Neck, Shoulder and lower Back Pain – A Standing Desk the Solution for Computer Workers – 7 Jan 14

I am still not done with looking back on the year 2013, a wonderful year with lots of changes. One of these changes was one in favour of our backs: we stood up. We are now using standing desks for several months and after experimenting in this way on our own bodies, we can say that it has been a great success!

We are spending many hours in front of the computer every day in our normal routine. Of course, we are at our home, so we can interrupt these sessions for going out to play with Apra, taking a walk or sitting down somewhere else. It is, however, not good for the back at all. We knew that, too, but what to do? We just kept on doing our regular yoga practice and tried to get up as often as possible. It was finally our backs though that told us we needed to change.

I have an old slip-disk problem. The pain appeared shortly after my sister’s fatal accident in 2006. I don’t know what caused the slip-disk, as I was not working at the computer at all in that time and also didn’t lift heavy or anything similar. While the initial pain faded after some time, it reappeared months or even years later which prompted me to have it examined by a doctor. To make it short, I have this slip-disk and sometimes it hurts. Especially after a long time of sitting.

When that pain started appearing daily and Ramona, too, began feeling tension in the neck and lower back, she decided to do some research and found out about the benefits of standing instead! Big, international companies like Google and Deutsche Bank offer their employees standing desks and after talking with friends, many of them confirmed that in their offices, too, they could choose to work in standing. Ramona did her research properly, watched videos of how sitting slowly kills our spine, read about right and wrong posture and even about walking desks with which you walk on a treadmill while working. Of course you would additionally have the benefit of losing weight while working. That was a step too far for us though and we decided to just try the standing version first.

Although I was initially skeptical that we could really stand throughout our working day, we rearranged our office and placed our desks on top of some small tables, brought our computers higher, in order to have the screens on eye-level. Additionally, we arranged for some space to rest one foot on when necessary.

The first day was hard. The first week was hard. I had to sit down again and again, had a hard time concentrating for longer periods and just wondered again and again how I should stand. We adjusted the height of the tables several times for our shoulders to be relaxed and Ramona even worked in sports shoes a few days. Slowly however, the soles of our feet, our ankles and leg muscles agreed to standing instead of sitting and we barely noticed how it became normal for us to stand.

It is now a wonderful way of working! When the legs get tired, we change position slightly, resting one of our feet a bit higher on the small tables under our desks. We don’t stand throughout the whole day though! Whenever we feel like it, we sit down. We have a high barstool to lean on to for a while in a half-standing position and we have our old chairs in the office as well, to relax when necessary. We can concentrate well and feel more mobile, as it doesn’t take the effort of getting up and out of the chair when we need to go somewhere. That aspect is something that especially Apra enjoys – she can pull us away from the computer at any time!

The most important thing however is that the pain is gone. There is no tension anymore in upper or lower back, we feel good even after working over longer periods and whenever we feel something like stiffness, we can just quickly do some standing yoga poses right at the desk. Standing up has proved to be a wonderful decision!

This would be my suggestion for a change that you could make in 2014! I am writing this to you after several months of trial and having found that it is really, really great. Should you want to do even more for your back, though, you can also join one of our new yoga retreats, the ‘Yoga for Back, Neck and Shoulders’-Retreat. Then you will even get to know the exercises you can do while working on your new standing desk! And if you are looking forward the walking desk for losing weight, you may enjoy your new ‘Yoga Retreat for Weight Loss’ as well – lose weight while doing yoga on your holiday and learn how to continue at home!

If you are thinking of changing to a standing desk and have any questions, just write to me in a comment below – I will be happy to answer and hear about your experience!

Don’t be negative when you talk to a sick or injured Person! – 6 Mar 13

On Monday I told you that I believe in staying positive even if something bad has happened, like for example the accident that my friend Govind had last week. I actually believe completely that a positive attitude can help and that you need to be positive especially in such situations – when it is difficult for someone else not to fall into a deep hole of negativity. Unfortunately not everybody seems to agree or understand this concept. I saw living proof for this on the days that I spent with Govind in the hospital last week.

