Laura Tietjens

I will not answer that it's better for animals, better for the environment, better for world economy, and so better for the Third World, better for my health, better for our landscape, better for my spiritual development, better for my taste buds and better for my emotional stability. This is all indisputably true, but not the most profound reason why I am a vegetarian.
There are a number of characteristics that belong with me in this life, in this body, in this capacity. For instance, I'm a woman, my hair is dark blonde and I'm a vegetarian. As for the latter, I remember the choice (what I mean to say is that I don't rule out choosing the former two characteristics at some point). I was fourteen at the time, and the only one in my family. It was a consequence of my big heart for animals, and especially for their wellbeing and freedom.
This was beyond my reasoning, even though at night in bed I rehearsed my intellectual arguments out loud, just in case some critics would question me. I just had to win every discussion about this subject, as if there was something to lose. Apparently I didn't think that my feelings on the subject were enough to justify myself to the meat eating outside world. As if I had to justify myself anyway! Poor, diligent teenager.
Anyway, I know it wasn't a rational choice, because I remember the recurring nightmares I had for a long time in which I found bloody chicks in boiled eggs, and how I would avoid the kitchen when it was filled with the thick smoke of frying fish, and how I would gag at the thought of having to eat meat.
But dear God, what is my most profound reason for not sinking my teeth into another animal? You know what, why don't I ask him, why not!

   
  One-act play for three phenomena
Me Dear God, why am I a vegetarian?
God I have heard your question. Who's this?
Me It's me, Laura.
God Right, but which part?
Me (sighing). I wouldn't know, but ...
God Let's make this communication clear. Otherwise we can't trust each other. With which part of Laura am I dealing?
Me God, do you even exist? Maybe I'm just dreaming up this conversation.
God Aha, there's the Brain. Welcome Brain, from now on you may speak for yourself.
Brain Thank you. Do you even exist? It seems convenient to start with that.
God Very sensible. I shall answer with another question: Brain, do you even exist?
Brain Absolutely. I think, I do. That's evidence to me.
God If I were to apply your argumentation to myself, I exist as well.
Brain Still I'm not convinced.
God Laura, do you exist?
Me I move, I swirl, I feel, I experience. I don't know whether I exist. And that doesn't interest me. What does that mean actually, existing?
God Existence is a concept Brain likes to work with. Laura, you experience yourself. Do you experience me as well?
Me Definitely. Brain, do you experience God?
Brain I never experience. I observe. And I'm observing a number of things that cannot be reconciled. But to call that God...
God While this talk lasts, could we accept the insecurity of its, or mine or our existence? Otherwise we won't be able to start. And it may be a nice game.
Brain Game? I thought there was a question.
God Yes, game or question. I propose that we each stake something, something that seems most precious to us now.
Brain Then I'd like to stake my logic.
Me I stake my honesty.
God And I my love. Laura, what was your question?
Me Why I'm a vegetarian.
God Why do you want to know?
Me I don't want to know. It was Brain's idea to ask.
Brain Someone else asked Laura the question. She didn't want to use my arguments in her answer because she thinks they do not get down to the root of the question. But she cannot name this root. So she asked you the question.
God Laura, you've been calling yourself Me until now. But from where do you speak?
Me I don't know.
God Brain, from where is she speaking?
Brain I would say 'emotion'.
God Very adequate. Maybe we'll find a more adequate term later.
God Laura, what do you feel with the idea of eating meat?
Me Sorrow. And outrage. I'm not a cannibal!
God Do you see animals as members of your species?
Me But of course, they are my brothers and sisters, my teachers, my children. They are nourished with the same love and wisdom, carried by the same Mother, shielded by the same Father. It's not my place to determine the time of their deaths, much less execute it. And it's completely against my nature to rob an animal of its right to freedom and to tune its living space, daily schedule, food and lifestyle solely to their suitability for my stomach.
God Well, this is a perfectly clear answer. Brain, what would you call the essence from which she speaks?
Brain Passion.
God Laura, how come you couldn't find this answer before?
Me Shame.
God Shame for what?
Brain She was ashamed that people would think it strange or sentimental.
God What?
Brain The feeling that animals are your brothers, your equals.
God Now it's my turn to be sad. What's it coming to with man and creation when man isolates himself from creation and all other living beings, and doesn't look upon them as his equals, coming from the same source?
Brain You eat plants. They're living creatures too. What's the difference?
Me I don't know.
God What do you feel when you eat plants?
