The World is at a cross road. Never before in the history of humankind have we been at such a decisive turning point. As the title of this book suggests, the time has come for us all to join hearts and hands to co-create One Wholesome World. This is a world we can all celebrate in our lifetime, and be proud to hand over to our children. It is a world of Joy, Peace and Abundance for all.
Our basic tenet is that the challenges of ‘development’ that humankind is facing are not purely physical, but also social and spiritual. It is difficult to imagine a positive future that does not integrate and balance values and ethics. Adopting a whole systems view of human development includes all these factors and examines how they relate to each other to form a whole.
Sharing the story
Life is a dynamic tapestry of images, characters, stories and events, all adding up to a forward movement. It is about the progressive unfolding of higher levels of integration and joy in individual and collective lives. This is what the evolutionary philosophers tell us. We want to share with you the story of how this book was born. The seed of the idea initially planted for a monograph, with time, grew into becoming a book. The story of this book is a story of the evolution of the authors, in the context of what has been happening in the world from early 1991 to 2013.
Let’s go back in time. Omkar spent most of his childhood in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Northern India, at a time when it was a picture of harmony between different religious groups, and foraying forward in the field of Science and Technology. Arun’s childhood too was spent growing up in their home in Buchwara, under the Shankracharya Hill in Srinagar, close to the famous and incredibly beautiful Dal Lake. He distinctly remembers the stints of work in the backyard garden, watering the vegetable patches using a Denkli (a traditional irrigation system in Kashmir).The fragrance of ripe plums and the taste of organically grown tomatoes and carrots plucked straight out of the garden is vivid in the mind. The images and memories are ones of great beauty, harmony and peace.
As a family, they spent three years in Birmingham, UK (1960 to 1963), and then a year in Karlsruhe, West Germany (1969). The travel brought with it fresh insights and observations. Exposure to these cultures set them thinking. The intermingling of faiths, cultures, nature, science and technology, art and music, mysticism , urban living and semi-rural lifestyles in the lives of the authors has shaped a perspective that is not stuck with this or that. They seem to have been bombarded by all kinds of influences and experiences in a way that this sharing was almost like a natural outcome. Arun has always believed that people who are destined to be ‘bridge builders’, have to experience both sides of a river. If one is stuck on one side or the other, one cannot be a bridge builder. Both the authors have been blessed to have experienced the east and the west, spirituality and science and technology, rational thinking and art, work in government organizations, business firms and NGOs, as employees and entrepreneurs, as leaders and educators. This wide canvas of roles and experiences has equipped them to share what is in this book. But, there is also a sense of a ‘larger hand’ in the creation of this book. As you will see later, the authors claim that they could not have written it alone without the hand of Providence. The book is, in fact, something that ‘came through us’.
The Research Adventure
The approach to researching for this book has been both deliberate and aided by serendipity. The authors scanned literature and websites systematically for data and insights. But many times they were lucky to stumble upon ideas which helped the work. They often met people who helped. For example, Arun, while reading a letter from his friend Sushil Bajpai to a Community of Practice on Climate Change, came across the Solution Exchange, an initiative of the United Nations Agencies in India. The site is meant to facilitate Connection, Sharing and Collaboration. Many different communities on issues like AIDS, Climate Change, Disaster Management, Education, Food and Nutrition, Security, Gender, Maternal and Child Health, Microfinance, Water, Employment and others exist on this site. The site is an excellent enabler of integration across fields and also learning and sharing. In a sense this also illustrates what our book is about. While each area of work is important, ‘development’ is not something that can be boxed into neat compartments. For example, water is connected to health, education, food and nutrition, gender, employment and climate change. Different aspects of development are all interlinked and interdependent.
A cake is baked with egg, flour, sugar, butter, milk and yeast. All are important ingredients, but none is good enough alone! The temperature of the oven and the duration of baking have to be perfect to get the cake.
All books are written over a long period of time. This book has been 20 years in the baking! During this time, the book has been incubating like a baby in the mother’s womb. As life waited to give birth to the book, the world seemed to be getting worse. the Asian monetary crisis of 1997-98, the rise of the Dot-coms, a series of high profile corporate scandals, the Asian Tsunami of 2004 followed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the scary spread of SARS and AIDS, the events of 11th September 2001 in New York and 26th November 2008 in Mumbai, the wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq, global warming, the growing divide between the rich and the poor and also between the rural and urban areas on the planet. Meanwhile, Al Gore received the Nobel Prize for his work on alerting people about Global Warming, while Pakistan sunk rapidly into a state of Chaos after the assassination of its former Prime Minister Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Dr. Mohammed Yunus saw his work through the Grameen Bank being recognized with the Nobel Prize. The world went into a predicted Food Grains crisis in early 2008. The Global Financial Crisis of 2007’2009 came around the same time. It was considered by many economists the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The crisis played a significant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in trillions of U.S. dollars, and a downturn in economic activity leading to the 2008’2012 global recession and contributing to the European sovereign-debt crisis.
Barrack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in October 09, barely 9 months into his presidency.
This book, through all this, was still waiting to be completed.
During this period, the state of Jammu and Kashmir saw two wars with Pakistan, and the beginnings of a fundamentalist incursion eating into the very fabric of life in the state. ‘Development’ had also begun to make its impact felt. Over the years, the peaceful and ‘whole’ fabric of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was falling apart. In the late 1980s, terrorism had begun to take its toll in J&K. During the mass migration of the Kashmiri Pandit community in 1990 and the horrible destruction and degradation that came in the wake of Militancy, the authors witnessed firsthand what religious fundamentalism does to society. Omkar, and his wife Mrs. Khem Lata Wakhlu (Arun’s mother) were abducted by militants of the Hezbullah in September 1991. They were rescued by the Indian Army after 45 days in captivity. This experience left a deep impression on them. Their faith in the larger creative intelligence that runs and supports life grew. The oneness of human experience that they felt during this time touched them deeply.
After their rescue on Dushera (an Indian Festival celebrating the victory of the good over evil) in 1991, they came to Pune (in Western India). The first germs of the idea of Wholesome Development were born in conversations in Pragati Foundation and at home in the period of 1991-92. These resulted in a paper being presented at an International Conference on Sustainable Village Based Development, organised by the Colorado State University at Fort Collins, USA. The paper was on the theme ‘A New Paradigm of Wholesome Development’ (Wakhlu and Wakhlu, 1993). The first draft of this book was partially written in 1995. Some chapters that Arun was to complete lay unfinished for several years, as he was caught up (by unconscious choice) in corporate consulting and training. The completion of the book kept going onto the back burner. Despite several attempts by Omkar to push the whole completion through, the book languished and gathered dust. They say ‘It is now clear to us, in hindsight, why this was to be.’
One of the points that the authors have been constantly aware of is the right timing of things. Looking back, had this book been published a few years ago, they would still have been writing from a ‘theoretical’ and unproven perspective. The ideas presented here would still have been untested. One of the points cleared up only recently is the way around the ubiquitous ‘knowing-doing gap’. When I know something is good, how come I still do not do it? Closer to home, if I know that this book had to be completed, what was holding me back from completing it? While it is easy to ‘talk’ about Wholesome Development and One Wholesome World, are our lives really walking this talk? Cognitively understanding these things and wholeheartedly living them out are two different things.
The past few years have been deeply transformational for the authors and their families. ‘We have both moved closer to ‘Omkar’, the wholeness of existence.’ For Arun and his partner Anu, the profoundly moving journey through North Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef and Northern New Zealand in 2008, was like a capstone for the experience of writing this book. ‘What we saw, heard, felt and experienced on this journey reinforced our understanding that what we share here is indeed valuable and relevant.’ The global wakeup call on Climate Change in 2009 was the proverbial ‘last straw’ that got this process to completion. Involvement in sharing the ‘Awakening the Dreamer’ (ATD) Symposium of the Pachamama Alliance in India, developing I- Catalysts for catalyzing change and directing courses in ‘Ethics in Public Governance’ for senior Indian Civil Servants has further strengthened their understanding, surrender and experience.
They say ‘today, we can state with integrity, that we are closer to living life in surrender to the Whole than we were five years ago.’ The ‘Truth’ of this book is therefore higher than it would have been if it had been written five years ago. This doesn’t mean that our work is over! It simply means that this moment feels ‘right’ for the release of this work into the world. Our own expertise in unblocking human potential, in developing ‘Wholesome Leaders’ who can be instrumental in unfolding Wholesome Development, and in catalyzing large scale co-creation and transformational processes is far better today than it was five years ago. That is why we write with the conviction that comes from personal experience.
A book that has guided us during the writing and completion of this book is ‘Opening Doors Within’ by Eileen Caddy. When we opened this book to receive a message from the Whole as an ending for this chapter, we received the following:
‘Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind’. How important these words are! You have heard them many times, but what have you done about them? What do they mean to you? Take time to ponder on them till they become living, vibrating words in your life and you feel yourself being transformed by the renewing of your mind. You talk of peace and harmony, of the new heaven and the new earth, of doing My will, of love and light being radiated out into the world and of moving into the new, but what are you actually doing about it? Are you living in such a way that you are helping to bring it all about? Don’t allow yourself to become like a parrot, saying things that mean nothing to you. Pray without ceasing for deeper and clearer understanding, and give thanks and move forward and upward. Above all, live a life and; let things happen to transform your life.'(Eileen Caddy, 1986)
The above is a lovely reminder to us all, that reading this book is not enough. Ultimately, it will be loving action now that will lead to the creation of a world which we can all be proud of in handing over to our children and grandchildren.
With humility and gratitude,
Omkar Nath Wakhlu
Diwali 4th November 2013
A Quick Look At The Contents
This book proposes a new paradigm of development. A paradigm is a ‘way of looking at things’. Here is the paradigm we propose in this book: One wholesome world will arise from millions of people reclaiming their wholeness and acting together in the service of the whole. This is like returning home to a space of power, integrity, integration, inspiration, creative intelligence and collaboration. As more people reclaim this, a catalytic transformation of collective human consciousness will occur tipping us all towards one wholesome world.
This is inevitable. This book is part of that global process. This space of wholeness, which is the same as ones essence was never really lost. It has and will always been there. However, we have forgotten all about it.
To make sure that you dear reader, get the essential message of this book we will spell it out in advance: The whole of life is one huge interconnected dance of ideas, information, energy, material, and awareness. Which is all one. This whole dance is orchestrated spontaneously by awareness which permeates and is everything in life. This common consciousness is at the root of everything. Our identification with limited notions of who we are and forgetting our oneness is at the roots of the global crisis that humanity is facing today. When people awaken to this intrinsic wholeness and live and work from this space of love, creative intelligence, freedom, and peace; they become instrumental in manifesting joy, peace, and abundance in their individual and collective lives. This astonishingly simple and universally accessible discovery has the power to transform lives both individually and collectively to an extent that can only be called miraculous. This book is a call for all of us to reclaim this glory and participate in the next evolutionary leap that we are all poised for.
The whole book is divided into three broad parts:
‘ Seeing Anew
‘ Awakening Capacity
‘ Love in Action
The first three chapters of the book (under Seeing Anew) look at the assumptions and beliefs that guide our current view of development. We start off by looking at the process of seeing itself: why it is so important to see the whole picture, and how what we pay attention to, determines our emotional state and consequent actions. This chapter looks at examples of what is working well in the world and how these can be the seeds of co-creating a new world that works for all. Chapter 2 looks at the roots of our current worldview. At how we ‘construct’ our world through (often unexamined) assumptions. It ends up by showing how our current dominant view of development suffers from three disc-connections. In Chapter 3, we offer a radically new perspective; one which is free of, and inclusive of all viewpoints and perspectives. This is the space of Wholesomeness, based on oneness with the Universal Intelligence that runs all of life. In this, we see how Love can be a foundation for a very different approach to life and development.
Having got a sense of the larger context and foundation, the next two chapters (under Awakening Capacity) explore the process of awakening to Wholesomeness (Chapter 4), and how this personal awakening can take on more collective forms through Wholesome Leadership (Chapter 5). As we heal our connections with our Self, with others and with the environment, individual and collective capacities expand. These will enable us to reboot our capacities through inner transformation, coherent action and new modes of self-organizing. All these will be founded on and guided by Love. We will then begin to allow and catalyze the natural changes that are waiting to happen on our planet at this time in our evolution.
With our capacities awakened and expanded, through three fold reconnections, we are ready to become instruments of Love in Action. This is the next broad section of the book. Each one of us has a unique role to play in the larger evolutionary play of Life. In Chapters 6 to 10 we have focused on a few key areas for Wholesomeness to do its work. Chapter 6 focuses on Peace and Ethics. We see the common root of these apparently different aspects of a wholesome life. Chapter 7 is about Education for a Wholesome World. How does Education need to change to bring forth the world we are proud to hand over to our children and grandchildren? Chapter 8 is about Healing – both People and the Environment. These two are so inextricably linked that we have combined them into one chapter. Business has the power to transform the world. Can Business become a force of good on Earth? What are the examples of this? How does this work? Chapter 9 examines how Businesses can work from Abundance and generate even more abundance for all. Each chapter ends with some actionable points that will help you, part by part, to become one with your Source’All of Life.
What’s in it for you?
This book addresses the alarmingly pressing needs of today. We attempt to expand the reader’s vision and uncover connections that they may not have been seen or may have been seen incompletely. This book is primarily an offering to see things in a simple, clear and complete way. We feel that seeing this wholeness and experiencing new thought forms and patterns will be profoundly liberating and inspiring for the readers.
Finally, we would like to leave the reader with practical tool to make a difference and create an impact in their own spheres of work and life. There will be tools to work at the individual level and also at the organizational and social levels.
The authors are people of action. They therefore believe in making things happen and would like readers to do the same. We only pray that this action is guided and inspired from the purest, most whole and most liberating space of awareness.
Who should read this book?
A book on wholesome development to move towards one wholesome world is really a book for everyone. People who are on the journey to wholeness and who feel an inner calling to work for ‘something beyond myself’ or for ‘a larger cause’, will find this book useful. It will also resonate with people who have begun to realize that the mind is severely limited as the source of the creative ideas and fresh thinking required to respond to today’s challenges. It will attract people who have begun to feel that Awareness or the space called ‘No Mind’ is a better source for action than a conditioned and patterned mind. No Mind is the same as Wholeness.
The common thread and core of the book is relevant to every single person on the planet. However, the capacity to understand its message may be different at different places and amongst different individuals. Perhaps there is a need to translate the core message of this book into the language of different segments.
One can see however that the book would benefit the following people:
Leaders in Business who want to understand the larger context within which businesses operate. The book will help them to understand the whole problem/opportunity that business has in front of it. A paradigm shift where we see business as true wealth for all can have huge positive impacts on the planet. The book points towards a new consciousness for business leaders.
Students and Teachers in the field of education – A picture of where we have headed as a planet and the larger canvas with its linkages to inner thoughts, forms and patterns is a must for all teachers and students to understand. It is pointless learn the art of painting and decoration to decorate one cabin of a ship ,while the whole ship is sinking! It is time for teachers and students to understand the larger context and purpose for which education exists, viz. the well-being and liberation of all human kind.
The book will inspire all those people in Public Governance. It will show us how we need to move to create more integrity and integration in public service. It will point the way for wholesome leadership in this very important sphere of life.
NGOs and practitioners of development in the field will benefit from seeing the inner roots of development and the vital need for collaboration and synergy. It will also show us how to infuse the work of development activists and practitioner with the energy and enthusiasm which can come only from the deepest inner resources.
Finally this book is for women and men dedicated to loving action and service . It is for those who want to make a difference and need guidance and a road map on how to do it. We have found over our years of experience that the larger creative intelligence of life, orchestrates connections in an amazingly appropriate way. To quote mother Teresa, ‘things happen accordingly’. We understand this to mean that life moves according to a larger pattern orchestrated by a loving and kind intelligence.(This morning, on my morning walk the acronym LIFE for ‘ Loving Intelligence for Everyone’, popped into my mind). The fact that you are holding this book in your hands and are reading these words, means that your consciousness has attracted this book into your life.
Wherever you are and whoever you are, know that this is not a coincidence. There is a clear reason why this book is in your hands. If you are still and you listen to the whispers of your Heart, you will know why this book has come to you.
Here is a small hint:
The ‘work’ of the authors is to be instrumental in receiving, expressing and spreading new learnings and insights given by the divine I Am so that humans can reclaim their wholeness. Will you awaken to your own Wholeness, and allow this clarity to guide your thoughts, words and actions? Are you a person who is called to join Hearts and Hands on this unfolding evolution towards one wholesome world? If the answer is a wholehearted ‘YES’, you now know why this book has come into your life.
What is different?
This book brings the awareness and insight to reconnect us back to our heart in a way that makes sense to the common man and gives him a path way for action.
Few books show the elephant of development. When we focus on the inner aspect of development the outer ones are missed and vice-a-versa. This books attempts to show all an all-encompassing holistic picture of development. We might say it is practically spiritual or spiritually practical. It transcends the common lenses through which development is typically seen e.g. Gender, Livelihoods, Ethics, Economics, Environment, Governance etc. It looks at development from the lens of wholeness and integration with enough attention also paid to the heart of development -which is consciousness or awareness.
The book is bereft of any ideological filters / blinds. We are neither from the left or the right, nor stuck with the right hemisphere or the left hemisphere of the brain. The book comes from an innocent heart and experienced mind attempting to weave together conflicting perceptions, polarities and viewpoints. It offers a new vision of development and also the tools to make it happen.
Join hearts and hands for action
It’s true. There are lots of organizations and individuals working hard to solve the challenges we face e.g. the climate crisis. This is great news! It means that we don’t really need to build a movement from scratch because it’s already bubbling up all over the world, in thousands of ways.
Our hope is that we can all shine the spotlight of awareness on the work of existing organizations, highlighting and appreciating everyone’s incredible work and weaving these many efforts together into a tapestry of inspired and powerful unified action’a movement that is global, scientific, and specific. Holding a shared vision of co-creating One Wholesome World , and connecting and sharing on a common platform of awareness with freely available tools, we can help to stitch together a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its parts’. a diverse movement that speaks with one collective voice and beats to one universal heart. Guidance will come from being still and listening to the voice of the one Heart of Humanity, our own Self. Manifestation of Heaven on Earth will
come from Loving Action now.
About the Authors
Dr. O. N. Wakhlu
Dr. Wakhlu’ s spiritual transcendence ,that began because of the religiously diverse land of Kashmir ,grew into a profound understanding of the human race. Dr. Omkar Nath Wakhlu is a teacher, educationist and an institution builder par excellence. With outstanding passion, he has devoted over fifty years of his life to research and education.
His own academic brilliance is manifested through the Commonwealth Research fellowship that he received, enabling him to study in Britain and be awarded a PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK. He was also awarded the Alexander Von Humboldt Research Professorship by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Khosla Award of the University of Roorkee, India.
His integration of cross functional knowledge of education, technology and environment has won him many accolades and equipped him with an all-round perspective on development. It is through this, that his concept of ‘wholesome and sustainable development’ came about. His philosophy of people development is centered on the theme of “holistic attainment of potential” which focuses on the systematic improvement of the innate abilities of students.
His contribution as a member of the Board of Directors at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Tehri Dam Project, Uttarakhand, has been of great significance. Omkar has served as the Principal of the Regional Engineering College (now NIT) Srinagar, the Honorary Secretary of the Governing Board of Gandhi Memorial College (Srinagar) and has been or is serving as a Member of the Boards of Vishwa Bharati Women’s’ Education Trust, the National School, Kashyapa School and the Vasantha Girls’ School in Srinagar. As a Guest Faculty at the Pragati Leadership Institute, he has advised many Educational Institutions on improving their approach and methodologies of teaching for improved results.
Over the years, Omkar has continued to inspire and motivate IAS Officers, policy makers and teachers by sharing his vast experiences. He has shared at Asia Plateau, the conference centre of Initiatives of Change, at Panchgani, India. Being fluent in English, German, Hindi, Urdu, Kashmiri and Punjabi, he is the author of several books and many more papers, monographs and articles related to education and the development of society.
A career that began after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi in Electrical Engineering (76) and working with NELCO for two years, Arun completed a post-graduate diploma course in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Ahmedabad (PGP 80). He continued his stint with the house of Tata post 1980 as part of the Tata Administrative Service (TAS), worked for Tata Motors, Jamshedpur, & MAP Consultants, Pune, before eventually starting Pragati Leadership in 1986 along with his partner Anu.
A globally reputed coach, facilitator and trainer, in areas of Leadership and Organization Transformation, Arun’s wealth of experience of over 25,000 hours has taken him to India, France, USA, Australia, Singapore, Dubai, South Africa, Finland, The Netherlands and several other countries to serve leading Indian and international organizations like Hindustan Unilever, BP-Castrol, Philips, HDFC, Reliance Retail, Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, ICICI Prudential, Sudarshan Chemicals and Ranbaxy to name a few.
His avid interest and belief in people along with working in and with cross cultural teams internationally, has enabled him to design and facilitate many innovative programs on Creative Thinking, Passion for Excellence, Wholesome Leadership, Organizational Transformation, Bonding for Greatness etc. He is the pioneer of the models and practice of Wholesome Leadership and Wholesome Development.
He is the author of the award winning and insightful book ‘Managing from the Heart’. He is also the co-author of over four books, over 30 papers and the founder-chairman of Pragati Leadership Institute. The need to reach out also led Arun (along with his partner, Anu) to start the Pragati Foundation, a Non- Government Organization based in Pune. He also leads project ‘Awaken-I’ committed to the vision of ‘Great Work for all’.
Like his father, Arun has always valued inspirational teaching. He has taught ‘Corporate Ethics’ in the PGPX course at IIM (Ahmedabad) and ‘Managerial Oral Communication’ for the PGP at the same institute. His contribution as the Course Director for ‘Ethics in Public Governance’, a program designed for the senior members of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), as part of the Initiatives of Change Centre for Governance (ICCfG), New Delhi, has been significant. Its success and value addition has prompted a similar program design for the members of the Indian Police Service (IPS), and Training of Trainers in the Administrative Training Institutes in India.
Arun passionately believes in and is working towards creating One Wholesome World: a world which is joyful, socially just and healthy for all (including future generations) co-created by communities of people who are living and leading consciously. A man of varied interests, Arun enjoys conversations from the heart, meditation, graphic recording, dancing and creative writing.
Nitya Wakhlu is the founder and creative head at Nitya Wakhlu Innovations LLC, based out of Portland, Oregon. She specializes in using visual thinking and experiential learning to create whole-brained tools that support learning and change.
Best known for her work as a graphic facilitator, she has worked with corporate, government and non-profit groups across North America, Europe, Africa and India. Nitya brings a ninja-like listening ability to the table. She distills what she hears and creates a large-scale mural of key insights and emerging conversation patterns. She does this, using images, words, connectors and colorful cartoons. This live visual capture prevents precious insight from being lost. It stimulates higher levels of group engagement and creativity. It also helps the group truly ‘see the big picture’ and move towards action.
Nitya grew up and studied in India and has a unique cross-cultural perspective. She has a bachelor’s degree in electronics and telecommunication engineering. She also has an MBA in Human Resources from XLRI, Jameshdpur, with a strong focus on organization development and learning design.
Right out of business school, Nitya was selected to GE’s Young Leader Development Program, a fast-track program for young leaders. She then took on a leadership role of Area Sales Manager. After that, Nitya worked with Pragati Leadership Institute as a facilitator and consultant in the domain of leadership development and organizational innovation. She is now delighted to leverage her experience and insight in her current role as an entrepreneur.
As a visual practitioner, what Nitya brings to the table is a unique combination of business acumen and organizational understanding, an ability to think very creatively and a deep respect for the art of learning and facilitation.
Introduction: Seeing with New Eyes
Seeing with New Eyes
‘And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’
– Antoine De Saint-Exupery
‘It is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost’
– Black Elk
Our view of life powerfully affects our way of life. It also deeply affects the way we live and work; on what we spend our limited time and energies. Who we are being affects what we are seeing. What we are seeing affects what we spend our energy on. It affects what we manifest in the world. This, in turn, reinforces our notion of who we are being.
Life is interspersed with universal and loving intelligence. Life is happening in all her glorious wholeness in every single moment. I can either see and fully experience life in this moment, or focus on something that is a memory from the past or something imagined from the future. This choice will determine how I feel right now. My feelings determine my action and also the outcomes in this moment. Think about this: The choices of 7 billion people in this moment are making up the world as it is now. Going forward, these choices will also determine the kind of world we will experience in the future. How do we therefore change what we see and what we will focus on? By changing our questions!
Given this context, and given that the world, as we know it, is going through a metamorphosis of sorts, it is time to ask ourselves some hard questions: How do we see ourselves? How do we see others? How do we see our ‘work’ in life? How whole and expanded is our vision? Are we running our life based on a narrow and limited view of ourselves and others, seeing only a tiny part? Or do we see the glorious magnificence of life as a whole and allow our life to be governed by this vision? Do we see only the separate waves on the surface of the ocean, or do we see the whole ocean?
There is an urgent need for coherent and concerted change in many spheres. While on the one hand, we have crises and opportunities staring us in the face on many fronts, we also have all the diverse resources needed to meet these challenge creatively and completely. Everything we need to lead a spiritually fulfilling, joyful, healthy, socially harmonious, just and environmentally sustainable presence on Earth exists today. All the money, resources, knowledge and people are available. We have more knowledge, money, technology and networks of people than we would possibly need to solve all our problems.
One might then ask why these desperately needed changes are not happening at all, or are not happening fast enough. Where is the bottleneck? Here is a metaphor I find useful to explain what might be going on:
Imagine a gigantic jigsaw puzzle that has to be solved. The solution will involve putting together all the pieces in a way that forms a coherent picture. Now, if all the pieces are scattered far and wide and the end picture that has to be made is not known, it will be impossible to solve the puzzle. Add to this picture the image of people clinging to their little pieces in distant corners with great protective zeal, and you have a model of what is actually happening on the ground today. All the pieces we need exist, but we do not have peace! Peace will arise when all the pieces come together coherently and smoothly to manifest the picture we all want to see’ the picture of a world that works for all. One in which all thrive, and flourish (spiritually and materially), there is social justice and the environment is ‘happy’. One where there is joy, peace and abundance for all. This will happen only when each person ‘holding a piece’ of the puzzle sees the whole picture. Why is it imperative for all to see the whole picture? To hold in our mind’s eye, an accurate and complete view of how the world really works? To see all the inter-connections between different things that are happening?
If we do not see right, our thoughts, words and actions will be limited. We will keep co-creating a collective story that we do not want. It will be a story born out of a partial and erroneous view of life. A story of self-deception. It will not be a story of joy, peace and abundance for all.
We have been conditioned to focus on actions and outcomes: do and do more. If the first conference at Rio didn’t work, then have one in Kyoto. If that didn’t work, have one more in Copenhagen. If we are getting desperate that things are not working, let’s have a conference in Rio again (20 years after the first one) to see why nothing is working! We have been taught to believe that if you want different outcomes, simply take different actions. If you have not done enough, do more! It is not enough to keep doing more. We need to see differently…look with new eyes.
To quote Albert Einstein, ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’ John Stuart Mill reflected the same idea when he said in his autobiography: ‘I am now convinced that no great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.’
The Apparatus of Seeing
Let us look at the apparatus of seeing. Our attention first focuses on something, after which we see it. Attention is governed by the mind. So, if our attention is stuck with something, or in some direction, we miss what lies in other directions. If our attention is caught up in the past or the future, we miss seeing what is right under our noses. If distractions and diversions are eating up our attention and time in the moment, we do not see the obvious. Even if we do, our energy is not sufficient to bring about some impact or change.
Before we go further, please read these lines below:
A newspaper is better than a magazine.
A sea shore is a better place than a street.
At first it is better to run than to walk.
You may have to try several times.
It takes some skill, but it is easy to learn.
Even young children can enjoy it.
Once successful, complications are minimal.
Birds seldom get too close.
Rain, however, soaks in very fast.
Too many people doing the same thing can also cause problems.
One needs lots of room.
If there are no complications it can be very peaceful.
A rock will serve as an anchor.
If things break loose from it, however, you will not get a second chance.
This paragraph probably made little or no sense to you.
Now just imagine a KITE.
Read the same lines once again with the context of a KITE in your mind. Suddenly, the separate ideas now make sense. They connect to each other and to the idea of a kite. This is a simple example of how context provides a mental platform for integration and the generation of meaning.
It shapes what we see. It creates the connections in our mind that relate to the whole picture beyond the words. When we miss the context, the big picture, we fail to see. From shaping what we see, the context also determines how what we see occurs to the meaning we give to what we see, the feelings and actions that then emerge from this, and finally our outcomes. When context is missing, content makes little or no sense.
In the absence of a clear and shared context, we do not see coherently. Our work is sporadic and disjointed. Fragmented attempts to ‘solve the world’s problems’ will always be incoherent and ineffective.
Another more basic reason for our attention getting ‘stuck’ is that in the humdrum of Business As Usual (BAU), we do not look for fresh information or perspectives different from our own. We are locked, as it were, into a perceptual box that keeps us deluded into thinking that what we are seeing is really the world ‘out there’. It is a well-known scientific fact that through our five senses our brain receives 400 Billion bits of information every second. Of this we perceive only around 2000 bits of information every second. That is around 0.5 millionth of One % of the data that is available to us from around us! Ref It is as if a large part of the population on the planet is going about life semi-asleep, unconsciously. Our attention remains stuck or fixated, and so also our vision. Not seeing correctly also blocks the spending of our energies on things that truly count. I have struggled a lot with this problem. As mentioned elsewhere, this book has been almost 20 years in the writing! When I ask myself why this is so, the answer is that I spent my time and energy on other things. Again (using the powerful questioning tool of why?) I ask why I did this. The answer is because I thought that spending my time on other things like consulting and training for my organisation (rather than writing this book) would get me more money. Why did I want this extra money? Because I imagined (erroneously) that this would give me greater happiness! This has mercifully changed now. I am at Peace and focusing on what Life is calling me to do!
Fig. 1.1 A Different Kind of Blindness
Awareness, Perception and Joy
What does seeing have to do with peace, joy and contentment? The mind is ever seeking happiness and peace. When it does not find this anywhere, it goes on searching. It keeps getting restless and fixated on things. When we make efforts to ‘calm’ or ‘quieten’ the mind, there is effort, doing and judging. This effort produces more agitation. It’s like a man swatting a swarm of flies’ in this case the flies of thoughts, feelings and distractions. He is still in the ‘I am the doer’ mode. Since ‘whatever you resist will persist’, the endless wheel of doing and searching keeps going on.
In this metaphor, the awareness that witnesses all these thoughts, feelings and distractions is like a bowl of honey. This is where the mind settles down and becomes quiet and spacious. When the mind is quiet, we see clearly. The field of perception opens up and we begin to notice things that were there all along. Our energy is calm and available for action. We are ready to act freely to do what has to be done.
All the things we need to co-create a good life for all are available somewhere on the planet. They are simply lost to our sight. Maybe, it is better to say that we are lost to them. We fell asleep somewhere to the amazing gifts and possibilities that the natural world bestows on us all the time. We forgot the abundance that was possible for all.
What’s not working well?
The following statistics were first published in 1992 by the retired Peace Corps Volunteers of Madison Wisconsin in a curriculum entitled “Unheard Voices: Celebrating Cultures from the Developing World”. Shortly thereafter the statistics appeared as an email that continues to be circulated and viewed by millions of people around the world.
They give us an overview of how the Earth would look if it were a community of 100 People :
2 people own 50% of the world’s wealth
50 people share only 1% of the world’s wealth
1 is dying of starvation, and 15 are hungry and seriously malnourished (that’s around a billion people)
21 people are overweight
13 have no safe drinking water
39 have no basic sanitation
17 are unable to read.
If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet, a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head, you are better off than 83% people on the planet.
Fig. 1.2 How People are Living in Our World
On the environment front, we are all aware of the havoc that our present modes of producing and consuming are wreaking . 75% of the world’s original forests have been eliminated. 30% of the world’s arable land has been lost in the past 45 years. There are more than 200 oceanic dead zones worldwide. 90% of all large fish have gone from our oceans. The population of elephants is down 90% in the past century. By the mid-eighties, our ecological footprint had overshot 1. We had started to use more that Nature could regenerate. By 2007, we had started to use 30% more than what Nature can renew. Global expenditure, according to 2006 statistics , indicates to us where our priorities are.
Fig. 1.3 Global Expenditure (2006, Henley World Study)’
Fig. 1.4 Global Employment Trends for Youth (2013)
Fig. 1.5 A Perspective on World Spending
Fig. 1.6 UN World Population Projections
Fig. 1.7 The Impact of Industrial Nations
But, what’s working well?
From the above discussion, it is clear that over the decades, enough data and analysis have been generated through detailed studies of parts of the developmental puzzle viz. economy, GNP, education, health, literacy, empowerment, women, people, quality of life, human development and so on. The “whole’, however is complex and exhibits characteristics that are not easily related to the detailed studies of the parts. In the context of “development” studies, what is equally pertinent is the absence of an attempt to co-relate the thinking and psyche of the “mass-mind” with issues of “development”. Yet it is a historical fact that the “whole” system throws up radical surprises. Many unpredicted transformations have occurred through human interventions. Some of these have been more or less self-regulated in a very complex way.
Let’s look a little deeper at the process of positive change in the “whole” from the angle of changes in the individual and collective human mind. It acts like a self-reinforcing cycle: Positive change liberates latent potential for giving of ones talents, living creatively, freedom of expression, strength and wisdom. In a positive mode, each human is his or her natural self: living out one’s uniqueness and contributing to the common good. Positive change will come about only when nature is allowed to function in its optimal mode. The “ego” plays a negative role in blocking nature’s optimal flow. This occurs when human thought and actions are restricted by negative mind-sets. Without “mind-sets” we become free, creative, enhancing love and joyfully expanding. When “ego” vanishes, nature flowers. That is the eternal law. (Arun, 1990).
It is mental road-blocks and barriers of perception that make development lopsided. These “mind boundaries” and their impacts on perception, thinking and communication need to be first understood and then eradicated. Among other things, the work involves a deep inner transformation of people leading to their wholesome development as individuals. We need to familiarize the collective modern mind with age-old truths and values that have been keystones of civilization for a few thousand years (Box no.1.2)
“Development” is essentially a means to achieve peace, harmony, prosperity and happiness for all. In its quest, man has moved in a thousand directions. This waywardness has to be halted. Instead, efforts must be focused on achieving inner transformation leading to all round development of people and eventually resulting in development which is both sustainable and nourishing for all in the long run. Economic growth means increasing a nation’s total wealth and enhancing its potential for reducing poverty, increasing employment, increasing per capita purchasing power and solving other social problems. However, if growth is achieved at the cost of a loss of cultural identity, over-consumption of natural resources and weakened democracy, this growth will be unsustainable growth. Such growth is born of a lack of understanding of the linkages between economic, social cultural and environmental factors. It misses the larger purpose of development: All round benefits and the well-being of all in a manner that can be sustained.
A lot of disparity and confusion in human relations – economically, socially and culturally arises from lopsided, unsustainable development. There is a strong undercurrent of insecurity caused by economic imbalance, massive trade upsets, and ecological deterioration. This has led to disturbances in the collective psyche of many nations. A fresh approach is required to meet all these challenges. The need is to understand the common genesis of these apparently diverse problems. Only then can we intervene wisely and continue to progress in ways which bring total satisfaction and fulfillment to individual lives, arising from economic growth geared to human development.
Considering the prevailing condition, we proceed further with the following assumptions:
‘ Life, both individual and collective, is one large dynamic whole. Changes in one part affect and are affected by every other part, however imperceptible.
‘ All spheres of human activity and experience have their origin in the mind of man. Therefore, it is in the human mind that we seek to understand and/or change external manifestations of thought and the nature of choices humans make.
With a clear understanding of subtle inter-linkages and total dynamics within the system as a whole, it should be possible to wisely and beneficially moderate the system and facilitate its evolution towards change and growth leading to peace, wellbeing and happiness for all. Such thinking is of the “whole” rather than the “parts”. With several problems, inequalities, imbalance prevailing in our system, we cannot deny the good work which is happening simultaneously.
