At the 5-day silent retreat in Engelberg, Switzerland ("Being with Byron Katie") a Dutch woman questions her beliefs about the meat industry. The situation is that she’s watching an undercover video made at a slaughterhouse in Belgium. As she watches, she thinks, “The meat industry is the largest, most accepted form of violence in the world today.”
BK: Is it true?
BK: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Woman: No. I really don’t know.
BK: How do you react when you believe that thought? What images of past/future happen when you believe this thought?
Woman: I think of the numbers I read that my country of Holland kills 1.7 million animals per day. And then I see the horrible images from the video.
BK: Yes. In your mind’s eye, you see them in the past, alive, and then you see them in the factory in the future. So, you see past/future, past/future, past/future images of the animals. As you witness those images, you are furious.
BK: Who would you be that night, showering, or having dinner, or now, without the thought?
Woman: I’d be fine.
BK: With the thought, you see images of past-future slaughter and feel furious. Without the thought, you’re not furious. What is the cause of your fury and anger: the meat industry or what you’re witnessing in your mind’s eye?
Woman: Definitely what I’m witnessing in my mind.
BK: Do you see the images of cattle in the slaughterhouse? Is that real or imagination? You can’t have it both ways. Not in here-now reality. This is first-generation reality, and it is perfect. Everything you need to be happy is right here now, whether you notice or not. Other than what you’re thinking and believing, this is a beautiful world, and that never changes. No matter what, it’s a friendly universe. You don’t have to like it or believe it. It just waits for you to wake up to it. “The meat industry is the largest, most accepted form of violence in the world today”--turn that around. Can you replace “the meat industry” with “my thinking”?
Woman: Oh definitely. “My thinking is the largest, most accepted form…”
BK: …of violence in your world today. Not our world, in your world today. It just wipes people out. It can wipe out your happy life. That’s why there are things in the world you can do little about. And it doesn’t stop you from trying to change it. But at least you know the cause of your suffering. You know that they’re not causing it. But there are two ways of changing things: one is out of violence and fear, and the other is just sane. So you just don’t expect people to hear you, or to get it at the level you do.
Woman: Right. And it’s definitely true that out of that anger…I get really violent basically. And it has been my experience that it’s not a productive state of mind from which to do anything about the meat industry.
BK: You take yourself to slaughter every time you get lost in the dream. There are a lot more productive things we can do rather than believe our thoughts. We can do something about an issue rather than just frightening ourselves. And this Worksheet, as it’s turned around, will show you how to deal with things like this.
They continue to question the thoughts on her Worksheet such as "I want the meat industry to stop being supported by millions of people," "I want the meat industry to be revealed to be just as shameful as the slave industry," "The meat industry should wake up to the fact that animals are sentient beings too," "I need the meat industry to listen to scientific research (that shows that eating animals is no longer necessary or moral, because there are so many other sources of protein)," "The meat industry is cruel, unethical, unrealistic, unsustainable, a waking nightmare, and a collective cultural shadow," and "I don’t ever want to see animals being tortured, separated, transported in unacceptable ways, or murdered for a few moments of our sensory pleasure."
Feedback from the audience:
1: I’m so afraid that if I really see it as an illusion, I’m abandoning the animals, that I’m just as guilty. And I see how horrible I’ve been over the past twenty years, because I feel like I have to shame people and judge them. I have to teach them. Otherwise I will be abandoning the animals.
BK: Enlightenment is user-friendly. We don’t become complacent in it. Our values don’t shift, it’s just that we're no longer at war with anyone or anything.
To assume that any human being is less wise or less aware than anyone else is something I would question. —Byron Katie
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