What has spirituality to do with animals and God?

Most people mean well, unless they once were hurt ánd are not aware of how their pain effects their behavior. People who are or long to be conscious to a high degree of the correct dealing with their experiences in life, strive for happiness for themselves as well as others and banishment of both theirs and other people's suffering. This a truly spiritual attitude to life.
In such elaboration of spirituality quality, freedom and love (compassion) are centralized. In their life (lives) people make choices to be able to experience this at the highest possible level of consciousness they can achieve.
Being on this path it doesn't matter so much whether or not you believe in God, nor is it important which God you are attached to.
Buddha for example, taught eight steps towards enlightenment. This represents the highest level of consciousness, a situation that is entirely without contrasts, is full of love and where all creatures benefit from. The path to enlightenment is called the "eightfold path". The eight paths or virtues it consists of, are "right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation".
"Right action" and "right livelihood" have -for animals- to do with the consequences of our behavior.

Some people are capable of actually feeling the pain that is brought upon animals in factory farming or other situations where animals suffer from the behavior of man, others do not feel a thing. Yet this says nothing about the quality of their consciousness. All people can know and feel, by their knowledge and experience, what an animal goes through during a life within factory farming. They ought to be aware at all times which consequences for animals come with their lifestyle and ought to take their responsibility.
Someone who wants to either make or save money by keeping or trading products from animals that were not given the opportunity to live a natural life, is not on the afore mentioned "right" paths (of life) that Buddhism recommends us. Also and in a more general way such a person does not show a truly spiritual way of life.

 

God being presented as a bogey, is an illusion.

In this short article, which is inspired by the five books of Neale Donald Walsch (first one: Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue), the relation between man and animal is made via the soul. To us it is not religion that matters, what matters to us is that people follow their conscience in respect of animals.

Walsch presents an image of God whereby he has thrown overboard all kinds of implausible aspects of religion (devil, punishment, judgment, hell etc.) as being ten illusions. In book five, Walsch writes about the illusion that:

  1. God keeps an agenda (Destitution does exist); (so: Destitution is an illusion, etc.)
  2. The result of this life is doubtful (Failure does exist);
  3. You are separated from God (Dissension does exist);
  4. There is not enough (Insufficiency does exist);
  5. There is something that you have to do (Requirements do exist);
  6. You will be punished if you do not do what you have to (Judgment does exist);
  7. That punishment is eternal damnation (Condemnation does exist);
  8. Love therefore is conditional (Terms do exist);
  9. Knowledge of and meeting the conditions make you superior (Superiority does exist);
  10. You are not aware these are illusions (Ignorance does exist).

These illusions, not refuted but propagated by the various world religions, divide man from God. It is not attractive to be introduced to a God described in this way.
What it is all about is to detach oneself (to, as it were, become dis-illusion-ed) from the material world and to awake in the spiritual world.

It is up to man himself and herself to decide if by making their choices they sufficiently take the animals into consideration. Man should also ask himself whether eating meat suits the connection he has with animals.

     
Whether or not people do believe in God, it is important that they realize that the fundamental message of religion and our laws are put into words in the adage of the French Revolution: liberty, equality and brotherhood (compassion). The World Council of Churches issued a report ("The Liberation of Life") on the companionship with animals that says "life in all its manifestations cries out for liberation, for freedom". More and more people feel that animals belong within the human moral circle.
In order to emphasize this opinion we summarize here below what Walsch writes about the soul of man and animals.
The text below is in a terse style. Those of you who want a more comprehensive explanation of the terms, are referred to elsewhere on the internet or to the books of Walsch.
Concerning issues that matter to animals, according to Walsch it is important that people are friendly to animals and subsequently act in animal-friendly ways. The soul, like a kind of collective awareness (God's in-formation), records these experiences of men and women.
     
The soul

The soul characterizes the essence of life, is immortal and includes your mortal body and consciousness. God's soul embraces the universe. All human and animal souls are connected to each other through God, unlimited and part of God. God is freedom and love (does not judge) and without limitations in space and time.
The inter-human and physical freedom of a person is limited, whereas his of her metaphysical soul is without limits. Freedom is not the target of the soul, but it's essential nature. Freedom is and is not so much granted. The issue is how man handles his freedom and that of others. God has no judgment on good or bad to that effect for he has given free will to humanity. In connection with that comes responsibility for oneself and for others. God does not (also with terrible events taking place) interfere, unless man asks him to, but God cannot be claimed exclusively. Because God has given two simple missions: "do unto others as you would wish others to do to you" and "he who does good, meets good", to man it only matters to never stop remembering this as well as his Divine descent. A well-functioning conscience means you remind yourself of what in fact you already know about what you should and should not do.
Eating meat and animal products stemming from animals who did not live a natural life in freedom, is not in agreement with these missions. People who nevertheless do so, should take into account negative consequences for their own freedom, f.e. by way of damage to their own health.

God created souls to be and experience Itself. A soul needs life in order to evolve. Souls look for (physical and spiritual) experiences. Through the evolution from animal to human and from human to human, souls look for ever increasing (awareness)experiences, in which process going through the perfect oneness with God ('Nirvana') is the highest experience. In that feeling of unity in diversity, man experiences his alliance with all living creatures.

Souls do not only comprise one body but more bodies simultaneously, in the past, present and the future. Intuition connects the human spirit with the higher spheres and resides in the soul. The intellect analyses and remembers, the body undergoes and feels, the soul observes and knows.