He has a lot of visitors coming to ask how he is but while it is my intention to cheer him up and pass time with him, I had to wonder about one of his relatives who did not much to support this effort. He sat down and after listening to the story of how the accident happened, he sadly shook his head with the words ‘So now you won’t ever jump or run again!’ I protested straight away, explaining that the doctor had not said anything like this, on the contrary, that he would be fully fine after surgery and some weeks of exercise and physiotherapy! Another person asked on another day, too: ‘Will you be able to walk again?’ and until yesterday one man’s opinion was ‘If the operation won't be successful, your leg may never be straight again – it can happen that it stays crooked now!’

One of his female relatives kept on crying throughout her visits until I asked her how long she wanted to keep up this drama. Really, I am very blunt when it comes to such matters because I just don’t see any reason in crying now – what has happened is done and you won’t help him if you sit there pouring out tears! The only thing that will happen is that everybody’s mood gets all serious and sad!

The big impact that even those small remarks had on my friend was clear to me when he told his colleague the next day ‘I don’t know if I will be able work ever again!’, looking full of sorrow at his swollen leg. I asked him ‘Are you crazy? Why are you even thinking this? You will be fine, everything will be fine and you will even forget that this happened to you! You will only remember when you hear about someone else breaking his leg. Then you will think, oh, yes, this happened to me, too!’

Seeing this, I was confirmed again in my decision to come every day to be with my friend. It is nice to spend more time with him than we normally can and additionally I can cheer him up and help him stay positive – and realistic. It is after all ‘only’ a broken leg, we will get through this time and he will be fine again.

This is why I have one request to all of you: Please remember the next time that you will be with an ill or injured person not to be negative. Smile, give strength, be positive and give the person hope and support. If you show your own worry – even if it is not just unnecessary talk as in this case – you will create additional problems for the one who already has to face the pain!

If you stay positive however, you will be able to say, like I was yesterday: ‘See, all is fine!’ Govind had his operation yesterday and everything went well. Now it will just need some time for the leg to get better and then he will be able to practice walking again.

Being positive even after my Friend Govind’s Accident – 4 Mar 13

I am just getting ready to go to Agra. That is what I have been doing for the past six days. I get up, do my daily work in the morning and then take off – to go to the hospital and visit my friend Govind.

Govind is my oldest friend. We went to nursery together when we were four years old and have ever since maintained our friendship. It was thus quite a shock when he called on Purnendu’s phone last week, on Tuesday evening at around eight o’clock, telling that he had had an accident on the way home from work. He told him to please come with the car and bring him to the hospital. Of course we took off immediately – but I was already not as much worried anymore when Purnendu told that Govind had spoken on the phone himself – this meant that he was conscious and speaking. He had actually analyzed the situation himself already, telling Purnendu: ‘My leg is broken!’

He had told Purnendu where he was and we picked him up – the movement made him scream of pain – and went straight to the closest hospital. He told us that he had been thrown out of the Tempo, a popular transport vehicle in India, when it was hit by a car. When he hit the floor, it made a big ‘crack’ and he knew already that his leg was broken. The X-ray report at the hospital confirmed this: both bones of the left leg, tibia and fibula, are completely broken and at the spot where it broke, there is only powder left.

Overnight he stayed at the hospital close-by but the next morning we took him to the bigger hospital in Agra where his surgery will take place. The doctors have to wait however until the swelling goes down – and until then he is lying there, obviously with painkillers which sometimes work and sometimes are not enough, during which times he is suffering from the pain!

This is how I have been going to Agra daily in the past week. I don’t usually leave the Ashram much, so it is really very unusual for everyone here to see me leave everyday but I love doing it for my friend! It is good to give someone company in such a situation, to divert his mind, make some jokes and laugh.

It is of course not a nice situation and horrible that he had this accident. It is a fact however that it happened and now, when you have to deal with it, it is best to see the positive factors! After all, it could have been much worse!

The advantages of having him lying there in bed, off work and resting, are obvious to me: we finally get some free time to talk! Although Govind is working not too far away and we are both living in Vrindavan now, we don’t have much time to meet. He comes by at the weekends but obviously he also has a lot of other things to do and so it is sometimes a rather short visit. Now however we can talk about everything and anything because he doesn’t have to go anywhere.

Another similar benefit is that he finally gets time to read! Govind loves books and reading but normally has absolutely no time to really immerse himself in a book! Now he has these days in hospital and after that weeks of rehabilitation ahead in which he will not be able to go to work – and thus have plenty of time to just grab a book and read it from the first word to the last!

