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We all know that chickens make loyal mates, wonderful parents, and good companions to good human animals. But before Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns snapped this revealing picture of Miss Earth Angel, few of us have known that some of them evidently dream of going to chicken beauty- school . . . or does she aspire to attend a liberal arts college, to take creative-writing classes and learn to write stories for little chicks, i.e. chicklit? Or is it a yeshiva she longs to attend?Brava, Earth Angel--may all -- --your dreams come true!--Photo contributed by Karen DavisEditor’s Corner Guest Essay: The Fear and Bliss of Oneness“We are all one.” What a familiar statement! To many of us it feels vaguely right when we hear it, yet most of the time we assume it is obvious that we are all separate beings. Much of the time I don’t know what’s going on in the mind of my spouse, much less in that of someone half the world away. When I read about yet another mass killing with a (legal, of course) semi-automatic gun, or a politically- or profit-inspired massacre of humans or animals, I am grieved and outraged, but not at the level I would be if one of the victims had been a member of my own family. And if the perpetrator revels in enormous wealth and power, or clearly shows an intention to destroy the unfettered, loving world I dream of and work toward, I find it hard to feel that the person is even a fellow human; I have to remind myself that he or she bears the divine Light, and that no one can throw himself out of God’s everywhere-present, redeeming love.If it is so difficult even for those of us who are working toward a just and compassionate world to feel that we are all one, we can’t be surprised that most people, after saying “How true,” go on living their lives as though we aren’t. The reason isn’t just the fact that our being incarnate in individual bodies blocks us almost completely from direct awareness of what other beings are thinking and feeling. If we are old enough to know anything about the evils and pains humans and other animals suffer in the world, we will tend to feel relief at not being the ones targeted. Furthermore, even the possibility that such suffering might happen to me in the future will tempt me to blame the victim, because if I can make out that (his or) her painful experience was due to her own fault or negligence, or contemptible character (in the case of animals) I’m off the hook; I’m safe. (Never mind that blaming the victim often increases her suffering.) (See “In Memory of Harambe,” PT 127 .)Oneness is real, however--oneness not only with -- --our fellow humans but with our other -- --fellow animals and the rest of the -- --planet, as many readers of PT feel -- --intuitively. The two aspects of -- --oneness, the fear and bliss -- --mentioned in the title, cannot be -- --separated, however much we may -- --desire the one and want to avoid the -- --other. In fact, just what the two -- --are can’t be defined either, though -- --they may be expressed symbolically -- --in accounts of Near-Death -- --Experiencers (NDErs) and -- --mystics.Mythologically speaking--using the language of myth, folk tale, and other kinds -- --of adventure story--the discussion of the fear should come first: one must face and overcome the fire-breathing dragon before one can gain the treasure that he greedily guards. However, in NDEs events may happen in any order. I will give examples of both in the order they appear in three cases.Jeanie DicusHere is the narrative of a 1974 encounter with a supremely loving Light during the NDE of an atheist named Jeanie Dicus, recounted in Beyond the Light by P.M.H. Atwater. It is one of the few NDE narratives that shows humor. During an electroshock treatment intended to bring her out of a coma--a treatment that -- --went badly wrong--Dicus found herself in a kind of duplicate body, floating above her physical body. She could feel the panic of the medical personnel; “Their fear was so thick I could feel it. I kept thinking, Hey, I’m okay, don’t worry, but they didn’t get my message . . . . I lifted my arm and stretched. I had been immobile for so long, I felt like I had taken off a body girdle, and it was so delicious to get out of that cramped body. I felt a wonderful feeling wash over me--a sense of peace and power. I felt love and a sense of wonder -- --as I realized that any question I could come up with would be -- --answered.There was Jesus. I was stunned and said, “I don’t -- --believe in you.” He smiled and said the etheric equivalent to -- --“tough . . . here I am.” Looking at his eyes, I asked “You -- --mean, you’ve been with me the whole time and I didn’t know?” -- --And his reply was “Lo, I am with thee, always, even beyond the -- --end of the world.” Now, I wasn’t into lo so I said “Hey, man, -- --this is the seventies and we don’t say lo. Come on.” He kind -- --of grinned. I guess I was amusing him, and [he] answered “You -- --want to be reincarnated?” “Hey, give me a break,” I yelled -- --(only I made no sound). I just died. Don’t I get a chance to -- --rest?” . . . . “I don’t even