. The full-length body of a dead pig cut perfectly in half from nostril to tail. The one nostril oozing congealed blood, the one eye shut, white eye lashes curled, the one front leg and foot stiff, the one back leg the same.

A father wearing jeans and a t-shirt with tattooed arms had stopped with his two children to look. He said, “It’s good to see this, it shows you what sausages and bacon come from. You won’t see this in the supermarket.”

One child asked, “How was it killed?”

“Electrocuted,” the father answered.

He then said passionately, “When you see where your food comes from you will know for yourself what to eat and what not to eat.”

“Well said!” I exclaimed.

He turned around to see who had spoken and said, “I only eat organic meat because then I know where it has come from.”

“Really?” My astonished reply was lost on the father who had moved on to keep up with his children.

Whether a pig is “organic” or not, the pig is a living being and does not want to be killed. Knowing where the pig came from is not the point. It’s knowing the pig will suffer. We can consciously choose to live an ethical life that leads to the welfare and happiness of all beings by simply “not doing to any other living being what we would not like done to ourselves.”

Organic or not, the death trip to the slaughter house is the same nightmare of fear, dread, betrayal, suffering and violent loss of life.

To see with compassion the men who are paid to kill the pigs (and other animals) in the slaughter house. Because of human greed, such brutalising and dehumanising work is done and carries dire consequences for those who do the killing (as well as for those who perpetuate the suffering and killing of pigs).

The scale of suffering is formidable!

PIGS are unfinished business in the conscience of humanity. SEE suffering with compassion and understanding. UPDATE!  STOP eating pigs (and any other animal).

 

Reference:
VIVA Vegan is a state of kind. Be kind to all kind. https://www.viva.orhg.uk/sentenced-death/part-one-inside-slaughterhouse

 

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ROT AT THE TOP

“The Royal Household is sensitive to criticism over Charles’ support for blood sports, which could potentially damage his green image, and the heir to the throne is rarely seen with a gun.

But he was today spotted on a shooting party he was hosting on the Queen’s 24,000-acre Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

It is believed to be the first time he has been pictured with a gun on a pheasant shoot since December 2008 and it came in the week that his elder son, the Duke of Cambridge, attended the Tusk Trust conservation awards and highlighted the plight of endangered species shot by poachers in Africa.

William, who is campaigning to save elephants, tigers, rhino and other species from extinction, faced criticism in February after flying off to Spain to go wild boar hunting only days before hosting an international conference on the illegal trade in parts from African and Asian animals.

Charles, 66, was out shooting today with a group of around eight friends.

He sent police to speak to the photographer – although they said the photographer was doing nothing wrong – and then got his officials to contact newspapers in an effort to stop details of the shooting party being published.”

 

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THE ROT STARTS AT THE TOP


“The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk?

But can they suffer?
VERO banner (Voices for Ethical Research at Oxford)

I am looking at the scorecard for Sandringham for December 1st. 1905.
The weather was “Still & foggy”.

“The question is not, is it on the vivisection table? Nor, is it in the slaughterhouse? Nor is it at a shooting party at Sandringham? But do they suffer?” –Gnome.

BEAT                                                          GAME KILLED
Wolferton Wood                                     Pheasants        2221
                                                                    Partridges            55
PARTY                                                       Hares                  140
His Majesty The King                            Rabbits                 68
H.R.H. Prince Nicholas of Greece       Woodcock            14
The Duke of Devonshire                        Miscellaneous      4
The Duke of Portland                                          Total   2507
Earl de Grey
Viscount Valletort
Lord Dalmeny
Lord Herbert Vane Tempest
a

DAILY MAIL  December 18th. 2016

William and Kate are reportedly skipping Christmas dinner at Sandringham for an afternoon and a Boxing Day shoot with the Middletons.

The cut-price shoot arranged by Kate’s mother Carole will mean missing out on Prince Philip’s traditional shoot on the Norfolk estate where the Queen spends Christmas.

They can shoot up to 500 birds at £39 plus VAT a piece for a minimum of £9,360

THE ROT IS ENDEMIC. IT IS STILL THERE AT THE TOP, FILTERING DOWN THROUGH THE GOVERNMENT, THE MEDIA, THE MONEY MACHINE AND THE EDUCATION SYSTEM TO THE CHILDREN.

 

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DO TREES FEEL PAIN?

Looking at the image of the Universal Octopus and seeing everything: humans, birds, butterflies, fish, trees, mushrooms… emerging from the Centre, the Source of consciousness – I wondered about trees, “Do trees feel pain when they are cut down?

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I recalled visiting the Findhorn Community in Scotland many years ago and being at a gathering in their Community Hall to meet an esteemed Tibetan Buddhist Lama. He and eight monks had been flown in by helicopter as invited guests for the afternoon.