Humanity’s problems are directly a result of the way in which the mind functions; i.e. its linearity, the way it thinks in divisions and aggregation, the way it thinks in opposites, its inability to see the whole beyond the parts. When we transcend from our mind to spiritual consciousness, we break the mind’s limitations and thus overcome its problems.
Despite the gathering gloom and darkness as outlined earlier in this chapter, there are many hopeful signs of a slow but steady reversal of things for the better. Many social, spiritual and welfare organizations are working selflessly for human wellbeing without any ulterior motives. As a mystic once remarked to me, ‘Along with the gathering and strengthening of the darkness, will come an equally strong and powerful gathering of Light’. We need to keep this expanding ‘light’ also firmly in our view. This is more than just an exercise in gaining academic balance. It is also about a conscious fillip to evolution by a strengthening of the positive.
Fig. 1.8 Rabbit or Duck?
Just as the diagram above can be seen as the head of either a duck or a rabbit, we can see the state of the world from two perspectives – the ‘bad news’ and also the ‘good news’. It has been said that whatever we focus on will grow. If we keep our minds tuned to only what is going wrong with the world, we may fall into the trap of not seeing the good trends. A balanced picture would emerge if we look at both sides of the coin. We are inspired by what the celebrated Computer Scientist, Alan Kay, stated memorably some thirty five years ago: ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it’. This inspires us to work wholeheartedly and joyfully towards ‘Heaven on Earth’. This book, a labour of love, is a step in that direction. A tongue-in-cheek ‘State Of The World Message’ by Ron Atchison captures the spirit of this optimistic view:
‘I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate the condition of the world over the course of the last 48 hours and I’m pleased to report that there are many reasons to be hopeful. In this short amount of time I’ve seen a very diverse group of two-year olds build sandcastles together and I stood witness as a nineteen-year-old Japanese woman learned to ride a bicycle for the first time. I watched as the sun rose twice, set twice and became partially eclipsed by the moon. I stared into the eyes of a California sea lion and saw myself in his reflection. I shared a table with a seventy-seven year old woman in Tijuana who offered me cookies and Seven-Up. I witnessed a car accident on Interstate 5 and a middle-aged trucker sprinting towards the wreckage to see if he could help. I know that there is much adversity and suffering in today’s world… and sometimes I think this is the path we must take to greater wisdom. But there’s a lot of love out there too… and I’m convinced that this is still the most powerful force in the world.’
When we listen to the birds in the morning and get in touch with the power that animates them, makes the plants grow, I rest in peace and hope. There is in the heart a silent knowing that the Universal Intelligence, which has got humankind so far, is alive and well. This Universal Intelligence is known by many names on the planet: God, Brahman, Allah, The Holy Spirit, Jehovah, Ahura Mazda, Buddha Nature, That, I Am etc… These are all names for the same One. It is the Self Organizing principle which we will refer to later on in this book.
The self-organizing processes that make things happen on the planet without human intervention is reason enough for a positive view. Just looking into the processes and changes that happen in one human body evokes a sense of awe and wonder. Let us see some examples of the good things happening around us:
Two very successful examples of working Eco Villages which take into account the principles of Sustainability are the Gaviotas village and the Findhorn Foundation Eco Village. There is more about the inspiring example of Gaviotas in Alan Weisman’s 1998 book: Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World. The Findhorn Foundation was the result of Eileen Caddy listening to her ‘inner voice’ and obeying it. It is today an outstanding example of a spiritual community which lives in a wholesome sustainable way, and also teaches and inspires many others to follow suit. One of their inspired initiatives is the creation of a Global Network of Light. This is a global network of all those who are being guided by a spiritual/holistic view of life.
This is what Eileen Caddy shared on the inauguration of the Global Network: “Blessings on Global Network. May this connection inspire more and more souls to turn within, find that stillness and deep inner peace, and embody these energies’ from this center, move and act to bring more love and peace into the world.” There are many other collaborative efforts aimed at creating a more sustainable, socially just and ethical approaches to business and development. One example is the European Baha’i Business Forum (EBBF) , which believes that ‘working together across generations, borders, sectors and beliefs brings results’.6 We believe there exists a field of collective consciousness ‘ often seen and expressed through metaphor ‘ that is real and influential, yet invisible. When we come into alignment with this field, there is a deeper understanding of our connection with others, with life, and with a source of collective wisdom. The work of sensing and aligning is on-going and dynamic. We are calling into awareness this field of collective consciousness, the foundation of life.
A very encouraging trend which one notices is that several groups on the planet have learnt to explore the evolution of consciousness. Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen have initiated a dialogue on the implication of enlightenment of the evolving universe. They are exploring the spiritual impulse and its realization (the mystical experience) and its links to a radical new understanding of human evolution. Recognizing this need for a dynamic interweaving of different streams of knowledge, groups like the Evolutionary Nexus, to the Storyfield, Radiant Networking and the Collective Wisdom Initiatives are all creating platforms for a new consciousness to unfold. This is aided by tools to harness Collective Intelligence like Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry and The World Cafï¿½ï¿½.
Business is also beginning to recognize importance of Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility. The donations of people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet point to a new understanding of the power of importance of business in planetary life. In addition to business, we also have active spiritual organizations who are actually making a difference: The Baha’i Network, SukyoMahikari, The Brahma Kumaris, Osho, Sahaj Yoga, The Art of Living, Vipassana International, Transcendental Meditation and United Religions Initiative, to name a few. These organizations have a distinctly holistic and integral approach to life. They all recognize the universal origin of religion and authenticity. All of them are involved in active programs of social transformation and change, beginning with individual transformation. They all have well researched and documented experiences of positive changes in attitudes, health, performance and prosperity in individuals, organizations and communities.
There is ample evidence of NGO’s who are working for the down trodden and poor. You find them all over the world. The power of the internet, communication and information technology has truly been a blessing for the evolvement of human kind.
Today it is possible to see what is happening in another part of the world in real time. We can also communicate indigenously and thereby share insights, ideas, knowledge etc. This will significantly help in both exploring awareness and also mobilizing collective action. All the knowledge required for perfect health, sustainable development, universal education and environmental and social wellbeing is all available. Powerful and proven new techniques like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a whole variety of meditative methods are all freely available to us for use.
To summarize, despite the negative facts and trends which have been highlighted earlier in this chapter, we also see clear signs of a global renewal. This renewal is manifesting through the efforts of individual and organizations that have the practical know how and experience to remedy the situation.
Given all that has been shared above, we have ample reasons for hope. It would now be clear that all the building blocks required for creating a different future for human kind are all available. The ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ technologies to bring people, processes, money and materials together also exist. Humankind has never been so blessed in terms of the know-how, possibilities, tools and techniques to lead a full life. We are actually like people in an enchanted garden laden with fruit, waiting for us to pluck them.
What is now needed is a grand unifying vision and grand unifying set of processes , which would enable the emergence of a world that works for all. This vision is also emerging slowly, like the sun rising after a dark night. It is our endeavor to contribute our bit in this journey and invite you to do the same. The invitation is open. Despite the growing darkness, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As Gandalf, the wise magician in The Lord of the Rings said, ‘Although the storm is coming, the tide is turning. Just as there can be no courage without fear, hope arises in the face of hopelessness.” Environmentalist Paul Hawken (1994), the author of the celebrated book ‘The Ecology of Commerce’ holds optimism for the future. He has studied the balance between industry and the environment. “I believe in rain, in odd miracles, in the intelligence that allows terns and swallows to find their way across Earth,” he said. In a celebration of restoration, Hawken predicted that civilization was on the brink of creating a new world because the old world is no longer valid. “Self-sufficiency is a human right, we are capable of creating a remarkable future for humankind” he explained. Hawkens sees every negative trend or statistic as a possibility for transformation. In 50 years, with shared global understanding, it would be possible for the world to unite and be “wonderfully messy and deliriously creative.”
We intend that this book becomes a catalyst and roadmap for transformation – individual, collective and global. We pray that it becomes instrumental in awakening the many well intentioned people on Earth (of whom there are plenty!) to the power, grace, beauty and joy of Universal Intelligence. May we all dance together as one united and diverse wholeness, to manifest our deepest shared vision of a world that works for all.
Loving Action Now
1. Start a personal journal to record your thoughts, feelings, observations and insights as you go through this book. Be open to noticing things you may not have noticed before. Let this journal become a space for honest expression and reflection.
2. Be still at times, even if it is just for a few minutes. Just sit quietly and attend to whatever your senses and thoughts bring to your attention. As we become calmer, we see more clearly.
3. Listen to the guidance of Life as you sit still. Life speaks to us in the language of feelings. Guidance on what Life wants us to do now is accompanied by feelings of ease, peace, enthusiasm and joy. Keep sensing what Life is calling you to do now. Do it!
Who is Developed?
The Paradox of our age ‘ Dalai Lama
‘ We have bigger houses but smaller families
‘ More Conveniences, but less time
‘ More knowledge but less judgment
‘ More experts but more problems
‘ More medicine, but less healthiness
‘ We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.
‘ We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
‘ We have become long on quantity but short on quality.
‘ These are the time of fast food but slow digestion.
‘ Tall men but short character
‘ Steep profit but shallow relationship.
It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.
This week’s weekly guidance which I received from Eileen Caddy of the Findhorn foundation (http://www.findhorn.org/link/eileen) seems to sum it all up poetically:
Walk in the Light
‘Let those who have eyes to see with behold my wonders and glories all around them, seeing My hand in everything and giving eternal thanks. Let those who have ears to hear with listen to My still, small voice amidst the noise and clamour of the world and find that inner peace and stillness which comes from being in contact with me. Keep your consciousness raised so that you tune in to the very highest and leave all else behind. Walk in the Light and radiate Light. Fill your heart with love and understanding for each other. Know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Keep your mind on Me and let your eye be single so that your whole being is filled with Light.’
Examining the Roots: The Prevailing Paradigm of Development
‘Examine the assumptions behind your actions. Then examine the assumptions behind your assumptions.’
‘ A Sufi Practice
“Your task as the young is to reinvent the universe, the universe made out of stories ‘
to change the stories, to tell them, to bury them, and to give birth to them.’
‘ Rebecca Solnit, Author of Hope in the Darkness
Seeing that all development comes from thinking / choices
In the last chapter, we saw how our way of seeing things affects our feelings, decisions and actions. The choices we make individually and collectively are born of the way we see things. This also applies to the people who make policy decisions. Their ways of looking at ‘development’ affect what they do.
Many of the earlier approaches towards development have worked on a partial representation of issues affecting development. The very definition of development itself seems to have missed ‘seeing’ certain aspects. Many of the blocks to seeing completely (as described in Chapter 1) have plagued thinking on ‘development’ in the past few decades. Some of the intrinsic and important life serving aspects are left out in current approaches to development. The interplay of individual and collective choices is not fully understood. Those who write and teach about it, themselves come with a limited view of the world.
We all have our own mental lenses and conditionings and our own interests and desires. Clifford Goertz (1989) grieves “the tunnel-vision view of the development problem. We still tend to divide things up conceptually in terms of our own particular academic genre and to stay within those artificial confines”. Even way back in 1988, Arendonk and Arendonk (1988) raise the question of value based development, pitching “values” as goals of the development process. They ask, development for what? And go on to conclude that the answer lies in the choice mankind makes today as it stands at the cross-road of its evolution, from amongst two alternatives: modern development for increased anxiety and vulnerability with its culture of the ugly, or, development on the pattern of values of humility, love, freedom and compassion with all its promise of beauty and joyful work. Gary Jacobs (1999) believed that values are central organizing principles or ideas that govern and determine human behavior and are universal in their application. Values can be described as the essence of the knowledge gained by humanity from past experiences, distilled from its local circumstances and specific context to extract the fundamental wisdom of life derived from these experiences. Values give direction to our thought processes, sentiments, emotional energies, preferences and actions.
A very small percentage of the world’s population has a grip on the ‘mind models, thinking, priorities and images’ that drive the spending of billions of dollars and the consequent actions and impacts that affect many others. The four billion or so people on the planet who are still ‘poor’ and who are still suffering hardly have a voice in this discussion. Much has been written on every aspect of development by academicians, professional experts, technologists, and practitioners. There is some gap in all the thinking and viewpoints. We are not trying to develop our self and our society from the core of the heart. There is distancing from the core of development, caused by too much analysis and differentiation. That has created the gross disparities in the global development scenario on many fronts – economic, social and ethical.
Along with economic and technological development; love, compassion, integration, coordination, values, ethics and the spiritual aspects of human life are equally important for a healthy and happy life. In our review of literature, we have not found even a single definition that has integrated these issues in one place. Both material and spiritual needs are important for happiness and compassion. The need is to integrate physical, social, spiritual and ecological considerations to get a solution to small or big developmental issues. An integration of perspectives from our deepest consciousness to the external reality of our world will provide the ‘big picture’ for holistic development. There is an immense need to bring perspectives together under one roof, and to integrate the diverse issues of culture, education, ethics, values, happiness, health and the environment into a unified understanding.
Perhaps there is a need for a fundamental reorientation of our thinking on development based on the following questions:
‘ Where are the roots of development?
‘ How can we think about development without a compassionate and respectful society?
‘ What are the blocks to development?
‘ Without integration of individual goals and organizational goals, how can we live in harmony?
‘ What are the changes required for real development?
Let us look at the deeper roots of the process of development. If we cannot understand and address the issues at the roots, no amount of tinkering with the branches and the leaves will yield any results. We believe that the current rot has to be healed at the roots.
‘All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become’.
‘ Lord Buddha
All human development starts with human perception and thinking. It is based on the mind models and cognitive structures we hold within us. Many of these structures are held unconsciously. They are based on unexamined assumptions. These mind models about development shape and filter our perceptions .They get us to direct our attention and energy in the pursuit of certain goals. They carve out and emphasize different aspects of reality. Ways of relating to the world around us that do not fit in with our predominant pattern of thinking are eliminated. We unconsciously delete dimensions which do not fit in with our predominant paradigms. It distorts reality’just as a rope appears like a snake in the dark. As slaves of these unexamined concepts and paradigms, we often generalize and fall a victim to seeing things that are not there.
The views that we hold, the underlying beliefs and paradigms from which we operate, the stories we tell ourselves: all affect our thoughts, feelings, words and actions. Our effectiveness is a direct function of the level of consciousness that we hold as individuals. The wise gardener does not expect his garden to thrive on the basis of fragmented attention to the different parts of his plants – the leaves, roots, bark, or flowers. She rather accomplishes the good of the whole by attending to the roots. We too need to focus our attention on the underlying roots of everything. In order to start the journey of looking afresh at ‘development’ and inner transformation, we need to first pay attention to ‘how we see ourselves and the world around us.’
What are the mind models underlying development?
Stead (1997) emphasized that achieving sustainability is not about how humans do things; it is about changing how humans view things (Box 2.1). Like the deep part of an iceberg (which is below the surface of the water), these underlying assumptions and perceptions remain hidden and most often unexamined. For example, the current view of what is ‘good development’ is based on a Eurocentric idea of development. There are beautiful ‘gifts’ that this view brings in. But when it predominates and swamps out all other dimensions, we have lopsided development and an unbalanced life as a consequence.
Fig.2.1 Our Inner and Outer Worlds
Society is a dynamic, organic and interconnected system. A massive honeycomb of individuals acting from their own held beliefs and paradigms, their own individual mind models. This includes all of us – government officials, leaders, students, activists, teachers, homemakers, young people, the elderly, workers, farmers etc. Mind models here refer to my notions of myself, the world, and answers to questions like ‘Why am I here?’, ‘What is the larger purpose of my life?’ and ‘What is my relationship with others?’ We build our mind models based on past experiences or on the beliefs and values which have been passed on to us by our parents, priests, teachers, peers and significant others. It is as if our life is run on ‘auto pilot’ playing out a narrative made up of many unexamined beliefs and assumptions.
Story-based strategies of change are based on the notion that narratives operate on underlying assumptions. In order to change stories, we need to shift assumptions (worldviews, beliefs, etc.). Underlying assumptions are the unstated parts of the story that you have to believe in order to believe that the story is true. They are the glue that holds the narrative together. When they are exposed and found to be in contradiction with the lived experience or values of people, they are vulnerable to being replaced by assumptions that are more authentic and true.
All of life is a dynamic interplay of matter, information and energy. A deeper look at information and matter also reveals that it is finally all only a vast play of energy. Underlying this whole dance of energy is Awareness or Spirit. Thoughts shape and mould this energy. Thoughts are the precursors of emotions. Thoughts that stimulate large surges of emotion in us are powerful thoughts because it is these emotions that create, drive and attract the ‘outer’ realities we see around us. When some predominant beliefs and thoughts are held collectively in the consciousness of many members of a society, they form a coherent belief system. When a sufficiently large number of people come together to form a coherent belief system, then we see the birth of a culture, or a nation or a movement. Each nation, ethnic group, religious grouping, people in any region of the Earth who see themselves as being unique or different, constitute a collective consciousness. What is considered valuable in one part of the world is rubbish in another. One example we quote often is the value of the head of a fish – In Kashmir, it is fed to the cats. In some parts of the South of India where people are predominantly vegetarian, it will evoke revulsion. In Bengal, it is considered to be a delicacy to be served to the most special of guests!
People are so identified with their belief systems, that they almost feel they ‘belong’ to a particular group holding those beliefs. An attack on their beliefs then becomes an attack on them! Because we feel our beliefs are ‘me’, and that our belief group is ‘us’, we have a tendency to vigorously hold on to our beliefs and defend them.
Becoming aware of these deeply held patterns of belief and becoming conscious of how they affect life individually and collectively, gives us the ability to choose a different perspective. We can consciously choose thoughts, feelings, words and actions that expand human wellbeing or satisfaction. When people are asked what they are ultimately looking for, the invariable answer is joy, peace, health, abundance, freedom from wants, good work, learning, autonomy, safety and security. Being satisfied and happy is about being at ease. Ease with ourselves, ease with others and ease with our environment’.a total feeling of peace and completeness. It is about living in a natural, easy, balanced manner. About staying happy and healthy and being truly satisfied. Perhaps this is the key issue in development. What is this state of health and well-being and what blocks it?
A lot has been written about this issue, but what we miss are the blocks. For example, why is it that people spend energy and time on fighting a war rather than on enhancing human well-being? Witness the electronic push button U.N. response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the slow negligent response to the problems of starvation and death of refugees the world over. At the individual level, why is it that we crave for things we do not have but which we really may not even need? Why do we want to have three cars instead of one? These are some basic questions that the rich elite must answer. They control 80% of the world’s resources. No significant changes will happen otherwise. We will only be tinkering around with the problems. The answers to most of these issues lie in the underlying paradigms that we hold and which then mould our life.
Figure 2.2 gives us a graphic view of the roots of development. Our mind models and deeply held world view affects our values, priorities and perceptions. These in turn affect our shared vision, the way we allocate and share our resources (including time and energy), and also the knowledge we create and use. This is the foundation for many other things in society like the forms of production technology, the nature and quality of work, patterns of consumption and spending, amount/volume consumed per capita, population size and health. It also affects our educational processes, control and use of the media and information, prevalent power structure and peoples’ empowerment.
All these factors interact in complex ways. The overall impact is on the condition of human well-being and also on the condition of the global environment. Thanks to the internet, new communication technologies and the globalization of media, the impact of these interactions have become quite powerful. We are now at a cross road in human history where any decisions we take (right or wrong) will be amplified enormously.
Change affecting the life style and the quality of life in one part of the world, through this interconnected system triggers changes all over the world. This is a subtle yet powerful chain reaction, which sometimes proceeds imperceptibly slowly, and often explodes rapidly in quantum jumps, arising from momentous and creative interventions by individuals and institutions.
This is a time of both great danger and great opportunity.
Fig. 2.2 The Roots of Development
One of the areas of confusion in thinking about development is confusion about the means and goals of development. The classic assumption is that making and consuming more things will make us happier. Research has shown overwhelmingly, that an increase in GDP does not correlate with ‘happiness’.
In the words of Robert Kennedy, ‘The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.’ Bhutan has famously replaced GNP with the Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a measure of progress: ‘Gross National Happiness (GNH) measures the quality of a country in more holistic way (than GDP) and believes that the beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occurs side by side to complement and reinforce each other.’ This represents a radical shift in how development is seen, designed for and measured: all arising from a different set of underlying beliefs and values. Ask the Finance Minister of one of the world’s largest democracies what his goals are and he will reply ‘Growth, Growth, Growth’ (meaning economic growth). But the questions that arise are ‘Growth for what? For whom? ‘
Fig. 2.3 Gross National Happiness as a Measure of Development
In a TED talk, with his inspiring use of Statistics, Hans Rosling7 makes a clear distinction between the means and the goals of development. He looks at a few ‘dimensions of development’ and indicates their importance as means or goals using + marks. More + marks indicate a higher importance.
The Dimensions of Development
Dimension of Development Means Goals
Human Rights + +++
Environment + ++
Governance ++ +
Economic Growth +++ 0
Education ++ +
Health + ++
Culture + +++
Seeing a 0 against ‘Economic Growth’ as a goal of development will shock some people, especially our Finance Minister. But when you go deeper into the why of development, you see that money is only a means. What use will a large bank balance be to me if I am not free to express myself, or if my freedom has been curtailed in other ways? Economic growth needs to serve my health and joy and not detract from it say through toxic food, a ruined environment and mindless work. If I do not have time to play with my children, converse with my neighbors (or even my co-workers) because I am working hard to grow some business and commuting three hours a day through chaotic traffic, some sincere re-thinking on ‘development’ is called for. Given that the deeper ends of development have to do with intangibles like Peace, Happiness and Freedom, it is surprising how much attention we pay to the accumulation of material goods. While oxygen is vital for life and we would be dead without it, a life spent on accumulating oxygen would be a wasted life.
Our needs are endless. What each person considers to be of value is as varied as the number of people we have. We see people with immense material wealth choosing unhappiness at times. We have seen very rich people fighting with each other for a small fraction of what they already have’wealth which is way beyond what they need. There are people who are blissfully happy with very little by way of worldly possessions.
Fig. 2.4 What is a Need
This is the story of existence. It appears that true lasting happiness has little to do with the accumulation of outer things.
Despite this truth, most ‘development activity’ has been driven by an occidental world-view. Almost two thirds of the world population is seen by current policy makers as being ‘under-developed’. This world-view has led to subordination, subjugation, judgment and an erosion of faith in indigenous cultures. Adherence to the current world-view has led to the manipulation of vast populations by vested interests including those of some people in the media. There are examples of media channels which are more interested in revenues from advertisements, (often beamed through chilling live scenes of terrorist attacks), rather than on telling the whole truth. It is time now to dismantle the current structure of thinking. People’s minds and perceptions need to be liberated in a way that we are equipped to generate bold, creative and integrated responses to the grave social and economic, environmental, and ethical challenges that now confront human-kind. Individuals, governments, experts, NGO’s, students leaders, youth, women ‘ all need to awaken to a new paradigm of development which liberates, integrates, inspires and lays the foundation for healing, learning and development. We need to be more respectful of Life in all her totality, including nature.
Everything valuable to us as human beings comes from nature and our interaction with nature. The ultimate resource that has made iron ore and aluminum into ships and airplanes, converted grains of sand into tiny silicon chips with brilliant computational power, unleashed energy like that of the sun from hydrogen atoms and modified the genetic codes of plants and animals is the human mind. The real process of development and value creation is a manifestation from the silent depths of thought to solid and material outcomes, from dreams to concrete achievements, from the values of freedom and self-determination to the establishing of democracy. All begin as an inner urge in the human mind that then gets expressed externally in life.
The Seeds of a New Paradigm
Considering the different aspects of development, views of development from different angles, it is very clear that there is a dire need for transformation.
To create a harmonious integrated future, humanity needs a new paradigm. The only way the human family can understand and solve these problems is by shifting to a more expanded and inclusive paradigm that sees the entire Earth as a living system. If everything is closely interconnected, then the quality and truthfulness of all kinds of relationships are supremely important. A natural expression of this paradigm is to bring into balance all key relationships in our lives ‘ inner and outer, masculine and feminine, personal and universal, intuitive and logical and more. This perspective tends to bridge differences, connect people, celebrate diversity, harmonize efforts, and find common ground (Duane Elgin 1997). The new paradigm would need to frame the concept of ‘progress’ in a new way. The outcome of a new paradigm would be a world where all enjoy a decent standard of living and a world which is deeply fulfilling for all. The vision of a better life for all will need to also include non-material dimensions of fulfillment’the quality of life, the quality of human solidarity and the quality of the Earth’s environment. A shift would be galvanized by the search for a deeper and more lasting basis for human happiness and fulfillment. Sustainability is the imperative that pushes the new agenda. A desire for a rich quality of life, strong human ties and a resonant connection to nature is the lure that pulls us towards the future (Dominguez, 1992)
Shackles of the past have to be loosened and new thinking needs to be cultivated. In this new dispensation, a pivotal role will be played by a new breed of people whose mind-sets and ways of working are attuned to the conditions of the new environment. Actions and results will be more important than mere planning. In the process leading to development, people will be the most critical and valuable asset, because it will be they who will provide the intellectual capital needed for development.
With transformed consciousness, development becomes a participative endeavor. With transparency, accountability, openness, and complete alignment with well-being of all, using the fullest potential of everyone, we can progress towards development, which is sustainable and wholesome.
Not only will this call for transformation of institutions–schools, universities, and economic and political structures – but also a willingness to be changed ourselves. Considering all the aspects of change, it becomes obvious that the developed as well as developing countries must significantly alter their attitudes in order to meet the challenge and bring about wholesome, balanced, sustainable development. The rich countries have to transform from squandering and mass consumption to thrift and economy thereby saving natural resources and ensuring ecological balance. The poor have to transform and become aware, to control population, improve productivity of land and industry, and invest on human welfare to get rid of want or violence. The critical function is therefore, “transformation in mind-sets’ arising from proper understanding of issues. Then alone will people on this planet have a balanced and harmonious life with material sufficiency and inner spiritual satisfaction. People will then find the ability to enjoy nature, work joyfully with their own hands, have creativity and have peaceful human interactions. Such a situation alone is stable and wholesome and this must be the goal of development.
The question therefore, facing development experts is not one of economic growth alone, but one that will lead to a life for all that is materially sufficient and abundant, spiritually fulfilling, socially just and environmentally sustainable’a life of health and wellbeing and a fearless, free and loving quality of mind for every segment of world population.
Solving the problems of the unsustainable megalopolises around the globe means facing issues, such as how to finance sustainable public transportation systems and how to find employment for the millions of poor who migrate to these cities every year.
These are not just the problems of this generation; they are the problems of those not yet living. They are the problems of the children and the children’s children: they are the problems of the seventh generation. They are also the problems of the other species on the planet, both current and future.
Honestly, when viewed from the lens of rational thought and scientific inquiry that has dominated the way humans have viewed the universe for the last 350 years or so, the odds of coming up with solutions to the problems related to the interface between business and the natural environment do not seem very good to us. The idea that economic man will ever willingly surrender his quest for castles and gold so that people he will never know can have a comfortable place to live in a safe society with clean air to breath, adequate soil for food, clean water to drink, and the opportunity for creative self-expression is essentially ludicrous within the current framework of the materialistic, ego-centered, growth-oriented, mechanical, mental models that are currently driving human thought processes.
In short, we believe that achieving sustainability is not about changing how humans do things; it is about changing how human view things.
W Edward Stead in ‘Managing on a Small Planet’, From The Economic Times, 22.2.97
A New Paradigm of Development
‘What is the mark of every’ decadence? That Life no longer resides in the whole. The word becomes sovereign and leaps out of the sentence, the sentence reaches out and obscures the meaning of the page, and the page comes to life at the expense of the whole ‘ the whole is no longer a whole. This’ is the symptom of every style of decadence: every time there is anarchy of atoms.’
– Friedrich Nietzsche, the Case of Wagner
The larger purpose of people on Earth is to lead a life of Joy, Peace and Health; to express oneself creatively, to be free, secure and abundant and express their unique talents in the service of others and Life. It is a feeling of deep oneness and harmony with oneself, other ‘Earthlings’ (creatures of all kinds who inhabit Earth) and the rest of life on our planet. It is about constant growth and change for the better. Finally it is about lasting happiness.
Building on what we have discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, in this Chapter we will look at some of the reasons that this doesn’t happen. We will then look at two fundamentally different perspectives that govern how we see things, how we consequently feel and then how we act. (The world is we know it today is simply the outcome of our collective seeing, feeling and action choices).
A new paradigm called ‘Wholesome Development’ is then proposed. It’s links to healing the divisions that we are experiencing in Life are explained and the foundation set for ‘Inner Transformation ‘, the topic of Chapter 4.
The Three Disconnects
In Chapter 2 we saw some of the problems and imbalances arising from the way we see development today. The problems have Physical, Social and Spiritual components.
Fig. 3.1 Challenges of Development
At the root of these developmental challenges is a three ‘ fold loss of connection:
1. Of People with the Source of all of Life, their own Self;
2. Of People with other People; and
3. Of People with the Environment.
We cannot generalize this for all people who are on Earth. There are many indigenous people who, even now, live in great harmony with Life: with themselves, with others and with the rest of nature. They are truly happy and free. The same is true for most healthy children! It is the unaware people amongst us (including us) who unconsciously live in ways which are disconnected.
Let us take a closer look at these disconnects:
1. Disconnection with the Source of all of Life, our own Self;
People are out of touch with the sensations in their bodies, their breathing and their feelings. They are unaware of their intuition as a powerful source of guidance in each moment. Many are out of touch with their unique gifts and the purpose for which they have come to Earth. Few people are in touch with the truth and reality of who they are: we are unaware that we are ‘spiritual beings having a human experience’ and not ‘human beings having a spiritual experience’.
2. Disconnection with other people:
Deep empathetic understanding of the feelings of other people is rare. Many of us have lost touch with our neighbours, and the lives of the poor and marginalized people in society. Seeing the stunningly beautiful photographs of lost tribes by Jimmy Nelson one realizes how out of touch we are with indigenous people and those who live in villages (even in our own country); We are out of touch with their heritage, their culture, their world views and also their art. Our lack of empathy for other Earthlings, especially animals from species other than our own, is appalling. And finally,
3. Disconnection with the Physical Environment:
We have lost touch with sunshine, the soil, with the plants in our neighbourhood, with water, the insects, birds and animals around us.
Fig. 3.2 Disconnects
The roots cause of all problems related to development can be traced to an absence of love, integrity, and integration among human actors. This also encompasses a loss of connection with the spiritual plenum of life along with its social and political ramifications. What is needed is a transformation in human consciousness.
Two Paradigms to work with: Love or Fear
If we think of all of Life as one single ocean, separate entities can be seen as waves. They appear to be separate, but are in fact, part of the same ocean. They are all made of water.
People can see themselves as the whole ocean, or as separate waves. Each way of seeing oneself has implications which we will discuss later.
Here is another metaphor to explain the same thing:
Imagine a spherical source of light, which is fully uncovered (picture at left), i.e. light is emanating from all parts of the sphere.
Fig. 3.3 Covered Light
Now imagine this sphere is covered up partially. (Picture at right). The sphere at the right has some dark areas/ shadows over it’.zones of an absence of light. The sphere at the left represents Life a whole. The one at right is symbolic of Life limited by and overshadowed by the ego. The ego is simply a false identification of oneself with a limited notion of who I am. It is the ocean imagining falsely that it is a wave!
Based on the foregoing discussion, there are two different views that a person can take of himself /herself and the world. These are two basic Mind Models from which a person can run his or her Life: One based on
1. a limited notion of who one is: FEAR, or
2. an absence of any bounded or limited notion of who one is: LOVE
Fig. 3.4 Outcomes
The view of FEAR, by its very nature of limitation, creates rigid boundaries and contraction. It creates an inner sense of being incomplete. A vision of LOVE, on the other hand, leads to flexible boundaries and structures and an easier exchange of resources and information. A system based on LOVE is more integrated.
FEAR is like a scissor that keeps things apart. LOVE is like glue that connects and brings together. FEAR divides and LOVE unites. Fear is connected with getting identified with the Mind. The Mind habitually limits and divides, it labels and defines. It cannot work without doing this. However, beyond the Mind is a space of Awareness or No- Mind. This is a space which transcends all boundaries. This is the space of Love.
The figure 3.5 below lists some more consequences of operating from these two different perspectives:
Fig. 3.5 Fear Vs. Love
There is another interesting connection here. Fear (or identifying with a false notion of who we are) also leads to a sense of deficiency. This leads our actions into all kinds of ‘deficiency driven’ behaviour which blocks the flow of ideas, energy, resources, appreciation and gratitude. It also leads to other things like comparison, greed, boredom, controlling behaviour, a focus on ‘getting’, corruption, violence, conflict and a host of other reactions .The focus is on ‘what can I get?’
On the other hand, Love (which is being our real and whole Self) leads to a sense of abundance. This generates ‘abundance inspired’ behavior which liberates and enhances the flow of ideas, energy, resources, appreciation and gratitude. It also leads spontaneously to creative action, compassion, sharing, a focus on ‘giving’, gratitude and celebrating whatever life brings forth. The focus is on ‘what can I give?’
Fig. 3.6 Fear and Deficiency Driven
Fig. 3.7 Abundance Inspired
As we live from a space of Love and giving and receiving freely, we experience greater Joy in Life. As boundaries melt away, and the flow of thoughts, words and energy expands, we feel a deep oneness with all of Life. Another name for this oneness is ‘Wholesomeness’.
Wholesomeness: Being Love
‘A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security’.
– Albert Einstein
Wholesome, as an adjective, means promoting physical or moral health, producing a good effect; e.g… Wholesome food, air, exercise and advice. It also means healthy, sound, salutary, prosperous, auspicious and effective in operation resulting in good. When left in its most natural condition, with little egoistic and fear-based interference from the human mind, Life is naturally and intrinsically wholesome. Life is Love in action, moving us all towards creative expansion and growth, towards balance and health.
Wholesomeness is being one with Life. It is being whole’being one with love which is the heart of Life and it’s core of ease and freedom. It means responding to Life in a joyous, free, unconditioned, expansive and sustainable manner. It means living in peaceful surrender to Life with a feeling of deep acceptance, gratitude and freedom. (Freedom from fear and ignorance based on a partial understanding of life.) Wholesomeness is liberation from the narrow confines of prejudice, religiosity and sophistry. It is transcending the fragmenting and limited theories, intellectualizations and arguments put forth by the mind. In fact, it is letting go of the mind (with love in the heart) while remembering that the mind too has its own useful role in the whole scheme of things.
Wholesomeness understands that Life is abundant right now. There are infinite possibilities and resources all around. Seeing all as ‘Perfection in Progress’ and a huge opportunity to develop our capacities, there is no aversion or running away from anything. Neither is there a craving for anything. The inner and outer aspects of life are held in a unified harmony. There is perfect oneness between the spiritual aspect of life and the temporal. The dynamics of the material aspects of Life (matter and energy) are seen as being supportive of inner growth. All is seen as serving evolution and the expansion of joy, peace and well-being for all.
Having got sense of what ‘Wholesome’ means, let us now take a closer look at the word ‘development’. The word “development” has its genesis in the Latin word “vellum” which means a ‘veil’. The word ‘envelop’, means to cover. “Develop’ means to remove veils or to uncover. If the veils in our mind which separate human beings from the environment and other humans are slowly dissolved, everyone would begin to respond in ways which are more constructive and positive.
The artificial boundaries drawn between the individual and the whole create the basic shift away from wholeness to partiality. The environment is viewed as separate from humankind. One human being is seen as being separate from another. These separations and compartmentalization’s are the root cause of the dysfunctional aspects of development as we see it today. For example, one can produce in a factory whatever suits the limited goal of making profits, and in the process pollute a river which kills cows, trees and crops in a village downstream. Unawareness and separateness from the whole leads to a plethora of problems: conflict, violence, chaos, dissatisfaction, disease and much discord.
The central issue in development is therefore this: can we remove these man made boundaries which keep us from seeing each other and the whole as one inseparable and totally interdependent entity?
Wholesome Development is an antidote to this. It is the development of the whole and not just a part of a system. Specifically, it refers to the following:
‘ The well-being of all people, from all strata of society, all over the world;
‘ The sustained well-being of all living creatures and all dimensions of the environment; and
‘ The well-being in all spheres of life i.e. the inner and the outer; the physical, socio-emotional and spiritual aspects of all people.