believe in you and now you want -- --me to reincarnate. Help!”Our conversation continued. He even -- --asked me to kiss his feet. No way. I gave him a bear hug and -- --kissed his cheek. I got the equivalent of a belly laugh. I -- --was so happy with him that words were no longer necessary -- --. . . . Suddenly I was aware God was coming. I came to know -- --that I had needed a human-looking Christ to relate to so I -- --wouldn’t be scared . . . . The White Light in front of me was -- --. . . so strong. I remember thinking my eyes should be -- --burning, but then I remembered that I didn’t have any eyes to -- --burn. God was love and God was light, and it was warm and it -- --permeated every molecule of me. This was so delicious, I was -- --crying with torrents of tears that didn’t exist. It was so -- --enormous. I was loved. I didn’t feel irrelevant. I felt -- --humble, awed, and amazed . . . . “The scene changed, and Dicus -- --was in a domed room with hundreds of screens on the walls and -- --ceiling. Showing on each one, simultaneously, was an event -- --from her life: “the good, the bad, the secret, the ugly, the -- --special . . . . When you looked at one screen, you focused in, -- --and you could hear what was there. Not only words, but your -- --thoughts, your feelings, everything; and when you looked at -- --the other people or animals, you could hear their thoughts, -- --their feelings, too. And you made the connection between -- --these and the events which ensued. You were filled with, not -- --guilt, but a strong sense of responsibility” (P.H.M. Atwater, -- --Beyond the Light, pp. 58-60).That Dicus had an encounter with -- --Jesus was very unusual for an experiencer whose religious -- --background was non-Christian (her family was Jewish). But it -- --is not surprising that this Jesus figure gave her no sense of -- --numinous awe, no impulse to fall down and worship, as happens -- --with most NDErs’ visions of him. She may have been right -- --that, his joking, “hail-fellow-well-met” approach was what she -- --needed to free her from fear and prepare her to encounter -- --God. In contrast, her experience of oneness with God was -- --undeniably blissful, and included the awe that meeting Jesus -- --did not. But her Empathic Life Review hardly rises (or falls) -- --to fear. For one thing, although each scene gave her access -- --to the thoughts and feelings of everyone else she had ever -- --related to, she had the option of opening herself to their -- --feelings or not. She says she felt responsible, but felt no -- --guilt. Either she was a perfect person (?), or she managed to -- --avoid experiencing the effects of harmful things she had done -- --to others. (Perhaps, after dying for good, she would not have -- --had a choice?)Tom SawyerTom Sawyer (pictured--and that’s his real name), who had an NDE in 1978 when his pickup that he was repairing fell on him and stopped his breathing, had one of the most thoroughgoing empathic life reviews of any I’ve studied. For example, he experienced, as a small infant, his mother dressing him in a cute little suit, and being delighted and proud of her adorable blond blue-eyed boy, while hoping her husband wouldn’t learn how expensive the little outfit had been. Another childhood episode: in re-living a nasty thing he did at age eight--chopping -- --down some wildflowers he knew his -- --favorite aunt had great plans for--he not only re-experienced his own malice and arrogance, her -- --confusion and pain; he was aware even of the temperature of -- --the air and the number of mosquitos in his yard--apparently 360-degree total awareness.Once at age nineteen when he was stopped at a traffic light, a pedestrian almost walked right into his cherished pickup truck (see PT 47 ). Through his opened window Tom insulted this man, who responded by slapping his face. Feeling justified because the other had “started it,” Tom stepped out and punched him so hard he hurt his own hand, not once or twice but thirty-two times. During his life review, Tom not only re-lived his own feelings of indignation at the imagined affront to his pickup, he also in effect became his own victim, while also remaining himself. He looked at Tom Sawyer's red face out of the man's eyes, and felt the pain and humiliation of every one of those blows. He felt himself, in the person of his victim, fall over backwards and hit the back of his head on the pavement. The man did not die, and, though Tom felt uneasy, he got away with it.Here and in other cases, however, the incident suggests that no one ever gets by with anything. If the empathic life review is what the symbol of the Great Judgment in several world religions really refers to, it seems to be very exact. “There wasn’t any heavenly St. Peter in charge,” says Phyllis Atwater, another NDEr who had this kind of 360-degree awareness in her own life review. “It was me judging me, and my judgment was most severe.” One NDEr says that God was present, but was compassionate about her suffering, not judgemental.More disturbingly, however, Tom now knew events in the man’s life before this incident: the house where he lived; knew he was drunk because he