Me When I do this unconsciously, I would renounce You and myself. If I do it with respect and love for plants and the powers that make it possible for me to live on this earth, I feed myself with them, with plant life, creation and mother earth.
Brain I don't understand this. But I fear I won't have to expect a reasonable explanation about the difference in the right to existence of plants, animals or people respectively.
God They all have a right to exist. Each unique phenomenon or individual in its own way.
Me God, something is bothering me a lot. I used to be a starry-eyed idealist, a campaigner. I stopped that when I realized that in the long run my fighting injustice would not lead to the liberation of man and animals I wanted so desperately. I thought I could do more for the world in trying to gain my own inner liberation. Since then I've been focusing on that, but sometimes I feel that I'm abandoning the world, as if I've withdrawn from it, instead of striving for its wellbeing through my own development. I don't know what to do anymore. My wires are crossed.
God Which wires? What wires were they?
Me The direction I have to take to make sure that people and animals can live in freedom.
God Is that your task?
Me .....
Brain What pride, what delusions of grandeur.
God What is your purpose in life?
Me O Jesus. I used to want...
God But I'm asking you now. What's your purpose now?
Me For starters, letting go of concepts, goals, ideas, letting go of everything that binds me to this reality. I want to be free.
God Can you be more specific?
Me I want to be free.
God What does that mean?
Me ....
Brain Is all this still interesting in the light of vegetarianism and such?
Me What I would like to be free of, for instance, is the negative jabber in my brain. It goes on and on, judgment after judgment, unsolicited advice after unsolicited advice. It's driving me mad. Sometimes it seems I'm its slave, instead of it being my tool!
God Brains have the tendency to start bellowing when they feel that nobody's listening to them, when they're not appreciated for their merits.
Me But what in God's name are their merits?!
God A brain is there to observe, to bear witness, to clarify, to differentiate, to nominate. If you invite the brain to perform these tasks, it can be very very sharp and valuable.
Me But it's not here to lecture me?
God Definitely not. A brain that judges and gives unsolicited advice, that doesn't serve your inner wisdom but seems to want to control you, is an undervalued and therefore stampeding organ.
Me So where did it go wrong in the relationship between me and my brain?
God You give it responsibilities it isn't equipped to bear.
Me What do you mean?
God You want your brain to show you the way. It can't do that. If it tries because you ask it, it'll prattle.
Me But who should I ask for the way then? I've lost it.
God Me, for instance.
Me God, where is my way?
God You are your way.
Me Oh, this is much too vague for me. I can't see myself, how can I see my way!
God Precisely. For starters, see yourself.
Me You know what the point is, I keep getting lost. Even now, in this conversation. Weren't we supposed to talk about vegetarianism? Well, we're talking about purposes of life, where's this going?
God You were the one who tried to make the very interesting connection between vegetarianism and life purposes. Allow yourself to get lost in this investigation.
Me All right. It feels like I'm moving on thin ice, but OK. Where were we?
God You, precious upright creature, are the way. You are a channel that connects heaven and earth. That is your capacity as a human being in this life. Let life flow through this channel. Let it flow freely, I mean without judging, without cramping, without fighting, without suppressing. Let flow through what will: experiences, thoughts, feelings, desires, hope or despair. That's all. Really that's all. When you do something, suppressing or protesting against feelings and thoughts, judging the experiences life gives you, or judging yourself, the channel will cramp. It will narrow itself and folds and humps will appear in its walls. With the consequence that what wanted to flow through is obstructed. Instead of letting it flow, the channel holds on to life. This causes pain and frustration, sickness and loss of energy. And you will remain constipated, and suffer discomfort, until you relax as a channel, experience the flow of life and let it pass.
Brain So Laura is a channel. Why?
God To let spirit descend into matter.
Brain What's that good for?
God Matter is dead, absence of conscience I mean. Spirit is conscience. The spirit descends into the matter to increase consciousness. Put differently, to replace darkness with light. Consciousness is an equivalent of freedom and love. So when spirit descends into matter, this leads to all creatures living as matter.
Me So it's about me being aware of what I experience, feel, think or want? That's all?
God That's right.
Me And if my conscience is big enough I'm free, in love and peace?
God That's correct.
Brain And what good is that to animals, if Laura is going around being free?
God In the first place, animals will receive only love from Laura. Because someone who has experienced suffering and injustice totally and consciously, will no longer be able to hurt others, no matter who they are and what they may have done. And someone who has truly experienced love, will pray that others, no matter who, will also find such happiness.
Secondly, if you turn on a light, what happens? It's not just the lamp that lights up.