In short, it means that all people lead a healthy full and productive life in balanced and harmonious inter-dependence with each other.
Flowing in alignment with the movement of nature is wholesome development. The question arises as to how we can know that the process is truly flowing with nature and not stagnating under the cloud of some griping illusion. How do we know that the system is operating in this optimal state? This is readily known when there is no stress, disease, or unbalanced pressure in any part of the system. At the individual level one would experience feelings of freedom, enthusiasm, joy and lightness. ..a sense of deep ease, peace and effortless and harmonious action. At the collective level the process would be evident by an absence of strife and violence; prevalence of peace and harmony, joyful work for all, a sense of community; and a stable and healthy eco-system.
Wholesome Development then is the movement away from the unnatural conditions of inequity, violence, disharmony, injustice, disease, and hunger towards the most natural optimal conditions of creativity, freedom from hunger, joyful occupation and full living. It is moving from ‘Ego Systems’ to ‘Eco Systems’, from pieces to peace and from competing with each other to completing each other. It is a movement towards joy, love and freedom in action: a free-for-all by all!
Wholesome Development, in this context is therefore, to be regarded as the sum total of events and activities that arise when the most natural, unblocked, undistorted flow of nature’s processes are allowed to take their own course. This happens all the time’ naturally and on its own. When we get in the way with our egos and create roadblocks with our unwholesome ideas of what we should or should not be doing, problems arise. Development is life as it is! What development is not is the outcome of deficiency driven ego-based interventions based on partial views and understanding: the plethora of models of experts, the managing of the managers, the activities of ego-centers of all kinds , the patterned superstitions of “oughts” and “shoulds” including the prescription of do’s and don’ts.
The figure below captures these ideas:
Fig. 3.8 The Impact of Different Mind Models
A few implications of this model are discussed below:
1) The ultimate unity of wholeness arises when we are revealed, the veil is removed. “Developing” is revealing, uncovering, unblocking, unfolding and discovering that which is. Letting nature unfold to this oneness is evolution. It is really a seeing of that which is, interfering less, and being as we are. There arises then, a unity of “being” and “doing”- that is “wholesome” viz. doing out of being and being out of doing.
2) The foremost task of development is to get people to understand these boundaries and to see that they are not real. We need to enable people to understand that the very absence of such boundaries is the peace and wholesomeness that we are all seeking. Moving toward this goal is not an outward journey as we are prone to conclude. This outward approach to development has caused the prevailing confusion. The movement is inwards but unlike a journey in progressive stages, it is simply a switching on of a different perception like suddenly seeing in a dark room after a light is switched on.
3) Being “natural” does not imply being caught up in strong desires or cravings and aversions. Being whole is operating out of a pure and creative mind. Actions harmful to others or to oneself or which may impinge on the freedom of others arise from being too caught up in one’s own ego and not respecting people. Another assumption is that if people operate from an inner okayness, they will spontaneously operate ethically in a manner that will not impinge on the rights, freedom, or respect of other people. They will not let others’ actions interfere with their rights. Such a system will be self-balancing, and a self-rectifying one.
4) Wholesome Development is to be viewed therefore, not as a static end state but as a dynamic, unfolding process – continuous in the sense that even when the whole world is developed, nothing will stop. Activities will go on but all these will arise from a different “inner state” of no-mind / fullness / totality.
5) From this standpoint, wholesome development does not imply any fixed standards uniformly applicable to people everywhere. Each one has to develop in his or her own unique way because everyone has a specific role in the overall scheme of the totality of existence. People have to be true to their own selves, live out their nature and that is the limit of natural development for the individuals. In doing so, there is no room for judging each other’s contributions to totality. Squirrels, oaks, chestnuts, fish are what they are and play their own role in the totality. If an individual is doing something which militates against his or her true nature, then there is no development for that person. Similarly if a social system or any of its subsystems is operating in a way which goes against the natural order or state of nature, that system is not developed.
Wholesome Sustainable Development and the Threefold Integration
Earlier on in this chapter, we read about the three disconnects that plague modern industrial societies on our planet today. Wholesome Development, as defined above, provides the glue to heal these three disconnects. By its very nature of being respectful of nature, it is also sustainable. The definition of sustainable development given below (used in the 1987 Brundtland report) is the most widely accepted one:
‘Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Finding ways for people to be healthier, safe, freer and richer that do not exceed the planet’s carrying capacity or sacrifice the happiness of our children’s children”
– Gro Harlem Brundtland (1987, The World Commission on Environment & Development)
Wholesome Sustainable Development can then be seen as a threefold integration as shown in the diagramme below:
Fig. 3.9 Wholesome Sustainable Development SD and the threefold integration
The emphasis here is on balance, equilateral harmony, integration and equilibrium within these interactions .This could be between people in their relationships with one another in the social setting; between people and their physical environment which they must use and yet conserve in a sustainable manner; and of people with their own selves to ensure joyful ethical action in consonance with the larger design of nature. If, as has been the practice heretofore, we do not have a holistic view of the interactions of people with the universe of ecology, values and society at the same time and with equal emphasis, distortions in human activities will be continue to grow manifold.
The three aspects of integration are really three strands of the same rope: The rope of Wholeness. This is what people need to cultivate if we want to see a shift in this direction at a manifest level.
Wholesome Development of People
Society is like a honeycomb of interconnected individuals and organizations. It resembles a massive cellular organism made up of 7.2 billion individual cells all with their unique genetic blueprints operating in a complex dynamic continuous mode: living, ageing, dying and creating variegated sub-systems. In a system of such complexity ,if we think of the individual as the system, then the development paradigm of “wholesomeness” is consistent and complete. In this state individuals operate in relation to their external connectedness to the whole. Therefore wholesomeness must not only be limited to the individual but be the characteristic of the whole society. So, unless the ‘whole’ is developed in that sense, development would not be wholesome.
In the final analysis, therefore, the challenge of transforming the thinking on development boils down to the problem of developed and undeveloped people (being different actors) in the whole system. Dysfunctional human behaviour, which knows no geographical or political boundaries, arises from conditioning and mind models of deficiency and limitation. These are also at the root of corruption, immoral and unethical behaviour, and the resulting social imbalances caused by these.
The primary task of Wholesome Development of People is the transcending and removal of mind boundaries. As a Canadian friend, Devon Reid says, ‘For this we will need to begin seeing things as ‘wholes’. How can we look at people, projects and the planet in ‘wholes’? How do we look through a looking glass that does not ‘analyse’, ‘fragment’, ‘deconstruct’, ‘differentiate’ but sees the ‘connection’, ‘association’, ‘similarity”the wholeness of things? How does seeing things in their entirety create a different ‘meaning’ than seeing it in parts? What are the advantages, disadvantages and how can we ‘relearn’ to see ourselves, each other and our environment in this way.’
This will require bringing back into the collective modern mind all those basic truths and values which have been the cornerstone of human civilization for over 5000 years. Reclaiming this wisdom will lead to ideas and actions which will alter human perception, feelings, behaviours and lead to a new way of life. In this age of Information Technology and the communications revolution, it will be relatively easy to achieve this rapid change in our perceptions. A creative flowering of homo sapiens would be the ultimate objective of social change leading to wholesome sustainable development. This would be true development arising from the Wholesome Development of People (WDP) for whom, in the final analysis, development is meant. The pathway to this is Inner Transformation.
Loving Action Now
1. Sit silently seeking the guidance of your innermost Self’ your Heart. Ask the question: ‘What do I need to be whole?’ Write down your answers using speedy and non-stop writing for a few minutes. Do not stop to read what is emerging till it is over. Reflect on what has emerged. What single action does it inspire? Plan to do that now.
2. Sit silently for a few moments and look all around you. Remember that everyone and everything that you see have all come from the same mass of hot gaseous material that was once a part of the Sun. See all as one dynamic whole. How does this perspective alter your feelings?
3. Take a decision to accept life just as it is as ‘Perfection in Progress’, and to start enjoying it here and now. What are some of the things you can start doing/stop doing? List them down and set up some time to make that happen.
Love is the Law of Life
‘Love is the law of Life. You live that you may learn to love. No other lesson is required of Man. You are the tree of Life. Beware of fractionating yourselves. Set not a fruit against a fruit, a leaf against a leaf, and a bough against a bough; nor set the stem against the roots; nor set the tree against the mother-soil. That is precisely what you do when you love one part more than the rest, or to the exclusion of the rest. No love is possible except by the love of self. No self is real save the All-embracing Self.
Therefore is Life all Love, because he loves himself. So long as you are pained by Love, you have not found your real self, nor have you found the golden key of Love. Because you love an ephemeral self, your love is ephemeral.’
‘ Mikhail Naimy, The Book of Mirdad: The Strange Story of a Monastery Which Was Once Called the Ark
Life with the Argon Atom
Argon is an inert gas- it combines with nothing. It makes up about 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere. 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere means 60 trillion tons of argon.
There are about 3×1019 argon atoms in each breath we take (That’s 30,000,000,000,000,000,000)
From your next breath exhaled – the argon quickly spreads:
By nightfall it is all over the neighbourhood, in a week it is all over the country, in a year it is spread evenly all over the earth, and inhalation one year from now gets at least 15 of them back.
We are rebreathing argon atoms of our and other’s breaths.
These argon atoms associate us with the past and future. The first gasp of every baby born one year ago had argon since breathed by you.
Likewise, the last gasp of all the dying.
Your next breath will contain more than 400,000 argon atoms breathed by Gandhi
Your next breath will contain argon atoms from Conversations at The Last Supper,
Arguments of diplomats at Yalta, Recitations of Homer and Shakespeare, and
Battle cries at Waterloo.
Likewise, the future generations will share yours.
We are intimately associated with the past and the future.
Does this not give us some responsibility for this air we breathe?
Do we have the right to corrupt it?
The moral of this story could be: Respect your breath! Keep it decent!
Condensed from Beyond the Observatory by Harlow Shapley, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1967
A Relevant Thought
In order to tackle the future global challenge it is my own personal belief that we need to combine technological ability with, for want of a better description, spiritual readjustment and a realization that certain truths are eternal and not merely subject to the whims of late 20th century fashion.
HRH The Prince of Wales
This Earth Should Be Saved : From Our Minds
All we know is that in this vast infinity we are the only people alive with a potentiality of becoming eternal, of becoming immortal. In every possible way this earth should be saved – from our minds.
The only way I can see is meditation. Upton now, mind has been our survival. From now onwards only meditation can be our survival because meditation means going beyond mind, searching for something in your consciousness which is higher than your mind, which can dictate to the mind, which can rearrange the mind. Mind is just a bio-computer; it needs new data, that’s all. Instead of fear it can learn to love; instead of being in danger it can start enjoying the eternity of its life source.
Osho: Zen: Turning In
The (Peculiar) Journey of Awakening to Wholesomeness
The peculiar nature of the Journey
One of the famous stories of the legendary Mullah Nasr Uddin is about him fretting over the loss of his one and only donkey. Alas, even a frantic search for his donkey bore no fruit. After long, he realized that the donkey that he had been searching for everywhere was actually always with him: he was riding it! Another similar story is of the man who looked everywhere for his spectacles not realizing that they were actually propped up on his head the entire while! Have you heard of the musk deer? The musk deer looks for the source of this beautiful, mindboggling scent all over. He travels far and wide, wandering crazily over difficult terrain and suffering the torment of thorny bushes in search of the scent. But, alas, no luck! Little does the musk deer know that the incredible scent is actually emanating from his own musk gland on his belly!
Do we notice the peculiar similarity in all these stories? Peculiar because the common thread in all of them is that someone was looking for something they already had! It was never lost. Exactly the same is the case for Wholeness ‘it is never different from ‘you’. The problem arises because we forget who we are. While we try to find ourselves in all external situations, we miss the profound beauty and grace of the infinite treasure of who we really are. Why do we forget? Why do we become so out of touch? So disconnected? Because we are mostly active and usually seeking outwards. We are always on the run, thinking that something ‘more’ will give us the lasting happiness we still have to find. If only we took a few moments and just quietly settled down, we would find peace and silence within us. This is the source of the everlasting peace that we are looking for. It is a space that holds all viewpoints but is not held by anything. It is in this space that everything is born and nourished. It is this space into which everything finally dissolves and rests. Everything is in the embrace of this unbounded, limitless space.
Everything that humans do is a search for this space. Ironic as it may seem, this is both funny and sad. All the effort, the slaving and fatigue that people suffer is in order to find the essence of this very space. We look for peace and joy outside of us. We run around like headless chicken. Yet, if only we could just be still for a few minutes and realize how much we are already: how beautiful, powerful and creative we truly are. Why are we like this? Because we ourselves are the creator. There is no difference between the creator and ‘I’. We are already home! The discerning reader may then well ask what this so called ‘journey’ is all about? This peculiar journey is from Now-Here to Nowhere! It is a process of reclaiming what is’of waking up to what is already here and now. This, this is it.
Human beings are intrinsically whole and abundant. You just have to watch children to understand this. They are one with their feelings and with the abundance and wholeness of Life. If we see that a feeling of abundance and wholeness is the foundation for a joyous, creative and ethical life. This implies that in their most natural and pure state people will automatically act joyously, creatively and ethically. However, this doesn’t happen. The reason for this is that people have forgotten their real and whole Self. While they are the ocean, they imagine falsely, that they are a limited wave. This is an illusory state of limitation and separation leading to unethical behaviour. The antidote to this is to awaken people to their intrinsic wholeness. When one is whole, one will spontaneously be creative and ethical in ones actions.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
– Lao Tzu
“As long as I am this or that, I am not all things.”
– Meister Eckhart
Our understanding of Wholesome Development is based on an integrated, total and holistic view. This view, the foundation of wholesome development, is not only about ourselves and our experiences, but also of everything that happens around us. Only when we are wholesome ourselves, can we be active instruments of unfolding wholesomeness in our life.
There is, however, an important distinction between the direct, intuitive recognition of wholesomeness (where one is whole) and a similar understanding that is based on an intellectual understanding of the concept. It is like the difference between a picture of a glass of water and a real glass of water. The former cannot ever quench thirst. Many people who ‘talk’ about spirituality, of holding an integral worldview, sustainable development etc. do not necessarily live out these principles in their own lives. We have all seen ‘gurus’ who preach one thing but have huge gaps in their personal integrity. A mere intellectual understanding of wholesome development is simply not wholesome. It is only when the emotions have been purified, and the body-mind has been gently brought into a relaxed alignment with the flow of life as a whole, that one begins to live wholesomeness in one’s life. Cognitive development is certainly necessary, but it is not sufficient for being wholesome. An intellectual understanding of this book can be of some minor help. However, it doesn’t guarantee anything. You cannot think your way to wholesomeness. A book about fire can do little for a man shivering in the cold. I cannot roast a potato on a PowerPoint presentation of a blazing fire! Likewise, this book is just like a map on wholesome development. While a map is very helpful, it is not the same as the territory. We all need to clearly see that merely learning this road map, and talking about it at conferences, and having endless conversations on it, is not the same as awakening to wholeness, and being a shining example of wholesome living.
Fig. 4.1 A Picture of Water Can’t Quench Thirst
The walk and the talk need to go hand in hand. While going through this chapter, it will be important to remember that the impact of what has been shared can come alive for the reader only through regular practice and diligent cultivation of this understanding. After some time, as the process of inner transformation and understanding ripens, these practices may not be necessary!
Change vs. Transformation
We often use the words ‘change’ and ‘transformation’ interchangeably. There is however a vast difference in the two.
Fig. 4.2 Change vs. Transformation
Change refers to a shift in the same form. When we say we want to change our organizational structure, we shift roles and move people around. In a similar process, we can change our physical surroundings and perhaps even our behaviour i.e. we can be more polite, diplomatic etc. Change can be achieved without any fundamental transformation happening.
Transformation, on the other hand, means transcending form to create a new form. The word transformation therefore implies a movement from one form to the other. Transformation automatically and necessarily involves change. An analogy to describe the process of transformation is that of the journey of a caterpillar to a butterfly.
When we get sincere about our journey on the path of wholesomeness, we are not talking about a mere change here and there. We are talking about a huge shift in our paradigm of seeing ourselves and our relationship with life. We are talking about inner transformation which is the foundation of both sustainability and wholesomeness.
What is Inner Transformation?
Inner transformation refers to a deep shift in the way a person sees himself and his relationships with the world. It is distinctly different from a mere change of perspective. This is because it implies a radical restructuring of one’s paradigms and mental models. The word ‘inner’ here refers to the roots of our mind including our deepest beliefs, values and assumptions. This is the place where radical transformations happen.
Fig. 4.3 The Three Types of People
Just as working with the roots of a tree changes the quality and life of the tree, deep surgery at the level of our beliefs, desires, motives, sense of who we are, notions of purpose leads to changes in the ‘tree’ of our own life. Most of these inter-related elements are hidden beneath the surface. Like an ice-berg, we only see the outer manifestation of these deeply held structures. Lasting transformation, therefore, can only happen when we plumb deep into our minds and reach the inner most point of pure awareness. The outer world of our thoughts, words and actions (and all that these create in the world) is thus slowly transformed. As the inner roots are transformed, the outer tree and fruits also undergo radical change.
Another way of looking at what is happening at the roots is to use the analogy of a bright light (our unbounded awareness) getting slowly covered by soot. As long as the soot is covering the bulb, it will not be able to radiate light. To regain the light, the soot has to be cleaned away.
This is exactly what happens to human experience. The infinite creative and positive power that is naturally present in each and every one of us (by virtue of our own consciousness) can be rendered ineffective if not tended to properly. The stress of our lifestyle, the pollution of our environment, and the collective stress of our world keeps us from functioning to our full potential.
Building on the above, we can think of ourselves as ‘bright bulbs’ which have temporarily been covered up with soot. When we are covered up, we operate in a limited way. When we are open and unblocked, and functioning freely, we operate in a creative force for positive change. Inner Transformation is simply the process of shedding our illusions, limiting beliefs, negative thoughts and ideas of lack, which block the glory and abundance of the real Self. It is awakening to our essence – our essence which is always there, but of which we are not fully conscious. The process of Inner Transformation or unfolding spirit is one of:
‘ Removing blocks
‘ Restoring the natural balance and flow
‘ Purifying and
As we have seen earlier, wholesome development is really the sum total of the outcomes of individual choices. Each individual makes their choices according to their prevailing perceptions and mental models. Bringing about wholesome development will necessarily have to come about through the inner transformation of people, one person at a time. The starting point for this process is within oneself. Just as a sleeping person cannot wake up another sleeping person, all of us who aspire to be instruments of wholesome development need to start the process of Inner Transformation within ourselves. As Mahatma Gandhi has said ‘We need to be the change we want to see in the world.’
Awakening to our Self: Windows of Awareness
In a parable about awakening, Lord Buddha spoke of how we can use a thorn to take out another thorn embedded under our skin and then throw away both the thorns! In the same way, certain mental exercises can take us along the path of Inner Transformation to the point where we can jump out of our limitations and then revel in the ‘wholeness’ of life, our own Self. We then need to constantly remind ourselves of this wholeness in our lives and to stay connected with this oneness. A set of daily practices have been shared later on in this chapter to enable us to do this.
It is said that there are as many windows to wholeness (or Life) as there are people. Each person’s window is unique. In what follows, nine such windows (leading onto the sky of wholeness) have been shared. You can choose the one which ‘calls you’ i.e. the one most suited to your body-mind and which feels the most comfortable for you to play with. Do stay focused on the sky of wholeness to which the window leads’do not get stuck at the window!
Window 1: I Am Nothing
We have been conditioned to believe that we are somebody or something. We think we are this body. We are identified with the mind, with our roles, cultures, religions, nationalities and a hundred other things (e.g.’ I am introverted’ or ‘I am a disorganized person’)
The truth is, you are nothing’.No-thing. You are pure emptiness. Silent, peaceful, unbounded nothingness. This is one of the most powerful nothingness’ in the Universe. To use a phrase popularized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it is pure creative intelligence.
Window 2: I Include and Am Everything
Expand the boundaries of who you are to include everything. This body is in me. This chair I see is in me. The mountain over there is in me. The clouds and trees and birds are in me. Saturn, Jupiter and the Sun are in me. The galaxies and stars and the entire Milky Way are in me. In the infinite sweep of my own Self, I hold all’ I am an infinite hold’all which holds the past, the present, and the future. I hold all that wasn’t, all that was, and all that will be. All is none other than my own Self, my own Body. I am Everything and everything is in me. I am All.
Window 3: I Am Love
My essence is love’ the mystery that holds the whole universe together. Through this essence, I am the stuff that underlies everything, connects everything and joins us all in one mysterious dance. I am seeing that the same energy which gives life to the trees and the birds is my own. I am connected and attached to everything that exists. I am a space of understanding and courageous action. I am the source of deep caring because I am connected. I deeply and completely love, accept and forgive myself. I deeply and completely love, accept and forgive others. All that is happening in my life is part of the creative plan of the whole. All is a blessing. I take everything as a dance of love in action and with a spirit of deep gratitude. My life is love in loving action.
Window 4: Being in the Now
Whatever is present here and now is my window. Wherever my foot falls, is the way. This, here now, is my way to wholeness. All is perfect as it is. All is whole, now. The rustle of leaves outside my window, the distant crowing of the crow, people talking below on the road, the thud of a plastic bucket being put down on the floor, the tinkle of bangles, the sniffle of the nose, opening door, creaking sound, the sound of the aeroplane passing by overhead’ All this is the whole, and it is sacred. This paper, this pen, this nib moving on paper, the sound of the chime, splash of water’ All this is the whole (Life) at play, Life at work, Life dancing here and now. I am totally present to and one with this moment.
Window 5: I Am Eternal Awareness
Everything that changes is not I. Everything that moves is not I. I am the screen on which all these changing images dance, onto which they are projected. I am the underlying Awareness, which sees all change, all movement, and all transition in the realm of space and time. I am that which existed before this body’mind was born, and which will remain ever after this body-mind has fallen back into the elements. I will remain long after the water that makes up this body has returned to the biosphere, much after these thoughts and memories have merged again into the no sphere. I am that eternal, unchanging witness which watches all changes, but cannot be seen. I see all and remain as I am’ pure, eternal, unbounded and changeless Awareness.
Window 6: Working Wholeheartedly
Working wholeheartedly is working from a space of joy and love. It is doing things in the here and now for the sheer joy of it. It is working from an inner awareness that understands that I am not the ‘doer’, but that the work is ‘happening’ through the movements of the whole. It means working with a total energetic presence in this moment, doing things which are aligned with our own joyful expression of that within us which seeks expression. Working wholeheartedly is working with an integration between what I love doing and what needs to be done in this moment. It is a sharing of our gifts in the service of the whole.
As we share our gifts from this space of love, and connect with others in compassionate service, we become whole. We lose a sense of the past and the future and are in a state of FLOW ‘ Fullness & Loving Overflowing in Work. This FLOW is wholeness at work!
Window 7: Letting Go
Let go and let life do its work through you. This is complete inward surrender to life, while still acting with enthusiasm and energy in whatever life brings up to be done. It is born of a deep understanding that the ways of the whole are loving and evolutionary, always, and in all ways. Remember that all that happens will strengthen what has to be strengthened, and destroy what has to be destroyed. Letting go is remembering that all that happens is a part of a large interconnected web of events and processes’ all designed to unfold love, unity and understanding. Surrendering does not mean surrendering action. It means surrendering a sense of ‘doership’. It is surrendering the limited ‘I’. It is realizing that everything depends upon where we choose to draw this arbitrary boundary called ‘I’, and that I can choose to let-go of this whole process of definition, and just surrender to the mystery of being whole.
Letting go is also a letting go of judgment’ of comparisons with past memories and comparisons with future dreams. It means just being with what is, and doing whatever needs to be done now. It is trusting Mother Gaia with FAITH… Forsaking All, I Trust Her… Trusting that all rivers will take me to the ocean. Joyously letting go into the flow and knowing that the whole is love, and love will never let love down!
Window 8: I Am Whole
There is nothing in this existence which is not me. Everything is contained in and is me. The totality of life is me. I am whole. Nothing is outside me. All is inside. Infact, there is no inside or outside, because all in one. I am that one. There is no other. All is my Self’ all is whole. This dance, called life, this marvelous unfolding called existence, is all I in its totality. I am beyond all opposites, beyond all judgments, beyond all duality, for I am whole. I am the day and the night, happiness and sadness, the calm and the storm, turbulence and peace, moral and immoral. I am all. In me is contained everything. I am full. I am abundant and infinitely resourceful’ for all is contained in the whole, which is the source.
Window 9: I Am
Just remember I Am. While eating, remember the I Am which is witnessing your body’mind eating. While reading this, remember the I Am which is witnessing your body-mind reading this piece. No matter what you are doing, remember the I Am which cannot be seen, or touched or felt or heard or imagined, but which witnesses all this and remains the same always. When the mind is sad, remain as the I Am which is like the sky watching a cloud of sadness goes by. When the body’mind is joyful, remember the I Am which watches this happiness rise and fall. Remember the intrinsic freedom of I Am’ It’s vast, limitless and unconditional peace. This is who you are.
The diagram below can serve as a reminder of the kind of life one can expect to lead after we have started on the journey of Inner Transformation. A deep understanding of the intelligent ways of the whole and a surrender to this flow leads to a heart full of gratitude. As we grow in gratitude, and understand how we are part of a beautiful, dynamic interplay of processes and their interactions, we grow in humility. This, in turn, strengthens our understanding and oneness with the whole.
Fig 4.4 Living Wholesomely
Intuition and Trust, Doing while Being
When you are settled in or when you are at home in wholeness, there is no separate ‘doer’ doing anything. All your thoughts, words and actions emerge spontaneously from an inner space of total freedom. There are no barriers, there is no resistance, and there is nothing to be achieved. There is only a spontaneous and natural flow of events which are born out of peace, joy, freedom and infinite resourcefulness. Action happens by itself. The Chinese called this ‘Wu Wei Wu” doing through non-doing. In the Bhagvad Gita, shloka number 18 in the fourth chapter refers to the same paradoxical truth (doing through ending action and knowledge), ‘He who recognizes inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men, and he is a Yogi and a true performer of all actions’.
The basic difference between working in this way and the way we are normally used to, is that there is a limited and bounded ‘doer’ who Is doing something in latter and no doer in the former. In one there is a sense of separation from other people and from nature and in the other there is a complete oneness with all of life.
Benefits of this Journey
The journey of transformation helps us to reclaim our inner balance, making us free of the destructive patterns that we have formed through the course of our lives.
‘ Through the journey, our observer Self becomes more and more prominent. We are able to watch the sea of consciousness, without having to dive into it. We begin to become aware of the small patterns that we have formed; we realize their insignificance and are then, slowly, able to shed them.
‘ As our observer Self becomes stronger, we can ‘see’ our thoughts without aggravating them or fighting them. In inciting situations, if we practice this alignment of the body and breath, we are practicing awareness. Our attention is taken up by this and hence, we become less likely to react. So we see our thoughts as just thinking and our experiences as just experiences, without reacting to them.
Sogyal Rinpoche (1992) states ‘the practice of mindfulness defuses our negativity, aggression and turbulent emotions’ Rather than suppressing emotions or indulging in them, here it is important to view them, and your thoughts, and whatever arises with an acceptance and generosity that are as open and spacious as possible’
We will see a little later, how this technique can be practiced for short durations and how it becomes so much a part of you, that it can even be practiced in stressful situations, while being fully alert and responsive. Normally, in such a situation, without the benefit of this practice, we would become reactive and unskillful, letting our momentary discomforts take over.
‘ Creativity unfolds as we let go of the mind. We continue to use the mind, but more like a useful slave. It no longer is a master. Originality, flexibility and fluency of ideas, unfold. Ability to focus and comprehend improves. There is more laughter!
‘ As we become more used to this practice, as stated above, we start understanding the transient nature of our feelings and thoughts.
‘ As our mind becomes relaxed and less conditioned to our automatic reactiveness, we are able to act more skillfully. In Buddhist literature this is called ‘spontaneously arising wisdom’. For example, in a stressful situation, where your most likely response would be anger, you make a joke about the feeling.
‘ Life becomes more interesting and fulfilling. One is more ‘in the moment’.
‘ For people suffering from physical or emotional pain, the central theme of their thoughts becomes this pain. In this state of mind, if mindfulness is practiced, one’s awareness is heightened, making the pain a nourishing not diminishing practice.
‘ Regular practice of mindfulness has a positive effect on one’s physical health. Research has shown that it can improvise physiological processes like metabolism, blood circulation and resting. Chronic illnesses like asthma and high blood pressure have been known to become okay with regular mindfulness practice.
‘ One’s own sense of self-worth and self-respect improve significantly. One experiences deep ‘okayness’ which is not dependent on any external condition. The understanding that one is pure and unbounded awareness melts any limitation or fear. Discovering one’s true Self leads to a dramatic shift in the paradigm we hold in life. Life thus becomes playful and less serious. This contributes further to our effectiveness. Stress is significantly reduced.
‘ Unpleasant feelings and notions are not dwelled upon. They are just observed and allowed to flow. Neither are they encouraged, not destroyed.
‘ With this alignment secure, one becomes more aware of the importance of his/her physical well-being as well. The determination is because of the understanding that ‘my body is my temple’, making exercise and fitness a natural response. Laziness disappears and motivation to take care takes a stronger and more permanent place in the hearts of the people. The rejuvenation and freshness that accompany this change motivates the individual further.
‘ Job satisfaction, productivity and performance have all been found to increase through regular practice of being present. This is the outcome of all the above factors as well as increased energy and vitality, decreased anxiety and hostility, and significantly better team work.
People who are awake to their own wholeness spontaneously provide the leadership for social transformation to occur. They become attractors for social coherence and collective action. Through the liberation for their own capacity, they become instrumental for the liberation of the collective capacity for good.
Loving Action Now
At this point, the practical reader of this article would be wondering how we can get people to make this inner transformation a reality in their lives? What could be practical ways to cultivate and remind us of wholeness in our lives?
Some of the practices described below when implemented regularly will help us progress on the journey of inner transformation.
1. Do one or two things everyday that touches your heart. Things that you really love or care about e.g. If you love listening to music, ensure that it is part of your everyday time table.
2. While speaking and listening to people, ensure that you look at them deep in the eyes. Remember that when you make eye contact, you connect with the essence in people.
3. While greeting people and saying ‘Namaste’, keep in mind its true meaning. When my wholeness meets you (the same wholeness), I salute this sacred wholeness that is one. This will ensure that one will never feel either superior or inferior to the other because the same wholeness that is you is also present in the other.
4. Before eating, remember in gratitude the food prepared lovingly for you. Thank existence for it. Say to yourself, ‘I am feeding the source’. You will consequently never overeat/under-eat.
5. When you walk, walk in mindfulness. Every day, slow down your pace for a few minutes and be conscious of how you walk.
6. While having a bath, be grateful for your body and body parts. They enable us to do the will of the whole.
7. Make music, dance and exercise a part of your daily ritual.
8. Explore a date with yourself ‘ two hours per week solely and wholly for what you love doing, by yourself.
9. Regularly take up practices to clear away the roots of negative emotions in the body-mind. There are many ways to clear these up, e.g. keeping a journal in which you can regularly pen your feelings, thoughts and experiences. You can also use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to clear up emotional blocks (www.emofree.com).
10. Meditate, meditate and meditate. Practice meditation at fixed points of reference every day, e.g. sunrise, sunset, full moon, and new moon. Half an hour of meditation in the morning and about half an hour in the evening is recommended. Choose a separate place in your house for meditation and spiritual practice. The space gets identified with meditation and simply entering it, calms the mind.
11. Listen to your inner voice regularly. It is the voice of the whole in your heart. Whenever you have a problem or are confused, rather than consult the outer guide, refer to this inner guide.
12. Discern between pleasure and happiness and joy and bliss. Pleasure is eating a bar of chocolate or buying a new dress. It is short-term and short-lived. Bliss and joy is a continuous state and is not affected by events/people. It is who you really are.
13. Have a set of regular affirmations that will help you to remain aware and conscious of the self.
14. Laugh a lot. Laughter releases beta endorphins that help our immune system and give us a feeling of wellness.
15. Remember that life is like a cinema. ‘I am the screen of awareness’ – different images are played on it’. bomb blasts, love scenes. I am nitya (eternal). All that happens is a stream of impermanent images (anitya). Nothing happens to our intrinsic wholeness, which is who we are.
16. Be aware of what you eat, and what you use – both on yourself, and in your environment. Choose natural, organic products.
17. Live a life of kindness, compassion, and charity – it keeps you connected to your center, your source, that infinite reservoir within you that is your powerhouse.
18. Don’t judge people, or situations – approach each moment with the knowledge that it contains within it the potential for any number of possibilities.
19. Simplify and slow down your life – don’t clutter it. When you feel yourself beginning to speed up, repeat your mantra to slow down. Don’t confuse slowness with sloth. In slowing down, we attend meticulously to details, giving our very best to even the smallest undertaking that we take up. Do one thing at a time-attempting to do too many things may seem to be more efficient. In reality it fragments us. Whatever you choose to do, give it your full focus and attention.
20. Everyday consciously do something for others even though they may not have asked for it. Merely focusing on what you want to do, your own goals, needs, wants, plans, and ideas makes one feel lonely, insecure and disconnected from others. Put others first in your life. This also helps to build the feeling of oneness and interconnectedness.
21. Choose your friends and company well. The right association will enable your faster movement on the journey to inner transformation. The people you meet often and exchange friendship with need to be people on the same evolutionary journey as yourself.
22. Read books that uplift your spirit and mind. Choose your books/TV programs/magazines as carefully as your choose your friends. Be selective. It is useful to start and end the day with reading what spiritual masters have written. A book to read every day is ‘Opening Doors Within’ by Eileen Caddy.
23. Try to bring more mindfulness in your daily actions. This can be done by consciously slowing down the pace of things you normally do, such as eating your food, writing a letter, walking down the stairs. Do them at half the speed that you normally do.
All these practices awaken you with your essence thereby creating a foundation for living.’
Box 4. 1
GIGGLE ABOUT EVERYTHING BUT YOUR TRANSFORMATION
I am simply stating a very sad fact. Your giggling is nothing but an effort to erase the impact which I am trying to create.
Giggle about everything else, but not about your transformation. That giggling is your unconscious trying to deceive you, telling you something or other will happen, so you need not worry. The unconscious does not want to disappear. Your unconscious is nine times more than your conscious; it is nine times powerful too. And you have to be very alert not to be caught in the powerful unconscious; otherwise, it will close all the doors, all the possibilities, all the potentialities of transformation.
I am in absolute support of your giggling about everything in the world except the transformation that is needed within you. And the problem is that you are very serious about everything in the world, and only nonserious about your own inferiority. Your unconscious is always there, so powerful that if it get any chance – pope or no pope – the unconscious will be the winner. You have to make your consciousness so strong that the unconscious slowly, slowly becomes weaker and finally dies. That’s the meaning of the enlightened man: one whose unconsciousness has disappeared, whose whole being is full of consciousness. Whatever I am saying, it is my absolutely clear vision that the world in very close to its end. Don’t giggle it away. Don’t find rationalizations; they won’t help.
There is no time to waste in any unconscious consolations. An immediate transformation is absolutely needed; it is an urgency which man has never faced before. In a way, you are unfortunate that soon there will be no future. In another way, you are very fortunate because this crisis is so big – perhaps it may help you to wake up. Your awakening is of tremendous importance; it has never been so important before – neither with Jesus nor with Gautam Buddha – because there was enough time. Time has run out. We are at the fag end of time. To make you aware of the reality – so that you can make some effort to remain awake, to make some effort to be more conscious and not to get lost in trivia – is absolutely necessary. That’s why my insistence will go on growing, because every day the end is approaching closer.
Man is so asleep he is almost in a coma, and all his actions are arising out of this state of coma – otherwise, there is no necessity for the world to end. But we are carrying nuclear weapons within our souls. The end is going to come because of our own ignorance, our own deep sleep.
Source : Osho Times International, June 1992.