Going to Agra every day has been beneficial for me, too: Of course I already start missing Apra after just a small time out of home but it makes me realize once more how wonderful our living and working situation is! I am normally here the whole day and I can see her at any time. Whenever I want, I can get up from my desk and go to play with my baby! I am again thankful for being able to be with her so much! And of course it is not only Apra! Normally I am sitting next to Ramona the whole day, who of course misses me when I am gone – but that also means that I am welcomed with great joy when I get back home!

So you see, an accident happened, Govind is in hospital and of course there is pain and everyone wishes him to be back home soon, fit and healthy again. At the same time however you can see the positive effects of the negative things that happened, so that you can say in the end: everything is fine.

Grieving and on top of it insulted and hurt by Religion and Superstition – 25 Dec 12

Religious feelings are very fragile and get hurt very quickly these days. People even take care that they wish ‘Merry Christmas’ only to Christians, thinking someone could get offended if he believed in another religion. People say it hurt their religious feelings. But what do you say when religion hurts someone’s feelings? When religious customs, beliefs and superstitions hurts someone’s heart? Are those beliefs appropriate? Is that religion appropriate? I have a recent and real example of such a case: the Hindu belief that the house where death has occurred is impure for thirteen days and the people in that house are untouchable until they have performed certain ceremonies on the thirteenth day after the death occurred.

This is the general custom and belief of people and in the past two weeks, since our mother died, we have made this experience. Obviously some people believe more in religious traditions than others do and according to that some believe it is three days, some believe it is ten days and some believe it is the complete thirteen days during which that place and those people are not pure.

Maybe you have problems imagining which effect that has, so I will give you some examples. For that period of time, people won’t enter that house. If they do enter, due to some work or maybe to bring something over or even to show condolence, they will shower and take off all their clothes before they enter their own home again, so as not to make their own place impure. If they come to your home, they won’t eat or drink at your place. This means for you that you cannot even offer water to your guests!

Just as there are differences in belief regarding the length of that time period, there are also some people who believe they can only visit on certain days. One of my friends, who came by on Friday, like several other people, told me he got to know on Monday, the day of the cremation, that Ammaji had expired. In a chatting voice he told ‘Well, on Tuesdays one doesn’t go anyway, on Wednesday I could have come but was busy. On Thursdays you don’t go to an impure place and so I came today because tomorrow again, it won’t be good to go.’

See what religion does! In those times when you feel that you need your friends the most, in the time of grief which is difficult to pass, your close friends don’t come to meet you because their religious belief does not allow it! Even if they live nearby, they won’t come! One friend even came up to our gate but he did not come in! There is not less love – the only reason is religious customs and superstition! They come, but only when we will be pure again in their eyes.

That is another question: usually you get pure after performing certain rituals. We don’t however believe in any of this and have not done any ceremony. Does this mean that we will be impure for them forever? They will come but how will they justify it for themselves? We have not done anything to become pure – we should still be untouchable for you.

It is not the untouchability that hurts my feelings and it is also not my friends – it is the religious belief and the incredible superstition! Because my friends are only the slaves of those traditions and customs, they are not able to take their decision themselves.

Well, I decided to blame these customs, religion and superstition for my pain and vow to keep a stainless love flowing in my heart for all of my friends.

My Accident and the full Leg Plaster that was the Consequence – 17 Jun 12

Holi in the year 2004 was a highlight of the year, as usual. In many places of India Holi is only celebrated on one day but in Vrindavan it is always one week long. As we had grown up in Vrindavan, Holi meant a week of fun for my brothers and me. As always, we went to the town where the festival starts earliest, Barsana. First we celebrated there and in the following days in Vrindavan. It was lots and lots of colourful fun!

Some days after the celebrations, on a very normal day, I was about to go into my cave. I don’t know what happened, where exactly I set my feet but I fell. I did not only fall to the floor, no, I fell down the stairs. It is remarkable how the human’s reflex system works to protect the body and its most endangered part – the head. First your brain tries to place your feet somewhere where they can take your weight and balance your body again. If this does not work, your arms and hands are next to do the same thing, at the same time protecting the head from colliding with walls or floor. Once I arrived on the floor, I immediately felt a sharp pain starting in my left knee, circulating up and down my leg. Somewhere on the way down, in the struggle to place my feet, my leg had made a terribly wrong twist.