This friendly looking Lama gave a talk on loving kindness and compassion. He then invited questions from the audience and someone asked “Do carrots feel pain when pulled from the ground?

He had answered simply “I don’t know” and then asked the questioner whether this was her own experience. She had replied enthusiastically quoting someone else who could hear carrots and cabbages scream! The Lama had smiled with good humour shining from dark oriental eyes and had encouraged the lady to investigate for herself and to let him know when she found the answer.

I have never heard distress sounds from vegetables or trees and was curious about whether there was any truth to such stories. I asked Brian Taylor, the author of ‘Centre The Truth about Everything‘ if indeed trees and plant life could feel pain when cut down or dug up.

“Though there is livingness there, it’s not the same as for example in a centipede, or a worm, or a cat, or a bird,” he had replied. “It’s more mechanical. You can cut off a branch and stick it in the ground and it will grow roots and make a new plant or tree. You can take a part of a leaf and culture it to grow. Similarly you can cut off someone’s hair which has a sort of livingness in it, or their nails and there is no pain. Plants and trees are the same.”

He went on to say “Plants and trees are the dwelling places of devas…”

This was awe inspiring to hear. It gave credence to the countless folk and fairy tales involving Nature Spirits that go back as far as can be remembered in the story telling traditions in all cultures on Earth.

In the book Centre the description of “Devas” is understood to cover all beings with bodies of mental construction – gods, angels, guardian angels and household gods (what the Romans called lares and penates). The gods and angels are described as inhabiting specific heaven worlds, though not confined there. The household gods remain in a particular dwelling place.

Other devas are described as spirit beings which move around quite freely in the parallel worlds of astral and material form. They inhabit trees, plants, streams, rivers, even flowers. Most of the English names familiar to us for this kind of deva derive from the Graeco-Roman culture: Naiads, nymphs of fountains, springs, wells and brooks. Dryads, the nymphs of trees. Anthoussai, nymphs of flowers.

Every spot on Earth is thought to be alive and imbued with a spiritual element that is accessible to a developed human consciousness. These are invisible beings. They can know what we think and feel. Our thoughts and feelings are part of their habitat.

In Centre an example is given of how in Buddhist Southeast Asia it is not bodhi-tree-with-deva-wrapunusual for tree devas to be seen. When seen a brightly coloured muslin-type cloth is wrapped round the trunk of the tree to indicate that it should not be cut down. Offerings are made to the tree deva such as lighted joss sticks, rice and fruit.

The effect of destroying the trees and bushes in which these devas live is that they simply lose their home, just as humans do if their houses burn down and they escape the fire. The devas are not destroyed. However, they can and do experience loss and sorrow. They can also experience anger. This may result in hostile actions aimed at those responsible but, as the author of Centre writes, they cannot normally impinge upon the physical human form directly. However, they can reach the mind and cause dreams and nightmares.

There is a story about a group of monks in the Buddha’s time who had taken up residence in a cave to meditate and were disturbed by ‘dreams and nightmares’. The Buddha instructed them to radiate loving kindness to the devas of the cave. This solved the problem.

So there may be some truth after all to the story of a sensitive who can hear a carrot scream but if it cannot be disturbed plant life they are hearing – might it be sounds from the “deva” world?

The Buddha’s advice to send out thoughts of loving kindness to all beings, seen and unseen, is as applicable now as it was over two thousand years ago. It is a reminder of the powerful effect of human thoughts and feelings. Flowers, plants and trees give us an opportunity to recollect this optimum response – here and now.

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FOR HUMANITY, MEMORY HAS COME TO REPLACE UNDERSTANDING

Memory cannot, of itself, lead to Understanding. It can only shape Points of View which are endlessly subject to change.

Understanding based on Memory is therefore also endlessly subject to change. It will also have to compete with other competing “understandings” (Points of View).

Real Understanding only comes into existence with DIRECT SEEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.  As soon as it enters Memory, it also is already subject to revision because it has become detached from Seeing.

Test this on yourself and others, vegans and carnivores alike, with sentences such as,

“What is on your plate?”

What you remember is filtered by your window frame. The man at the upstairs window will see something different. The man at the back bedroom window may doubt your sanity.

SPHERES OF DUALITY; THE PENDULUM

ProjectDiagram_777NOTES

The circle represents the confines of a system in which duality operates. In our case, this is the field of Humanity.

A & B represent any and all conflicting opposites. The list is endless.

AB passes through the centre of the circle at R. It indicates the maximum polarity possible for AB within the circle. This provides the maximum distance between the contestants A and B.  The arrows on AB and AC indicate the direction of flow. The arrows on CR, one below C pointing towards R and one above R pointing towards C also indicate the direction of flow.