ONE SEED MAKES THE WHOLE EARTH GREEN
One single seed can make the whole earth green. A single Buddha can make the whole world afire with a new consciousness and a new humanity.
You are the very hope of a world, which is in great despair, in great anguish.
It is not only a question of your individuality, becoming a Buddha; it is a question of saving this whole planet. This planet can be saved only by people who understand that every living being is Life.
To destroy anything is ugly and barbarous. Particularly to destroy life is absolutely disgusting, because if you cannot create life, you don’t have any right to destroy it.
One seed makes the whole earth green.
Osho (One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green)
The animal in us needs immediate transformation.
The human in us needs conscious liberation.
The divine in us needs perfect disclosure.
The Supreme in us needs complete manifestation.
To see Life we need transformation. To be invited by Life we need liberation.
To be loved by Life we need revelation.
To be immortalized by Life we need manifestation.
Transformation of the body shows us how pure we can be.
Liberation of the vital shows us how dynamic we can be.
Revelation of the mind shows us how vast we can be.
Manifestation of the heart shows us how divine we can be.
Liberation is marching along the road of Immortality.
Revelation is running along the road of Eternity.
Manifestation is flying the fastest toward the ever transcending Reality.
We can be as pure as the sunrise. We can be as dynamic as a divine warrior. We can be as vast as the sky. We can be as divine as the soul. Transformation is walking along the road of Infinity
(http://www.srichinmoy.org/resources/library/talks/transformation/transformation_liberation, Beyond. Magic: The Path of Inner Transformation by Paul A. Clark http://www.lvx.org/Archive/magic.htm)
The Pause Diet
The Pause Diet is elegantly simple. Not only is it highly relevant to mindful eating, but its use can easily be extended to bring checks and balances into other areas of our life. In our hectic, distracted routine, food is often given extreme treatment. That is, we either over-indulge or pay scant attention to what is going into our system. Mindful Eating is a practice with many obvious and subtle benefits. The Pause Diet suggests that we give our self the time to notice and register what we are eating and if we really need to have any more. So a simple way to be more mindful is to:
1. Pause before you eat: Make it a habit to stop a brief moment, before you buy or order food, or before you take a serving.
2. Pause before your next bite or spoonful: Place the fork or spoon down between mouthfuls. You will begin to truly appreciate the meal.
3. Pause halfway through what you are eating: Give yourself a moment to relish the taste, feel grateful for the nourishment and to sense when you are actually full.
These steps seem rather obvious in hindsight, isn’t it? But actually practising them takes a great deal of awareness. Here’s how we can extend the use of the Pause Diet to enhance our overall wellbeing:
1. Pause the thought and ask yourself the classic Byron Katie question: ‘Is this true?’ This may end the stream of thought right in its tracks, before it creates any further worry or strife.
2. Pause the thought stream as it rises, and step out into observer mode. Notice how the thoughts rise and fall away. Not resisting them or energizing them, the simple act of ‘moving out of the story’ for a fraction of time can ease them away.
3. Pause as the cascading thoughts gather momentum and gently remind yourself of the observer mode. This forms the basis of many meditation and chanting practises.
1. Pause to remind your self ‘ ‘I am experiencing this emotion’. For example, instead of thinking ‘I am angry’, remind yourself that ‘I am experiencing anger.’ This helps to acknowledge the emotion while not identifying yourself with it. It is a reminder that the emotion is transient and will pass.
2. Pause to question the cause of this emotion ‘ Very often, the true cause of the emotion is far different from the apparent reason on hand. Understanding what is really bothering will help you to resolve the emotion as also notice any underlying behaviour patterns.
3. Pause to breathe ‘ Acknowledgement, acceptance and peace come more easily when you simply return your attention to your breath. In heightened emotional states, we are setting off a cascade of physiological changes. These can be moderated by conscious breathing, especially into your heart area.
1. Pause before making any commitments or taking any action ‘ Check to see if the action is in keeping with your values and priorities. Check to see if it makes you feel more like who you really are
2. Pause as you begin the task ‘ Focus your attention to the here and now, so that you can do full justice to whatever it is that you are doing.
3. Pause during the task to re-evaluate ‘ Once you have begun a task or project, new information will begin to flow. You may need to make changes that incorporate this experience and knowledge.
Wishing you a lighter and brighter life!
By Sangeeta Bhagwat
THE NOW EXERCISE
This note is about being present to whatever is happening in the moment with full awareness and with relaxed acceptance. It is about being in a space of Joy, Creativity and Peaceful Enthusiasm, ready to respond appropriately to whatever challenges life may bring moment to moment.
‘ Being present to whatever is happening in the moment has many benefits. Some of these are:
‘ The body-mind is deeply relaxed, joyful and at peace; one is more receptive and so notices accurately what is happening within and outside;
‘ One has more access to the Creative Intelligence that runs all of life. This enhances ones bandwidth of possibilities. The creativity of ones response is higher.
‘ All the above points lead to more appropriate , creative and speedier responses to situations; and
‘ One feels more in touch with one’s inner guidance, with other people and with nature.
A Few Practices:
Being in the moment is more of a ‘knack’ than a practice. It’s more like something that grows on you and becomes an approach to life. However, it helps to cultivate this ‘knack’ with a few practices. These are given below:
‘ Attend to the senses and what they are bringing in, in this moment. Attend to what you are hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, feeling and tasting right now. Tell yourself ‘Pure Awareness is receiving all these’. You are that Pure Awareness.
‘ Slow down your movements. Eat slowly, walk slowly and move your body slowly. Consciously slowing down brings you into the moment.
‘ Stop everything once in a while (‘STOP’) and just be a witness to whatever is going on. Witness the inflow and outflow of breathing.
‘ Sometimes affirm to yourself slowly: ‘My holiness blesses the world’; ‘Unbounded love and wholeness am I’; ‘Creative intelligence and peace am I’; ‘All is well and all is perfect now’.
‘Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle;
‘Opening Doors Within’ by Eileen Caddy;
‘Managing From the Heart’ by Arun Wakhlu
Awakening Wholesome Leadership and Collective Action
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
– Antoine De Saint-Exupery
How do we manifest and co-create One Wholesome World? To start with, we envision it together and hold this vision collectively in our intentions. We then water the seeds of these intentions by loving and collective action in the service of the whole. We celebrate each moment as bringing us a beautiful opportunity to act from Love in tune with the wholeness of Life. Good leaders, who are one with Life, can catalyze this process.
The future of our planet will depend upon the quality of Leadership at all levels. No matter where you look, you see that some of the most life-affirming and valuable things that humankind has experienced have arisen from people who were ‘on fire’: by leaders who held a powerful vision and passionately worked with others to manifest it. By realizing their fullest potential and by inspiring others to do the same, and also by acting as integrators, such leaders generated new capacities for action. They became instrumental for the liberation of the collective capacity for good.
In this chapter we will look at a possible Vision for One Wholesome World; how life is already working (through spirited people) for such a world to evolve; and how Wholesome Leaders can be instrumental in awakening collective action towards realizing this vision.
Vision for One Wholesome World
Holding a clear Vision is the starting point for manifesting something. When disturbing world events occur, use your imagination to picture the eventual positive outcome. Rather than focus on how bad things are, hold a vision of the possibilities of transformation that exist in every area of life. Refuse to live in fear or to energize negative scenarios’do not think of them, imagine them, or worry about them. Every time a negative picture comes into your mind, replace it with a positive vision for humanity.
The Vision for One Wholesome World shared below draws from many voices:
‘ The thoughts of participants in a global gathering for One Wholesome World, which met in Caux, Switzerland from 17 to 23 July 2012;
‘ The Vision Alignment Project , which shares many positive visions for a world that works for all http://www.visionalignmentproject.com/ ;
‘ The Vision of Orin and Da Ben http://www.orindaben.com ; and
‘ ‘THE AGE OF EMPOWERMENT’ by Matthew Webb http://www.infinityaffinity.org/age_of_empowerment.htm
It has been written in the present tense, as if it has already happened! This will hasten its manifestation.
We are all One Life
All people have realized that at our deepest core, we are all one. We have inside us the same source of energy. Awake to the magnificent wholeness of Life, there is hope, optimism, and positive actions for a brighter future for all.
Awake to their real and whole Self, and understanding the larger context of Life as a whole, people are mentally clear, emotionally calm, and spiritually aware. Everyone is in touch with their creativity, strength, courage, and wisdom. People everywhere make right decisions. Energetically inspired by the higher Self, they carry out actions skillfully. All serve from their natural gifts and talents. Humanity experiences an outpouring of love, new ideas, and deep compassionate connections.
Every leader is a radiating point of light, hope, inspiration, and courage.
Humanity is in alignment with the evolutionary flow of Life.
The innocence and pure minds of our children are respected .Being a parent is a joyus and holy process. Parents work in harmony and joy to let children explore nature and as they absorb respect, love of self and caring in their lives, so that they can use their talents to their maximum, and find happiness in themselves. Every single child has access to receiving the education that he or she deserves, so that each child can nourish his or her gifts to the maximum-an education where the child is respected and parents and teachers realize and guide the child to follow his real Self. An education that engages and integrates that encourages and supports, that builds togetherness and love as it resonates with the Wholeness of Life and the unfolding of the higher good.
We are all One Family
Having awakened to the understanding that all of humankind is One, people treat one another with love and respect. People are responsible in their actions and thoughts as they understand that the best way to serve ourselves is to serve others. In the co-creation of a world that benefits all, lies our benefit.
Criticism and judgment have been replaced with understanding, love, and cooperation. There is an unprecedented level of cooperation, teamwork, and sharing. Boundaries between peoples, gender, nations, and races have dissolved.
We have a world in which conscious communities of all kinds exist. People live and work in many small rural and urban communities which are green, sustainable, thriving and joyously healthy. People freely share their gifts. Each person and group helps another to realize their dreams in service of the whole. People are supportive of those in need, and are generous with their assistance and sharing.
Business has become ethical and life affirming. Profits are made based on win-win-win partnerships taking care of the needs of all stakeholders including Nature! Business is led by Wholesome Leaders who have heart and people are treated with courtesy and love. Innovation, collaboration and creative recreation flourish. Humanity has enlightened leadership by all people in leadership positions.
People will be trusting as they know that business is an honorable and safe process: every deed done will be beneficial and will be strengthening of people, community and our Mother Earth.
We are all One Earth
People realize that the life in the mountains, rivers, pebbles, flowers, and other animals is the same Life that runs and is their own body: People know their deep oneness with each other and with the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms. They treat Nature the way they would like to be treated themselves. People know that the universe is friendly and always working for them. They know that Nature is the best guide and friend one could ever have! People all over the world walk hand in hand with the intelligence and energy of Life as a whole. (This was completed on Christmas, 2013)
Many people on the planet would resonate easily with this Vision. Spirited and inspired people all over the world today are focusing their collective love, energy and spirit to unitedly create a better tomorrow through a sustainable world. However, a big challenge still remains unresolved:
This is the challenge of learning to work well with others! The world is becoming increasingly complex with multiple power centers, different actors in the global system, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), interest groups, warring factions ( both state and non-state actors) , different departments in the same government, neighboring nations like India and Pakistan, and pockets and islands of innovations failing to come together as one for the wellbeing of the whole.
The lack of coherence and cooperation amongst Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for example is legendary. Competition among NGOs for what is seen as limited funds sometimes leads not only to a lack of integration between different projects, but also to the wasteful duplication of activities. In a recent conference on Social Innovation, people talked of an ‘Ego System’ instead of an ‘Eco System’ of NGOs!
We find all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle around us but no grand picture. From our own experience, we have seen this happening in the Government of India where related departments like Education, Environment, Health and Rural Development do not talk to each other. In such an environment, innovative partnerships, dialogue and coalitions are required if we would like to create the big picture.
The need for resonant people to join up and create bigger capacities
The time has now come to work together in larger ‘wholes’ at the ground level. This means that people do not compete with each other, but complete each other! Each one of us brings unique gifts, talents, connections and resources to life. What I have, no one else has. I am unique. What you have or can do, no one else can. Your family history, connections, friends and experiences are non-replicable. We are all like unique pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, each piece having its unique shape and colour. As we join these unique jigsaw pieces together, within the context of a common shared Vision, newer capacities begin to unfold, in ourselves and also collectively.
‘When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts breaks their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction; and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be.’
As we dissolve boundaries and open our hearts for more fluency and movement, there will be empowerment and abundance. We can all use each other’s resources. Both affluence and influence will increase, expanding our collective capacities greatly. This will enable us to surpass the limitations and do things we would have never thought possible before. Not the big corporations, but even every small player needs to be activated and we will see the magnanimity of our collective capacity.
Like a chain reaction, one conscious mind will create and connect with another. This collective action and intent will bless us with easy going relations, knowledge sharing and enhanced community living.
Robust and proven processes of conversation and dialogue are available to co-create the solutions that the world needs today. Bringing together apparently incompatible groups and forces, (for example those working on Environment and Business, Indigenous Cultures and Globalization) may well be the heart of the process of creating a more wholesome civilization on earth.
Perhaps nothing captures the essence of collective action for Wholesome Development as the African word ‘Ubuntu’. ‘Ubuntu’ is a word of the Southern African language family ‘Nguni’. It is very hard to translate this word directly. However in a beautiful video, the former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela explains the meaning of Ubuntu.
In it he says:
‘In the old days, when we were young, travelers used to stop at our village. And they didn’t have to ask for food our water. Once they stopped, people gave them food and entertained them. This is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it illustrates various elements of this concept: respect, helpfulness, sharing, community, caring, collaboration, trust and unselfishness. To what extent do people enable the building of community around them? These are the important things in life. And if one can do so, we can get something very important done.’
Co-creating a world we can all be proud of handing over to our children and grandchildren will require us to work with a spirit of ‘Ubuntu’. In many indigenous societies, like the villages of Africa and India, even today, whenever people need to think and act collectively, they sit in circles. The circle is a beautiful symbol of unity and wholeness. It has no beginning and no end. It is balanced and has no hierarchy. The space between the circumference is symbolic of the common space of Spirit. It invites us to share from the heart.
The circle is the form we need for connection, conversation and co-creation.
How can there be an explosion of circles in the world? Of people who are doing their individual work and are also teaming up with other people to do the work of the whole?
How can we create circles of connection, conversation and co-creation amongst:
‘ All positive forces in a local geographical area e.g. neighbourhoods, villages, clusters, cities etc.?;
‘ People in different domains of knowledge: e.g. Economics and Environment ; who, in turn, will also need to talk to people in Education and Health etc.?;
‘ People within the same domain e.g. the best leaders and practitioners in Water Harvesting, Organic Agriculture, Holistic Education from all over the world ? and finally, most importantly.
‘ People from different faiths, religions, belief systems and cultures : to bring about integration with Spirit… the Source of all Values, our Core of Humanity and Inspiration within?
Luckily, there are already many people on the planet who are acting as the ‘Weavers of Life’. As servants of the Whole, they see the big picture and connect people accordingly. They are like the imaginal cells in a caterpillar which eventually gather to form a butterfly!
The metaphor of the Imaginal Cells
The caterpillar’s new cells are called ‘imaginal cells.’
They are so totally different from the caterpillar cells that his immune system thinks they are enemies’ and gobbles them up.
But these new imaginal cells continue to appear. More and more of them!
Pretty soon, the caterpillar’s immune system cannot destroy them fast enough.
More and more of the imaginal cells survive.
And then an amazing thing happens!
The little tiny lonely imaginal cells start to clump together into friendly little groups.
They all resonate together at the same frequency, passing information from one to another.
Then, after a while, another amazing thing happens!
The clumps of imaginal cells start to cluster together!
A long string of clumping and clustering imaginal cells,
all resonating at the same frequency,
all passing information from one to another there inside the chrysalis.
Fig. 5.1 Clumps and Clusters of Imaginal Cells
Then at some point, the entire long string of imaginal cells suddenly realizes all together that it is something different from the caterpillar.
Something new! Something wonderful!
‘and in that realization is the shout of the birth of the butterfly!
Since the butterfly now ‘knows’ that it is a butterfly, the little tiny imaginal cells no longer have to do all those things individual cells must do.
Now they are part of a multi-celled organism’
A FAMILY who can share the work.
Each new butterfly cell can take on a different job’
There is something for everyone to do.
And everyone is important.
And each cell begins to do just that very thing it is most drawn to do.
And every other cell encourages it to do just that.
A great way to organize a butterfly!’
Figure 5.2 The Transformation from a Caterpillar to a Butterfly!
How does this work in practice?
When we link up wisely in an exchange of gifts, we evolve towards wholeness. We move from ‘competing’ to ‘completing’ and from ‘working’ to ‘playing’. We all feel blessed to be able to serve from the greatest gifts we have. As this process deepens, our rigid boundaries slowly begin to dissolve opening up more flow. Affluence and health, balance and joy are natural outcomes. Our life becomes a joyful and a relaxed dance with the whole.
We all need to listen to inner guidance and take responsibility for acting on the calling. The larger orchestration of events and forces will happen spontaneously if we trust the evolutionary flow of Life. It seems that all the positive spiritual forces on the planet need to form a network now. The time for this has come. This joining of hearts will create the magic of group resonance. Renee (2003) (Group Magic: An Inquiry into Experiences of Collective Resonance (c) 2003 Renee A. Levi ) defines collective resonance as ‘a felt sense of energy, rhythm, or intuitive knowing that occurs in a group of human beings and positively affects the way they interact toward a common purpose.’ It is associated with high energy and high creativity. As we walk hand in hand with Life’s energy and with each other, our work becomes easier and resourceful. Amazing coincidences provide support thereby creating the multiplier effect.
How does this actually happen on the ground , in the real world? How do I link up with other People who are like the Imaginal Cells around me? On the planet? We will not go into how to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We are assuming that you dear reader would already be good at this.
We just want to share a few generative ideas here. Here are some tips and tools for you to play with:
1. See what has joy, juice, energy and meaning for you. What feels natural, easy, peaceful and enthusiastic? Stay focused on these gifts alone. This is the universe telling you what piece you need to bring forward to contribute to the one dance called Life.
2. Look for others whom you can serve with your gifts. See how your gifts and offerings can complete them, i.e. make them happier, relaxed, peaceful, healthy, and prosperous. Offer to be of service.
3. See others who can serve your needs. Request them clearly for what you need. It is okay to ask so that you can bask in the warmth of their giving. By receiving graciously, you are giving others a chance to share/give. You are serving them too!
4. Make simple and crystal clear agreements based on the principles of abundance, balance, giving, gratitude and transparency, and finally
5. Take loving action now . Finish things off enthusiastically.
When we connect with others like this around a shared Vision or interest, more people will enlist themselves. Let people know the benefits of participating (in these circles) , such as:
‘ Developing community: They will have the opportunity to be part of a creative, thoughtful group exploring meaningful issues together;
‘ Creating a new future: They will help bring new conversation into the world, and be at the core of those who are creating the future;
‘ Becoming informed: they will learn about the direction our civilization is taking and choices we have for living in the twenty-first century; and
‘ Having fun! They will meet people who are interested in the profound changes occurring in our time, and explore problems and possibilities in a hopeful and creative way.
The circle has only one center. It is a symbolic of gathering in wholeness. There is no higher or lower in a circle. In an organization we were providing consulting services, just an act of seating people together in a circle, forgetting hierarchy, age, background etc. created a powerful feeling of oneness which was touching and palpable. Sitting in a circle, reminds us of one common spirit.
Cristina Baldwin (1998) in her book ‘Calling the Circle’ The First and Future Culture’ says that there are three principles of peer-spirit circling:
‘ Rotating leadership
‘ Sharing responsibility
‘ Relying on spirit
All people of the circle help their fellow members by taking responsibility. Leadership is all about passion and responsibility. The responsibility is shared and each person pays attention to what needs doing or saying or does what has to be done. Moments of silence and intense observation guides action. Actions emerge as we trust the Source and as we trust each other. Listening and silence are symbolic of the inner space of spirit and also of the space within the circle. Powerful tools like Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space Technology exist to bring out collective intelligence and collective action.(see Boxes 5.4 and 5.5 for more) .Following a few simple guidelines for group dialogue can ensure that the deliberations in a circle can lead to expanding insights and creative action. An outstanding book by Dr. Peggy Holman http://peggyholman.com/papers/engaging-emergence/ (Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity) is a bible for anyone wanting to learn more about this process.
The process of awakening will be like one candle lighting another. The planet is ripe for such a movement at this point in time (Christmas 2013). It is wholesome leaders, led by Love, who will set an example and inspire others. This will make the much needed transformation happen by supporting and catalyzing these processes. They will be like ‘Hosts’ rather than Heroes’ as Margaret Wheatly puts it beautifully in her article (From Leadership’in’the’Age of’Complexity:’From’Hero’to’Host’)
Wholesome Leaders will be the harbingers of heaven on earth. By simply being one with the wholeness of life, which is Love, (and working actively in the moment from that space of joy, freedom and awareness) such leaders will awaken the latent wholeness in others.
Pragati Leadership Institute has already been doing this for several years (2009) .
What is Wholesome Leadership?
Wholesome Leadership is defined as the leadership that arises when one is being ones whole self. It is standing up and acting for what has meaning and heart for oneself in a way that inspires others to follow. It is leadership by Love for the unfolding of peoples’ fullest potential. It is leadership that is guided by Love and executes actions with consummate skill. It marries the head, heart and hands.
The role of a wholesome leader requires constant balancing between opposing polarities. His or her attention has to be on both ends in order to move forward. Some examples of the polarities that leaders have to struggle with are between:
‘ Working in the Work- place / professional contribution vs. spending time with Family / personal life
‘ Physical Activity vs. Rest and Renewal
‘ Mental activity vs. Pause and Reflection
‘ Focussing on doing work and contributing vs. Building capacity for the Future
‘ Focus on Task vs. Focus on Caring for People and their Development
‘ Following the rules with a strong focus on process compliance vs. changing the rules and challenging the process;
‘ Making sure routine work gets done vs. unleashing the creative talent and creativity of people;
‘ Focusing on Material growth (outer abundance) vs. Inner Development and evolution (inner abundance);
‘ Defining ones roles clearly and distinctly (differentiation) and Harmonising across roles to work for the whole (integration);
‘ Hard and Tough Management styles focusing on the healthy bottom-line vs. Kind / Soft management aimed at keeping people happy;
‘ Having a culture of Change, Innovation and continuous improvement vs. maintaining a sense of Stability, Security and Order;
‘ Getting people to follow their heart (and do what has meaning and passion for them) and still get the collective work done;
‘ Having standard processes and norms in a system and yet valuing diversity and dissent without which there would be no progress;
‘ Giving people freedom and autonomy which they need for fulfilment in their work and at the same time maintaining a basic modicum of control so that the system does not collapse from stupid mistakes;
Judging from these contradictory pulls and pressures that a leader has to deal with; one might say that their lives would be a constant struggle and a constant nightmare trying to balance between these! However, we can draw relief from the fact that all of nature is a wonderful showcase of the dance and balancing of polarities. The changing seasons, night and day, being born and dying, stiffness and flexibility, breathing in and breathing out: all demonstrate a beautiful harmony which has been working very well for millions of years. It is man’s mind that creates the problem with ‘either – or’ thinking. Nature simply flows on as one unified whole where there is a cyclic and intimate relationship between the pairs of opposites. We find in nature the principles of order, openness to possibility and minimum waste constantly at work.
As leaders, can we learn to be one with Nature? This will call for recognizing that any imbalance between two polarities (which is the same as getting stuck with one end or the other) will lead to stress and disease. In fact, disease is nothing but a system out of balance needing to restore itself back to health or wholeness.
How does a leader balance between polarities?
The body-mind is a beautiful signalling mechanism in which our feelings indicate the state we are in. Feelings of peace, freedom, joy and ease indicate that we are operating in balance. Feelings of expansion, growth flourishing and celebration indicate that we are one with the flow of life. Our most natural condition is precisely this. We are meant to live in this way.
When we are out of balance and the flow of creative intelligence is blocked, we experience feelings of stagnation, tiredness, dullness, lack of joy and contraction. A note of caution: Be careful not to get stuck with one description of wholeness vs. the other. It is about acceptance and being choicelessly aware of what is happening and trusting the awareness to guide us in restoring balance.
The key to living in balance is to remain centred in this space of No-mind or Awareness which is beyond all polarities (See Chapter 4 on Inner Transformation). It is to flow hand in hand with the power of life. When we are fully present in the moment, totally open to what the senses are bringing into awareness and also conscious of all the thoughts and sensations in the body-mind, we are one with life. This oneness has a built in creative intelligence which literally shows us what we need to do in each moment. In other words, the wholeness of life is both a Source and a Guide. It is the playful purpose for which we are here’ to be one, to be healthy, to be at peace, to serve and contribute and to celebrate the fullness of life.
The Application and Benefits of Wholesome Leadership
Wholesomeness as a way of being (and seeing!) is intensely practical. It is a way of living which has implications for every aspect of our life. This is not surprising, considering that it is about the oneness of everything. As wholesome leaders living out non-duality in practice, the following are some benefits for ourselves, our teams and organizations and the larger context in which we live and work:
Sense of Peace and Equanimity
In the midst of intense external activity, there is a sense of eternal and unshakeable calmness within. This inner zone of peace is an unchanging reference and anchor for the busy leader. While intense external activity goes on, the mind remains equanimous and undisturbed. No strong cravings and aversions disturb the Wholesome Leader. The consequence is that work that needs to be done gets done speedily without any distractions. The calmer we are, the more is the amount of work we can do. As we stop reacting to things and situations, the quality and output of our work improves.
Energy and Health
Health is the free and unhindered play of life’s energy. Wholesomeness is the same as health. The free play of energy naturally leads to balance and harmony. This translates into an experience of joy and peace. Being wholesome therefore is being naturally energetic and healthy. Even when the body-mind occasionally goes into states of imbalance, the clear understanding of the intrinsic spirit (which is always whole/healthy) and the ephemeral nature of the imbalance, quickly leads to a correction of the imbalance.
We experience an increase in integrity as we become more inner directed and guided by our inner voice. When we clearly see the distinction between what is true and false, it is easier to choose that which makes for wholeness and the truth. Joy, love, oneness and peace are the hallmarks of Wholesomeness. This is the supreme reference for ethical behaviour. The wholesome leader spontaneously chooses all that expands the above.
Being Inspired and Inspiring Others
Work done from an inner space of fullness and abundance where there is a deep sense of playfulness and joy is intrinsically rewarding. The wholesome leader does not work for rewards in the future; s/he is not driven by any sense of deficiency or greed. S/he works for the sheer joy of it! While such leaders do have goals and ambitions, these are actually the goals and ambitions of life as a whole. They are not driven by the need for individual benefits, glory or personal gains. When one is everything, there is no need to work for something!
Wholesome leaders see work as a means to help people grow. When we remember the unbounded potential of people and the infinite capacity that goes with it, we enable people to give their very best and grow to their fullest. When people are given the space to express what they deeply care about and feel respected and listened to, it creates a space for healing and inspired action. When we turn to each other in honest and respectful conversation, we are both healed and become instrumental in healing others. We begin to flow more in harmony with the whole.
People are infinitely creative. I have invariably been amazed and awestruck by the sheer brilliance of what people come up with after they have been given a few simple tools and the space to play with these. After many years in this field, I still feel like a small child, full of wonder, when I see these emerging displays of inspired human energy.
Wholesome leadership leads to trusting, warm and harmonious relationships with others. This leads to better learning and better team work. When one knows that the essence of everyone else is the same as one’s own (since there is only one) you spontaneously treat others with respect and care .This, in turn, creates a field in which people are encouraged to be themselves. When a person is seen as a wave on the ocean of divine wholeness, one is naturally respectful and reverent. Integration across boundaries, geographies, cultures, religions, departments and roles becomes easier. Wholesomeness does not recognize any sin. The essence of human beings is eternally pure. It only recognizes error and consequences. When life is seen as a process of movement towards wholeness’ infinite purity, freedom, love and power, how can we ever condemn anyone? The only difference between people is in the degree of unfoldment, not in our intrinsic nature. With this in our heart, we look on all human beings with compassion. We are easy to forgive. This perspective is both healing and liberating.
Increased Creativity and Innovation
Being whole, frees us from the traps of limited perceptions and paradigms. This enhances our capacity for creative living and innovation. Our creative core of awareness is unbounded. As Swami Vivekananda says ‘All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark. Know that there is no darkness around us.’
When one is peacefully identified with this creative space, there is an intense feeling of confidence and faith. When I see that all is transient and illusory and is made up of awareness, and that I am the Source, it is easy to manifest and ordain seemingly impossible things. Intense focus, faith and persistent application of attention can manifest anything. Whatever we focus on and hold intensely in our thoughts is attracted into our lives. However, the wholesome leader has no desire to manifest anything which is not aligned with the natural flow of life.
Alignment with one’s true calling
Being true to yourself is the natural outcome of living a wholesome life. As we recognize and serve the truth, and make it our guiding principle in life, we are drawn to do the things that come naturally to us. Such work is a joy to do because it is born out of alignment with our gifts and talents. It leads to a higher quality of service and intrinsic motivation.
Living with Opposites
The ability to flex between different roles and polarities come easily to a wholesome leader. Since s/he is not identified in any way, and is also not bound by strong likes and aversions or the limitations of the role, s/he can bring the whole power of her/his being to a role. All roles are played freely and without any inhibitions. Because one is free to choose any appropriate response to situations as they arise, there is minimum waste and the highest level of productivity. Energy is constantly available from the whole and is not wasted in anything negativity connected with the past or the future. This makes the leader supremely productive and effective. Such leaders are known to produce unimaginable results from the power of aligning with the wholeness of life. They become a force of good with the mysterious and spontaneous orchestration of people and resources to their work. Their work, in any case, is the work of life itself.
Care for the Environment
More loving and compassionate behaviour towards the environment naturally emerges. When we see that there is only one life that animates all creatures and plants and people on the planet, a natural affinity fills the mind. When we see all aspects of creation as the different transient manifestations in a dream and you see the same silent witnessing Awareness behind all, we spontaneously treat all of creation with great respect and love. When we know the truth that the same One is manifesting as many, we feel deeply liberated. We are therefore naturally compassionate and caring towards animals, plants, the environment and the ecosphere because we see the interconnections.
Catalyzing Collective Evolution
Wholesome leaders become natural catalysts for integration of people and organizations around higher purpose and bigger goals. As people who are living their full potential, begin to connect other such people and organizations, there is an increase in the collective capacity to make a difference. This is a form of collective evolution. (Evolution is the progressive unfolding of higher capacities. It is a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex and better form.)
In conclusion, we could say that wholesomeness provides an excellent foundation for a new kind of leadership that would help us to meet the current and future challenges of Business and society as a whole. As more and more people start living a wholesome or full life and start connecting, conversing and co-creating with each other, new capacities for action are born. New fields of possibility open up for manifestation. All these happen spontaneously, with little human interference. As Howard Zinn has remarked, small acts of responsibility and service to the whole, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
We are fascinated by the collective potential of millions of people all doing simple things . For example, if each person planted two trees and ensured that two other people planted two trees each and in turn, followed exactly the same process, we would have over 549 Billion (549,755,813,888 to be precise) trees in just 39 moves of this process! (There were approximately 400 Billion trees on Earth in 2005, based on NASA Pictures and estimates).
‘Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple stupid behavior.’
– Dee Hock
To see how this dance like self-organizing process works in nature, take a look at this video (on YouTube) on the Murmuration of Starlings: A beautiful ballet performed by birds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eakKfY5aHmY
Notice that there is no leader or orchestrator doing anything. Just a flock of birds, each one joyfully sensing and obeying the call of each moment. The result is a collective dance that emerges spontaneously from their simple intelligent individual actions.
Thanks to the internet and especially social media, the world will see a lot of the magic of self-organizing and emergence unfolding in the coming years.
Leaders of the future will be understanding this. They will work closely with universal intelligence, responding from an inner space of humility, gratitude and acceptance. The inspired actions of many wholesome leaders all over our planet, will collectively serve the evolution of humankind. This will usher in an era of prosperity and peace for all.
Loving Action Now
1. On matters of values and basic principles, be honest and tough. Remember a good leader has to balance qualities of nurturance and challenge. Are there any areas you need to ‘get honest’ on? List them down and take the risk to do it.
2. Challenge and stretch people out of their ‘rest houses’ and request them to challenge yours. This implies being open to giving and receiving feedback. Challenge the assumptions and processes and always ask people ‘what are we doing today which will show us that our tomorrows will be better than our todays?’ Set up a meeting to do this with your team.
3. Until one is committed there is hesitancy,
The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which
Kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
The moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise
Never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and
Meetings and material assistance,
Which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
W.N. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
As a person, what are the few important things in your life that you need to commit yourself to? List them down. Now decide a few action steps you will take in the direction of your vision.
4. Read this beautiful Zen story (which I saw on Page 23, of The Corporate Mystic by Gay Hendricks and Kate Kudeman):
‘Master’, said the student, ‘where do you get your spiritual power?’
‘From being connected to the source’ said the Master.
‘You are connected to the source of Zen?’
‘Beyond that’, said the Master, ‘I am Zen.
The connection is complete’.
‘But isn’t it arrogant to claim connection with the source?’ asked the student.
‘Far from it’, said the Master, ‘It’s arrogant not to claim connection with the source. Everything is connected. If you think you are not connected to the source you are thumbing your nose at the universe itself.’
Now write non-stop for five minutes whatever comes in response to the starting sentence ‘My connection to the source”. Do not censor. Whatever comes is okay. Let go and enjoy yourself. What insights does your sharing throw up?
5. About connecting with other people in the service of Life, scan around and list down who are the people/organisations ‘calling you’ to connect, converse and co-create? See where you experience an inner signal of ‘resonance’: Feelings of Lightness, Inspiration, Freedom and Enthusiasm (LIFE). Listen to your Heart and follow its guidance. It speaks for the Whole in the language of feelings!
Flemming Funch, with the thought of making the whole planet better, founded the New Civilization Network. He believed in the power of weaving together the diversity of human experiences. The following is his vision ‘
We are the New Civilization
‘We are here.
We are waking up now, out of the past, to dream a bigger dream.
We are friends and equals, we are diverse and unique, and we’re united for something bigger than our differences.
We believe in freedom and cooperation, abundance and harmony.
We are a culture emerging, a renaissance of the essence of humanity.
We find our own guidance, and we discern our own truth.
We go in many directions, and yet we refuse to disperse.
We have many names, we speak many languages.
We are local, we are global.
We are in all regions of the world, we’re everywhere in the air.
We are universe being aware of itself, we are the wave of evolution.
We are in every child’s eyes, we face the unknown with wonder and excitement.
We are messengers from the future, living in the present.
We come from silence, and we speak our truth.
We cannot be quieted, because our voice is within everyone.
We have no enemies, no boundaries can hold us.
We respect the cycles and expressions of nature, because we are nature.
We don’t play to win, we play to live and learn.
We act out of inspiration, love and integrity.
We explore, we discover, we feel, and we laugh.
We are building a world that works for everyone.
We endeavor to live our lives to their fullest potential.
We are independent, self-sufficient and responsible.
We relate to each other in peace, with compassion and respect, we unite in community.
We celebrate the wholeness within and around us all.
We dance to the rhythm of creation.
We weave the threads of the new times.
We are the new civilization.’
A VISION FOR LEADERSHIP
– Michael Beveridge
We see our world as a reflection of what we truly are ready for and believe in with utter faith and compassion.
We see a world in which those in control of our power centers have the highest of intentions for all on this physical plane: All environments, all creatures, all cultures and societies. We see these powerful and good intentioned leaders in their native habit of love and compassion, making wise choices and setting an example for all physical creatures, in an effort toward peaceful advancement for all. We see our good intentioned leaders in a state of good physical and emotional health.
We see all the peoples of this world in dwellings of peace, well-being, beauty, and contentment; sanctuaries of rest at the end of day, and havens of love and security for ourselves and our young.
We see our community institutions, learning centers, and social gathering places as environments of interaction with one another in compassionate, happy, and positive ways, leading to advancement and expansion of society and technology, for the benefit of all.
We see, in particular, our financial institutions as well intentioned organizations, offering ethical, humane means of speedy advancement through the use of monetary credit and other forms of structured and focused energy. We see the highest good for society in this.