I was in horrible pain. I knew however that I had to get up and get up those stairs again. My family knew that when I was in the cave, I usually did not want to be disturbed because I was meditating. So they would not come and look for me. I had to get out. With my very bad pain I somehow made it up the stairs and out of the door.

My brothers were shocked to see me like this and pretty much carried me straight to the car to go to the closest doctor. I told that I had fallen down the stairs and that my leg was hurting. Without any further ado the doctor declared my leg broken and ordered the nurses to put my leg in plaster. They did and released me with a stripe of painkillers in the hand and the whole leg, from upper thigh to toe in plaster.

I think I don’t have to tell you that my situation was more than terrible. I could not walk a step without help – due to the plaster I could not bend my knee and I anyway could not put weight on my leg because it kept on hurting like crazy, even after the painkillers. Needless to say that my brothers had to help me with everything.

When this did not get better at all after two days, we decided to show my leg to another doctor. Back into the car – also a challenge with your leg fully straight – and off to Mathura to another doctor. When I told him about my fall, he straight away had me lie down for an X-ray, with the plaster on the stretcher made for this. When he saw the report a short time later he showed it to me. There were my bones, all straight lines, no damage, no broken pieces, no splintering and no breaks. ‘I think we can take this plaster off, your bones are not broken!’ I was happy to get this hot and big thing off my leg!

The doctor assured me I would be fine. I should just lay down and rest a lot, let my leg recover from the fall and don’t exercise. Obviously I should not do any of the yoga that I had been doing regularly but instead just relax. Then it should be painless within some days again.

I was very relieved. So everything would be fine on its own! Imagine I had walked around with my leg in plaster for several weeks with no bone broken! I thanked God that we had gone to this doctor who had made a proper examination and found that I was fully fine!

But this doctor, too, should be mistaken.

Stress, Pain and Rejection before an arranged Marriage – 25 Apr 12

Yesterday I wrote about the success of arranged marriages and mentioned that arranged marriages are a part of the culture and of Indian society. Some people say it is perfectly fine, others say it is a horrible concept. Whatever it is for the individual, I have experienced my whole life long how much stress, tension and pain this concept has caused the families and thought I explain you a bit more about it.

There are nowadays two popular ways of marriage. One is the love/arranged marriage which can happen in the following way: A boy likes or loves a girl and would like to marry her. If he knows that his parents are open and has the courage, he tells them about her. If his parents think in a modern way, they will contact the girl’s parents, tell them that their children are anyway already in love, so why should they not marry them. If they agree, they will ‘arrange’ the marriage and for the public it looks just as though it was properly arranged. I believe this is the way that includes the least of problems – unless the girl’s parents don’t agree.

The second method of marrying these days is an arranged/love marriage. In this situation, parents arrange the marriage and then let the boy and the girl meet. They begin talking to each other, dating sometimes, talking on phone and their love grows. This time can stretch up to years, for example because of one or the other studying before marriage. Both know whom they are going to marry, it is sure, so why not start loving each other?

This sounds great but it is actually the process of finding this partner with whom to arrange the marriage which causes problems. It is quite difficult, especially in a traditional family, to find a partner who is suitable. The boys and girls go to professional photo studios which advertise themselves as experts in pre-wedding pictures. There, in full make-up and in their best clothes, they have a photo session to find the perfect picture which the parents then send out to 10 or 20 other families. Then it is up to the picture to either convince or disappoint.

How much however can you get to know by a picture? They will reject boys and girls because of their colour, their features or their figure. You cannot see anything about their character in a picture! You may see outer beauty but not the beauty of the heart. Can you imagine how it hurts to have sent out twenty or thirty pictures and get no reply or maybe just one or two?

Those who like the picture get in touch and want to see ‘the subject’ live and in reality. They come to meet so that prospected parents-in-law can see the boy or girl. The girl will be made to get tea, so that they can see whether she walks nicely and is not limping or anything similar. A complete interview has to be passed in which the content of answers is just as important as speaking with a clear voice, not displaying any speech disorders or lisping. A popular reaction however is: ‘She/He looks different in the picture!’ They claim the girl – or boy – was fair and handsome in the picture but is not in reality. Another refusal, another insult, another injury. Girls suffer, boys suffer, parents suffer but they start the process again with the next family.