Brain But its surroundings as well.
God Right. Spreading light leads to the spreading of light. And expansion of consciousness leads to expansion of consciousness. Because when someone is touched by someone else's light, they will want to feel more of it and try to find it.
Brain Maybe that's true for people, but how about animals?
God With animals it's different. They don't have a personal will of their own. What moves them could be called an urge, not willpower. So they don't go searching for more light. They don't have to, because they are in constant and direct contact with the divine source. They are one with their creation and one with the creative forces, or to put it differently, in a way they are at one with themselves and with God. But when they come into contact with a conscious human, a person that is an open channel for the spirit, animals benefit from that immediately. Their own consciousness is enlarged, like a lamp lights up its surroundings.
Man is the only living being with a personal will. On top of that, he has cut himself off from his source. He has forgotten where he came from and where he belongs. That's why he can act self-willed from a motivation that goes directly against natural laws. If he were to remember his source, he would no longer desire to chase his own little will.
This free will has led to immense suffering, in humans as well as animals. But people's free will is one of the rules of the game in this creation. To a certain extent, people can do as they please.
Brain To a certain extent?
God Yes. If they threaten to cross certain boundaries, there will be intervention.
Brain

By whom?

God By forces greater than humans.
Me What is this awfully cruel free will for? And why don't these forces intervene earlier?
God Free will is for the good of the expansion of conscience. Man, creation, can gain experience through it.
Me I don't want this free will, it makes me sick. What people do to animals is in direct violation to God's love. This cannot be what you had in mind!
God Dear child, you are judging. Don't. The injustice makes you angry, you are judging the situation and thereby encapsulating it. You turn it into a story and decide the story is no good. What good will it do you, to treat it this way?
Me Then I can handle it.
God What do you mean by handle?
Me ....
God Just for the sake of research. Try this: imagine how people with their free will are inflicting suffering on animals. And don't judge it, just let it be. You are a channel and what you see flows through the channel. What's happening now?
Me I hate it. I hate people and their godforsaken free will.
God When you look a bit deeper inside yourself, what's beneath this hatred?
Me Pain
God And when you look at the animals in question?
Me Then I feel endless sorrow. It's more than I can bear. It crushes me.
God Dear child, you don't have to bear it, that's not your task. It's not people's task to bear sorrow. Let it flow through, surrender it to me. Now look closely at the animals involved. What's going on?
Me I feel them. I experience them. Their pain, their gentleness, their total vulnerability and also ... their love.
God What's happening now between you and those animals?
Me There's a connection, an understanding far beyond words. A shared love, a shared heart. As if we are the same being. It moves me deeply, my heart is expanding. O God, I'm so grateful...
God Now you are feeling the essence of these animals, is that right?
Me Yes, that's right.
God And you feel the force, the light that breathes through you both, and that envelops you?
Me Yes. It's as if we are in reality this light, this force.
God You are. After this experience, would you still want to judge the use of free will and the moment higher forces should intervene?
Me Even if I'd want to, I can't. This surpasses my capacity to understand and judge.
God You had a question just now, which we haven't come around to quite yet. Would you like to formulate it again?
Me I used to be active in the struggle against injustice toward man and animals. At a certain point in time I realized that I could only really help the world by trying to gain my own inner liberation. But now I sometimes feel like I've withdrawn and that I'm no longer active where I should be. And this under the guise of my personal development, which is supposed to be for the higher glory of people and animals.
God What I hear in your question is theory, cynicism, self-judgment and a very strict morality. Let's first talk about the insight you gained a number of years ago.
Me I'd rather not, if you don't mind.
God Why not? Is it no longer relevant?
Me Yes it is, in the sense that it still determines my thinking and my actions. But it's started to feel like a noose, like a sermon from the minister that I've had enough of.
God Brain, could you summarize please?
Brain She gained the insight that life in this visible world is finite and dualistic. That is to say, good always goes hand in hand wit evil, love with hate, happiness with suffering. There's a balance between the two extremes; if you ease suffering in one place, it will come back some other place. In short, improving the world is no use. That's not the way to ultimate freedom for the world and all that lives here. Not by fighting what is.
There was a second insight, namely that the source, our creation and our home, cannot be found on this planet and in this dualistic reality, but in an everlasting, all-encompassing reality, where there's unity, and where ultimate freedom and satisfaction are found. Some call this God. This reality is not a heaven that opens only after death, it's a reality, a capacity that can be manifested during this earthly life and that gives freedom and satisfaction to those who fully surrender themselves to it.