We see happy, industrious, productive, scrupulous, and ever-advancing societies of compassionate beings, all looking out for themselves and one another for the common good. We see ourselves ready in our hearts and our minds for good leaders,
And we see good leaders stepping forward now.
So Be it and So it is!
Meditation is the way, which can bring a sudden flare-up in your being. And not only that, it can start a chain reaction. One flares up and suddenly people of the same type, who have not even tried meditation, who are not even seekers, who have never thought about anything spiritual, catch the infection – it is contagious.
So a few people around the earth get the quantum leap, then thousand more will become part of a world – wide fire. And that is the only way to save whatever millions of years of evolution has brought to us.
Osho: The Transmission of the Lamp
OPEN SPACE: AN OVERVIEW
What Is Open Space?
It is a self-organizing practice of inner discipline and collective activity which releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for what they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, reflection and learning, bringing out the best in both individuals and the whole.
When To Use It:
‘ Where conflict is holding back the ability to change
‘ Where the situation is complex
‘ Where there is a high degree of diversity
‘ Where there is an urgent need to make speedy decisions
‘ Where all stakeholders are needed for good decisions to be made
‘ Where you have no preconceived notion of what the outcomes should be
‘ Builds energy, commitment and shared leadership
‘ Participants accept responsibility for what does or doesn’t happen
‘ Action plans and recommendations emerge from discussions as appropriate
‘ You create a record of the entire proceedings as you go along
How It Works:
The Law of Two Feet means you take responsibility for what you care about — standing up for that and using your own two feet to move to whatever places you can best contribute and/or learn.
Four principles apply to how you navigate in open space:
Whoever comes is the right people
Whoever is attracted to the same conversation are the people who can contribute most to that conversation’because they care. So they are exactly the ones’for the whole group– who are capable of initiating action.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could’ve
We are all limited by our own pasts and expectations. This principle acknowledges we’ll all do our best to focus on NOW– the present time and place– and not get bogged down in what could’ve or should’ve happened.
When it starts is the right time
The creative spirit has its own time, and our task is to make our best contribution and enter the flow of creativity when it starts.
When it’s over, it’s over
Creativity has its own rhythm. So do groups. Just a reminder to pay attention to the flow of creativity — not the clock. When you think it is over, ask: Is it over? And if it is, go on to the next thing you have passion for. If it’s not, make plans for continuing the conversation.
For More information:
APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY (AI)
What Is It?
A powerful approach that invites people to learn through their personal stories of accomplishment and aspirations. Used by individuals, organizations and communities, it begins with an affirmative interview to identify the best of ‘what is’ in order to pursue dreams and possibilities of ‘what could be.’
Fundamental shift toward cooperation, equality of voice, high participation, inquiry and improvisational learning as daily practices.
20 ‘ 2,000 involved in interviews, large scale meetings and collaborative actions.
3 hours to 4 days. The longer it runs, the more embedded into daily practice it becomes.
The Steps In Brief
1. Select a focus area or topic(s) of interest.
2. Design an interview to discover strengths, passions, unique attributes.
a. Describe a peak experience or ‘high point’ in your work. What was happening? Who was involved? What made it such a powerful experience?
b. What do you most value about… yourself? your work? your organization/school?
c. What core factors give life to your organization/school?
d. What three wishes do you have to enhance the health and vitality of your organization/school?
3. Identify patterns, themes and/or intriguing possibilities in the interviews.
4. Create bold statements of ideal possibilities (“Provocative Propositions”).
5. Co-determine “what should be” (consensus re: principles & priorities).
6. Take action.
For More Information: Appreciative Inquiry commons: http://appreciativeinquiry.cwru.edu
Seeing and Being Whole: Unfolding an Era of Ethics and Peace
‘World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.’
– Dalai Lama XIV
‘Life is one whole. All of existence is a dance of millions of interdependent processes working in harmony and guided by the Great Unifier (you can call Awareness and Creative Intelligence by whatever name you like!). When we are one with its flow and are collaborating with this dance of unity, we are at Peace. There is joy in our hearts. When we are out of touch with this dance, we are not at ease. There is no peace in us. Remembering our Wholeness is the foundation for restoration of values’
– Arun Wakhlu
A world that we will proud to hand over to our children and grandchildren will be a world of ethical behavior and peace. It will be a world in which people act caringly towards themselves, other people and our environment. It will be a world governed by love and deep compassion.
Ethics, Peace and Wholeness are all a part of a unified triad. As with many things in this book, we have attempted to show the connections between these apparently disparate dimensions. An integrating model is shared. With real life examples and stories, we would share how one can contribute to a more peaceful and ethical world.
The Common Core of Ethics and Peace
Ethics can be defined as value-based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, and specific virtues.
It is about a code of moral standards of conduct for what is ‘good’ and ‘right’ as opposed to what is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’. Ethical Behavior is that which is ‘right’ or ‘good’ in the context of a governing moral code. Ethics and Ethical behavior are driven by values.
If there was no one else on earth, we would not need any codes of Ethics. This is because Ethics is about the quality of relationships that we have. When we are in touch with and caring towards ourselves, others and the environment, we are behaving ethically.
Peace is a state of dynamic balance and ease. While many of us think of it as an absence of conflict, disorder, confusion and disease, a more positive definition of peace is that which encompasses and goes beyond all pairs of opposites. Dr Harrison Owen, the originator of the Open Space Technology (see Box 5.4 at the end of Chapter 5), defines peace this way:
‘Peace is the dynamic interrelationship of complex forces productive of wholeness, health and harmony. The Practice of Peace is the intentional creation of the requisite conditions under which Peace may occur.’
Notes on the book ‘The Practice of Peace’ (2nd Edition) http://www.openspaceworld.com/intro%20to%20pop.htm
There can never be any conflict or confusion if there is unity or wholeness. When we are in touch with the joyous and peaceful wholeness of life, we are naturally peaceful. Not only do we feel peaceful, we also are one with the resourcefulness and creativity of life. When our thoughts, words and actions arise from this space of peace, they will be pure and unselfish. This inner feeling of peace and wholeness generates ethical actions.
Let’s take an example: If we say that the factual truth about something is X, and I say it is X, I am telling the truth ‘.I am congruent and whole. When I say that it is Y, when actually it is X, there is a split. The false thing(Y) that I say and the truth in my mind (X) are different. I am no longer whole and so not at peace!
Swami Vivekananda says that ‘Ethics is anything that makes for oneness and what makes for separation is unethical’. If I attack someone (an ‘other’ person), and cause him pain, I am not whole. There is ‘Me’ and there is the ‘other’. I cause the other and myself suffering. If I realize this, then I will stop causing others suffering.
Our actions will be Ethical if we are in touch with the Wholeness of Life. This means being present to the Now, and obeying the promptings of Life’s natural flow of joy, peace and abundance.
All unethical behavior in human being emerges from unawareness: A loss of connection with Life. Ethical action, as we see it, is action which is good for all (including the environment) both in the short and the long run. ‘Good’ is that which is conducive to health, happiness, peace, abundance, equity and balance for all people and all aspects of the environment.
In acting ethically, there are a few inherent difficulties that do not make it so easy:
‘ The connections between causes and consequences of actions are not always clear; they are often separated in space
‘ Sometimes a cause may have a delayed consequence. This also makes it hard to link up due to the separation in time; and
‘ We are sometimes out of touch with our feelings. Feelings acts like internal physical and emotional indicators of whether an action is ethical or not.
All three difficulties stem from a lack of awareness and integration’ a lack of being ‘in touch’ with the whole picture now. Incidentally, the word ‘integration’ comes from the Latin root ‘in tangere’, which means ‘to be in touch’. The words ‘integer’ and ‘integrity’ both have the same root. When we are disconnected from things, and are not ‘seeing’ correctly, truthfully or completely, unethical actions arise. This lack of ‘seeing’ things wholesomely comes from having a partial notion of who I am. A sense of deficiency and lack of abundance also originates from being identified with a partial or limited notion of who I am.
Swami Vivekananda alluded to this when he wrote:
‘Our Upanishads say that the cause of all misery is ignorance; and that is perfectly true when applied to every state of life, either social or spiritual. It is ignorance that makes us hate each other, it is through ignorance that we do not know and do not love each other. As soon as we come to know each other, love comes, must come, for are we not one?’
This illusion or ignorance of our true self is the root cause. We are whole and complete beyond all limitations. An infinite creative intelligence orchestrates all of life in a most magnificent and glorious fashion. This happens without the slightest human intervention, whatsoever.
The Source of Peace in all areas is the Peace within
‘Nothing can bring you lasting peace’ You have it already, if you stop disturbing it you will see that it is there always.’
– Swami Sachitananda
This body-mind called ‘Omkar Wakhlu’ is not who I am. This body-mind consists of water and food, some memories and dreams. It is made up of atoms, protons, electrons and neutrons. These owe their existence to mysterious entities called Quarks, held together by Gluons. All these dance together in a vast sea of open space’ gorgeously peaceful , free and empty open space. This mysterious essence is who I am. It is the most open space there is. People have called it by different names: Spirit, Allah, Brahman, the Mystery, Tao, Being, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Buddha Nature, Suchness, the Peace that passes understanding, Awareness and many others. This I am is one. It is none other than your own essence, now. For there is only one centre, only one silence, only one Peace’one energetic field called life.
So who is writing all this?
In the light of the above, can we say that it is Life who is writing all this? Through the movement of all these particles (which are really quanta of vibrating energy), it is Life which dances forth expressing itself spontaneously.
As one witnesses this unfolding drama, from this empty (and incredibly full!) space of Awareness and Peace, all seems like a playful dance’a creative play of learning. Forms and actions emerge from and dissolve back into this peaceful ocean of life.
If I am totally at peace within, I am at peace with my fellow human beings and the natural environment. I am whole. I am complete. I am integrated. When there is peace and silence in body-mind, relationships, animals, plants, I am in a space of wholeness. I am I. There is no Other.
When we understand that we are the peace that passes understanding and that we are a mystery that integrates and holds the opposites in life, then we ‘become peace.’
This means that any notion of a separate and changing ‘self’ is witnessed by a silent emptiness we call ‘peace’. In this mysterious space, there is no doer. You watch your body mind go around walking, talking, eating. You know that this is not who you really are. As this field of silence and peace, there is an intimate connection to everyone and everything. There is immense love and compassion. This is not directed at ‘someone’ and not for ‘something’. It is what your unbounded essence is. You are love. You are wholeness.
Thoughts words and actions that emerge from this mysterious space inspire others to return home to wholeness as well. They are catalytic, medicinal, and facilitative in bringing people to remember that they too are whole. These words don’t do anything miraculous. They simply remind people of who they are. Waves of ethical and peaceful behavior thus ripple outwards.
We need now more than any other time, to spread this ripple of ethical behavior.
If there has to be peace on Earth, it has to start with me.
How can an expansion of Peace and Ethical behaviour begin with me?
In a global gathering for One Wholesome World (held in Caux, Switzerland from 17 to 23 July 2012), one of the things that became crystal clear to many of us in the gathering was that change has to begin with me. Even when we are initiating collective action of any kind, our own purity of intent and integrity are important in the ensuring success.
As we wrote this book, the thought did occur sometimes that this book may be more about our own purification and learning rather than about changing the world. In any case, there is no such thing as a ‘world out there’. Each person’s objective experience of the world is different. As we write these words peacefully in the comfort of our homes in Pune and Srinagar, Kashmir, there are zones on Earth like the Ukraine, Nigeria and Syria where people are experiencing unimaginable suffering due to divisive strife and war. All this is happening simultaneously in this now.
Our own inner state projects a ‘reality’ outside that perfectly matches this inner state. This is like a radio receiver that, when tuned to the frequency of BBC. It will attract only BBC and not Radio Moscow! A friend named Marilyn Overcast shared the following with me a few months before the gathering in Switzerland:
‘When you are healed, Wholeness will be revealed’.
We do not need to ‘do’ anything really. Just see with new eyes, with pure awareness.
If you look around at life at her pristine and most natural best, you cannot help but marvel at its innate intelligence and wisdom. Wellbeing abounds! The Earth and all her creatures are already wholesome, ethical and peaceful. Life is magnificent, miraculous and perfect as it is. It is our own vision, perception, feelings and actions that are disconnected from the peaceful and ethical flow of life. It is these that need healing.
One person at the gathering in Switzerland who kept emphasizing this point was Sister Ajahn Bodhipala, a Buddhist Nun of the Amravati Forest Sangha in the UK. She said that we all needed to work on purifying the mind, thereby bringing out more Compassion in our actions before we could co-create One Wholesome World.
When we closed our gathering with our commitments for action on Post Its, Sister Ajahn Bodhipala held up a blank Post It before the group. She said she was committing herself to ‘No Commitment’ ‘ to the Pure and Sublime Freedom and Peace of the Buddha Nature within all of us. She said that by committing herself to cultivating the wholeness/Love and Compassion that is at the Heart of ALL of life, would she really be making a difference to the world.
Her example touched many of us who were gathered. I later came across this quote from Jaluluddin Rumi :
‘Yesterday I was clever; I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise and I want to change myself’.
Another sage, Lao Tzu , in the same vein said:
‘If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the World, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation’.
Coming home to the peace and compassion within has a profoundly positive impact on how we relate with other people. There is more joy and harmony in our interactions.
Peace with others, and in a Community >> the importance of Listening
‘Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.’
– Dalai Lama XIV
Lot of the war and strife is not made by large part of the population. In India and Pakistan less than 4 percent of the population is making war. The reason why they succeed, the 90 percent – the mothers, children, youth, sane and conscious people, are passive. They are not doing anything. It is the most harmful to know and yet not do.
Life speaks to us in the language of feelings. To understand our emotions and see that we are the creators of these emotions is one aspect of Emotional Intelligence (EI). How to sense and appropriately respond to other peoples’ feelings is another aspect of Emotional Intelligence.
Now here is a leap, a bridging connection: If our feelings of Ease and Grace and Joy indicate to us that we are in touch with Life in the moment, that we are being Ethical (i.e. One with The Wholeness of Life), then Emotional Intelligence becomes the main skill I need to steer through things ethically moment to moment, and to keep my responses aligned with Life.
‘ Our sense of Wholeness is based on Being Present to the Now.
‘ Being present is accompanied by feelings of Ease, Joy, Peace and Energy;
‘ Ethical Responses are born out of Wholeness;
‘ Emotional Intelligence is a tool I can use to see my own and others’ feelings and do what it takes to be aligned/whole; and
‘ The Foundation of this is Awareness.
When our communication supports compassionate giving and receiving, happiness replaces violence and grieving!
– CNVC founder, Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD
The purity of heart, in the sense that you are in your natural state of compassion is nonviolence. Nonviolent communication is based on this principle. We have seen earlier also, that we are all made from the same energy and hence share the same needs. All our actions are born out of the desire to satiate these needs and our behavior is shaped as we try to fulfill these needs. Each person’s natural state of wholeness is peaceful and quiet. The violence that is acquired is because of nurture not nature. While this is nothing new, people need to be reminded to practice it in their lives. You feel so good when you connect to another person and are able to share some things with them. Each relationship becomes a unique bond and it is cherished and treasured deeply. It always makes a person happy to make a new friend. In fact, so many of the problems of judgment and ego arise in our aim to make more friends and forgo our loneliness’
Through deep listening we can develop empathy for others and discover our own compassion and grace. ‘This language reveals the awareness that all human beings are only trying to honor universal values and needs, every minute, every day. NVC can be seen as both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity, using our power in a way that honors everyone’s needs, and a concrete set of skills which helps us create life-serving families and communities. The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.’ We can empathetically listen and honestly express our observations, feelings, needs and requests. The concept is ‘This approach to communication emphasizes compassion as the motivation for action rather than fear, guilt, shame, blame, coercion, threat or justification for punishment. In other words, it is about getting what you want for reasons you will not regret later. NVC is NOT about getting people to do what we want. It is about creating a quality of connection that gets everyone’s needs met through compassionate giving.’
Through being in touch with our wholeness; our thoughts, actions and words are joyful and sensitive. We can understand others and explain ourselves easily, without having to raise our voice. Our intimate personal relations become stronger and even our other relations ‘ to the county, rulers, priests, groups and institutions become clearer. There is utmost joy when communication is smooth and correctly interpreted.
The centre for nonviolent communication is an initiative that aims to see a world in which everyone values everyone’s basic human needs and lives from a consciousness that connects with the universal life energy and natural oneness of life.
We can have communities of compassion where each one helps the other to resolve conflict and meet unmet needs. The method through which they go about this process is peaceful and accommodating. One does not need to have high level of communication skills or any other form of education as such. This kind of communication based on compassion and genuine respect and love for one another might take time to happen and might even happen irregularly. But, if we continue to work from this inner space, we will be able to master it, and spread it to other people as well.
1. Peace Circles/ Peace Pilgrims actions for Peace in the world
‘Peace pilgrim’ as she called herself, walked 25000 miles to spread her message of peace which was ‘Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love’. The belief is that the message of peace can be spread to one and all, through mere word of mouth. The peace in our lives is a reflection of our own maturity or immaturity. It is we who can make this world harmonious and loving. There are several steps that one needs to pass in order to achieve the balance between inner and outer peace. A person may go through these in any order, at varying points in their lives, until they realize that their life is in giving. Once a person reaches that step, and feels oneness with all of life, there is no looking back. For this we need to assume the right attitude towards life, find your place in the Life pattern, live good beliefs and simplify life to harmonize inner and outer well-being. By being honest and embracing the reality, even if it is rife with problems and situations that seem difficult to face, we find that we can be happier and more balanced. While many people may believe in ideal practices and have the right approaches, like we have seen above, the kind of people who know and yet who don’t act are the most harmful of the lot. It is absolutely essential, that we practice what we believe in and what we know to be right. In the deep silence of our beings, we can understand where we fit in the larger scheme of things.
On days when you feel lost for purpose, take time out to listen to your Source, sit quietly and in that inner silence, you will find that your place in the pattern of life. How many of us burden ourselves because we try so hard to fit into a particular clan of people? We have innumerable, useless possessions and we clutter our minds with rubbish as well as our homes. When we are in touch with our wholeness, our wants and needs become the same. We will be surprised to see how little we need as opposed to how much we are always yearning for. This harmony between our needs and wants will make us peaceful and content people. Even collectively, we will be impactful and resources will be more optimally utilized and universally spread.
But all this cannot happen without purifying the toxins that are in your body because of ill habits or in your mind because of polluting thoughts.
Our actions are a reflection of our thoughts. Sometimes, though we do the right thing, our minds are plagued with negative thoughts and motives. We think of our own benefit in everything and sometimes think unkindly of others. The imbalance that this causes reflects on our bodies physically as well as mentally. By changing their business motive to earnest service of their customers, many people have seen success in businesses.
The Peace Pilgrim tells us to relinquish self-will, feeling of separateness, attachments and negative feelings. At the base of it all, we are all made from the same energy and hence must let go of any feelings of separation that we feel with one another. The attraction and dependence on materialistic things should dissolve. Not only objects, even the wanting to possess people and run their lives, should be relinquished. Only then can harmony be maintained and inner peace established.
2. Peace and Ethics towards the Environment
‘The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork.’
‘Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.’
‘ Dalai Lama XIV
‘Spiritual progress,’ said Gandhi, ‘demands from us at a certain point that we stop killing our fellow living beings…’ Schweitzer, St. Francis, Jesus, Einstein, Tolstoy, Rachel Carson, and many others have taught us that nonviolence toward all sacred life must be our aim. The nearly universal spiritual ideal to ‘love one another’ requires us to embrace all beings, not just people, in our circle of compassion. As our faith grows, so does our desire to live by our highest ideals. When we stop eating animal products, we are no longer eating violence, and our hearts and souls can at last be at peace.
It is not enough to talk peace. We have to eat peace. Food has to come out of eating mindfully and peacefully. We describe health as peace with the body and environment and peace as the health of the body and environment. Peace is health and health is peace. Environmental ethics will be important to identify, clarify and emphasize the moral values that need to be promoted in relationships with the environment.
Our attitudes, beliefs and behavior are affected greatly by the food we eat. In fact, the food of the community can reflect its culture as the food that we consume will shape our physical, social, spiritual and psychological environment. Will Tuttle has written about the World Peace Diet (http://worldpeacediet.org/) , a diet for spiritual health and social harmony. He says that the food we consume is the most intimate connection between the natural order and with our living cultural heritage. The very obvious source of the stress, complications and dilemmas that we face in our life today is the food we eat. The violence that we commit for our plates to satisfy our pallets comes out in our behvaiour in various ways. When we kill animals for food, we are going away from the natural compassion that we as people of the Universe have. This results into wars, materialism, disconnectedness, taking away our inner and outer peace.
Our food becomes us. What we consume, becomes our body. Which other relation is more intimate and sacred than that? And each thing that we consume, comes from so many more overwhelming processes of nature. The clouds, the trees, the rain, the soil, the breaths of animals ‘ they have all gone into making the food that we eat. Thus, it is food that is the most sacred connection we share with the infinite. It is a manifestation of the entire web of life. It is a form of love that our environment feels for us.
Animals are mobile and hence have a nervous system that is there to protect themselves from self-damaging behaviours. When we eat them, we eat the actual organs of the animals. ‘Our meals require us to eat like predators and thus to see ourselves as such, cultivating and justifying predatory behaviors and institutions that are the antithesis of the inclusiveness and kindness that accompany spiritual growth.’
(World Peace Diet) By Dr. Will Tuttle http://worldpeacediet.org/
‘The production of meat, especially beef (and dairy as well), has a large environmental impact. According to the U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change. It also wastes resources. It takes 7,000 kg of grain to make 1,000 kg of beef.’
Meanwhile, we go on questioning, and we find that an October, 2012, United Nations Global Environment Alert Service article (at unep.net) reported that: ”the true costs of industrial agriculture, and specifically ‘cheap meat’, have become more and more evident. Today, ‘the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems'” (Steinfeld et al. 2006).’ Among the stressors to the earth caused by animal agriculture, they list many of the problems we have highlighted in this column’desertification, deforestation, pollution, overuse of water, using grain to feed animals instead of hungry people, and greenhouse gas emissions.
‘World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.’
‘ Dalai Lama XIV
We need to come together and help each other to understand and reflect upon the message and method of peace. By sitting and reading paragraphs, discussing what they mean, taking the essence of their meaning and developing an action plan through action oriented goals, can be the aim of small peace groups. This will not only get likeminded people together in one area but it will get people together globally. These Peace Groups will also be able to share their learnings and action plans of their respective areas with others. We will be able to share best practices.
Instead of depending on the government and other official bodies for maintaining peace and order in society, we ourselves need to be harbingers of peace. We can understand how to resolve internal conflict, avoid physical violence, reduce fear and hatred. Initiatives like a Peace Week or a Peace Day, even a Peace Fair can be organized to spread the message, so more willing people come together and create a silent, determined movement to change the ways of the world.
Loving Action Now
Coming home to Peace as your Self:
Come home to the simple understanding that You are an Infinite Space of Love, Awareness and Peace. From this Sky like standpoint of Awareness, look at all the things that the limited ‘you’ would have done in the past that you hold on to (either with positive or negative feelings associated with them). One by one say for each of these ‘events’:
‘From the space of Infinite Love , Awareness and Peace that I Am, I deeply and completely forgive all these things that I have held on to. I completely and totally love, accept and forgive whatever has happened. I am at Home now. I am free.’
Whenever you look up at the Sky, remind yourself ‘I Am the Infinite Sky of Peace. Everything is like a cloud. This too shall pass. ‘
Listen to your body. Pay loving attention to each part. Feel into what needs to be done to bring back balance and peace to different parts of your body. Listen with an open and receptive presence. The bodymind will know what is needed. Let it unfold naturally and peacefully.
Peace with others:
Sit still and listen to the Peace that you are. Scan all you relationships and see if there are some that need to be restored to Peace, Harmony and Balance. Look beyond the changing cloud like forms of the ‘other’ and recognize that the same Sky of Peace that you are is the essence of the ‘other’ too. Listening to the heart will guide you on what you need to do to bring the relationship back to harmony and balance. It may take the form of an apology, forgiveness, listening to the other and sharing ones perspectives in a peaceful and truthful way. For every conflict, make Peace your aim. Start by remembering that you both ARE already Peace at your Core!
See if you want to start a Peace Circle in your neighbourhood, family or at work. You can download a simple guide from: http://www.peacepower.info/modules/PeaceCircles.pdf
Find some cause to donate money, knowledge or effort to. There is nothing like heartfelt giving to bring you back home to balance and peace.
Peace with all animals and also the environment:
The co-creation of One Wholesome World begins with me. Food is an important aspect of our lives. Check out where your food comes from:
See what choices you can make to buy and eat local food.
Choosing Vegetarian or Vegan food can further add to your health and also to the well-being of the planet.
A Sufi Story on ‘Peace Begins With Me’
An old man sat motionless on his death bed. He knew that his ‘time’ was at hand.. He wanted to share a few words of wisdom with his son. Gathering his last bit of strength he slowly whispered to his son ‘Son when I was a young man, I set out on a mission to change the world. As time passed I found that the world with all of its problems was too big for one man to change. So I decided to change our country. As time passed I could not change our country with all of its problems. I changed my focus again and decided to change our city, but the problems of our city were too much for one man to handle. So I decided to just try and change my family and home. Son, as you know there are too many problems in our family and home for me to solve!
Now as I lie on my death bed, I have come to realize that if I would have just set out to change myself that would have changed our family, which would have had an effect on our neighborhood. The change in our neighborhood would have had an effect on our city. This would have had an effect on our country. Changing our country would have brought forth a change in the world.’
With these final words, the old man took his final breath, closed his eyes, never to open them again. In the Holy Quran Allah has said ‘Allah does not change the condition of a people until they first change that which is within themselves.’
Speech By Philip Wollen, VP Citibank.
King Lear, late at night on the cliffs asks the blind Earl of Gloucester ‘How do you see the world?’
And the blind man Gloucester replies ‘I see it feelingly’.
Shouldn’t we all?
Animals must be off the menu because tonight they are screaming in terror in the slaughterhouse, in crates, and cages. Vile ignoble gulags of despair.
I heard the screams of my dying father as his body was ravaged by the cancer that killed him. And I realised I had heard these screams before.
In the slaughterhouse, eyes stabbed out and tendons slashed, on the cattle ships to the Middle East and the dying mother whale as a Japanese harpoon explodes in her brain as she calls out to her calf.
Their cries were the cries of my father.
I discovered when we suffer, we suffer as equals.
And in their capacity to suffer, a dog is a pig is a bear. . . . . . is a boy.
Meat is the new asbestos ‘ more murderous than tobacco.
CO2, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide from the livestock industry are killing our oceans with acidic, hypoxic Dead Zones.
90% of small fish are ground into pellets to feed livestock.
Vegetarian cows are now the world’s largest ocean predator.
The oceans are dying in our time. By 2048 all our fisheries will be dead. The lungs and the arteries of the earth.
Billions of bouncy little chicks are ground up alive simply because they are male.
Only 100 billion people have ever lived. 7 billion alive today. And we torture and kill 2 billion animals every week.
10,000 entire species are wiped out every year because of the actions of one species.
We are now facing the 6th mass extinction in cosmological history.
If any other organism did this a biologist would call it a virus.
It is a crime against humanity of unimaginable proportions.
The world has changed.
10 years ago Twitter was a bird sound, www was a stuck keyboard, Cloud was in the sky, 4 g was a parking place, Google was a baby burp, Skype was a typo and Al Kider was my plumber.
Victor Hugo said ‘there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come’.
Animal Rights is now the greatest Social Justice issue since the abolition of slavery.
There are over 600 million vegetarians in the world.
That is bigger than the US, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia combined! If we were one nation we would be bigger than the 27 countries in the European Union!!
Despite this massive footprint, we are still drowned out by the raucous huntin’, shootin’, killin’ cartels who believe that violence is the answer ‘ when it shouldn’t even be a question.
Meat is a killing industry ‘ animals, us and our economies.
Medicare has already bankrupted the US. They will need $8 trillion invested in Treasury bills just to pay the interest. It has precisely zero!!
They could shut every school, army, navy, air force, and Marines, the FBI and CIA ‘ and they still won’t be able to pay for it.
Cornell and Harvard say’s that the optimum amount of meat for a healthy diet is precisely ZERO.
Water is the new oil. Nations will soon be going to war for it.
Underground aquifers that took millions of years to fill are running dry.
It takes 50,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef.
1 billion people today are hungry. 20 million people will die from malnutrition. Cutting meat by only 10% will feed 100 million people. Eliminating meat will end starvation forever.
If everyone ate a Western diet, we would need 2 Planet Earths to feed them. We only have one. And she is dying.
Greenhouse gas from livestock is 50% more than transport . . . . . planes, trains, trucks, cars, and ships.
Poor countries sell their grain to the West while their own children starve in their arms. And we feed it to livestock. So we can eat a steak? Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a starving child. When I look into her eyes, should I be silent?
The earth can produce enough for everyone’s need. But not enough for everyone’s greed.
We are facing the perfect storm.
If any nation had developed weapons that could wreak such havoc on the planet, we would launch a pre-emptive military strike and bomb it into the Bronze Age.
But it is not a rogue state. It is an industry.
The good news is we don’t have to bomb it. We can just stop buying it.
George Bush was wrong. The Axis of Evil doesn’t run through Iraq, or Iran or North Korea. It runs through our dining tables. Weapons of Mass Destruction are our knives and forks.
This is the Swiss Army Knife of the future ‘ it solves our environmental, water, health problems and ends cruelty forever.
The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. This cruel industry will end because we run out of excuses.
Meat is like 1 and 2 cent coins. It costs more to make than it is worth.
And farmers are the ones with the most to gain. Farming won’t end. It would boom. Only the product line would change. Farmers would make so much money they wouldn’t even bother counting it.
Governments will love us. New industries would emerge and flourish. Health insurance premiums would plummet. Hospital waiting lists would disappear.
Hell ‘We’d be so healthy; we’d have to shoot someone just to start a cemetery!’
So tonight I have 2 Challenges for the opposition:
1. Meat causes a wide range of cancers and heart disease. Will they name one disease caused by a vegetarian diet?
2. I am funding the Earthlings trilogy. If the opposition is so sure of their ground, I challenge them to send the Earthlings DVD to all their colleagues and customers. Go on I DARE YOU.
Animals are not just other species. They are other nations. And we murder them at our peril.
The peace map is drawn on a menu. Peace is not just the absence of war. It is the presence of Justice.
Justice must be blind to race, colour, religion or species. If she is not blind, she will be a weapon of terror. And there is unimaginable terror in those ghastly Guantanamos.
If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we wouldn’t need this debate.
I believe another world is possible.
On a quiet night, I can hear her breathing.
Let’s get the animals off the menu and out of these torture chambers.
Please vote tonight for those who have no voice.
Love all God’s creation
‘Love all God’s creation, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light. Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing. If thou love each thing thou wilt perceive the mystery of God in all; and when once thou perceive this, thou wilt thenceforward grow every day to a fuller understanding of it: until thou come at last to love the whole world with a love that will then be all-embracing and universal.’
‘ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
It Is Time To Remember Who You Are
by Patricia Diane Cota-Robles
New Age Study of Humanity’s Purpose a 501 ï¿½ï¿½ 3 nonprofit educational organization http://eraofpeace.org
You are a Beloved Child of God who is on Earth during this unique moment to cocreate the wonders of Heaven on Earth. You are an empowered Instrument of God. This inner knowing is opening your heart and allowing your God Self to increase the amount of Divine Light flowing through your Earthly body.
This increased influx of Light flows into the physical plane and enters the core of purity in every electron of precious life energy. The Light then pushes to the surface anything that conflicts with its frequencies of harmony, love, and balance. As the discordant frequencies of energy surface to be transmuted back into Light, they often create the illusion that things are getting worse. People can easily witness the surfacing negativity, but what they don’t see as easily is the incredible Light that is pushing the negativity to the surface to be healed and transmuted. That phenomenon has the effect of keeping people focused on the problem instead of the solution.
When the focus of your attention is stuck on the negativity that is coming up to be healed instead of on the Light of God that is pulsating with all of the patterns of perfection and the viable solutions contained in the Causal Body of God, you empower and sustain the negative things that are surfacing.
Instead of eliminating the problems, you actually intensify them. This creates the situations that make you feel desperate, overwhelmed and hopeless.
People are so used to accepting the physical plane as their true reality, that they have forgotten it is merely a reflection of their consciousness. No matter how real your life challenges seem or how entrapped you are in the grip of poverty, disease, low self-esteem, loveless relationships, hatred, corruption, ignorance, war, et cetera, those distorted expressions of life can only be maintained if you sustain them through your thoughts, words, actions, feelings and beliefs. If you choose to empower the Light and all of the patterns of perfection contained in that Light instead of choosing to empower the things that cause your pain and suffering, your Earthly experiences will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye.
Never has there been a more opportune time for you to change your course of direction. Never has Humanity received more support from the Heavenly Realms than we are receiving at this moment. Focus on fulfilling your dreams, and miracles will happen.
10 Things We Can Do to Contribute to Internal, Interpersonal, and Organizational Peace
1. Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how we would like to relate to ourselves and others.
2. Remember that all human beings have the same needs.
3. Check our intention to see if we are as interested in others getting their needs met as our own.
4. When asking someone to do something, check first to see if we are making a request or a demand.
5. Instead of saying what we DON’T want someone to do, say what we DO want the person to do.
6. Instead of saying what we want someone to BE, say what action we’d like the person to take that we hope will help the person be that way.
7. Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone’s opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.
8. Instead of saying “No,” say what need of ours prevents us from saying “Yes.”
9. If we are feeling upset, think about what need of ours is not being met, and what we could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what’s wrong with others or ourselves.
10. Instead of praising someone who did something we like, express our gratitude by telling the person what need of ours that action met.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) would like there to be a critical mass of people using Nonviolent Communication language so all people will get their needs met and resolve their conflicts peacefully.
2001, revised 2004 Gary Baran& CNVC.
BRIEF REPORT ON THE USE OF OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY FOR TWO PEACE CONFERENCES
‘Every time Space opens, Peace seems to break out. And the application is not only in the global arena of conflicted people, but also in the multiple arenas of human life were Peace appears in jeopardy, including families, community organizations, and businesses.’
Dr. Harrison Owen
Notes on the book ‘The Practice of Peace’ (2nd Edition)
This brief note describes the use of Open Space Technology for two related conferences held at Asia Plateau, Panchgani (120 KMs from Pune in Western India) in August 2001 and February 2002. Both these conferences addressed the issue of people working together to make a difference towards restoring Peace and Prosperity in areas, which have seen a lot of violence and explosive conflict. Both conferences were between people harbouring a lot of mistrust.
The two conferences were:
1. Indo – Pakistan People to People Dialogue for Peace and Prosperity
Date: 5th ‘ 8th August 2001
No. of Participants: 70
A growing mass of well-meaning people, in India and Pakistan, believe that the time has come to positively & consciously bring about a shift in mind-sets, which alone can lead to outer changes and long-term friendship between the two countries.
A group of such people, led by the Pragati Foundation in Pune, India, and the Foundation for Human and Economic Development, USA, had a very inspiring and energizing Indo-Pak dialogue at Panchgani in the summer of 2001 ( 8th -11th August 2001 ). It was probably for the first time since 1947, that Pakistanis and Indians, including Kashmiris, sat together at one table, in a spirit of Friendship, Amity and Dialogue and came up with a shared understanding of what we need to do, to bring about permanent Peace.
One of the resolutions adopted at Panchgani was that another dialogue should be held, in which the people of undivided J & K could share their authentic heritage and voice their true collective aspirations. It was agreed that the true voice of the people of J & K needs to be heard and their deepest aspirations need to guide actions on the future of the state.
The next conference was aimed at the above objective.
2. All J&K People to People Dialogue for Peace and Prosperity
Date: 12th – 15th February 2002
No. of Participant: 62
This dialogue was aimed at bringing together seriously committed people, from the whole of Jammu and Kashmir state, in a very inspiring setting. We sought the guidance of Love in silence, besides dialoguing, to come up with practical solutions and proposals for lasting Peace and Prosperity for the people of J & K as a whole.