At this point, they saw the girl or boy in reality. They saw more than a picture but how much could they really get to know the boy or girl? In a meeting of twenty minutes? Acceptance and rejection usually depends on figure, colour and outer appearance. Or on money.

Sometimes the boy’s parents are fine with the girl, they like her and they would marry their son to her but then there is the issue of money: how much will she bring into the marriage? What? Only this small sum? – another refusal. Imagine the devastated situation of this family. Everything was good, they nearly saw their dreams fulfilled but then this! Rejected because they did not have enough money.

In older times, parents just fixed the marriage. Nowadays they think it is more modern to have a look to estimate whether it really fits. They cannot get to know the other one, they only judge. It is a big drama that causes pain to everyone involved. It is stress and a big burden on the parents. I have seen this process stretching over years because no partner could be found.

No, I believe arranged marriages cannot be right – they cause too much pain and sorrow!

Cheating made easy online – Business of Sex, Love and Pain – 28 Jul 11

Yesterday I wrote about Nithyananda and mentioned that he might not like to leave his guru life because only in this position he has the possibility to have several women at the same time. This however was the reason for his big scandal in the first place: he slept with married women, not only with one but several of them.

With this on my mind I yesterday read news about a dating website. It is not a normal website where singles can meet though, but a website where married people can search for someone to have an affair with. It is a website that helps people cheat safely. The owner of the website gives a money-back guarantee to all serious participants. If they don’t find a partner who is ready for this betrayal, he will pay them back their membership fees. The website says they have more than 10 million anonymous members.

Where is our society going? This is a reflection of our society. It means there are so many people who wish to cheat that it has become a lucrative business for others. We see this everywhere around us. Why wouldn’t somebody have the idea to bring these people together and start a website on which they can meet? They earn their money by encouraging others to cheat on their wives and husbands. This website is not like a normal brothel and it is not like a swinger’s club. It is the business of bringing all those together who have the wish to cheat. They bring them together and earn money from it.

This is the internet and how it gets used. In earlier times it must have been more difficult to cheat. There was a friend of a friend and if you had a night with that woman, you were afraid that your wife may get to know because your wife’s sister was the best friend of the brother of the woman you had an affair with. Or the man whom you met in the bar, who seemed like a stranger and a safe choice to have wild extra-marital sex with turned out to be a colleague of your husband! When someone had an affair, it was more risky. This kind of websites however makes it more secure. You can choose someone who is usually far away but most of all, the other person is surely also married. So you keep each other’s secret and are sure the other one won’t tell anybody either.

With my counseling work I meet many people who share their experiences. There were husbands and wives who were shattered because their partner had sex with another person. There were others who were ashamed of having had an escapade. There were people who suspected infidelity and others who were sure but did not know what to do now. I wrote a lot about cheating last year due to all those experiences.

There is one thing that I can say: it never works and never makes you happy. It doesn’t matter why you are cheating, it won’t make you happy. Are you missing sex in your relationship and have unfulfilled sexual desires? Or are you actually searching for love? Whatever it is, don’t go out and search a solution outside your marriage, it won’t solve the problem. Talk with your partner about it instead. Show your husband or wife that you cherish the love in between you and that you won’t do this step that others have done in your situation.

Cheating always hurts someone. It is natural, a devoted partner cannot be indifferent about a third person in a place where there should be only two. Jealousy, a feeling of having done something wrong and most of all the trust which is lost in your relationship is the prize.

The business people who run this website may only see the money but not the pain that they cause with this service. If you make cheating easier, more people will do it. You increase the problems in relationships which could have been solved if the partner was more afraid of doing this step. Everybody has to take his own responsibility but I believe we should not support cheating.

Don’t cheat and don’t help others cheat. It only hurts and causes pain.

Here are some links to older entries about cheating:

Willpower for stopping cheating

Reactions – Denial and Guilt

Cheating starts with a Feeling

Infidelity – You cheat your Partner and yourself

Cheating and breaking Hearts

Freedom is no Excuse for Cheating

How can you cheat and not want to get hurt yourself?

