Being vegan is hard, right? I mean, you are constantly angry, sad and thinking of slaughtered and abused animals so it can’t be any good to be vegan, huh?
Well, it is actually not that hard if you learn how to co-exist with pain and suffering.
You know how you manage to be aware of racism, sexism, child abuse and homophobia while still finding joy in your day-to-day life? That’s how vegans do it.
Just ask yourself, when was the last time you cried because of something that happened in the world? Maybe you read a story about a paedophile who raped a baby or you saw someone discriminate against someone who is of different skin color.
We are all aware of the evil that exists in our world yet for some reason people assume vegans are the only ones who are ever sad about the state of the world.
Yes, some vegans are visibly depressed to the point you are afraid they will commit suicide because they are so overwhelmed by their suffering, but you can find these people everywhere – I know of a few feminists who never show any joy.
Also… yes, when you go vegan you probably will feel upset and powerless, but unless you break out of that bubble, you will be a stereotype and sadly this means you will sooner or later go back to eating your fellow animals.
I don’t want this to happen to you, and that’s why I want to talk about mindfulness and meditation.
When I went vegan back in 2015, I was stabbed in my heart about a million times with every new video and photo of a murdered animal I saw. I was broken.
It made me miserable and I was beginning to think this will be my life forever. If I want to live a vegan lifestyle – and that was not negotiable – I will have to be sad and angry every day. I believed I had no other choice as I could not possibly feel happy when there are billions of creatures exploited every second.
I felt uncomfortable watching football, acting in acting-school, watching comedy movies and even thinking of what I want to do in life. If it was not centred around veganism, I didn’t want to deal with it.
I was unhappy and everyone could sense it.
One of the things that made me realize I cannot live a life where I am miserable all day every day was listening to the Food For Thought Podcast by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
Colleen is a joyful vegan. This is her brand, her message and her mission. To show up in the world as a compassionate and joyful person that offers kindness to everyone, not just those who think like her. Plus, she even wrote a book about how to stay vegan in a non-vegan world – learn about it here.
Listening to her words I felt compelled to change the way I approached living a vegan lifestyle and advocating for my fellow animals. Something needed to change; I needed to change.
So I did.
I started meditating and working out, I prioritized self-care and focused on things I enjoyed doing that were not related to animal rights. I dared to make myself feel joy and peace.
I don’t think I would go back to eating fish and pigs were I not willing to become more joyful, because I would probably be dead.
I have been depressed from the young age and when I went vegan I only added another layer of depression, but it was already there (and I was still having suicidal thoughts). I needed to change to avoid doing something permanent because the pain I felt was too heavy to carry – eventually, I would have to drop it somehow and knowing who I was I would drop it straight on myself.
Meditation is my answer to all your questions regarding how to stay vegan. It is what keeps me alive today and what works even when I am unable to take pills or have access to therapy.
Here is how you can practice being mindful often:
- Meditate. I meditate every day using the Waking Up app. It is hands down the best meditation app I have ever tried and I am eternally grateful to Sam Harris for creating it.
- When in the company of Mother Nature, aim to take a few minutes just to listen to the wind or birds and walk around feeling the weight of your body as it steps on leaves, stones or soil.
If you really care about this lifestyle you chose to live and if you are eager to live this way until the day you die, then be conscious of the state your mind is in at the moment. Protect your mindset.
Be conscious of every second of your day, or at least let that be your goal as obviously we will never be mindful 24/7. But the more you meditate the longer these mindful periods will be and the more often you will be snapped back to the moment you’re in.