In this dialogue, the purpose was to get together, listen to each other and re-connect back with the rich and glorious Spiritual, Aesthetic, Intellectual and Universal heritage (including Kashmiriyat) of J&K” one that has a tremendous relevance in today’s times. We intended to work together for Peace and Prosperity for all, inspired by the Universal Spirit, which has guided us all through the ages. This dialogue and reconnection, gave the participants a chance to reconnect with the Underlying Values that forge the Kashmiri Spirit, and realize how deeply they draw from the Human Principles of Love, Brotherhood and the Universal Oneness of all humankind. It was also felt that a solution to the problem of poor Indo-Pak relations, and to the Kashmir issue, can be found within these values.
Both conferences were very successful. Open Space Technology (OST) was used in both cases.
Here’s why I think OST helped so much:
1. One of the needs in the Indian Sub-Continent, and Jammu & Kashmir in particular is for people to take responsibility for co-creating a future, which is deeply desired by all. Open Space Technology (OST) gave people an experiential feel of the process of co-creation. It was a direct way of experiencing the power of Freedom / Responsibility.
2. The process of opening space opened peoples’ hearts. In situations of conflict and misunderstanding this is most important for building trust and courage. In both the conferences participants commented on how the open, loving atmosphere created in the conference was helpful in healing and re-conciliation.
3. The process of OST and the focus on listening to each other with respect, and honouring all voices gave many an opportunity to voice their feelings freely. For many people who had never found such a forum, this brought immense relief and deep satisfaction. It was also an affirmation of the basic human right of free expression. It also was an eye opener for people to hear about others problems.
4. There were many moments when people paused in silence to listen to Heart / Spirit / Inner guidance. This brought in a sacred dimension in the proceeding. Since silence is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Buddhist, it was whole-heartedly accepted by all. In an atmosphere charged with religious mistrust, it gave people a feel of the Peace that transcends religion.
5. In both the conferences, there was a lot of sharing of the practical house work at the conference centre (Dish washing, serving food, cleaning up, laying the tables etc.). When you do such things with “the enemy”, one strongly realize the basic commonality of life and human needs. This was a powerful means of connecting us back to our intrinsic humanness.
6. Because of the unbounded field of human expression that OST provides for, many creative expressions like skits, songs, dances, celebrations, humour and meditation emerged. These helped to bring people into the space of feelings / heart and thereby helped integration. This was further helped by the cultural programmes that were part of both conferences in the evenings.
7. The beauty of the physical environment (Asia Plateau, Panchagani, Western India), and the proximity to a lush green forest, and the view of mountains, a lake and open sky, connected people to the elements. This further created a sense of wholeness and integration.
8. The Law of Two Feet, paying attention, being present, and showing up all brought people into integrity. This is the same as reconnection with spirit. Ultimately, it is spirit that heals, reunites, inspires and gives faith and courage for creative action.
9. Many initiatives have rippled out of these two conferences. With further conversations and invitations, the ripples of loving action and responsibility will reach out still further.
Education for a Wholesome World
Education is that which liberates
Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.’
– Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
‘Sa Vidya, ya Vimuktaye’ ‘ knowledge is that which liberates. The deeper purpose of education is to liberate us from bondage of all kinds: Bondage with our kin; with our society; and from bondage of attachments created by our ‘ego’.
True Education can be seen as an expansion and unfolding of our innate freedom – the freedom to act intelligently and appropriately in a given situation, the freedom to respond to life’s challenges in the most life affirming and wholesome way. It is the freedom to see the truth as it is, without distortion, free of our own and others conditioning. It is about reaching out to the freedom of love beyond the narrow divisions of religion, nationality, colour or class. Ultimately, it is about the freedom of one’s own being’ the blissfulness of being nobody and yet being connected to all. In this way it is about celebrating each moment of life as a creative play, in deep gratitude for everything.
Our life is governed by the beliefs and mindsets that have been instilled in us in our formative years. These have shaped our perceptions and experiences. As we saw above, true education liberates us from these prisons of conditioning. It not only looks at the content of what goes into the mind, but also sensitizes us to the context ‘ especially the larger context of who I am and why I am here.
To reclaim our freedom, we will need to drop our masks and come out of our rigid pattern of thinking. This will give us the freedom to fully feel what we are feeling, to be in our senses and act creatively.
The time to be creative and useful is here and just now. One need not be caught up in the prison walls of our mind we have allowed to be erected around us by wrong perceptions. As young children, we are all naturally creative, using up to 80% of our creative capacities. As adults we allow this to drop down to a mere 2%. This happens because our attention is caught in habitual tracks. This inhibits learning. New thoughts, new feelings and actions leading to new experience make up the cycle of learning. Habits like this cycle!
Why does the natural and ever renewing flow of thoughts, feelings actions and experience get blocked? What overshadows the free flow of life energy? We propose that this occurs because we create boundaries between:
‘ What we imagine to be our ‘self’ and the world around us;
‘ Ourselves and other human beings; and one part / aspect of myself with other aspects of myself.
These boundaries create resistance in learning: in both the teacher and the student resistance bonds us. Our notions of who we are, our cravings and aversions, memories from the past and anxieties about the future’ all conspire to keep our attention away from life as it is now. Moreover, people bounded by limiting or pre-conceived notions are like a puppets being controlled by external circumstances. It is almost as if someone else holds the controls of their mind and manipulates them the way one would operate a computer.
When this is possible? All this will happen when the pupils learn how to operate from an unbounded consciousness, which is the source of universal values. This is nothing but working from the space of deep inner silence. Developed human beings exercise a free choice in dealing with situation that they confront. It is well to remember that a lifetime comprises of series of continuous situations that every one of us has to meet. How we meet these situation and what responses we exhibit determines the quality of our experience and our life.
There two fundamental models of thoughts / perception and feelings in which we exist in each moment. Fear and Love, Fear limits, restricts contracts and binds. Love (which is the foundation for a wholesome life) liberates, expands and accepts. It allows the natural flow of life’ unhindered and free. The table below describes teaching and learning in these two modes:
Fear State Teaching and Learning Flow State Teaching and Learning
Working from the mind / ego: Operating out of limited mind’ desire, greed, limitation. Working from No Mind / Love: Operating out of unlimited Being’ Joy, Fullness, Unboundedness.
The teacher and the taught are separate. There is a barrier between them. The teacher and the taught are one. Teaching is happening as one process.
Teaching and learning are separate from Living.
Teaching, Learning, Experiencing and Living are one integrated whole.
Teaching and Learning are born out of desire i.e. the learner & teacher are operating out of some form of Not OKness:
‘ The desire to ‘show my knowledge’ (teacher)
‘ The desire to gain knowledge (learner)
‘ The desire to impress
‘ The desire to make money
‘ The desire to be a great teacher; great learner
‘ The desire to be famous ‘come first’
‘ The desire to ‘teach my students’ Teaching and learning are born of flowing compassion’ they happen and are not done. The teacher is operating out of Unconditional OKness, i.e. no desire. Just a full, loving, creative space within.
The student is a vast open joyful awareness; fully in ones senses and totally present.
Hence teaching and learning are more like a creative, playful expression of joy rather than the ‘drudgery’ and ‘effort’ that happens in the ‘Fear’ state.
Life as a whole seen as a magnificent teacher. Both teacher and student are totally at peace at all times.
Dominant Teachers: Teachers work with a desire to exercise power from a position of authority and use the teaching situation as a means to bolster one’s not OKness.
Passive & Dependent Learners: Students are passive and powerless. Liberating Teachers: Teachers work with a desire to empower students recognising that they are ‘Perfection in Progress’. They teach from a space of Love and use the teaching situation as a means evolve the Unconditional OKness in all.
Active & interdependent Learners: Students are joyous, active and powerful.
The teacher and students are identified with their own body, mind or skills. They have a limited concept of themselves and others around them. They see only the Surface and are asleep to the core.
The teacher and students work with misery, from misery and (unwittingly create more misery for themselves and others. The teacher and students are constantly aware of their own inner core of Peace, Bliss and Silence. They see this as the common and shared space of Being. They also see that the same creative centre is at the heart of each human being. They see teaching primarily as a reconnection with or unfolding of this centre in all. They work with joy, from joy and for joy.
Students and teachers in the fear state are constantly worried about performance / results. Their mind is preoccupied with future outcomes and hence not in the Here and Now where Life and Teaching are happening. Students and teachers in the flow state focus on the process in the Here and Now. They know that if the process is creative, good results will follow. They realize that as much is learnt from mistakes & failure as is from success.
They fear and avoid the unknown. Stay within the framework of the familiar, known, routine and planned. They are upset by change of any kind. They defend the status quo.
Some cardinal beliefs, they hold; ‘Life is intrinsically threatening. So it must be controlled’
Life is a struggle. Learning is a struggle. They seek out the unknown and welcome the mysterious. They welcome change and can experiment with situations. They encourage the best use of all situations and happenings as fuel for Learning. Some cardinal beliefs they hold: ‘The beauty of life & learning is in its changes. Everything will strengthen and nourish me’
Life is celebration. Learning is celebration
Fear State Teaching creates more conditioning Flow state teaching frees the mind from conditioning.
Discipline is imposed from Fear. Imposed conditions and compliance are at the core of regulation. Discipline arises naturally from being a disciple of the Being’ the real and whole Self. Discipline arises out of intelligence and understanding. Life is the natural master regulator.
Is our education reinforcing the basic paradigm of deficiency and fear or liberating children into natural joy, peace and abundance?
A look at the table above might indicate that much of what passes off as ‘Education’ today is really a part of a huge interconnected cluster of factors which work to keep people feeling deficient & ‘not okay’ (There are many outstanding exceptions which will be mentioned later in this chapter).
At the core of all this fear state teaching & learning is a deep rooted sense of ‘not-okayness’. This myth that ‘You are not okay’ leads us into a fervent search for finding something that will make us feel okay. It goes into a downward spiral that takes you away from your home of wholeness. In the process we are depleting both, our inner and outer resources, we are toxifying life in spiral of lies and violence.
There is so much competition and pressure on children today, to get into the most swanky, commercial schools that claim that they will be ‘producing’ young, responsible, mature, intelligent adults! But, what are these schools really doing? They are moulding and shaping each child to become a part of a society that is selfish and corrupt a society that is toxifying the purity of its children. While the true value of education is lost in commercialization and pretence, the energy and vibrancy of students is being lost in the rigid, hierarchy driven education systems of today.
The essence of a creative climate is freedom to think, feel and imagine as shown in the figure:
“Creativity is akin to growth and delivery of a child from a mother’s womb. The level of fear and excitement is very high at the front line, but the creative joys are manifold’, says Tom Peters, Management expert. “Get into the innovation mode and enjoy your work in an atmosphere of freedom and creativity’, he exhorts. Keep this thought always in your mind. Creative climate discourages the tendency in education to give preconceived structures to the mind. It provides such an understanding that the mind is not enslaved to conditioning. Instead, independent thinking ability arises. Every person is endowed with the seed of independent thinking in a unique way. These seeds can sprout in a creative climate of the school developed jointly by the Principal and teachers working together. In this climate we teach thinking rather than obedience. Absence of fear is necessary to creativity. This encourages freedom to question existing beliefs and to meet the challenge of the unknown. It also encourages natural and self-inspired growth through love and by accepting the uniqueness of each child. A flower is a flower. Only names are different. All are beautiful. Irrational belief has no place in a creative environment, whereas, thinking is like finding one’s own vision, belief is like blindness. Thinking is to be learnt, not beliefs. Right reasoning is to be cultivated not mere trust. “We have to guard against the danger of teaching darkness in the name of light”.
The search for truth begins with the first step of right doubt. Where there is no doubt there is no thinking. And without thinking there is no creativity, there is no truth. Getting at truth is a continuous search with total awareness. Children learn to search in a creative climate, where they can cultivate courage and awareness.
What could be the role of the mass media?
It is easy to exploit a person who is not secure and comfortable about the way he is. Most people spend all their time trying to be someone else because they think that that will give them more acceptance, more recognition, more love. The media feeds on this with their ‘weapons of mass distraction’ Have you ever noticed how many advertisements, cartoons, reality shows and television shows we have recently started watching? Most news these days is about what is going wrong. The simplest piece is sensationalized to the extent of sacrificing the Truth. Vital themes, which will truly help man to reconnect and find happiness, are pushed into a mere corner, compressed into a tiny line and made as inconspicuous as possible. Everything negative is reported. Have we ever thought that focusing on the positives will give people hope and encourage them to be positive and abundance-attracting people?
The influence of certain ‘perceptions’ create stereotypes. The big business conglomerates pay enough amounts to bribe their way through thousands of waiting documents. They make products for ‘fair skin’ and hair care, because that is considered beautiful. Vicious circle works like ‘ education and media conspire to make you feel ‘not okay’, to make you feel ‘less’ or ‘not good enough’. Therefore you are easily pulled in by the consumption machine and to be able to ‘fit in’, you consume more. There is always something more that you need, there is always some ‘gap’ that needs to be filled. What we don’t realize is that none of this external consumption is going to fill the ‘gap’. It will not make you feel whole. And that is because we believed the business people, who for their own interests, said we were not whole in the first place.
A wholesome way of doing it is by being in touch with your fullness. This will make us so secure as people, that even our needs will become more natural. The whole focus will start moving towards what I can give, to expand true wealth, to expand joy, wellbeing and wholeness. Children who are in touch with their inner essence of unconditional okayness, they will be an unstoppable force.
Education / learning must enable a person to live spontaneously, be alive, celebrative and trustful in expressing feelings, relax, have no judgments and no conflicts. It must enable people to delve deep inside themselves, be constantly aware, and operate effortlessly from that ultimate source of joy. This cannot happen in our four walled classrooms where the concept is ‘one lecture fits all’.
Can you have learning which is not imparted in a school, college of institution? But learning that happens at your pace, in your modality, in your time? For learning you are the unique customer. You should be able to get whatever you want, whenever you want. The future demands that learning be taken out of boxed classrooms that lead to the creation of a boxed outlook as well. How do we de-box? By taking learning out of the control of parents, authority, schools, and putting learning in the hands of the learner, wide spread, easily accessible and self-driven.
All students might not learn at the same pace and they might not have the same doubts and strengths as others. The grasping power of each student is wide ranging. Salman Khan of the Khan Academy, who started putting concept videos on YouTube for the benefit of his nephews, tells us about the idea of ‘One Global Classroom’. Along with the lectures, there is a complex and comprehensive software that allows tracking the student’s growth and other things. The idea is that the students learn from watching videos of concepts, so they can go back and forth over the points that they don’t understand, they can take their own time to learn something. They can master the concept through various questions that the software generates. The biggest thing is that, this technology instead of dehumanizing the class room, humanizes it. It allows the teachers to actually spend more time with the students, it allows students to interact with each other and help each other to get through various hurdles. This is not just a one off learning experience; it can last for years, even helping adults who want to revise certain fundamentals. We need to learn from each other and know that we are as much teachers as we are students. People across boundaries can post, view, learn from and teach.
We will no longer have to depend on a set time for a particular subject. It will be more understanding driven than examination driven. Imagine the time and potential that could be maximized if every student was able to study what and how he wanted. Traditional institutions today, put education into little boxes. Education makes you into an instruction following slave. The richest learning environment is life. The best learning comes when we learn from each other through sharing and collaborating. If we just teach people how to learn and how to make connections across disciplines, we can deinstitutionalize learning. We need to allow people to discover their own innate capabilities, explore their likes and dislikes and be creative and original.
Only from a deep awareness of one’s own well-being, can there be well-being of others, and the well-being of the planet as a whole. When thoughts, words, and deeds arise from the innermost fountains of love, wholesomeness is present. Learning is about seeing, discovering together. It is a transformation, transcending the form or physical body and the touchstones of this process of change in attitude are love and joy in abundance.
Schools as Societal Centres for the Holistic Organisation of Life
Integration has two related meanings:
‘ Being in touch, or the parts are in touch with each other, are connected or joined into one whole.
‘ Being un-touched, or whole (undivided, one, as it is)
The fundamental responsibility of a human being is to become a joyous human being. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. It doesn’t matter what you are pursuing in your life, whether it’s business, money, power, education, service or whatever else you wish to do. The reason we do things is because somewhere deep inside us we know that this will bring us happiness. The spirit of co-existence has to be imbibed in the younger generation right from the beginning, through a meaningful system of education. The education we are thinking of is obviously value-based education. Value based education should be able to build character for the individual. The elements that constitute good character in an individual are: Courage, Fearlessness, Humanism, and Dedication to duty and Universality. If an education system can inculcate these elements of character in any individual anywhere in the world then the world will definitely be free from ills like intolerance, hatred, fundamentalism, terrorism etc. These elements make an individual become a wholesome and ethical human being: a good person.
Are we equipping our students to only be proficient earners and not equipping them to live in harmony with others and with Nature? Today’s system of education is becoming a cumbersome task for all those involved in it ‘ the teachers, the founding members, the administrative staff and the students themselves. Judgments and labeling have overruled genuine curiosity. Categorizing based on appearances, family histories and possessions is so rampant, that it is quite dangerous. Suspicion, mistrust and competitiveness have taken over concern and genuine affection in relationships. At a time when we need our world view to expand its horizons to shift thinking from ‘I, me, myself and my’ to ‘We, us, ours’, we are slacking miserably. This narrow minded thinking, that is so limited that it does not include anyone else, will increase conflict and distress between boundaries. Instead of harmony, education today is teaching competition. Cognitive knowledge has to be beautifully fused with affective awareness for a child to be able to hold his own in any forum. While we teach discipline as ‘obeying instructions’, we have to inculcate habits of introspection and listening to self. These will keep one in sync with personal belief systems and produce more long lasting effects than mere instruction following conditioning ever will. We need to live with a sense of solidarity amongst us, through appreciating diversity and being at peace with one another.
Let us look at some inspiring schools that have these integrated principles as a part of their frame work. The following is a little note about The New School ‘ The Future of Humanity, that provides a free, open, creative and vibrant space for little children to grow beautiful wings. Life is seen as a journey of evolution evolving toward a more expanded view of who I am, of capacity and connectedness, as the boundaries of my identity start dissolving, capacity expands. Everything in life teaches me to be one with the natural flow of life’. to use gifts to serve, to use my own faculties, to remember that I create my own story all the time.
In southern Russia, in the lap of mountains and streams, there is a school started by Academician Mikhail Petrovich Shchetinin, whose principles are very significantly aligned with the kind of schooling that we have talked about above as it needs to exist in the future.
In this school, students and teachers learn from each other, students teach and explain topics to one another, everything that they do is learnt in the context of the meaning of human existence. Our education system today is rife with silos, and the most necessary thing to do now, is to integrate the various distinctions and isolated layers that have been made. Education today needs to be holistic and needs to instill in the students a holistic view of the world. The innate creativity and passion of the child needs to be brought out. The Latin word for educate is educere ‘ meaning to bring out. Stifling a child’s beauty by stuffing him or her with information, is not going to make the child a more ‘successful’ human being. Every action and teaching needs to be combined with life affirming values.
It is the raising of Man to live harmoniously, to act in harmony with society – a Man who, when he sees and analyses the phenomena of life which surround him, can feel their interconnection, can perceive the world as a whole. And no matter what he becomes – an engineer, physicist, chemist, builder, teacher etc. – he will understand that he is going out into a unified, and wholesome unified world! Only when the roots are strong can a tree flower beautifully. It is the same with a child. Attention dwindles in normal schools after the first few weeks of enthusiasm. This leads to inactivity and boredom. Learned helplessness sets in, and a child does not grow to meet his potential, in fact, somewhere along the way he even loses the willingness to exploit his strengths. Health is adversely affected. In The New School, the children are completely free. They are enthusiastic and full of energy that they use all their time to continuously enrich themselves. You would be surprised to know that the entire structure of the school has been collectively thought of by the children. They have laid every brick, they have conceptualized and made come alive the school entirely. In one or two years’ time they can complete the same syllabus of one subject that in traditional schools, we would take ten years to finish. Instead of taking breaks between subjects, the students of this school prefer to indulge in one subject at a time, grasp the entire essence of it and master it thoroughly. There are no real teachers, the students explain to one another and learn from one another. They ask questions, find answers and share their doubts and knowledge.
They are treated as adults from the beginning. The feeling of community is so strong that they all know they are there to progress together. With love and care, they help each other out. They are all ‘coworkers’. One student says ‘Regular’ schools prepare children for social roles, but here we don’t prepare, we live these roles each moment! The goal is to develop each ones abilities to their maximum. The children cook; do the housekeeping, the organization, absolutely everything. They think in terms of the Universe, not in terms of individuals.
What better than to lead a life by having conscious awareness of it?
Below are some examples of schools that are aligned with what has been shared in this Chapter.
We have to share with you the ethos of Bharat Vidyalaya, (Website: http://www.src-charity.org) a school catering to the underprivileged in the Satara district of Maharashtra state in Western India. Moving away from a school system focused on ‘teaching’, this school has kept its focus on learning which is child centric. Research, thought and effort have gone into planning this education system based on the natural development of the brain. (This aspect is similar to the EFL system which respects a child’s stage of development and his/her energetic profile) It maximizes the period upto 8 years of a child’s growth by working on developing interconnections that translate into the cognitive ability of the child. An open-learning system, encouraging interaction and discussion, the classrooms enable free movement by not keeping any benches. Brain boosting activities take place every few minutes to ensure active energy and overcome lethargy. Instead of compartmentalizing education, Bharat Vidyalaya capitalizes the in-disciplinary nature and interconnections between subjects. They take the approach of viewing the ‘system as a whole’ teach concepts keeping in mind the larger context and facilitate ‘learning’ by doing. They aim to develop the self-learning capacity of the child, so that the learning process is continuous, placing importance on problem solving and critical thinking. They also embrace the bigger vision of peace and harmony, and are contributors in the collaborative working of all citizens. This seminal work is an extremely worthy step in the right direction. Luckily there are many such beautiful examples in the world. Swami Yogananda Paramhansa set up a school in Ranchi, India based on spiritual and holistic foundation. It became wildly successful. Similar schools were opened all over the world under the leadership of his disciple Swami Unyandanda.
Education For Life (EFL) Program:
This program (Website: http://edforlife.org/) is working towards increasing children’s motivation with the help of simple principles and practices of how to direct energy to make the classrooms more magnetic. Holistic and experiential, it is rooted in old Indian philosophies and modernized to be appropriate for today’s day and age. For more than 40 years EFL has provided the world with ‘living wisdom’ schools. This approach prepares them to gracefully move from student hood to adulthood. They are recognized as people that are wonderfully prepared for life, willing to face challenges and thence becoming natural leaders. Students and teachers mutually learn, enabling them to consider the realities of other people, making them more empathetic and conscious. These qualities and skills they can use in their own personal lives and become masters!
Agastya International Foundation :
Mr. Ramji Raghavan, the cofounder of Agastya International Foundation (Website: http://www.agastya.org/) has truly made a remarkable contribution in education. Agastya is a movement led by entrepreneurs, educators, scientists, teachers and children to transform education, make it affordable, and create a sustainable model that will provide affordable education and can be replicated anywhere in the world. With their focus on grass root education, they hope to inspire social development, innovation and leadership. A system that has truly given stupendous results through implementing its philosophy and putting its goals to action, Agastya has reached nearly 2.5million disadvantaged children in hand-on science education and about 100,000 teachers in rural India.
Riverside School, Ahmedabad, India:
Over the last 14 years, Riverside School (www.schoolriverside.com) has designed, implemented and shared a unique user centered curriculum that is providing schools with an alternative model which focuses on quality of learning AND student well-being. The practices have been recognized worldwide and the school has regularly been honored for its academic achievement as well as its unique philosophy of ‘Doing Good AND Doing Well’.
The Riverside approach is to:
‘ Communicate a compelling idea of children and childhood, their potentials and competencies;
‘ Promote and practice empathy in education, with particular emphasis to cultivate children’s creative confidence through promoting creative action;
‘ Advance the professionalism and culture of teachers, promoting a greater awareness of the value of collegial work and of meaningful relationships with the children and their families;
‘ Highlight the value of research, observation, interpretation, and documentation of children’s knowledge-building and thinking processes; and to
‘ Share best practices through educational dialogues, conferences, professional development courses on the issues of education and the culture of childhood.
Riverside School is currently (2015) under the leadership of its dynamic founder, Ms. Kiran Bir Sethi. She is an outstanding example of a Wholesome Leader. Under her leadership, the school has taken on many initiatives:
aProCh (a Protagonist in every Child) : a community based initiative started by the Riverside School in 2007 to create Child Friendly cities, which has impacted over 100,000 children. (www.aproch.org)
In 2009, Riverside conceptualized and promoted the world’s largest ‘Design Thinking’ challenge for children ‘ Design for Change which is now in over 30 countries and reaching over 200,000 schools. (www.dfcworld.com)
In 2010, Riverside introduced the Right to Education as a truly inclusive program. The model is now being emulated by other establishments as a way forward.
These are just a few examples of the many great innovations that are occurring in Education today. Can these examples multiply? Can good practices spread? The key we believe is in the quality of Leadership that Principals and all those connected with Education can provide.
The key is also in what you can do to make a difference!
Loving Action Now
1. Look back on your own process of education & learning in life. What have been the most significant lessons learnt? How many of these happened in a classroom?
2. If you are a parent, what might you start doing, continue doing and stop doing to allow the natural unfoldment of your child?
3. If you are an educator / teacher, look at the table in this chapter (Fear State vs. Flow State Teaching). Which side describes your current ‘view’ of yourself, education & life? What might enable you to make the shift if required?
Here are some thoughts on Education for a Wholesome World for you to reflect on:
1. Not ego but love is to be taught. There is love when there is no ego.
2. Values to be inculcated are truth, beauty, goodness, courage, honor, character, integrity and love. All these arise as outcomes of being one with the source of all values.. the wholeness of life.
3. Develop love and joy, not competition and rivalry. Let each child grow higher and higher according to his unique endowments.
4. One who seeks his own intrinsic bliss becomes like a beautiful flower, full of fragrance and beauty. May teachers help children learn this wisdom. May teachers model the way.
5. We teach children fierce competition and wrong notions of success. This develops conceit, jealousy and hatred. How can they love? We cannot teach them love in that state of mind.
6. ‘Success’ defined in a narrow and materialistic way is the value we encourage and other values are blurred. This approach encourages dishonesty. Education needs to encourage people to be fulfilled, not only ‘successful’ in a wholesome multidimensional way as currently (2014) understood by many.
7. Each child is unique. There is nothing lower or higher. Everyone simply is in his/ her own space. All types of valuations are undesirable. We must respect the uniqueness of each individual. Otherwise rivalry, competition and violence will remain.
8. Discipline is not to be confused with obedience born out of fear. Love the children and wish for their well-being. Because of this love and giving attitude for their good, true discipline will emerge spontaneously. This discipline arises from the very depths of the child’s self.
9. Education should teach that you are enough as you are; that you do not have to be anything else. Do not be in a race with anyone.
10. Education should lead to proper growth, not to ambition. The ambitious always see what others have. They are not able to see what they have. The secret of happiness lies in how you are using what you have and not in your possessions. This value must be fully ingrained in the child’s mind. There is abundance for everyone in the universe.
11. The core of education should be to develop love and humility. Other values are automatically imbibed.
12. Education must also teach how ‘good work’ spontaneously from leveraging ones natural gifts, talents with joy. Ones chosen work will expand joy as we serve from our gifts. The important point is: how joyful, wholehearted and of what quality is the work one is doing?
13. If we spread flowers on someone’s path, only flowers will come back to us. Values help to purify your inner gold in fire. Let the impurities burn out so that only your pure gold remains. Education must serve this process.
14. Awareness of my intrinsic wholeness is the source of all Values. Values should lead the students to living a truly moral life. This is a life of inner harmony, and an expression of joy. Morality is a spontaneous expression of joy and peace.
15. The most important purpose of education is that of allowing the natural nourishment exploration and unfolding of, and bringing up the child in a way that she/he becomes a person who meets all of life situations intelligently and maturely with responses that arise from being one with the creative intelligence of life.
16. All the manifestations of reality in the external world can be understood and appreciated with the knowledge of the infinite and whole self, the ultimate reality. This is the deeper integrating principle (DIP).
17. Love and care have to be appropriately provided to the child to help him/her to develop self-reliance, trust, independence and happiness. Teacher needs to see themselves as enablers and facilitators rather than ‘shapers and moulders’.
Healing People and The Environment
Life is intrinsically healthy and vibrant. It is a natural cycle of flourishing and thriving and then declining and withering away. Our deepest nature is one of ease and peace. That is why, whenever we stray away from this natural condition, there is dis-ease.
Stuart J. Kingma in ‘A Unified View of Healing- The Centrality of Hope and Reconciliation’ has defined Health and Wholeness as a ‘dynamic state of well-being of the individual and the society; of physical, mental, spiritual, economic, political and social well-being; of being in harmony with each other, with the natural environment and with God’. The World Health Organization described health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. The word for health in Sanskrit is swasth (swa means ‘self’ and asth means ‘established in’) Swasth means one who is established in the Self. If we see the Self as Life itself, then the Sanskrit word for Health translates into established in ‘Life’ or ‘One with Life’.
Health, Wholesomeness and Peace
When your eyes are functioning well you don’t see your eyes. If your eyes are imperfect you see spots in front of them. That means there are some lesions in the retina or wherever, and because your eyes aren’t working properly, you feel them. In the same way, you don’t hear your ears. If you have a ringing in your ears it means there’s something wrong with your ears. Therefore, if you do feel yourself, there must be something wrong with you. Whatever you have, the sensation of I is like spots in front of your eyes – it means something’s wrong with your functioning.
– Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) Source: Ego ‘ from the Essential Alan Watts
Health is a state of utmost ease and peace. A state which is characterized by a total absence of dis-ease. When we are healthy, our body ‘ mind experiences a condition of total forgetfulness. We forget the body, the mind, the emotions and nothing demands our attention. This is the state of perfect health. This definition of health was brought home to me dramatically by an Ayurvedic healer who simply said ‘If I hadn’t mentioned it, would you have remembered that you had a little left finger?’ I was taken aback but replied ‘No’. Now suppose you had a cut on the left little finger, would you have remembered it? The answer is Yes! When everything i.e. all processes in the body-mind are operating in a balanced and harmonious way, there is a subjective experience of bliss, peace and free joy.
Dr. Herbert Shelton talks about the web of Life and how we are related to food, water, air and sunshine and to other people and other forms of Life in his book ‘Health for All: Organic Unity and Its Relation to Cure’ ( Kessinger Publishing , 2006 ).
He says that the only correct way of viewing the body is to view it as a whole. It is possible to live fully only if we realize that there are no shortcuts. The easiest and most straightforward way to truly live is by learning the simple laws of being, by realigning your Life with the law of nature. Though an organism has differentiated parts and specialized functions, it is only in cooperation and symbiosis that there can exist a feeling of overall wellbeing. He says ‘We must put our physiological house in order not by myriad local treatments, as physicians with financial interest in suffering do, but by duly adjusting ourselves to the ordered harmony of Nature upon which every organ and function in the body depends for its very existence’.
When we are in touch with our wholeness, when we are listening to the simple guidance of what our body is telling us, when we obey that guidance and move with that guidance, we are healthy. When we eat food which is naturally grown, without chemicals, additives and colour, we are at the peak of our health. We will see further in this chapter, how conscious farming leads to holistic growth. The feeling of being out of sync with ourselves interferes with the process of healing. We can restore this in a place of deep inner silence.
Health can pertain to an individual, a neighborhood, a nation as a whole including its environment. When all the people in a neighborhood know each other and celebrate together with love in their hearts, participate in each other’s joys and sorrows, we can say it is a healthy neighborhood. When people are in touch with and care for the animals and plants around them, we can say that they are connected and balanced and so foster environmental health.
To understand the interconnected nature of the factors surrounding Health and the Environment, let us look at two imaginary scenarios: One is based on a fundamental paradigm of Fear/Limitation /Separation and the other on Love/Wholeness/Integration:
I am feeling ‘unfulfilled ‘and deficient. My Life runs under the unexamined assumptions that ‘There is not enough for all’ and ‘I have to consume things to be happy and feel ‘okay’. As a corollary to this, I have to keep ‘working’, often doing work I do not enjoy. There is no time for reflection, exercise, relaxation and recreation because long working hours and the long commute to work drains my energy and time. I am stuck in traffic jams on most days. My health suffers because of all the negative emotions arising from this way of life. Our city is getting more polluted by the day, and medical care is getting very expensive. Since there is little time that I have, I buy most of my food from the local Mall. Much of my food is processed. This further affects my health adversely and makes me worry. I look for ways to drown my sorrow. The TV is a handy distraction. The Ads I see inspire me to buy more things to make me Healthy and Happy. I worry about my next raise at work.
Being in touch with who I am, I am feeling fulfilled, whole and abundant .There is no need to prove anything to anyone. My Life runs under the conscious assumptions that ‘There is enough for all’ and ‘I have to do absolutely nothing to feel ‘unconditionally okay’ about who I am. This arises from the understanding that I am nothing, and this moment is all I have to be joyous and loving. As a corollary to this, joyful service from my Gifts, makes my work (play!) nourishing. Because I am joyful, I attract money. There is ample time for reflection, exercise, relaxation and recreation. Working hours are appropriate and energizing. I cycle or walk to work, because I work in my own neighborhood or work from home. Thanks to the constant surge of good feelings, regular exercise, fresh nourishing vegan food and meditation, my health is excellent. I regularly have herbal teas made from the herbs I grow on my rooftop, and eat plenty of Moringa Leaves plucked off the Drumstick Tree growing at home. (See Box 8.4) . My food comes fresh, partly from the rooftop garden, and partly from the Organic Farmers Collective close to our city. There is hardly any expense on medical care. I enjoy the company of my neighbors when we gather for Potluck Dinners and community celebrations. Reading inspiring books have replaced watching the TV. I am grateful for choosing Health and Happiness.
What is Dis-ease?
From the two scenarios described above, it should be clear that a life based on Fear limits well-being. When the natural flow of Life energy is absent due to a lack of connection or blocks, we experience dis-ease. At one level, dis-ease is really a system’s attempt to restore balance. According to The Health Awareness Centre (https://www.facebook.com/thacmumbai), diseases are manifested by the body for the purpose of cleansing, repair or rebuilding. A disease affects the whole body, even if the symptoms might just be visible in one part. The intelligence of the body itself causes the disease, so that it can intelligently respond to a particular imbalance in our body. By fulfilling and maintaining the basic and very simple needs of life, which help to build and sustain health (wholesome natural living), the symptoms of disease itself will disappear. A disease is not an event, but a process, and if we recognize and respond to the small signals that our body gives us, when in need of nutrition, we will be able to avert these illnesses. It appears only where necessary and where there is need for it, thus even if we temporarily patch it up, it will occur elsewhere. Disease is our body’s way of saying ‘Hey, Stop! Listen! and give me a break!’
What Is Healing?
‘The word ‘healing’ comes from the same root as from where the world ‘whole’ comes. Whole, health, healing, holy, all come from the same root. To be healed means to be joined with the whole and to be ill means to be disconnected with the whole. An ill person is one who has simply developed blocks between himself and the whole, so something becomes disconnected. The function of the healer is to reconnect it. But when I say the function of the healer is to reconnect it, I don’t mean that the healer has to do something. The healer is just a function. The doer is Life itself, the whole.’ ‘ Osho: Beloved of my heart.
Everyone can be a healer. Healing is something like breathing, it is natural. If somebody is ill, it means he has lost the capacity to heal himself. The healer is to help him to be rejoined. Healing is about making whole, wholeness is about making health.
In my separation is my dis-ease and in my wholeness is my ease. When I am separated from Life and existence, nature and fellow humans, I have dis-ease. When I am one with all I am ease.
As Dr. Deepak Chopra once said ‘healing is the remembrance of our holeness.’