was in deep grief at the death of his wife. He knew the barstool where the man had sat drinking, and the path he had taken to that street corner. He experienced intimate personal details of his life. What are the implications of this apparently total awareness, including the before? It evidently says, very concretely, we’re all one. We’ve all done things to hurt others, and aren’t eager to relive them; but does it mean that we experience everything that happened to every friend and acquaintance from their birth? How much weight should we give Tom’s before? What might it imply about the animals we pay to have killed, and then eat? (Tom Sawyer was a profoundly changed person after his experience, but he apparently didn’t consider this issue; when I met him in the mid-1990s, he was still eating animals.) The possibilities can create great anxiety; most people to whom I’ve presented these ideas seem to glaze over and soon forget them. “Humankind cannot bear very much reality”, says T.S. Eliot. Forgetfulness is understandable, but not, perhaps, a great idea.But fear doesn’t have the last word. Tom also experienced unutterable bliss in a timeless oneness with God, which was also oneness with the entire universe. He went through the proverbial tunnel into the Light. “The appearance of this light . . . brought me a sense of great love and a feeling of camaraderie. That was something extraordinary, greater than anything I’d experienced . . . . It was utter beauty . . . . [Standing] before the light, it seemed that it covered the entire vista before me. . . . I had never experienced anything that divine. It was white . . . . It was paradoxically absolutely everything. It included Tom Sawyer. It included the tunnel that was behind me. It included the entire universe that I was ever aware of . . . . It was . . . God . . . .” Tom has often cried while telling his story.Given Tom’s former arrogance and periodic violence, how could an (appropriately) painful oneness with others also be unutterably blissful? A partial answer is suggested by the NDE of Starr Daily.Starr DailyThe man who came to be known by the pseudonym Starr Daily was a thug. Born around the turn of the twentieth century, as a small child he might have seemed headed for a life of devotion, for despite having no religious training, he had dreams in which he stood in a garden where he met Jesus, his face full of love. But the boy was terribly abused; by the time he was twelve the beautiful dreams were long gone, and his mind, full of fear and hatred, was fixated on gaining power over others and arousing their fear, no doubt in order to be safe. As children will, he assumed everybody felt as he did, and would behave likewise if they could, an idea he continued to hold as an adult. He would have agreed with a contemporary political figure that “[R]eal power is fear.” He also intended to become rich at others’ expense; by age fourteen he was well launched on a life of crime. Riding roughshod over many, he became a crack safecracker.In time he was arrested, tried, and sent to prison. According to one account, he fought with other prisoners a great deal, and tried to start a riot, including taking a guard hostage. The plot did not succeed; he was put into “the Hole,” a literal pit, cold and damp, wearing only thin garments. He was given a piece of bread and a cup of water every morning, and spent all day with his shackled hands upraised over a ceiling pipe, to be unlocked at night, when he would collapse onto the bare floor. As his feet swelled up and he came closer to starvation, the deputy warden would come every day and ask if he was ready to crawl and confess. He refused to crawl; hatred against his tormentor, against those who had testified against him, against everybody else, against God, defied what self-preservation would have dictated.Eventually he entered a state of delirium, scarcely feeling the hunger and cold any more, but utterly lost. Chaotic images drifted through his mind. Eventually they settled into a long scroll of pictures of all the people he has injured during his criminal days, then a scroll of hundreds of others, including many he didn’t even know, that he had injured indirectly. And they were not just images; he could himself feel all the pain he had caused them. The scroll unrolled over and over, a seemingly endless hell of his own creation. He also saw a scroll of all the people who had injured him. Finally they ceased, and he met again the Jesus in a garden he had seen in his childhood. This Jesus was quite different from the jolly figure seen by Jeanie Dicus. His lips moved, but Starr heard nothing; the figure only radiated his boundless, unutterable love. Cosmic love enveloped Starr and melted all hatred. Instead he felt God’s love flowing boundlessly through him, causing him oceanic tears of joy. As the scrolls unrolled once more, he gave this healing love to all the people in his life, turning hell into bliss.Starr was new man--or rather he -- --began to be a new man; he still had -- --bad habits that needed to be -- --transformed. He received help in -- --this process from his cellmate, a -- --wise old lifer named “Dad” -- --Trueblood, himself