This post is a response this question about how to get people to help animals. The video contains almost exactly the same content. Feel free to watch the video, read the post, or both. I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!
Convincing people of the desperate situation many animals is not the hard part. You can present them with compelling visual evidence and that should provide all the proof you need rather quickly. What is infinitely more difficult is getting people to care and to help animals. You can not make people care.
Awakening to the truth
A reawakening, a transformation of the mind has to happen before people help animals as a vocation. A willingness and desire to awaken come before that. Not everyone is willing because they know it also means they have to change. This change is encouraged in the scriptures.
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. ~Romans 12:1-2 Amplified Version
The Aramaic bible in plain English tells us not to imitate the world but to renovate our minds.
I love that the Aramaic uses the word renovate because I can really get a picture of that being a fan of fixer upper TV shows. Both words, renovate and renew suggests making what is old new again, more functional. It suggests effort and a process of renewal. This is not about getting a new mind but upgrading your mind with the truth. And the truth is that we- all of creation- are of God, of the divine, if you prefer. We are all interconnected, we are all one in the weaving of the web of life. And if you cut the threads anywhere, you harm the whole. The ancients understood this. They understood that all of creation is of the divine and has a divine soul. What is different is the form we take, not our value.
Many people have lost touch with this truth. That’s why we are in the mess we are in. Sure, some people get it. I’m talking about the majority, especially the majority of modern people. Even if they acknowledge our oneness intellectually, it is not a belief of the heart. We have been led to believe we are separate from all, better than all, that our wants and needs come above all, regardless of the price others have to pay. This is a lie. Just spend a few hours watching commercials and reality shows, They are mostly all about Me, me, me.
Advertisers and TV people are smart. They are educated and have done a lot of research. They understand that our brains are survival hardwired to look for “What’s in it for me?” What do I get out of it? Get this, buy that. Make yourself bigger and better and prettier. They are exploiting your survival instincts. They conveniently fail to tell you that in so doing you are causing the environment and other living beings to pay a terribly high price for what you don’t really need.
They also fail to tell you that ultimately, if we continue on this course of massive consumerism and me-ism that humanity will also pay a steep price. It has to be. We already are paying the price-with diseases, obesity, addiction, broken relationships, crime, wars, and lack of connection with the natural world. That loss of connection in many ways is the root cause of our problems. We are out of harmony with who we are at our core and how we are meant to live. And it’s not like this.
I have come to understand through research for my book Humans, Animals, and God and holistic healing that there is a great deal of “What’s in it for me” when we help animals, each other, and the environment. It’s just not always immediate gratification or obvious. Heck, it’s nearly impossible to get people to make necessary lifestyle changes to improve their own health let alone actively help others. They’d rather die. Just give me pills and leave me to my vices. Ask any doctor, they’ll tell you.
We have to heal ourselves to heal the world (and vice versa)
To get back to the question- What can be done to shift this mindset, to change our behavior and do better by each other and nonhuman beings- we, each of us, have to heal ourselves. The word heal means to make whole. It is translated in some scripture verses as “to be saved”. I love that.
When you are healed, made whole, you are saved. No truer words have been spoken. We save ourselves and our world by being made whole. By being healed in mind, body and spirit, by cultivating a relationship with the divine, with all that is. As we heal ourselves, we heal the world. These are not just nice words.
For example: You naturally spread peace to others when you have peace within yourself. When you refuse to use chemicals, you encourage manufacturers to make clean products. When you enliven your sense of empathy, which is also hard-wired in your neurons, you care about others and help them, regardless of their form. You do not purposely harm others.
Do no harm and help others.
First do no harm– that would be a great first step, don’t you agree? How we think and behave just by embracing that principle would be massive. I know in this modern world, doing no harm is all but impossible, but can you just do less harm? Commit to doing 10-20% less harm. That takes a little bit of knowledge and consciousness and almost no effort at all. Either does doing a little more good. When an opportunity presents itself, take the step, do it.
Healing and saving is not just a one-way street. As you heal the world, you heal yourself. How and when may be different, but you will heal. What you sow, you reap, as you give, you receive.
Jesus says in Luke 6:38:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”.
These words serve as a warning and a message of hope. What are you giving? Are you giving pain and harm or hope and healing? Sowing and reaping are spiritual principles, spiritual laws. It doesn’t matter what religion you are or if you are any religion at all. Similar words are found in most traditions around the world and they’ve been around for thousands of years. Truth is truth.
Science has proved that giving and caring for others from an aligned heart releases feel-good chemicals in your brain and make for longer life and a more fulfilling quality of life. When you do right by others, even at a high perceived cost to your wants, you are doing right by yourself and for future generations of all life, including human life.
How do you get lots of people to help animals?
You educate them and tell them the truth. As difficult as it may be, you do not judge them, but show compassion. You care about them. You teach, especially the children, primarily by example. You get them involved. Children know the truth. They are not as closed off from their hearts as adults. Children instinctively realize this connection. Nurture it. Cultivate it. Listen to them. Children will show us the way.
In the meantime, keep plugging away. We adults are not without hope. Our minds can be renovated. This is the starting place for lasting change and action. Most people love animals, they just don’t know how bad it’s gotten for them. Preach and teach it from the pulpit and the radio and the TV.
People are waking up to the reality of the situation thanks to people like you. They are starting to use their knowledge and the power of the purse to turn the situation around. They are taking action in little and big ways. They are demanding change. And change is happening, even though it seems frustratingly slow.
Sadly, there will always be evildoers. Eventually the number of people doing right by other beings will reach a tipping point. Hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later. We are approaching a desperate situation because of the exponential explosion of the human population and the demands we are putting on the earth and animals and resources.
Like you, there are people going steps beyond do no harm. You are devoted to the cause. It is your mission and purpose to make things better for others. I encourage you to keep on, to not grow weary. Yes, there are people who don’t care. You can’t change that. Even more frustrating are those who say they care yet turn away and do nothing.
Still, be patient, compassionate and persistent. It is people like you who reawakened me. I had no idea how bad things are for animals, there seems to be no end to the horrors we perpetuate against them. Now that I know better, I do better. I confess I can do much better still. I and many like me are a work in progress.
Thanks to you and people like you, I have been inspired and empowered to speak up for and help animals. I am learning that my mission of advocating holistic healing for individuals is also a call to go beyond oneself, that you cannot fully heal unless you also extend healing to others and to the world. As we heal the world we heal ourselves. One cannot happen without the other. They are intertwined. We all need this healing and renewing of our minds. Make no mistake about that and do not underestimate its importance.
There is much more to be said on this topic. For now, I will leave you with these words of encouragement.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
And we are. You are not alone.
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What do you say? How do you help animals (and people?) What was your main “takeaway” from this article/video?