When we remember that space of grace in us, our own Self, Life functions without any resistance. We slow down and notice more. We are more conscious of our feelings’the language of Existence, which are always telling us if we are connected to the Source or not. When everything is flowing unhindered, then Life is whole. Health at the individual, organizational, social and environmental level is all really part of one larger ‘health’ called wholeness. When we envision One Wholesome World, we see healthy people having healthy relationships with others and themselves, coming together to make healthy communities that involve a fluent exchange of ideas, information and energy. Such exchanges are totally free and natural. They are born from deep symbiotic and respectful connections to all aspects of Nature. They form a mutually nourishing and interdependent dance of joy and abundance. It is not a coincidence that the Sanskrit word for Joy (Ananda) literally means ‘fluent receiving and giving’!
Let’s look at a few different ways in which people can heal, themselves and the environment:
This piece draws from an article on ‘The Living (now Dying) Wealth of India’ by Bharat Mansata, Earthcare Books (www.earthcarebooks.com)
According to the ‘Gaia Atlas of Planet Management’ (Ed. Norman Myers, Pan Books, 1985), there are an estimated 80,000 edible plant species on earth, not counting the many edible varieties of each species. Most of these are uncultivated foods ‘ free, nourishing gifts of Nature, growing wild, requiring no human labour, except in harvesting or gathering. According to another source (Plants for a Future http://www.pfaf.org/user/edibleuses.aspx), there are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of our food. However, there are hundreds of less well known edible plants from all around the world which are both delicious and nutritious. The estimates range from 20,000 to 50,000 to 80,000.
Less than 150 plant species have been historically cultivated on a large scale as food crops. But with the spread of extensive industrial monocultures ‘ grown with toxic chemicals for distant urban markets ‘ barely 20 plant species now provide 90% of the entire human diet; and just 8 crops (of a very few varieties) provide three quarters of all human food! That is a miniscule 0.01% (or one in ten thousand) of the edible species gifted by Nature. Besides supplying us with food, many of these species have profound positive impacts on Health. (See for example Box 8.4 on the Miracle Tree).
Natural forests can provide us food and shelter free in a most ecologically efficient manner. There is no need for any external input whatsoever of energy, water or fertilizer! Forests are by far the most efficient agents of harvesting solar energy, sequestering carbon, ameliorating climate change, conserving and regenerating our soils and their fertility, fostering biodiversity, and recharging groundwater, besides providing a huge variety of useful produce.
And that there is no real dearth of available energy is evident from the following excerpt from the article ‘Plugging Into the Sun’ By George Johnson http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/09/solar/johnson-text/3
Sunlight bathes us in far more energy than we could ever need’if we could just catch enough. “If we talk about geothermal or wind, all these other sources of renewable energy are limited in their quantity,” Eicke Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, in Freiburg, Germany, told me last fall. “The total power needs of the humans on Earth are approximately 16 terawatts,” he said. (A terawatt is a trillion watts.) “In the year 2020 it is expected to grow to 20 terawatts. The sunshine on the solid part of the Earth is 120,000 terawatts. From this perspective, energy from the sun is virtually unlimited.”
Combine this perspective with the role of food forests, and you have a potential cornucopia of possibilities for Health and Freedom.
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ – Hippocrates
The authors of this book have lived in Kashmir. An ancient plant (that is now used only on ceremonial occasions) is the Utpal Shakha, locally known as Wotpal Hakh. It was once not to have been the staple diet of mystics and holy men, and is known for its extraordinary nutritional value. Few people eat it today.
The connection between nutrition and health is well known. Our Food can cause and cure diseases.
Dr. Johann Georg Schnitzer of Germany http://www.dr-schnitzer.de/introe1.html has shown very well documented and impressive results in the curing of Diabetes, Obesity and Hypertension by restoring ones nutritional patterns to a fresh and natural diet.
The focus of the work and research of Dr. Schnitzer is simply making sure that a patient eats what his/her body really needs. Referring to his book ‘Schnitzer Intensive Nutrition – Schnitzer Normal Nutrition’, the author states that ‘feeding habits of civilization cause most chronic ailments of civilization. The genetic programming of the human metabolism couldn’t adapt to this unnatural, denaturated food. So, the old genetic programming for man’s origin nutrition must be functional”. He searched for this ‘original nutrition’, found it, and developed from it a man-appropriate “civilized origin nutrition”. This is described in his book (mentioned above). The book has gone into 13 editions and sold 144,000 copies. It is now well known that cow’s Milk (as produced today on an industrial scale) can be harmful to the adult human body.
http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/ Debunking The Milk Myth. Why Milk Is Bad For You And Your Bones By Vivian Goldschmidt.
Similarly, the global production and consumption of Meat negatively impacts the environment and human health, not to mention the ethical impropriety of treating animals as a source of our food. (You would have seen this aspect also discussed in Chapter 6)
(The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production; By Bryan Walsh
There are well documented stories of doctors curing cancer through changes in diet. Many of our healer friends in Pune and Mumbai have successfully cured chronic diseases like Cancer and Diabetes by getting patients to consciously shift to Vegan /Raw diets. Dr. Vijaya Venkat and Anju Venkat of The Health Awareness Centre (THAC), Mumbai (https://www.facebook.com/thacmumbai), Dr. Nandita Shah and Dr. Pramod Tripathi, http://sharan-india.org/, Hemant Chhabra, (See Living in Communication With Nature http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utAbigQP9Fc) and Bharat Mansata of Van Vadi, are all people who are healing people and the environment through their example.
Another related story which gave a lot of hope is the story of the experiments with Natueco Farming by a person called Deepak Suchde, of the Prayog Pariwar, in the village of Harda near Bhopal, India. Deepak is a disciple of Shripad Dabholkar, the founder of the ‘Prayog Parivar’ in Maharashtra, India. In a speech he delivered in Delhi (‘Prosperity with Equity’), Daboholkar emphasized that ‘the best and the latest of the modern science and its work results have failed to reach the last person. Why not take the very essence of the latest and the best of modern science straight to the average grass root people and hand it over to them?’ He was the first to assert that the real problem before the nation is ‘Waste Mind’ and not ‘Waste land’, saying that without ‘Waste mind’ there would be no ‘Waste land’. With natural farming, all the needs of a small family can be met through the enlightened and conscious cultivation of only 10,000 square feet of land. We need to network with nature. The rural people who are living closely with the natural environment are more resource literate as they are linked closer to it than the urban dwellers. Natueco farming is a practice followed by knowing and understanding nature more – better and deeper and is innovative, involved, integrated and interactive. It is not just natural farming, where the ancient wisdom is trusted and followed, but it is farming by knowing nature better and better through critical scientific enquiries and carefully performed experiments. It believes and has proven that there can be Plenty-for-All, if the resources are methodically harvested. At PrayogPariwar, the idea is that knowledge should not be restricted at any position/level or with any person. ‘Learning, earning livelihood and living must be closely and constantly linked’ (“Plenty for All” by Prof. S. A. Dabholkar, 1998, Mehta Publishing House Pune)
Central to the idea of the ‘Prayog Pariwar’ is a community of learning and experimenting practitioners of the art of Natueco farming. They share a sense of Community around a shared Vision. This is something that also nourishes and heals human beings.
How intimacy and community have a positive impact on Health is described by Dr. Dean Ornish in his book ‘Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy’ (by Dean Ornish, HarperCollins, 2011)
In it, Dr Ornish discusses the Roseto effect. This effect is the phenomenon by which a close-knit community of Italian immigrants experienced a reduced rate of heart disease. The effect is named for Roseto, Pennsylvania. The Roseto effect was first noticed in 1961 when the local Roseto doctor encountered Dr. Stewart Wolf, then head of Medicine of the University of Oklahoma, and they discussed the unusually low rate of myocardial infarction in Roseto compared with other locations. Many studies followed, including a 50-year study comparing nearby Bangor and Nazareth. As the original authors had predicted, as the Bangor cohort shed their Italian social structure and became more Americanized in the years following the initial study, heart disease rose.
Wolf attributed Rosetans’ lower heart disease rate to lower stress. “‘The community,’ Wolf says, ‘was very cohesive. There was no keeping up with the Joneses. Houses were very close together, and everyone lived more or less alike.'” Elderly were revered and incorporated into community life. Housewives were respected, and fathers ran the families.
In another part of the same book, Dr. Ornish looks at how community, togetherness and a sense of mutual sharing helped people heal faster and live longer compared to others who were isolated. Even women with cancer who had weekly support groups lived on an average twice as long as the others who did not have this benefit.
What does this mean for Healing? Here are some connections brought out by Dr. Ornish:
‘ Fear/no-commitment’mistrust/cynicism’hostility’closed off’isolation’ disease/premature death
When I am isolated, lonely, not having someone to share with, then I fall sick. Medical research now says that isolation makes us more vulnerable to illness, while relationships help survival. When we listen sensitively and attentively, (with great humility, presence and openness ) to the whispers of my body, the longings and inner callings of my soul, the voices and feelings of others in my community and also to the environment, healing occurs. All these call for pure understanding, for seeing the pain areas, the blocks, the confusions. They provide relief and release and unblocking: restorative action, restitution, relief and a return to wholeness. They make for a sharing of our joys, sorrows and humanity.
Ideas for Action
All the knowhow that is needed to heal our planet and provide low cost Healthy for all exists on Earth at this moment. There are outstanding islands of excellence where very effective and inspiring work has already been done. We have shared some examples above. These are a miniscule fraction of the wealth of examples that the authors have come across and/or are participating in. In almost all the agro climatic zones of the world, there are shining examples of ecological excellence. The ecological wisdom embedded in many indigenous cultures like the Native American Indian, different communities in India, South America and Africa, Australian Aborigines, the Masai tribes in Kenya etc., all embody great respect for natural processes. They also all have the knowhow to live in great harmony with the Earth in a sustainable way.
How do we collect this practical wisdom, bring it all together coherently and put it out for appropriate adoption and action? How can digital technologies enable this process?
Here is a roadmap to take this forward:
1. Conduct a Global Appreciative Inquiry for Action (GAIA). This would be a collaborative process to ferret out the best practices and examples globally of successful ecologically sound and healing initiatives for different agro climatic zones;
2. Translate this knowhow into different languages and also convert it into simple Action Learning modules;
3. Create a team of Catalysts who can take this knowledge forward and disseminate it in a viral fashion; and
4. Create a Global Network of Schools /Educational Institutions dedicated to this vision. Make children/youth a part of this global initiative.
A global process of learning and sharing will under grid the protection and restoration of Earth’s ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
This needs to become a burning passion in the hearts of those who are called to make it happen.
Speaking at the eighth annual Cinema for Peace Gala in Berlin on 9 February 2009, Leonardo DiCaprio (who was accepting an award for his ongoing and outstanding dedication to environmental issues) captured this sentiment when he said:
‘The more I am a part of this issue, the more I work with these different organizations, I realize that the fight to protect our planet is way bigger than any religion, any government or any individual. In order to achieve real lasting change we must first understand that this is a collective fight that everyone in the world must get involved. During this critical period of human history, healing the damage of industrial civilization is the task of our generation. And our response depends on the conscious evolution of our species. And this response could very well save this unique blue planet for future generations.’
Healing Earth begins with My Own Homecoming
The starting point for healing is with one’s own bodymind. According to the ancient Hawaiian Healing Process called Ho’Oponopono, we are 100% Responsible for all that is happening in our ‘Reality’. Ho’oponopono is based on the knowledge that anything that happens to you or that you perceive, the entire world where you live is your own creation and thus, it is entirely your responsibility. A hundred percent, no exceptions! (See Box 8.2 of an example of its application).This means that polluted rivers, terrorist activity, the prime minister, the economy, the state of your health –anything you experience and don’t like–is up for you to heal. They don’t exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have to change your thoughts. This will enable us to live harmoniously with each other and our Mother Earth. This is the original common purpose of all human beings.
The journey begins by reclaiming your own Wholeness now. As our friend Marilyn Overcast said before the Global gathering for One Wholesome World in July 2012, ‘When we are healed, Wholeness is revealed’.
Taking care of your health through regular exercise, proper diet, adequate rest and thinking can also be useful, alongside giving time to find out what nature wants you to do (You will feel blissful and at peace doing this). At the group level, the master key to healing is understanding – getting to know the ‘Other’, trying to learn their culture, becoming familiar with their ways and understanding their culture, festivals and symbols. Out of this understanding grows Love, which is the absence of Fear. Out of love grows healing or deeper integration. As far as healing of nature is concerned, a few simple steps can set us off on the road to peace’ we could start small – like planting some trees, getting to know their names, learning about the birds in the neighbourhood, joining the world wide fund for nature and contributing in its activities.
Meditation, prayer, rituals, and ceremonies for healing and living in harmony with nature raise our own consciousness. We see and experience our interdependence with the whole web of life. It is a change in consciousness which will change our thinking, feelings and actions. As millions of people tune into the frequency of Wholesomeness, profound changes will occur spontaneously in their patterns of work, travel and consumption. These, in turn, will begin to change the economy and the physical environment.
As the old Sukyo Mahikari adage goes ‘Spirit first, mind follows and body belongs’. The Earth will be first healed at the level of Spirit. We will come home to our intrinsic wholeness ‘within’ before that wholeness manifests on the outside ‘outside’. Love and Blessings to you dear reader. May our children and grandchildren inherit a world where the wholeness of Life reigns supreme!
Loving Action Now
1. Pause for a few moments now. Remember that you are the Subjective Witnessing Awareness (SWA). Abide as your Self. Visualize this SWA infusing all aspects and dimensions of your bodymind with healing energy. See your cells celebrating this infusion of Life force.
2. You are infinite Peace, Joy and Love right now. This is the both the Source of Health as well as the Goal of Health. This is you as One with Life. What thoughts may ‘you’ be holding that overshadow this remembrance of your Infinite/Empty Wholeness? How might you let go of these thoughts, and come home to wholeness now?
3. Our body mind has a built in wisdom, which keeps us pointed towards health. If we listen to its promptings, it will tell us silently what changes we need to make to remove toxins and restore balance in our body-mind. Take some time out to listen to your inner body wisdom. Take some inspired action on them.
4. Slowly go over the Visual Map of The Principles of Perfect Health in Box 8.6 below. What changes can you make in your patterns of thought, words and habits that would enhance the Health and Well-being of your body mind?
5. Think of all your relationships. Which ones are in need of healing? What are the few steps you can take to do this? Where can you forgive yourself, others?
6. Here is a list of 50 Ways to Help the Planet: http://www.50waystohelp.com/ . Play with this list. Feel into what feels right for you. Pick up a few items to implement each week.
‘The Call to Wholeness’ Health as a Spiritual Journey’ by Kenneth L Bakken. (Wipf and Stock Publishers , 2009)
‘The Living (now Dying) Wealth of India’ by Bharat Mansata, Earthcare Books (www.earthcarebooks.com)
‘The Wealth of India’ a multi-volume encyclopedia of India’s biological wealth, published by the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, CSIR (www.niscair.res.in) , is a treasure-trove of information on the myriad useful plant species of India.
‘Food from Forests’. published by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), 590 pages ‘ provides an account of almost 600 uncultivated food yielding species from various forested regions of India.
‘A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India’, by Sir George Watt, first published by Oxford University in 1889-90 (10 volumes), and digitized in 2006.
‘The Useful Plants of India’ (918 pages), condensed data drawn from ‘The Wealth of India’ ‘, published by the ‘Publications and Information Directorate’ of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), provides summary information on over 5,000 useful plant species, including their local names in various vernacular languages for easy cross-identification.
Life With The Argon Atom
Condensed from Beyond the Observatory by Harlow Shapley,
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1967
‘ Argon is an inert gas- it combines with nothing.
‘ It makes up about 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere.
‘ 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere means 60 trillion tons of argon.
‘ There are about 3×1019 argon atoms in each breath we take (That’s 30,000,000,000,000,000,000)
‘ From your next breath exhaled – the argon quickly spreads:
‘ By nightfall it is all over the neighborhood,
‘ In a week it is all over the country,
‘ In a year it is spread evenly all over the earth, and
‘ Inhalation one year from now gets at least 15 of them back.
‘ We are rebreathing argon atoms of our and other’s breaths.
‘ These argon atoms associate us with the past and future
‘ The first gasp of every baby born one year ago had argon since breathed by you.
‘ Likewise, the last gasp of all the dying.
‘ Your next breath will contain more than 400,000 argon atoms breathed by Gandhi
‘ Your next breath will contain argon atoms from
‘ Conversations at The Last Supper,
‘ Arguments of diplomats at Yalta,
‘ Recitations of Homer and Shakespeare, and
‘ Battle cries at Waterloo.
‘ Likewise, the future generations will share yours.
‘ We are intimately associated with the past and the future.
‘ Does this not give us some responsibility for this air we breathe?
‘ Do we have the right to corrupt it?
‘ The moral of this story could be:
‘ Respect your breath! Keep it decent!
Box 8. 2
‘The only task in your Life and mine is the restoration of our Identities ~ our Minds ~ back to their original state of void or zero.’ ~ Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D.
A therapist in Hawaii , Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients–without ever seeing any of them. He would study an inmate’s chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person’s illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.
The ward in the Hawaii State Hospital where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Dr. Len never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. He used the ancient Hawaiian healing process called Ho’oponopono . He just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry’ , ‘Please forgive me’ , ‘I Thank you’ and ‘I love you’ over and over again. After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely. Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed. In a few months the whole ward was shut down,
As Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len worked on himself, patients began to heal. He was simply healing the part of him that created them. Dr. Len believes that total responsibility for your Life means that everything in your Life- simply because it is in your life–is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.
The Principles of Attitudinal Healing
The essence of our being is love
Health is inner peace. Healing is letting go of fear.
Giving and receiving are the same.
We can let go of the past and of the future.
Now is the only time there is and each instant is for giving
We can learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging
We can become love finders rather than fault finders
We can choose and direct ourselves to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside
We are students and teachers to each other
We can focus on the whole of Life rather than the fragments
Since love is eternal, death need not be viewed as fearful
We can always perceive ourselves and others as either extending love or giving a call for help
(The Center for Attitudinal Healing, Sausalito, CA 1997)
The Miracle Tree’Moringa Oleifera (The Drumstick Tree)
Moringa Leaves are full of essential disease-preventing nutrients:
‘ Vitamin A, which acts as a shield against eye disease, skin disease, heart ailments, diarrhea, and many other diseases.
‘ Vitamin C, fighting a host of illnesses including colds and flu.
‘ Calcium, which builds strong bones and teeth, and helps prevent osteoporosis.
‘ Potassium, essential for the functioning of the brain and nerves.
‘ Proteins, the basic building blocks of all our body cells.
Moringa leaves compared to common foods: Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow’s milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow’s milk: 3.2 gm
from ‘ Nutritive Value of Indian Foods’ , by C. Gopalan, et al. cited in
By Isha Foundation (www.ishayoga.org)
The food you eat forms your body and life. Here are some tips that might help you improve your daily diet :
The type of activity you are involved in is quite deterministic of the kind of food that is better for your system. For today’s lifestyles, vegetarian food is more suitable.
‘ Our body requires only a few grams of protein everyday which can be gotten by dry fruit, nuts, and fruits. Excess protein can cause harmful diseases (meat is rich protein)
‘ How much to eat ‘ research has shown that an empty stomach boosts the performance of the hippocampus responsible for memory, learning and spatial analysis. This does not mean we should not eat, but that we should be conscious of how much we eat.
‘ The food we eat contributes to our digestion as well through the certain enzymes it contains. Cooking for destroys some of these, and the body does not receive as much energy. Natural food keeps the body energetic and healthy.
‘ Chew well!
‘ Drink water few minutes before or 30-40 mins after your meal!
‘ Consume fruits before your meal. Sleep at least 2 hours after eating to ensure better digestion
‘ Eating seasonally is beneficial. E.g. Sesame and wheat produces heat and hence is consumed in winter, so the body adjusts for that season. No need for external creams and lotions.
‘ Your DNA is greatly shaped by the kind of food you eat. Mixing many varieties of food confuses the stomach.
‘ Sugar that we now eat contains ’empty calories’ as the refining process that it goes through removes most of its nutrients. Unrefined Sugar (Jiggery) and honey can be more healthy substitutes.
‘ Millets and Seeds like sesame, ragi, and sorghum and bare each have their positives and should be included in our diet.
‘ Tea and coffee give energy for a short while, but in the long run affect the body’s stamina and ability to store energy.
‘ Clarified Butter (Ghee) when not mixed with sugar is good for the digestive system. It cleanses, heals and lubricates.
‘ Garlic can be a powerful medicine, but consumed every day is quite harmful
Working from Abundance: New Ways for People to be in a Business
In the last Chapter (Ch. 8), we saw how much is possible if we change the way we see things. There are great opportunities for ”Plenty for All’ and ‘Good Work for All’, if we re-examine our beliefs behind the notions of Wealth, Value, and the higher purpose of Business.
True Wealth through Abundance
There are certain beliefs surrounding the word ‘wealth’ that most of us have become conditioned to holding .’ one of them being the idea that success means having to consistently make a lot of money, even at the cost of neglecting one’s inner life. We think that to be people with raised levels of consciousness, all desires for material life need to be forsaken, while focusing solely on spiritual evolution. These however, are misconceptions. What really is true wealth? And how can we BE it?
As Parveen Chopra says in Life Positive ‘You will probably not lack in anything, be it love, health, happiness, knowledge or money, if you understand that your outer, material fullness is not really separate from inner spiritual wealth – that both together mean a lifetime of abundance.’ http://lifepositive.com/you-are-rich-you-just-have-not-realized-it/
True Wealth is the wealth of being true. Truth is that which is permanent, it is the underlying Peace behind everything. Some of the many names it is known by are Love, Spirit, Awareness, God, Essence and ‘I Am’. Every one of our tangible possessions or what we usually refer to as ‘wealth’, are transient’ they will go one day. True Wealth cannot be taken away from us because it is ever-present and eternal. It bestows freedom on its owner and nurtures him/her. It is like a true light, which is the foundation of wealth in all its material forms. It is the wealth of wholesomeness, or being whole.
True Wealth flows in accordance with needs, spontaneously aligning itself ‘ neither too much, nor too little. The quantity and timing of the flow of money, energy, information, etc. dance in perfect harmony with our evolving needs.
The following diagram captures what True Wealth is as I see it:
True Wealth is FLOW —- Fullness & Love Overflowing in the World. It is not a coincidence that both the words ‘Affluence’ and ‘Influence’ refer to the fluency that is needed to generate them: The flow of ideas, information, communication, appreciation, gratitude, service and value.
The Source of True Wealth
Everything we do in life has its origin in our mind. Our view of life affects our way of life. Our beliefs determine our capacity, and they also affect our perception. This, in turn, affects our actions and shapes the forthcoming outcomes.
How we see and use resources, the depth and quality of our relationships, and the kind of thinking, communication and actions we bring to life determine the results or outcomes we achieve. They determine how much wealth we create.
True Wealth is the Source of ideas. It is that creative intelligence which can see and connect a need with a means to serve and satisfy that need. Free flowing ideas, creativity, joyful expression and a celebratory approach to life and service are the hallmarks of being in touch with True Wealth.
The diagram below captures what happens when we are in touch with True Wealth, and also when we are out of touch with it:
In Touch With True Wealth Out Of Touch With True Wealth
Resources seen clearly.
High inner resourcefulness Resources not seen. Hidden. Clouded up by agitated mind, and limited perception.
Giving & Receiving Ideas, Information Money, etc. freely. Closed, untrusting, rigid. Restricted, blocked, or misaligned giving and receiving of ideas, information etc.
Giving back to the whole re-cycled back into the system.
Flow keeps going on.
Abundance, Richness, Balance Wealth held back, accumulated, hoarded.
Deficiency, Poverty, Imbalance.
Being True Wealth
True Wealth is our natural state. We simply need to unlearn back to it. How can we be one with the larger flow of life recognizing its intrinsic abundance and wholeness? We need to be, and do, those things, which are aligned with an understanding of life as a whole. Having defined the problem in this manner, we can say that the foundation of True Wealth is a life of integrity or wholeness. A life of integrity implies that I am following my calling, and that the time I am spending on Earth has a larger meaning connected to the whole. This keeps me enthused, creative and energized. My time is spent on things that bring joy to others and to myself. I am content with the happiness this gives me, and therefore, I need less. This reduces compensatory spending and consumption born out of inner emptiness.
True Wealth is our own Real and Whole Self. When we drop all boundaries, illusions, false notions of who we are and what we ‘own’, then we awaken to the glory of True Wealth. We awaken to the fact that the Source is the whole and that the whole contains everything. We also see that all this is open to us, available to us, if only we drop our perceived limitations. These limitations are all in the mind. If we drop the mind, and understand that we are intrinsically boundaryless, we are Abundance.
Here are a few tips for being True Wealth, and opening up to abundance and prosperity in our lives:
‘ Enjoy serving for the sheer joy of it. From an inner space of Love / Being, do what gives you joy and Peace in the now. Do what you really love to do! Do nothing else!
‘ Focus on what you can ‘Give’ from what you have. Ask often ‘How can I serve / add value with what I have?’ ‘What is the best I can give to the world; how can I best serve from my God given gifts / talents?’ Connect with, and express your deepest calling.
‘ Surrender your little self to the Real Self’ your Subjective Witnessing Awarness. Drop all worry and attachment. Everything will happen miraculously. Seek guidance from your Self (the I Am, God, Love). Trust it to show the way towards manifesting and unfolding True Wealth.
‘ You are an infinite creative Source. Walking on Earth and remembering our Essence, can create almost anything we want. Use this power of creative visualization to create well-formed pictures of what you want. Trust that articulating and thinking about the desired outcomes from a space of gratitude and abundance will surely manifest what you want.
‘ The storehouses of True Wealth are full to overflowing. Accept what you need but do not cling. Clinging and possessiveness bring in boundaries where there are none. The very act of clinging and possessing blocks the flow of True Wealth. Flow with life, letting go into the fullness. Say ‘Yes!’ to True Wealth. Move forward in faith that all your needs will be met, without any necessary accumulations.
‘ Change your beliefs’ ‘Abundance, and a free flow of money used wisely for life-affirming goals are good’. ‘It’s okay to make lots of money’. ‘There is more than enough for all’. Affirm ‘I am Abundance now, I am grateful for this abundance’.
‘ More Beliefs that attract abundance:
‘ My work is a great contribution to others and I am richly rewarded for it
‘ I am giver and what I give comes back to me in multiplied manifold
‘ I gratefully accept all of life’s abundance. I gratefully accept my situation
‘ I am willing to know what I want, I am willing to ask for it, and I am willing to receive exactly what I ask for
‘ My strong sense of purpose attracts those people and situations that are necessary to accomplish my desired results
‘ First be the fullness of life, then act from this Space, and all will be added onto you.
‘ Prioritize and Focus. Be consistent and persistent in the pursuit of those goals, which serve evolution.
‘ Take good care of yourself. You are precious and blessed!
‘Why are you dying of thirst when you sit on the banks of the Ganga?’
– Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
What are some feelings associated with being Abundance?
When one lives a truly abundant life, these are the feelings that he or she feels –
‘ Deeply relaxed. There is no agitation in the mind.
‘ Joy. ‘I love all that thou lovest, Spirit of delight! The fresh Earth in new leaves dresses, and the starry night; autumn evening, and the morn, When the golden are born’ ‘ Perry Shelley
‘ Fully experiencing what is happening here and now. There is an intense sense of being in the present.
‘ A deep feeling of peace — a clear knowing that all that is needed is here, and that the Universe, in its infinite wisdom and compassion, will automatically send whatever is needed wherever and at the right time. A feeling of Wholeness / Togetherness. A sensing that this body-mind is not a separate island, but woven into the fabric of the whole; that it is deeply interconnected, richly endowed, and one with the fullness and abundant flow of the Universe.
‘ Simplicity in all actions. Because one is crystal clear about Life and awake to wholeness, things are straight, simple and effortless. The complexifying mind is kept at bay!
‘ A feeling of gratitude — a thanksgiving for this abundance, and a sense of wonder at the ways of existence; at how every need is provided for if only we allow it. ‘Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and enough into more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order and confusion into clarity. It turns a meal into a feast, a stranger into a friend. It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow’ ~ Melody Beattie
‘ In spite of the chaos and complexity of everyday life, we can see that there is order in the Universe – night follows day, seasons follow each other. Similarly, more orderliness is observed, increasing efficiency at home and in the workplace.
‘ A feeling of dissolving humility —- the kind a doll made of salt would feel as she went into the ocean to measure its depth: Great oneness, immense richness, profound gratitude and tearful peace.
The Visual map below shows the interconnections between Attracting Abundance, and all the elements that lead to it. It has been drawn by Nitya Wakhlu http://www.drawingbridges.com
ï¿½ï¿½Nitya Wakhlu, http://www.drawingbridges.com
The New Source of Value
If you look at any kind of value that is created by people, whether it’s a work of art, a new innovation or a new way of doing business, it always comes from a creative source, it always comes from the activity of the human mind and the human consciousness. This connects things in new ways, it links dots in ways that have not been linked before. It creates new combinations, new processes, new artifacts, new machines, new things ‘ to serve human beings in a different way.
‘Seek not outside yourself’
You are the Source of all Value. It is not outside you, nor is it inside you. You, yourself are the source of all value. Value is the substratum of everything. It is the very foundation of wholeness which permeates everything. Value is the juice of Life. It is the unbounded Awareness which under girds everything. This is accessed only when we are in the NOW. When we appreciatively see the beauty of each moment, we are in touch with this substratum.
There are different types of value. There is Value in Information and knowledge sharing. What we make of the information we have received and what action follows from it, matters greatly. Hoarding information instead of sharing it freely with others could forsake some valuable insights and actions, deeming that information of no use. The value creating flow of information is what makes the difference, which in isolation may hold no value.
Value may be intangible, in forms such as happiness and joy. Similarly, objects that make life easier and more convenient, have a tangible value. If our actions commence from promptings and coercing from other people, we are out of touch with what ‘makes our heart sing’. This simple way of measurement is indicative of true value ‘ guided by our inner voice, our shining eyes and singing hearts can be signifiers of alignment with the whole.
The view that we propose is that finally, everything that we call ‘valuable’ takes us back to a source of great inner satisfaction, inner balance, ease, freedom and peace. And this book shows how the very same space, from which new ideas come, new inventions come, is also the same space which is the goal of all value.
If we look at it as a rainbow ‘ the source of the rainbow is this space of wholeness, space of peace, of universal intelligence and creativity. And the end of the value creation rainbow also finally ends in the very same space ‘ of peace, joy and happiness. You are that space of profound value. You are the source of all value, and you are also the goal of all value. The source and sink, alpha and omega, start and end of rainbow of value are all from the same source of wholeness or fullness of life or Universal intelligence or your own I Am.
Whether it is through Business, or exploration or writing, we are all seeking this same source. As we have discussed at length in Chapter 4, we are seeking that which we already are!
The following story capture this beautifully:
The Precious Jewel
All wisdom, according to Daudzadah, is contained in the various levels of interpretation of this ancient traditional tale.
In a remote realm of perfection, there was a just monarch who had a wife and a wonderful son and daughter. They all lived together in happiness. One day the father called his children before him and said: ‘The time has come, as it does for all. You are to go down, an infinite distance, to another land. You shall seek and find and bring back a precious Jewel.
The travellers were conducted in disguise to a strange land whose inhabitants almost all lived a dark existence. Such was the effect of this place that the two lost touch with each other, wandering as if asleep.
From time to time they saw phantoms, similitudes of their country and of the Jewel, but such was their condition that these things only increased the depth of their reveries, which they now began to take as reality. When news of his children’s plight reached the king, he sent word by a trusted servant, a wise man:
‘Remember your mission, awaken from your dream, and remain together.’
With this message they roused themselves, and with the help of their rescuing guide they dared the monstrous perils, which surrounded the Jewel, and by its magic aid returned to their realm of light, there to remain in increased happiness for evermore.
As we go through Life seeking things that appear to give us lasting Value ( illusions that make us ill!) we are actually looking for the precious jewel of True Wealth or Lasting Value . This is nothing but our own already present wholeness.
New Forms of Doing Business
‘Never go into business to purely make money. If that’s the motive, you’re better off doing nothing!’
As more people are slowly waking up to these deeper realities, the very nature of Business is undergoing a slow but steady shift. The books mentioned in the Reference section at the end of this Chapter point to the shift in paradigms that are impacting the Purpose and form of businesses.
Business is a powerful tool shaping our planet today. Of the hundred largest economies in the world, forty nine are sovereign states and fifty one are multinational corporations. Business today has the capacity to make an enormous difference to humanity’s leap towards a new paradigm of living and learning on the planet. Given their economic clout, knowledge and human capital, geographical spread and cross-cultural impact on people, businesses can be a powerful force for good in the world.
However, many businesses in the past have had negative environmental impacts. Many ethical breaches by businesses have also come to light in the past decade. To quote Klaus Schwab, president of the World Economic Forum, ‘In today’s trust-starved climate, our market driven system is under attack. Large parts of the population feel that business has become detached from society and that business interests are no longer aligned with social interests’.
It doesn’t matter if the past has not been so wholesome. There is always the opportunity to have a change of heart and start on a fresh note. Companies who have in the past created a huge ‘unwholesome impact’ in the world by way of exploitation, control of people, destruction of natural habitats and distortion of people’s cultural lives, can change. If we recognize that corporations are run by people and that people’s perspectives can shift, taking their decisions in the direction of the new vision and values, entire corporations can become life-affirming forces on the planet.
This will call for a movement of and towards Wholesome Leadership. Wholesome Leadership is leadership inspired by our intrinsic oneness with all other human beings, and with the natural environment. It is leadership that works from an inner space of love, married with resolute and focused action.
Such leaders would align the Purpose and Objectives of their Organizations with the larger wholesomeness and well-being of all stakeholders in the Business. (Customers, Investors, Employees, Suppliers, Partners, The Community, the environment and Government) All stakeholders will need to receive ‘Value’ from the Business if it has to thrive and grow in the long run. Value could be financial, social, intellectual, spiritual, aesthetic or emotional.
Their strategies would have to be not only effective, but Meta-Effective i.e. their goals are aligned with the greatest good for the largest number of people. They need to be fully integrated with and guided by the intelligence that runs all of life. Can we flow with this intelligence? Can our work and business, mirror the beauty and grace of this amazing wholeness? We sincerely believe that this is possible. There is enough evidence to show that such businesses are thriving at 10 times the level of like to like businesses.
As business leaders become more conscious of the fundamental spiritual nature of all of life, the distinction between the outer ‘material’ and the ‘inner’ spiritual aspects will dissolve. As they begin to see and experience the amazing wholeness of Life, they will learn to dance in tune with this abundance. This is how Bob Galvin, Chairman of the executive committee on Motorola’s board of Directors, once described the primary job of leaders:
‘Inspiring acts of faith (‘things are do-able that are not necessarily provable’), spreading hope, and building trust.’ When a VP asked how these values relate to the ‘real world of business,’ Galvin replied that executives must develop strong character in themselves and others, not just good technical or financial skills. Then he concluded: ‘Faith, hope, and trust… Theology is very practical business’.
As the world grows in Wholesome Leadership and as these leaders start collaborating together for the well-being and evolution of the whole system in life affirming ways, more such leaders will grow. This will be like a viral spread of the notion and practice of Wholesome Leadership. Such a process is vouched safe to succeed, because all of life is intrinsically built to unfold wholeness and health in all people. It is our not seeing correctly that interferes with the natural unfolding of this process.
Business with Heart
There are many examples of businesses (which we will see further on this Chapter) which are like light houses in the dark. These are businesses that nourish all those who come in contact with them. These are businesses with a heart. When we say business with a heart, we mean conducting business based on a foundation of a holistic calm and clear understanding of the larger canvas of life and in it the role of business. The words ‘Heart’ and ‘Earth’ have exactly the same letters in them! This is by no means just a happy coincidence! Business from the heart is deeply respectful and caring of the Earth and all her inhabitants.
In this form of business, profits are seen as a means instead of the goal. This is very much in line with Russel Ackoff’s metaphor: ‘Profit is for companies what oxygen is for people, it is necessary for survival, but life isn’t about oxygen’. In exactly the same way, the best way to be happy is not to pursue happiness directly. Serving others with your gifts, loving what you do, staying healthy and being kind and caring towards others, is a spontaneous by product of happiness.