On AR, to the right of A, there are two arrow points facing each other thus: > <.  On RB, to the right of R, there are similar arrows. These arrows represent the confrontation points which are continuously appearing anywhere and everywhere throughout the plane of conflict which is the line AB. These confrontations are interminable.

If A were ever to succeed in defeating and occupying B, B would immediately reappear in another guise at A and the confrontation would resume. History illustrates this very clearly.

C represents the upstream point at which humans are reconciled by abandoning A and B. It is both an exit and an entry point.

The dotted line through C and parallel to AB represents the plane of reality occupied by Humans who are, just that, Humans. They have abandoned the identifications which create the AB conflicts or have never descended into that lower world in the first place.

R represents the linear point, within the horizontal field of conflict, where, by abandoning A and B, reconciliation is also achievable. This is unlikely, however, because of the momentum accumulated by the Pendulum of Conflict in its ongoing advances and retreats.  This momentum reinforces the differentiations of A and B.

C  = R.

The diagram is static. In reality everything is dynamic; every atom, every cell, every solar system.

For the sake of simplicity, the diagram is two dimensional and shows one AB line. Actually, there are an unlimited number of AB lines spreading out in all directions from R to the circumference, just as there are an unlimited number of issues on which humans are divided and are in unrelenting conflict with each other.

Each and every one of these issues on which humans are in conflict with each other has the same Reconciliation Point; the complete surrender of identification with the points A and B.  This is replaced by direct seeing the way things actually are in the present moment.

Reconciliation is rediscovery in the living present of sameness – our real and eternal Identity. This replaces identification with “differentness” which occurs when understanding is based on memory of the past and the points of view it conditions. These points of view include corresponding projections into an imagined future.

Furthermore, the two dimensional diagram represents a three dimensional sphere, the sphere of human existence, within which an infinite number of AB lines radiate outwards from a single immaterial point.  On the material plane, this includes the planet on which our dramas are played out.

Because of the enormous powers of destruction which human beings have obtained, our continuing failure to solve our ongoing and worsening AB conflicts now endangers the Earth itself.

The apparent vacuum within the circle itself is actually full of events, incidents, hostilities, revenge, justifications, memories, points of view, understandings and misunderstandings. All are movements of the conditioned mind.

Full and expanding.

It is a rich compost in which A and B continually seek and find the food to support and nourish their differences rather than resolve their conflicts. It is like a thistle growing next to a lettuce. Each takes from the same soil what its roots need to keep thistles quite different from lettuces.

PRINT DIAGRAM & NOTES 

Article from Blog
THIS WEEK’S PROJECT

 

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WHO’S FOR CHICKEN LIB?

I had settled down in a little Italian bistro to recover from some dental treatment and was dipping ciabatta bread into hot carrot and coriander soup, chewing slowly and observing feeling returning to the gums as the numbing effect of the ‘injection’ wore off.  What a relief to experience pain-free eating! I opened The Independent newspaper lying on the table and read this article which ironically was very much about ‘pain-full’ eating: ‘Secretive Industry that Rules the Roost: Chicken Is Set to Become the Best–Selling Meat Globally.’

The article began with the question: “Who’s for chicken?” Followed by the answer that around the world from more of us, and more often, there is a resounding “ME”. To find out why and how chicken reached this position the reporter claimed to have discovered some extraordinary facts:

Article Fact. Using the latest poultry science and genetics, a broiler chicken’s life, from hatch to dispatch, reaches its target weight in 35 days.

broiler chickens in shed

An English Norfolk farmer, described as running one of the most efficient chicken farms in the world (just nine staff raise 6 million chickens a year) was quoted as being a firm believer that the best welfare standards and the best productivity are achieved by rearing chickens indoors in tightly controlled conditions. “I never cease to wonder at these birds’ abilities,” he said, ankle deep in some of the 54,000 broilers eating and growing in one of his many chicken sheds. “Given the right feed and care they’re so productive, it’s fantastic.”

The fact not revealed is that modern broiler chickens, slaughtered at only five weeks of age, are frequently diseased and crippled.

Hillside Animal Sanctuary boss Wendy Valentine says; “Broiler chickens lead a life of misery. Their excessive and unnatural growth has come about as a result of genetic engineering and makes them pile on weight three times as fast as they should. Their bones simply cannot handle this and as a result they suffer awful, painful leg deformities that leave many of them unable to walk at all.”

Technically, modern broiler chickens are clinically obese. Even when they’re just a few weeks old, all manner of diseases of obesity may have set in.

Article Fact. 95% of the 50 billion chickens eaten in the world every year are broilers. There are actually very few species of broilers. Whether in Sydney or Shanghai, Nairobi or Mumbai, the chicken served up is likely to be the exact same breed of broiler. No other farmed animal system relies on such a narrow genetic base. Moreover, there are only three dominant companies in broiler breeding.