a changed man who -- --had declined to be paroled, as he no -- --longer had any friends or family on -- --the outside, and felt he could do -- --more good where he was. Starr was -- --evidently rather psychic and had -- --enormous powers of concentration, -- --which he used to focus love on the -- --warden, one or another of the -- --guards, and this or that prisoner in -- --particular need, especially in the -- --prison hospital. He was released -- --from prison in the early 1930s, and -- --began a career as writer and -- --lecturer, producing a number of -- --books still in print, including Love -- --Can Open Prison Doors, Release, -- --Recovery, and others; he has been a -- --blessing to many. (Noted NDEr -- --George Ritchie became a friend of -- --Starr Daily, and may have known his -- --real name and his dates; but I have -- --been unable to learn either.)Starr -- --Daily’s very different experiences -- --of union with all those in his life, -- --the hellish encounters and then the -- --healing ones, suggest one way in -- --which the same oneness can be both -- --terrible and blissful. But it -- --doesn’t really tell us how divine -- --Love works at the core of Oneness. -- --That must remain a mystery to us -- --until we experience it for ourselves.--EditorNewsNotesAnimals Post-BrexitBritish activist -- --David Whiting, whom we featured as a Pioneer in PT 84 -- --(as we did his mother in PT 83 and stepfather in PT 81 -- --) wrote to his Member of Parliament asking about the -- --status of animals after Britain’s expected withdrawal -- --from the European Union. He received the following -- --encouraging reply:“The Government will ensure that -- --animal sentience is not only recognised in domestic -- --law, but that we will have an effective and -- --proportionate means of taking animal sentience into -- --account in policy making. The Government is committed -- --to taking action to improve animal welfare at home and -- --abroad, including by increasing maximum sentences for -- --animal cruelty, banning third party sales of puppies, -- --and introducing one of world's toughest bans on ivory -- --sales. We have also made CCTV mandatory in -- --slaughterhouses and we are planning other reforms.”--D.W.Burger King to Offer Impossible BurgerThe huge -- --chain is introducing the meatless burger at 59 -- --restaurants in the St. Louis area; if it sells well -- --here, it will be available in the 7,200 outlets in the -- --US, more than doubling the number of places Impossible -- --Burger is now offered. See Impossible--Contributed by Patrick Horn and Robert EllwoodBaylor College of Medicine NewsThe Baylor school of medicine in Houston, Texas, has responded to a campaign by the Physicians Committee, and announced that it is discontinuing the use of live animals in its training of future physicians. See Baylor--Contributed by PCRMAvian Ménage à -- --TroisThis Illinois eagle family with -- --three parents belies Leo Tolstoy’s famous -- --line “All happy families are -- --alike. . . . “ Mother Starr and fathers -- --Valor I and Valor II are raising their -- --three eaglets together very amicably. -- --See Happy FamilyUnset Gems“And if I laugh -- --at any mortal thing‘Tis that I may not weep.”--George Gordon (Byron), 1788 - 1824“In everything God works -- --for good . . .”--Paul of Tarsus“I don’t mind cutting the head off a cauliflower, but I couldn’t cut the head off a lamb, and I will not ask anyone else to do it for me.”--Kathleen -- --Lonsdale, 1903 - 1971“Go, go, go, -- --said the bird;Humankind cannot bear -- --very much reality.”--T. S. EliotPioneer: George Cheyne, 1673-1743Scottish -- --physician George Cheyne is one of my favorite -- --Pioneers. His birthplace and family are not recorded -- --in his books or letters, but apparently he was the same -- --George Cheyne mentioned in records as the son of Marie -- --and James Cheyne of Auchencreive, Aberdeenshire, -- --Scotland, baptized in 1673. A studious youth, Cheyne -- --received a good education at the University of -- --Edinburgh. His parents had intended him for the -- --clergy, but he chose medicine. Encouraged by his -- --professor, Dr. Pitcairne, he wrote the first of a -- --number of treatises on health, based on careful -- --observation of patients, intermixed, not surprisingly, -- --with a number of scientifically unsubstantiated ideas -- --current at the time.After taking his MD around 1700, he -- --moved to London to begin practicing medicine. -- --Interestingly, in order to build up a practice at that -- --time, one had to frequent taverns. Being cheerful, a -- --lively and witty conversationalist, and fond of food -- --and drink, he took to this life all too well; as his -- --popularity and his practice expanded, so did his -- --girth. After some years he became obese, with major -- --health problems: shaking hands, severe headaches, -- --giddiness, symptoms of apoplexy (coronary heart -- --disease), and depression.He had to take to his bed, -- --whereupon he found that his good friends vanished from -- --his life. Forced to think about what friendship and -- --the purpose of life really were, he devoted his life to -- --God, and