Cheating Rules – only Sex with other married Person

You cheated on me, I cheat on you

Cheating while being honest is not possible

Human Cruelty of Breeding Dogs and Pets with painful Diseases for their Ego – 4 Jul 11

Last week I have written a lot about pets and animals, how I think you should keep them and how they should not be kept. I also expressed my opinion about the general idea of having pets and said that you should not keep a pet only for your entertainment if this in any way limits the freedom of the animal or is not good for it. Humans have kept pets for their own benefit without looking much at what is good for the animal. The ego of wanting to show off with your pet has led to breeding animals in a certain way for certain characteristics.

This is one of the best examples of how human has deliberately destroyed the lives of many animals and has made them live in pain. People thought that a dog of a certain breed for example is only beautiful if he has all characteristics of that breed. In order to achieve this appearance, dog breeders have made many experiments and sold the best examples for much money. For them it is greed, for those who buy the dogs it is ego but for the dog it often means a life full of pain.

Dog breeders did not care much about whether the dogs that they put together may have been related by blood, as long as that blood was clearly and provably of one certain race or breed. In this way, by inbreeding, they created the problem: two recessive genes carrying disorders came together. This would hardly ever have been a problem if the dogs had mated out in nature with dogs of another race or family. But within their family they are all carrying those defected genes and inbreeding makes the risk of this gene turning up much higher.

That is how so many purebred dogs today have serious diseases. Breeders tried to make bulldogs and other breed look flat-faced and thus these breeds have big trouble breathing with their set-back noses. Additionally bulldogs have such big heads but narrow hips that they cannot give birth naturally. Their puppies have to be born by Caesarean section, there is no other way!

Pugs are supposed to be beautiful if they have very large, round eyes. They have bred them as much that most pugs nowadays have eyes that protrude so far that their eyelids can hardly cover them to clean them. Many of them suffer from chronic conjunctivitis which frequently leads to blindness.

German Shepherd Dogs, Labradors and other large dog breeds but also some smaller breeds often have a common problem which also started by inbreeding: hip dysplasia. In this disease the thigh bone does not properly fit into the hip and thus the dog wears off the joint when he is walking which causes pain and in the end normally cripples the dog. He cannot walk properly anymore, has arthritis, tries to balance the weakness of his hip in other ways and just leads a miserable life which often ends with being euthanized by its owners who were previously proud to have a purebred dog.

Large dogs in general, bred to be even bigger and heavier, have problems cooling down their bodies while small dogs cannot get enough heat to stay warm. Big dogs have problems with their knee joints and often have tumors in the legs, simply because of their heavy weight!

You could go on and on about immune system diseases, skin problems, blood disorders, joint problems, crippling, paralysis, impairments of sight and hearing, heart disease and cancer in all those pedigree pets. It is not only dogs, also cats, horses and other animals suffer from these problems.

The worst thing is: people still don’t care! They go to shows and competitions where the beauty of their animals is rated by exactly those attributes that make them sick! The sicker they are, the higher their value! Humans deliberately create these animals and make them ill. Isn’t human the most cruel creature on this world?

Making Pets of Animals takes away their natural Freedom – 29 Jun 11

Yesterday I wrote about the cruel way that animals, which are only there to be eaten, are kept, stuffed into cages or buildings for livestock where they only have a tiny bit of space for themselves. I sometimes think that having a pet is in many cases not a lot better than this. It goes against nature, too, and although it may not be as cruel, the lives of many pets are miserable.

I don’t agree with the idea of having pets. People have dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice but also reptiles like snakes in all sizes or certain kinds of lizards.

One of my main concerns is that this is not the natural way of life for any animal. We are forcing them to live in a way that they are not meant to live. In nature, rabbits could run around, they could jump and dig and they could find their own food. You take them, place them in a small cage of a square meter or maybe two and there it is going to spend its whole life, because you want to have a rabbit for your entertainment.

In the same way, a cat is a free animal, strolling around and exploring its area, hunting mice, birds and other animals, living freely. You come and take such a cat and make it live in a three-room apartment or even on less space for the rest of its life. The apartment is in a big city, on the tenth floor and has no garden. This cat will never leave the flat and never get to see the real world. Do you really think that this is a nice life for a cat?