Article Fact. More than half the chicken eaten globally is from an Aviagen bird. The poultry-breeding company Aviagen (it breeds turkeys and fish as well as chickens) is privately owned and notoriously secretive. It runs a highly technical business. The head of Global Genetics at Aviagen said, “Through multiplication centres throughout the globe we supply parent stock to more than a hundred countries.” A single elite Aviagen male bird will go on to be represented in 50 million chickens anywhere on the planet – bred to grow faster and more efficiently.

The fact not revealed is that in order to breed successfully, the parent birds, genetically identical to their offspring, must remain underweight. So they are kept hungry. Sometimes very hungry, eating their meagre rations, finely tuned by the breeding companies, in a matter of minutes, their suffering compounded by the fact that they, like their offspring, have been genetically selected for big appetites.

Article Fact. Concerns about the chicken’s welfare and health hardly make a dent in this meat’s popularity. Without the highest standards of husbandry the crowded, warm and humid conditions in which chickens are raised are perfect for bacterial diseases (salmonella, E coli and campylobacter), which may cause serious diseases in humans eating contaminated chicken if not properly cooked. Defence that builds up slowly would be useless for an animal that will be dead in five weeks. So vaccines to prime chicken immunity to resist attack are injected into each embryo in the egg three days before they hatch.

Article Fact. A chicken financier from Rabobank International was asked what global chicken is worth and the answer is about $450bn and rising.

Article Fact. The intensive broiler chicken industry is transforming the face of global eating. Now, hundreds of millions of chickens live and die in factory farms.

The fact not revealed is that in addition to health problems arising from their genetic make-up, the birds’ living conditions are unacceptable, being unsuited to the birds’ needs and insanitary. Broilers are not caged; they suffer from a completely different range of serious welfare problems to those encountered by battery hens. Diseases and injuries caused or exacerbated by living conditions in the windowless controlled environment sheds include hock burns, ulcerated feet, poor feathering, heat stress, and injuries caused by birds becoming trapped in automatic feed devices. Conditions in broiler sheds which may cause distress or actual pain include dim lighting, inadequate ventilation, filthy ‘capped’ litter, overcrowding and the impossibility of properly inspecting the stock.

A surviving rescued broiler chicken

A surviving rescued broiler chicken

The slaughter of broiler chickens is often, from the welfare point of view, unsatisfactory, (from a moral point of view, always unsatisfactory). Clare Druce, a Life Campaigner for Animals, describes the process, “First comes the terrifying catching process, then a gruelling journey, crammed together in drawer-like modules or crates, often suffering from injured or trapped limbs, and from heat, stress or cold. And the suffering is not over yet. At high speed, they must be grabbed from the crates and hung in shackles, a process known to cause great pain. Death is generally by electric shock, intended to render the bird unconscious before necks are cut and bleeding-out takes place.”

“Procedures in far too many poultry slaughterhouses do not ensure that the birds are adequately stunned, leaving an unknown number alive, and some still conscious, when they enter the scalding tank.” – Dr Henry Carter, past President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The newspaper article rounded off with the glib statement that no longer is there any doubt that broiler chickens will become the most popular meat in the world and (astonishingly) compounded this glibness with a list of the best selling chicken dishes available in various well known outlets.

By not revealing the truth of suffering as the extraordinary fact in a broiler chicken’s life and death, the insight that “What we do to another we do to ourselves” could not be illuminated.

We need to ask critical questions like “Might the increase of obesity, heart disease, cancer and depression in humans be a causal outcome of man’s ruthless and cruel infliction of obesity, heart disease, cancer and misery on the ‘globally popular’ broiler chicken (and other factory farmed and laboratory animals) ?”

Humans urgently need to awaken to our inter-connectedness and oneness with all life.  We need to stop buying ‘genetic freak’ dead animals from factory farms.  Stop turning a blind eye to the insane mass killing of billions of bird beings. Stop eating corpses. We need to have moral respect for animals of all species and not use them as resources.  Buying ‘organic’ or ‘free-range’ chickens is still not the answer – it needs a change of lifestyle. Become vegan. It is not difficult and you will not be part of the suffering cycle of the broiler chicken (and of any animal). It is morally the right thing to do.

Who’s for Chicken Lib? “Me!”

Note: This article was written three years ago but is as relevant now as then. It is being published again prompted by an astonishing guide recently published by a leading UK newspaper (Daily Mail) to encourage the nation to change to a Vegan (wholefood, plant based diet) diet: Daily Mail guide on how to live longer

Linden Brough  March 2016

 

‘Secretive Industry that Rules the Roost: Chicken Is Set to Be come the Best–Selling Meat Globally.’ By Susie Emmett, The Independent, Thursday, 7th February 2013

‘Chicken Today…’ by Clare Druce, Hillside Animal Sanctuary Newsletter, Winter 2012

 

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