set himself a course of religious reading from -- --the Church Fathers onward. He also changed his rich -- --diet to one focused on vegetables, fruit, and milk, -- --with only a little meat. He lost a great deal of -- --weight, regained his health, and was able to resume his -- --medical practice and his writing, with particular -- --emphasis on the causes and cures of depression. He -- --pioneered a form of "talking cure" for the depressed, -- --and had an empowering effect on his women -- --patients.However, as time passed, his habits of -- --overindulgence crept back, and so did his weight, which -- --eventually topped thirty-two stone (448 pounds); he -- --could not get in and out of his carriage to make house -- --calls without help. (Perhaps he needed a pusher behind -- --him and a puller in front?) His bad health returned -- --with it. He went back to a moderate, now strictly -- --lacto-vegetarian, diet, and was again rewarded with -- --weight loss as well as a return of health and -- --energy. This time he maintained his discipline for the -- --rest of his life, and preached what he -- --practiced.Resuming his medical practice and his -- --writing, he stressed vegetarianism (which was not quite -- --so popular with his readers as his earlier works). -- --Overall, however, he was very influential, including as -- --patients and/or friends several prominent people of his -- --time, including the novelist Samuel Richardson, -- --essayist and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, and -- --religious reformer John Wesley, who became a vegetarian -- --thanks to Cheyne's influence (see PT 17 -- --Dec. 2005).Although health issues originally triggered -- --his interest in vegetarianism, compassion for animals -- --became a part of his motivation, perhaps as a result of -- --his spiritual awakening. In Essay on Regimen, he -- --writes:The question I design to treat of here is, -- --whether animal or vegetable food was, in the original -- --design of the Creator, intended for the food of -- --animals, and particularly of the human race. And I am -- --almost convinced it never was intended, but only -- --permitted as a curse or punishment . . . . He was a -- --bold man who made the first experiment. To see the -- --convulsions, agonies, and tortures of a poor -- --fellow-creature, whom they cannot restore nor -- --recompense, dying to gratify luxury, and tickle callous -- --and rank organs, must require a rocky heart. . . . . I -- --cannot find any great difference, on the [basis] of -- --natural reason and equity only, between feeding on -- --human flesh and feeding on brute animal flesh, except -- --custom and example.The Francis of Assisi and Martin de -- --Porres kind of mystical Pioneer can inspire us by -- --expanding almost to infinity our view of what is -- --possible, but for some they may seem too stratospheric -- --in their rapturous and selfless spirituality. George -- --Cheyne is a more down-to-earth model for 21st-century -- --people who want to make the world a better place, but -- --still struggle with the temptorld around them. Cheyne -- --wanted both to save the world and to savor it; he -- --taught himself before he taught others; he disciplined -- --himself, slipped back to square one, renewed his -- --discipline, and, in dependence on God, succeeded. He -- --might have applied to himself a paraphrase of Paul's -- --words in 2 Corinthians 4:16: "As the outer self -- --diminishes, the inner self is renewed day by day."--Gracia Fay EllwoodBased on The Heretic's Feast by Colin -- --Spencer and an online essay on George Cheyne by Bob Fyvie -- --Reproduced from the December 2007 PT.Recipe:New Zealand -- --Supper Dish1 cup raw brown rice½ C. shredded Daiya cheeze -- --(I use cheddar flavor)1 T. vegan butter (optional)1 clove -- --garlic, crushed or finely chopped1 C steamed riceWhen rice -- --is cooked, stir in other ingredients, and reheat a bit if -- --necessary. That’s it. This is not a quickie dish--the rice takes about 45 minutes--but it’s almost as convenient because -- --there’s so little work. Good with -- --carrots or yams and a green salad or -- --cruciferous veggie. Serves 4.--Gracia Fay Ellwood, from A Feast of Friendship, 1986Poems: -- --Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1850--1919Voice of the Voiceless. . . . I am the voice of the voiceless:Through me, the dumb shall speak;Till the deaf world's ear be made to hearThe cry of the wordless weak.From street, from cage and from kennel,From jungle and stall, the wailOf my tortured kin proclaims the sinOf the mighty against the frail.For love is the true religion,And love is the law sublime;And all that is wrought, where love is notWill die at the touch of time.Oh, shame on the mothers [and fathers]Who have not stopped to teachOf the sorrow that lies in dear, dumb eyes,The sorrow that has no speech.The same Power formed the sparrowThat fashioned man --the King--The God of the whole gave a living soulTo furred and to feathered thing.And I am my brother's keeper,And I will fight his fight;And speak the word for beast and birdTill the world shall set things right.--Contributed by Judith -- --McCoy Carman