I once had a conversation with a woman about this topic. She herself kept a cat in her very small apartment. When I asked her about it she said that this cat never got to know anything else. It was born in an apartment, was sold or given to her, moved into her apartment and thus cannot miss the real life. It never saw a garden so it doesn’t matter that it will never see one. It doesn’t care that it lives on less than 50 square meters because it never had more than that. But imagine doing the same to a human person! Keep a boy in a flat from the moment he is born and never let him out. Wouldn’t you say it is inhumane and like a prison? He would not know anything else either! You would never to this to a person but you think you are allowed to do this to a cat. It is against the nature of the cat!

We create an animal for our entertainment and give it pain for the rest of its life. This is not taking care of nature, this is not how we should live. We should think more of the animal than of us. Would the animal like living like this? Can I give the animal everything that it would have in free nature, too?

There are many related thoughts on my mind and I will write them down in the next days.

If you eat Meat do not claim that you love Animals – 28 Jun 11

Yesterday I wrote about Mark Zuckerberg and his idea to eat only meat of animals that he killed himself. I mentioned that in my opinion one possible reason for this idea was the history of the meat that you can usually buy at the supermarket or even at the local butchers.

Apart from the fact that it is medically better for you to have a balanced vegetarian nutrition than eating meat, there are reasons for being vegetarian that have more to do with the way that animals are kept nowadays.

Let me describe you the ideal way that any meat-eater would hope that his meat comes to his plate. There is a young calf, born to a happy mother-cow in a big farm in the mountain area. It grows up, drinking milk from the mother, being brought up by its mother but also the loving farmer. Each day, the farmer brings the calf and its family to the meadows where it can eat fresh grass and herbs. It grows and gets stronger and stronger. One day, the butcher comes to the farm and without any pain or fear to this animal, kills it, ideally even praying for it and thanking God and nature for the life he takes. He brings the meat to the market where it is sold as freshly as possible and without any further treatment.

This however, my dear friends, is not the reality. It is only an illusion and not the history of the meat on your plate. It may have been, many years ago, when the towns were smaller and when there was less demand for meat. The lifestyle of cows even was similar in my childhood, when we and several neighbours had cows and a person who took care of them. He picked them up at our home in the morning and brought them to the forest or on meadows. In the afternoon or evening he brought them back and we milked them.

These days however calves are being born in the hundreds on big livestock farms that have thousands of pieces of cattle. The calves are separated from their mothers right after birth and grow fast and fat with hormone injections given daily or weekly. Milk cows additionally get injections for a bigger milk production. They have a space of maybe three square meters where they can hardly lie down and where it is impossible for them to turn around. They see the open sky maybe once in their lives – on the way to the butcher’s house. The selected cows are brought there, beaten to the right way, their shrieks and cries of fear and pain are ignored. They are slaughtered in the most brutal ways, often without care whether they are quickly dead or if they die slowly and with much pain. Their meat is taken, stuffed full of chemicals to make it look fresher, better and to preserve it longer and sometimes it is mixed with waste to increase the amount. Then it travels long ways on lorries to get it to supermarkets where it may lie around several weeks until you finally buy and eat it.

Do you really think this is good? Do you really want to eat this meat?

It is not only cows! Chicken are sitting on top of each other in tiny cages, their beaks cut off, their feet and wings crippled, just laying eggs and, when of no use anymore, killed for being eaten. Pigs are produced en masse, stuffed with hormones and chemicals to make them fat and then killed in similar ways. The list goes on with all other animals that are kept in mass stock and merely for being eaten.

You eat all their pain, their misery, the cruelty, their fear, the hormones, chemicals, preservatives and their death along with their meat.

This is happening all over the world. Even in India, where Hinduism once protected cows from this fate, this is what is now in many places reality. Cows were considered holy but then there was a business, a demand for their meat and with it the idea to put them in a cage and produce more and more and more. The religious feelings all vanished and what is left in the end is the cruelty of humans who ignore nature, animals and everything around them in a greed for more wealth.

Don’t support this greed. Don’t support their cruelty. Live a vegetarian life. If you eat eggs and drink milk, take care from where it comes. Don’t eat meat. It is not good for you and not good for the world.