By Robin Singh
I am a co-founder of Peepal Farm – a stray animal recovery center and an organic farm – in a village near Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. It’s a place for animals to heal and be heard. Before this, I was running a successful tech company in the US. Although we’ve got plenty of coverage in mainstream and independent media, we have not had anyone cover it in depth from a spiritual perspective. That aspect is important for us to get out, as our strategy is to involve and inspire.
It was the realization of the suffering footprint of my existence. For me to live, I have to consume. Doing a life-cycle assessment of anything I consumed, even a bowl of rice, you’d realize the number of organisms that suffered for it – starting right from the land being tilled to the ones that got impacted by mining involved for making the machinery to whoever suffered for petroleum and so forth.
In some cases, suffering is obvious. In others, it’s a few steps down. Suffering, I mean, not in the Buddha sense of the word, but physical pain which is an objective unpleasant sensation that all beings, big and small, try to avoid.
That realization coupled with
- Knowing that we are the only species, which has the capability to not only limit the suffering we cause by not giving in to temptations but also to help and a belief
- Do no harm, made me realize that not only I’ve not been helping, but harming by virtue of just being.
I’d just been using my human abilities to feed my desires, overlooking the impact on others.
At that point, I had to either come up with a rationalization to get rid of the cognitive dissonance or chose to change the goal to live a life of doing good work in service to a higher cause (Karma Yoga). I chose the latter, with the goal of attempting to reduce my consumption of living and living to help alleviate the physical pain of others, starting with non-human animals.
It was a struggle initially as my brain was wired to associate “feeling good” with primal pleasure sensations. And without feeling good, it was harder to function. Now, on more days than most, I’m able to derive a sense of intellectual contentment; although that wasn’t the goal, it does certainly make life easier.