Everybody's deepest desire is the desire for love, to be unified with their divine source, to coming home. Total satisfaction of this desire can only be obtained in this great reality, and not in the finite, dualistic world.
People are driven by their desires. They are the motors of all their movements. When they are not aware of their primal desires, they translate them into a desire for power, riches, regard, recognition etc. And they will try to find comfort in each other, in earth and in animals. People who are unaware of their source and their primal desires, and who haven't experienced for themselves that ultimate happiness cannot be found on earth, but in their own divine source, have nothing to give. They only want to receive. The world is full of greedy, needy people, who try to find succor in each other. This unfailingly leads to disappointment and injustice, to animal and human suffering.
But when people look inside and let themselves be led by their deepest desires, they will come home, to themselves, to their own divine source, and they will find true satisfaction. They will no longer have to project their disappointments on other people and animals. And with their light they will also touch others, even without opening their mouths.
Fighting injustice in the world doesn't lead to everlasting and total liberation. What will lead to that, is the realization of all that is in the world, suffering as well as happiness. As soon as people are totally convinced of the unchangeable dualistic and finite character of this earthly life, and have felt the pain of the world in their bones, as soon as people know that as people they are powerless, but when they would give anything for the total liberation of themselves and all that lives, they will open themselves up to the light and be prepared to serve as channels.
Me Amen.
God Right.
Me God, is this story right? Is it the Truth?
God This story cannot be Truth with a capital T, if only for the fact that Brain put it into words.
Brain I object!
God To what? It's not your task to put Truth into words, Brain, because you can't. Brain is just a little piece of creation, it will never be able to encompass all of creation.
Me But who can put Truth into words?
God God made the Truth known, in everything that She is and everything that He does. And that says it all.
Me But God, can you tell me a bit more about this story?
God No, I can only ask you something about it. Can you use it?
Me ?
God That's the only thing that's relevant: Does it work for you? Will it help you reach your purpose? What were your purposes again?
Me Freedom.
God Good, and now what's your purpose?
Me Still freedom.
God And have you found out what that means yet?
Me I have no idea.
God Come on, Laura. What's your purpose now? Now.
Me ...
God Now, now!
Me I want your love.
God Ah....
Me Thank you. That's all I want. There's nothing more.
God If you could feel how grateful I am that you ask... I would cherish you forever in my love, but I can only do that if you ask for it.
Brain Can? Is there anything God cannot do?
God God respects the rules of the game of his creation. Among other things, free human will. When man chooses to cut himself off from God's love, so be it.
As for Brain's story about your insights: You desire my love. In what way do your previous insights help you experience my love?
Me I learned then that it is very important to me to be aware at any given time of what goes on inside me. If I completely experience what is, I experience your presence, my oneness with You.
God Thank you. Is this all from this long story that's now relevant to you?
Me Yes.
God

Shall we throw the rest away then?

Me Yes, please!
God All right. Out with it. Right, that's better. By the way, are you prepared to accept that your truth is changing constantly? Much more often than once every few years? Have we answered all of your questions now?
Me It bothered me that I sometimes get the feeling that I have withdrawn from the world, when instead I should be active. Because I'm occupied with my personal development.
God Question number one: What's that feeling called?
Me Guilt.
God Question number two: Who says you should be active?
Me ...
God You can't even remember, can you, so ingrained is this Calvinist thought! What is it exactly?
Me That I must do good in the world, so I'll go to heaven.
God What is that, good?
Me Eh... According to this morality it is ...
God And what is that, heaven?
Me O Jesus, I have no idea. Does heaven even exist?
God What is that, existence?
Me This is making me dizzy.
God You used another word: Personal development. What is that?
Me It's that I get to know myself better and that I...
God What is that: myself?
Me Myself, that's the whole of feelings and thoughts and experiences I have.
God Adequate. What are you experiencing now? What are you thinking now? What are you feeling now?
Me I feel sort of cheerful.
God And how about your guilt?
Me Gone.
God Do you realize that you just used a whole bunch of words that at that moment weren't supported by experience or feeling?
Me Yes.
God Every word that isn't supported by your experience, words that aren't experienced, are useless. They are dead, they are in your way. Be hygienic, clean them up. Don't burden yourself and your surroundings with dead morality.
So how about your question. Is anything left of it?
Me No.
God Sure?
Me Yes.
God Laura, 24 years ago you decided to become a vegetarian. Why are you a vegetarian NOW?
Me Because I love You. I see Your face in animals.