Information Technology can play a very important role in making this happen. While Open Space Technology (OST) has proven to be a very powerful tool for unfolding peace and Wholesome Development on the planet, we now need to create a similar process in cyber space which is owned by humanity as a whole. This can enable the creation of rapid connections across individuals and organizations and foster the conversations and collaborations needed for people to work creatively and ‘co-heartedly’ together. It would serve as a meta-integrating platform for anyone on the planet working for wholesome sustainable development. This activity in cyberspace will go hand in hand with face to face meetings on the ground with inspired action and genuine community building. This promises to unleash an explosion of learning, innovation, integration and inspired action on the planet. This is waiting to happen.
Fig. 9.1 Reliable Prosperity based on a Conservation Economy
This Map above is a project of Ecotrust, http://www.ecotrust.org/ a catalyst for radical, practical change. On their site you will discover 57 elements for greater economic, social and environmental well-being. Together, these elements form a visual and conceptual framework that can be used by individuals, businesses, governments, and nonprofits to seed innovation and inspiration . Ecotrust developed this framework over nearly 20 years of practical work in the coastal temperate rainforests of the West (from Alaska to California). We believe that reliable prosperity inherently serves the self-interest of individuals, communities, and nature, and we Ecotrust seeks to help people create their own reliable prosperity.
The entire system of capitalism in its current form will be slowly replaced by a wholesome economy which is centered around a full life for all. The diagramme above captures a similar idea. Its aim will be the enhancement of wholeness and wellbeing based on co-operation rather than competition. Economic activity will be in the service of life and in deep harmony with nature. Transactions will be based on the sharing and exchange of gifts and also on local community based actions and initiatives.
There will not only be one big corporation that produces. Everyone is heading towards becoming a prosumer (producers + consumers are prosumers). Prosumers will help to create something for people they are really in touch with. In this way, thousands of micro entrepreneurs can be born. Earlier, men and women did not buy shoes made by a designer, but simply went to the cobbler and got him to make a pair with cow hide. Similarly, they got clothes from weavers. Local people sought what they needed in the local market, creating work for the local craftsmen. In the future as well, the mother can bake cookies, someone can teach, someone can look after the house, someone can look after construction of the solar panel . In this way, there will be no need to look ‘outside’ for any job to be done. Our own communities will become locally self-sufficient and sustainable. Thus, the use of ones gifts for creating something for the people that they are in touch with will change the entire corporate equation. From mega corporations, we will move to micro entrepreneurs. The economy will move towards demonetization ‘something that the Zeitgeist Movement had envisioned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zeitgeist_Movement
The new paradigm of business based on a wholesome way of life would be very different from what we are experiencing today. From a focus on only profit, and growth, we would move towards maximising value for all stake-holders. From centralized organisations with power structures based on a philosophy of command and control, we would move towards organizations based on networks, partnerships, inclusion and participation. There would be a strong emphasis on the elimination of all kinds of waste, including the waste of human potential. Collaborative work in the service of a larger good, and for individual and collective evolution would replace motivation based on pay alone.
Collective ownership and profit sharing in a workplace that honours family life and health, will replace a male dominated, intensive workplace where people work long hours.
As people begin to relax more and more into the wholeness of life and also begin to see that abundance like life is infinite and endless, the craving for amassing personal wealth will be replaced by forms of collaborative ownership and trusteeship. Mahatma Gandhi had long ago propagated the aspect of all of us being trustees for the organizations, office and positions that we hold. The new paradigm of business and gift exchange will call for the formulation of new laws and new ways of managing money. Many experiments and initiatives in this direction are already in place.
Here are the examples of businesses that are aligned to this paradigm, the businesses that are from the heart.
Whole Foods ‘ this is a company that is definitely a little out of the ordinary. The 19 people who started the first store were quite the idealistic bunch. Early on, they adopted a set of core values to guide their purpose. With care for all stakeholders being at the foremost, these were the values
‘ Selling the highest quality natural and organic products available
‘ Satisfying and delighting customers
‘ Supporting team member happiness and excellence
‘ Creating wealth through profits and growth
‘ Caring about communities and environment
‘ Creating on-going win win partnerships with their suppliers, and
‘ Promoting the health of their stakeholders through healthy eating education.
They now number over 84,000 team members in 388 stores. http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/faq/. The idealism and commitment to their core values is as strong as ever (Sit in on a meeting and you’ll hear team members asking questions like ‘How does that support the core values?’ It’s a tough crowd!). Over twenty five years ago, when the founder of Whole Foods John Mackay witnessed flood waters inundating his first store in Austin, Texas, his customers started flowing in to help him rebuild the store. A beautiful example of ‘Giving is receiving’.
Whole Foods Markets is a publicly held company and has to make a profit to survive in the market place. But it has more than proven that a company can do good and do well if the doing comes from the heart.
Cafï¿½ï¿½ Gratitude ‘ A product of the creative ownership by Matthew and Terces Engelheart, this started when the sweethearts promised to live their lives together following and trusting intuition. Resulting from that commitment was an initial guidance to develop a board game. This furthered into them wanting to create a place where people could gather, eat, play and exchange ideas. After their experience with live foods, they decided to make this place of their dreams a live food cafï¿½ï¿½. Thus was born Cafï¿½ï¿½ Gratitude and it now has six branches. It has been a ground breaking example of sacred commerce and its capacity to build a community, encourage healthy living and achieve abundance.
Pragati Leadership Institute – Their work is teaching business organizations how to build leaders with a heart and work from a wholesome perspective. 25 years ago when Pragati used the words joy, spirit, compassion in business, well-wishers said they were trying to make ‘snowballs in hell’. But, 600 leading organizations and 25 countries later, people are sitting up and noticing this new paradigm. Today, optimizing stake holder value is the new mantra for successful businesses all over the world. In their book ‘Firms of Endearment’ (FoE) Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth and Wolfe have shown that investment portfolios of FoE’s outperformed the market by a ratio of 10:1 ratio.
Along with the changes that conscious businesses are bringing in, and also with the advent of a Gen Y workforce (people born after 1980), there are some basic changes happening in the way business is structured and conducted. These will also call for radical changes in the way leaders lead. (These trends draw upon several bodies of knowledge which are partly captured in the references given below.) The key ideas emerging from this body of knowledge are the following:
1. People love to develop and give from their unique gifts, to collaborate, to make a lasting difference and to contribute to something larger than themselves. Businesses will need to demonstrate this in organizational cultures that challenge and support rather than control and extract; (8,9)
2. Our top-down, control-over-people, compartmentalized organizational designs are not a good fit for our times. Their rigidity leaves such organizations highly vulnerable in our volatile world. Millennials see these traditional organizations as today’s dinosaurs; (4,6,10,11)
3. Our ‘next big thing is not a thing’ .Rather, it’s those organizations that actually develop and unleash the virtually unlimited potential of people to evolve their organizations and themselves;
4. The motivation that really works (especially with the GenY/Millennials) is the intrinsic motivation (Type I) coming from higher purpose, coming from mastery and autonomy. In contrast to this is the Type X motivation which is Extrinsic. (4)
5. Leaders and Organisations that will succeed in the future will be the ones that foster Type I behaviour i.e. behaviour that foster intrinsic motivation.(4)
6. Sustainable organizations will deliver value to all stakeholders.(1,2)
7. A climate of Value Innovation is fostered by an inspiring culture that is rooted in Values and also supports innovation. It is also a function of a Vision and Strategy for Value Innovation; Processes, Practices and Systems that support Value Innovation, and a leadership team that drives Value Innovation. It also comes from cross functional, cross practice and cross cultural teams that have the space and opportunity for conversation, connection and co-creation across business silos, across practices and across geographical /organizations boundaries.
8. ‘Self-management’ is the way all the rest of nature works. This ‘key’ changes nearly everything that we’ve grown to hate about top-down controls.
9. ‘Wholeness’ at all levels of system is not a new idea. It happens to exist throughout all the rest of nature. Learning to see ourselves and our organizations as whole conscious, caring, committed and courageous living organisms is a key that opens all stakeholder relationships to a new level of co-creative possibility.
10. ‘Evolutionary purpose’ challenges organizational leadership to step up to a very large question ‘ ‘What’s the highest purpose we can imagine for our organization?’ As we get a sense of our evolutionary purpose we see our organizations as vehicles for a never-ending action-learning journey with ever-improving contributions to the wellbeing of all life and for all time. (The Infinite Game)
11. Leaders will have to make time to reflect on and co-creatively explore the implications of all of the above.
12. Most Leaders are captives of a vicious circle where their rigid organizations are unable to handle the challenges implicit in our ‘VUCA’ (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. So, ‘messes’ get delegated upward to an already harried leadership. Unfortunately, reactive problem-oriented fixes tend to be born of the same thinking that created the messes in the first place ‘ and, in turn, create new ‘messes.’
13. As leaders realize the power of ‘Self-management Breakthrough,’ their world changes. They also achieve a level of spaciousness and new ways of seeing that support a ‘virtuous spiral’ of co-creative exploration that routinely turns breakdowns into more breakthroughs. (
14. Leaders need to move away from being ‘Heroes’ to ‘Hosts’. The kind of Leadership needed to lead and inspire Gen Y people will have to be consciously developed in your organization. (14)
The development of a learning program for entrepreneurs for wholeness based on finding one’s natural calling, inculcating a heart set of abundance, connecting the entrepreneur to financial and technological resources, enlisting and training volunteers and trainers who can coach these people and creating a global network of learning and support based on the new business paradigm. The technology will be earth friendly, sustainable and localized. Its development and use will be in the hands of the local community and not in the hands of monolithic and centralized corporations. The piloting of one such process called ‘Awaken I’ is in place (www.awakeni.org). Similarly, the Centre for Environment and Education (CEE) has piloted a similar process of rural based eco enterprise for sustainable livelihoods. It flourishes under the name of ‘Gram Nidhi’. As more and more such experiments blossom all over the planet, there will be a dramatic reduction in waste and inefficient use of resources. The blueprints and processes for this wholesome way of earning and living are all available on the planet at this point in time. They are all tested models.
New times create new needs ‘ and new needs require new solutions. ‘The New Pioneers’ by Tania Ellis (15) is a practical guide for capitalists and idealists on how to navigate in the new economic world order. It is about responding to the social megatrends that are shaping our lives in new ways and creating a new face of capitalism. It is about the new breed of leaders /pioneers that are paving the way for the new business revolution: this century’s generation of visionary leaders, social entrepreneurs and social intrapreneurs. To quote Tania ‘Hardcore business people are realising that they can increase their profits by incorporating social responsibility into their business, and heartcore idealists are realising that the use of market methods helps them meet their social goals successfully,’ It is such leaders who are anchored in the space of their true inner Being, working from deep Compassion and Understanding , AND who are adept in the Market place, providing needed goods and services that are Earth and People friendly, who will bring in the revolution needed in business. As more and more business leaders realize that the divide between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Business As Usual (BAU) is totally artificial, and that good, sustainable business is Socially Responsible at its core, business will come into its own as a harbinger of True Wealth to Earth. Moreover, many transnational organizations are already working models of people collaborating very successfully across nations and cultures. As we work with many such organizations, we are seeing that they can become lighthouses of not only wealth creation, but also of teaching Governments the art of collaboration across national boundaries.
So far from being the ‘bad boys’ of the planet with a huge trust deficit, Businesses can play a creative role in the emergence of One Wholesome World.
Love In Loving Action
1. Describe your ideal work situation. Visualize yourself in that work situation. (Don’t worry about whether you are trained, educated or whether it is possible or not. Just let your imagination run freely)
What would you be doing’
What skills will you be using’
Your work environment’
The money you will be earning’
How much is the gap between your current work and what you describe above. Can you think of any small steps you could take to bring you closer to your ideal work situation?
2. If you were given a magic wand to create four other lives for yourself, what fun work would you choose to do in each of them?
Write down whatever comes to mind.
DO not censor.
Now pick one of these dream occupations and do something in that direction for a few days. For example, if you wrote ‘teaching children’, you could take up teaching at your neighbourhood school or if you said ‘be a painter’, start painting.
3. Look at the section on True Wealth in this Chapter. How do you need to think differently if you want the flow of more prosperity in your life or business?
1. ‘Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose’ ; by Rajendra S. Sisodia (Author), David B. Wolfe (Author), Jagdish N. Sheth
2. ‘Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business’, by John Mackey (Author), Raj Sisodia (Author),
3. ‘Great by Choice’ by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen (13 October 2011)
4. ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’, by Daniel H. Pink ‘ April 5, 2011
5. ‘ Reinventing Organizations’, by Frederic Laloux (Feb 20, 2014)
6. ‘What We Really Want (Aspirations of Gen Y)’, by Ganesh Natarajan , Lavanya Jayaram
7. ‘The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies’ by by Michael E. Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed
8. ‘Reclaiming Higher Ground: Creating Organizations that Inspire the Soul’, by Lance H.K. Secretan
9. ‘Managing from the Heart’, by Arun Wakhlu, Response Books (Sage Publications),1999
10. ‘Gen Y’ http://www.slideshare.net/lific/generation-y-15763073
11. ‘Learning Preferences of Gen Y’ http://www.slideshare.net/wali11/learning-preferences-of-gen-y-millennial-learners-wali-zahid-spelt-2013
12. ‘Value’An Inner View’ by Arun Wakhlu , 2010
13. Global GEA : Guild of Evolutionary Architects http://globalgea.net/
14. ‘Leadership’in’the’Age’of’Complexity:’From’Hero’to’Host’ by Margaret’Wheatley’with’Debbie’Frieze; Published’in’Resurgence’Magazine,’Winter’2011 http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/Leadership-in-Age-of-Complexity.pdf
15. ‘The New Pioneers: Sustainable business success through social innovation and social entrepreneurship’ by Tania Ellis , 2010
”if the Government cannot create happiness (dekid) for its people, there is no purpose for the Government to exist.’
‘ Legal Code of Bhutan 1729
Among the many crises engulfing India, and similarly placed countries of Asia, Africa and the Pacific Region, the one that is most palpable is the crisis of Governance. It affects the life and working environment of millions, who consider themselves free citizens of welfare states. In the last fifty years, we have witnessed a growing restlessness with the systems and instruments of Governance. Available evidence suggests a continuous decline in the quality of governance in most developing countries.
Some of the obvious elements of this crisis are: –
‘ Inefficient delivery of services,
‘ Dichotomy between the political and executive wings of governance,
‘ Breaking down of existing institutions,
‘ Corruption in the polity and economy, and
‘ Lack of societal involvement in governance.
Good governance will have a big role to play in the emergence of One Wholesome world. A few questions that come up for reflection when we think of Governance are: Who is governing Life? Does good governance imply a powerful and centralized government? Can outer governance align with the intelligence that governs all of Life without human intervention? First let’s take a look at what good governance is :
What is Good Governance?
In a World Bank draft paper* (3), Daniel Kaufmann, Aart Kraay and Massimo Mastruzzi estimated six dimensions of governance for 199 countries for 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002 centered around three key reference points :
1. One is the ‘process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced’.
2. The second is the ‘capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies’; and
3. The third is the ‘respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them’.
From this, the authors went on to devise the key indicators of governance. These are:
‘ Voice and accountability, which includes a number of indicators that measure various aspects of the political process, civil liberties and political rights;
‘ Political stability and absence of violence, which consists of several indicators that measure the chances that a government will be overthrown by unconstitutional means.
‘ Government effectiveness is about the quality of public service provision, the bureaucracy and its competence and independence and, most critically, the credibility of the government’s commitment to policies;
‘ Rule of law includes several indicators that ‘measure the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society. These include perceptions of the incidence of crime, the effectiveness and predictability of the judiciary, and the enforceability of contracts.’; and
‘ Control of corruption which is about all the things we know and could set up world-class universities in. It includes the tendency of the elite to engage in ‘state capture’.
And what do they conclude? Just this: ‘Interpreting these trends is difficult, but we can state with some confidence that there is little, if any, evidence of improvements in global governance over the period we consider.’ (4)
Looking around at the state of the world today (July 2015) , we are witness to the economic collapse of Greece, the advance of ISIS, ongoing scams of all varieties, and the fact that (despite all the hype), half of rural India is still poor. We see that Governance has largely failed.
The Elements of Good Governance
So what exactly are the elements of good governance?
‘Good Governance means eliminating poverty by empowering the poor, unprivileged and the exploited. Good Governance means a system and a structure that are democratic, transparent, clean, efficient, equitable, sensitive and accountable.
Good Governance requires, ‘not so much additional resources as better personnel policies and sound delivery mechanism. Unless teachers attend schools and teach, unless doctors attend health centers and provide health care, and subsidies reach the poor, mere increase in the social sector expenditure would only result in further leakage” (5)
It is clear that good governance is finally about people passionately and professionally doing what they are supposed to do.
To understand the roots of governance we need to first look at the elements of excellent service oriented governance (6). If we treat the recipients of the service (i.e., citizens) as customers, and also look at the state as another stake holder, the dimension of Good Governance could be listed as under:
Empathetic orientation towards citizens /customers: The Administrators’ ability to understand the customers’ need and requirements, from their perspective, and realistically appraise whether or not something is doable.
Commitment to excellence: Individual commitment to help citizens in achieving their goals / objectives within the given resources.
Responsiveness: Administrators taking responsibility for creating a delightful experience for citizens / customers and solving their problems.
Reliability and trustworthiness: The administrator’s ability to generate trust and win the confidence of customers / citizens.
Creative problem solving ability: The administrator’s ability to come up with innovative solutions to customer problems within the given constraints.
Timeliness: An administrator’s ability to accomplish things within time constraints and deadlines.
Tolerance for pressure: An administrator’s ability to maintain control and poise in the face of adversity and political pressures.
Service recovery mindset: An administrator’s ability to undo the bad service experience of a citizen / customer by taking the required corrective action there and then itself.
In a nutshell, good Governance is all about:
‘ Accurate and sensitive understanding of peoples’ needs, and
‘ Creative responses to these needs with a resourceful mind giving innovative solutions to problems.
While the elements required for good Governance are clear, why is it so rare? What are the underlying bottlenecks and problems which keep administrators from giving their very best to the public? In the past ten years, whenever the author has encountered senior government officials in different forums, the following bottlenecks to Good Governance have emerged:
‘ Conflicts between one’s duties in the public domain and one’s personal life,
‘ Inability to respond speedily because of the fear of rapid change and chaos all around,
‘ Inter-personal conflicts between people (e.g. between officers of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and from the Indian Police service( IPS) because of egos,
‘ An inner conflict between one’s values and professional ethics on the one hand verses ‘the pressures’ of political bosses and public expectations on the other. These conflicts were cited as affecting issues like postings / transfers / appointments and even normal professional functioning,
‘ Problems arising from a lack of inter-departmental co-operation and teamwork,
‘ Dealing with immature and arrogant bosses,
‘ Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness in the face of the above issues, and
‘ Problems of low morale of staff due to low wages and low opportunities for promotion.
A concrete experience of an NGO (with which the authors are connected with ) regarding the unfolding of employment opportunities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India shows the following:
‘ A lack of co-ordination between different departments connected with the issue;
‘ An inability amongst officials to see the opportunities in the state as a whole;
‘ Slow or absent response to help offered by competent members of the public to work on the problem;
‘ The absence of bold leadership to resolve the problem by inspiring a shared vision and mobilizing people and resources.
Another similar example in the area of catalyzing sustainable livelihoods for the urban poor in Pune city (Maharashtra, India) has shown that there are over 50 schemes and provisions (including generous funding) of the local, state and central governments applicable to people living in an urban slum. When you ask the ‘beneficiaries’ if they know of these, the answer is ‘no’. When you ask Government Officials if they know of all these schemes and provisions, the answer again is ‘no’.
What’s happening in Government these days?
In the movie ‘Tangled’ by John-M Bernard, there is an appropriate metaphor that talks about government. ‘Imagine for a second an automobile built over the years by people who kept piling on new features and innovations without ever stopping to integrate the ideas and remove the outdated ones. That’s Government today’. We need to change our focus from creating a new law or amending an old one, to actually focusing on outcomes.
More often than not, the new laws and the obsolete ones (that still happen to be in existence) are contradictory. Many times the citizens do not become aware of the law at all and it remains just some ink on a book instead of being practically implemented. Instead of operating as one whole, there are lots of different fragments. Life does not throw up problems neatly packed into compartments: Problems are whole and so solutions also need to be whole. The ministries in the government (for example in India) need to become aware of what the other ministries are doing.
Let’s take an example related to food and nutrition, something that affects all of us. Out of the 350,000 species of plants in the world, around 80,000 are edible for humans. However, at present, only 150 species are cultivated (directly for human food or as feed for animals). Of these 30 produce 95% of human calories and proteins. (http://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/c10/E5-02.pdf).
Around 1200 varieties of uncultivated forest foods were displayed at the ‘Forest Foods and Ecology Festival’, December 12 to 14, 2014, held in New Delhi by 23 Forest dependent communities. The nutritional value and health benefits of these uncultivated forest foods are proven beyond doubt. To make this kind of Forest Food based Cultivation and Nutrition mainstream in India would require creative collaboration between the following ministries: Ministries of Rural Development; Food Processing Industries, Tribal Affairs, Agriculture, Health and Family Welfare, Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Would they be willing to sit together to capitalize on this very credible opportunity to enhance the well-being of nearly 250 million people who live in and around forests in India? That’s over one sixth of India’s population!
As we raise our levels of consciousness and start working from a space of honesty and integrity, for the genuine welfare of the people, silos will dissolve. People will be working with each other creatively and seamlessly to deliver innovative and low cost solutions to millions of people.
While the divisions may make the government think that they are better structured, but in the process of the fragmentation and complete lack of communication, we forget that our schools suffer, the common tax payers suffer, social harmony is affected, the infrastructure crumbles. Who will trust a government like this? The citizens needs keep on piling, while governments are lost in the mess they created for themselves.
The government needs to adapt from the private companies where there is focus on performance and outcomes. It needs to shift its focus to the basics again ‘ educating children, ensuring food for all, creating of jobs. The government and the citizens both need to become responsible and accountable for the actions that they take.
People need to learn from the best practices of each other. There are many good, commendable practices happening in Africa that can benefit India abundantly. The things happening in the United States are phenomenal but does Australia know all of them? There needs to be a migration of best practices. We must realize that it is only through collaborating and working as one from an inner space of wholesomeness that we can control the damage that has already taken over the planet. If the government can have a more holistic and complete understanding of the development challenge, there is likely to be better policy formulation and even better execution.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said: ‘Poverty is not simply the lack of income. It is also the lack of a voice, of a responsive local administration that can redress local needs; the lack of a system of governance that is transparent and accountable to people it supposedly exists to serve’. He has also aptly summed up the many dimensions of poverty as lack of ‘capability”capability to overcome violence, hunger, ignorance, illness, physical hardship, injustice and voicelessness.
The World Bank has argued that poverty often lies in the absence of opportunity, empowerment and security, and not just the absence of food on the table.
Today, although man possesses the resources and the technology to create a poverty-free world in the period of one generation, about a quarter of the human population on earth continues to live in extreme poverty (2).
Echoing a similar flow of thought, Swami Ranganathananda in his book ‘Vedanta and The Future of Mankind’ wrote that ‘when we speak of ‘Lakshmi’, our beautiful Goddess of wealth; it does not mean money only. It means money creatively used to enrich and beautify human life, to ensure human welfare. This is True Wealth. Money jealously hidden and confined under one’s pillow is not ‘Lakshmi’. The mere static ownership of money, is something inauspicious! It does not produce joy or welfare. Money invested in human welfare is alone true Lakshmi. The blessing of ‘Lakshmi’ confers on humanity a capacity to create, appreciate and enjoy wealth, beauty and goodness’. This is what wholesome governance aims at. Creating True Wealth for as many people as possible for as long as possible.
What is Wholesome Governance? ‘The integrated Model
We now need Government to start thinking of itself as the ‘co-creator (along with business, educational and research institutions, NGOs and Citizens at large) of enabling and facilitating structures and processes that serve global evolution and well-being’.
Unless the larger Context of Development is understood, and also becomes the operating reference for the formulation and execution of policy, we are working in the ‘wrong paradigm’. This is the fundamental problem with Governance all over the world at this point in time (2015). Governments and Leaders are working with Paradigms and Mind Models that are obsolete. There is a need to shift inner and then outer gears towards a more wholesome understanding of Life, and also what governance means in that context.
Life is already governed beautifully. Left to themselves, people are creative, vibrant, healthy and loving. This innate and glorious naturalness is overshadowed by limitations, fear, hopelessness, helplessness and strife. It is almost as if we are coming in the way of our own good, like blocking the sunshine as we stand in shadows.
Can Governments become enablers of the Highest Natural Good for all people everywhere? Can Governments be the catalysts, supporters, connectors and expanders of all the good things that are already happening in abundance?
What is needed today is a revised focus, one that views development as a sustainable process of expanding the capabilities of people that seeks to mobilize all the human and material resources available. One that systematically seeks out innovative and cost-effective methods of production, which generate additional employment while being environmentally sustainable. This “capabilities approach” emphasizes human initiative and creativity, individual and collective, and hence the need to democratize the development process. This approach provides an integrating concept, which can guide public policy at national, regional and international level. Human balance sheets and human goals achieved must be published at the national level (Andris K. (2004)).
The true gauge of success for development projects is not to be found in numerical data or statistics but ‘in the smiles of children.'(Daisaku Ikeda-2003)
So against this backdrop, what might Wholesome Governance be?
Wholesome Governance occurs when the following come together:
Context: Seeing the Whole picture;
Connection: Connecting with the whole system and all its relevant parts;
Consciousness: Working from a space of Wholeness within, from the Infinite Inner Resources of Joy and Peace; and finally
Commitment: Honoring ones word and working from Truth
Let us look at these four themes in greater detail in relation to Governance below:
Context: Administrators are totally in touch with the ‘big picture’, their own and others’ positive potentials, and how all pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit together.
They understand the larger purpose of Governance as a whole as embedded in Society, which in turn, is embedded in the Ecological /Natural System. They fully comprehend the systemic linkages of different actors and stakeholders and the Value that is delivered by the Government to each one. They clearly see the Source of all Value as lying more in the natural world and the world of Culture and Spirituality rather than being obsessed with ‘growing’ the material dimension alone.
Besides the larger context, Administrators are also in touch with their own strengths and positive potentials. They are fully aware of the positive elements and life-giving forces in the areas and departments that they govern. They are adept at appreciatively leveraging these potentials.
Consciousness: Levels of positive emotional energy and initiative are high.
Life and Governance are lived and exercised consciously. Old and unquestioned assumptions and beliefs are challenged and questioned. There is a strong prevalence of ownership, inner power, joy, love and empathy. People are healthy and energetic. They swiftly do what they intellectually know they ought to do. There are no gaps between knowing and doing.
Both those in power and those who are being governed, feel powerful and creative. They are active partners in the process of governance and have a voice. Through participatory processes, they shape decisions affecting the allocation of resources.
Connection: Wholesome Governance relies on adequate connection and conversations. Whether it is to ‘listen to the Voice of the Customer/beneficiary’ or to coordinate the formulation or implementation of a new Policy, Conversations happen regularly, especially across different horizontal layers and departments of Government. There are adequate spaces, forums or ‘platforms’ for people (citizens and administrators) to converse on things that they truly care about.
Knowledge and best practices, is regularly shared across states, departments, and within the same state through regular conversations.
Initiatives taken at the Centre and what is actually happening in the states (for example in the area of e-Governance) are coherently coordinated, and Billions of dollars are saved in the process. Since diverse perspectives and viewpoints get a chance to cross-fertilize, levels of innovation increase. Partnerships between the Public, Private Players (Business) and People (PPPP) are routine and are skillfully facilitated by trained i-Catalysts (Catalysts of Inspiration, Integration and Innovation).
Commitment: Levels of commitment to honouring ones word, to the development of people and to sustained improvement actions are high.
Attention is given to systematically executing plans, in a timely way. Even when a change intervention is started, sustaining it is usually a challenge. The quality of sustained commitment and focused tracking will be an important component of wholesome governance.
Mr. Narendra Modi (the current 2015, PM of India) has coined an acronym for Responsive Governance: PRAGATI. It stands for PRoActive Governance And Timely Implementation.
To summarize, Wholesome Governance happens when:
‘ The larger purpose of Governance is seen as the expansion of Freedom and Capabilities/Capacities, rather than just an expansion of material goods alone;
‘ People are aligned with the power of natural governance that runs all of life .(You may call this power Dharma or Love);
‘ Everyone sees Governance as their role (Not only the Government, but citizens, NGOs, Businesses, Trade Bodies etc.). There is a Public, Private and People Partnership in the process of Governance (PPPP);
‘ All work as One in an integrated and collaborative way through connection, conversation and co-creation; Above all, there is concerted and coherent action to make a difference, no matter what the odds;
‘ There is deep care in the hearts of the key players for themselves, for other people and for the environment; and
‘ Governance is based on Awareness and Consciousness which inspires working from deeper values and also in an ethical way.
Speaking about Wholesome Governance, Anil Swarup, IAS, (Currently in 2015, Secretary Coals and Mines, Govt. of India) has this to say:
‘There has been a lot of talk about good governance but not so much about ‘wholesome’ governance. Whereas good governance would normally imply delivery of goods and services by the governing agency in a transparent and objective manner, wholesome governance goes much beyond this. In wholesome governance there would be an attempt to touch the lives of the people. There is an inherent element of ’empathy’. Hence in designing of the policy there would be an attempt to understand the beneficiary in a more comprehensive manner. The instruments used for implementing such policies would not be robotic but empathetic to the beneficiary. Thus there is a greater participation of stake holders in the formulation of policies and their implementation. Wholesome governance creates a greater ownership of policies and deliverables amongst the stake holders
In another context, wholesome governance would also imply creation of a facilitating environment for its constituents to fulfill their aspirations, both material and spiritual without being intrusive. This would be tricky especially in the context of drawing a line but there would be an attempt to provide that balance.
In short wholesome governance would be good governance with a human touch.’
The diagramme below attempts to capture Wholesome Governance pictorially. It starts with the largest and most expanded context of governance: Total Well-being for All. This is the same as a thriving, socially just and environmentally sustainable life for all on Earth.
The next layer shows the attributes of good governance. These are based on the wholesome triad of integration with and care for Oneself; other people and the environment. The foundation and core of all these is Inner Governance based on Universal Human Values and also on being one with Awareness.
Measures of Development:
It is important to have valid and accurate measures of progress. And at this juncture, there is an urgent need for new methods. The new method has to include something that is meaningful, something that we as a community value more than just our economic status. Indicators do not change reality. They do help however, to shaping the way we perceive it and to forge a common understanding of development. Indicators have fundamental importance in a complex and rapidly changing world. Meaningful development requires that ‘the seemingly antithetical processes of individual progress and social are an organic process in which “the spiritual aspect is expressed and carried out in the material.”
In our increasingly interdependent world, development efforts must be guided by a vision of the world community which we desire to create and be animated by a set of universal values.
Spiritually based indicators to assess development progress apply the spiritual principles. These indicators are based on universal principles which are essential to the development of the human spirit and, therefore, to individual and collective progress. These measures emerge from a vision of development in which material progress serves as a vehicle for spiritual and cultural advancement to help to transform not only the vision but the actual practice of development.(Bahai:1998)
Spiritually based indicators help to establish, clarify and prioritize goals, policies and programs. At the heart of their conceptualization is the understanding that human nature is fundamentally spiritual and that spiritual principles (which resonate with the human soul) provide an enormous motivational power for sacrifice and change.
The components of a spiritually based indicator include a vision of a peaceful and united future; the selected principle(s) crucial to the realization of that future; the policy area addressed by the principle(s); and the goal toward which the measure assesses progress.
Improving the quality of our lives should be the ultimate target of public policies. But public policies can only deliver best fruit if they are based on reliable tools to measure the improvement they seek to produce in our lives.
– Angel Gurrï¿½ï¿½a, Secretary General of the OECD, May 2011.
Crucial to the problems of Wholesome Governance are good measures of development. A good dashboard focuses energy and gives us the capacity to measure progress. In what follows, we will discuss two measures that are aligned with what we have been advocating in this book:
‘ Gross National Happiness(GNH) ; and
‘ Happy Planet Index (HPI)
Gross National Happiness
Bhutan, a small nation, has suggested a method to make development human and nature-centered. This country uses the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), instead of Gross National Product (GNP), to measure the achievements and impact of development. GNH includes all the regular indicators of economic development, ecological security, cultural promotion, spiritual values. GNH also include good governance as additional parameters to measure whether development enhances human happiness or increases human misery
‘Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product’
‘ His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan
With his famous declaration in the 1970s, the former King of Bhutan challenged conventional, narrow and materialistic notions of human progress. He realized and declared that the existing development paradigm ‘ GNP (or GDP) ‘ did not consider the ultimate goal of every human being: happiness.
The Folly of the GDP obsession!
The folly of an obsession with GDP, as a measure of economic activity which does not distinguish between those activities that increase a nation’s wealth and those that deplete its natural resources or result in poor health or widening social inequalities is so clearly evident. If the forests of Bhutan were logged for profit, GDP would increase; if Bhutanese citizens picked up modern living habits adversely affecting their health, investments in health care systems would be made and GDP would increase; and if environmental considerations were not taken into account during growth and development, investments to deal with landslides, road damages and flooding would be needed, and GDP would increase. All of these actions could negatively affect the lives of the Bhutanese people yet paradoxically would contribute to an increase in GDP.
As the present King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has said:
‘Today GNH has come to mean so many things to so many people, but to me it signifies simply ‘ development with values. Thus for my nation today GNH is the bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth. GNH acts as our National Conscience guiding us towards making wise decisions for a better future.’
Bhutan in the last four decades has developed at a high speed and has managed to reach even the remotest areas of the country. The major reason for Bhutan’s smooth and successful development was that the leadership had a powerful and futuristic vision. The aims and objectives of development have been outlined as follows: “Apart from the obvious objectives of development: to increase GDP on a national level and incomes at the household level, development in Bhutan includes the achievement of less quantifiable objectives. These include ensuring the emotional well-being of the population, the preservation of Bhutan’s cultural heritage and its rich and varied natural resources. “They realize that intellectual progress cannot be separate from practical experience. They translated their cultural and social consciousness into their development priorities. The western economists, who might find this concept irrational, miss the point. The aim is not economic efficiency, but a maximization of happiness.
Development ought to be people centered. As this is based on Buddhist philosophy it also has a different view of the environment. The concept holds that no subject or object has an independent existence; rather it dissolves into a web of relationships. The relationship is non-hierarchal since Buddhist philosophy does not differentiate between species (humans and non-humans).
The population lived in scattered villages. These small communities had in its midst fierce trade in the form of barter. They were all ‘prosumers’. Though many countries are looking at this view and trying to measure success by keeping happiness as a crucial factor, there are many chances that this concept remains a mere rhetoric. The government is not for providing citizens with instant gratification, but there are there to ensure that there is sustainable, long term growth; that will have far reaching effects for the future generations as well.
Happy Planet Index (HPI)
The Happy Planet Index of 2012 is a new measure of progress that chooses to focus on the things that are of importance i.e. sustainable wellbeing for all. It does not take into account only the current lives of people, but also how takes into consideration how the future generations will be impacted if things continue the same way.
We get so caught up that we forget that it is for happiness we’re doing things. At the end of the day, everything that we do, we hope it takes us to a happier place. How can I be more happy?
Happiness is not a function of external material wealth. It is hence omitted from most of the standardized measures that are present today to decide which nation is the most successful.
The HPI is one of the first global measures of sustainable well-being. It uses global data on experienced well-being, life expectancy, and Ecological Footprint to generate an index revealing which countries are most efficient at producing long, happy lives for their inhabitants, whilst maintaining the conditions for future generations to do the same.
Experienced well-being x Life expectancy
Happy Planet Index ‘ ———————————–_——————-
This simple headline indicator gives a clear sense of whether a society is heading in the right direction. It provides a vital tool to ensure fundamental issues are accounted for in crucial policy decisions. The elements in this formula show that it is not just the well-being of a country currently that matters that country which cannot provide for its future generations is far from successful.
According to this index, the countries that are economically forward have not necessarily fared better in the happy planet index. This is because of their high ecological footprint. Though the United States of America shows a high life expectancy and satisfaction, it is towards the bottom, ranked 105 from amongst 151 countries. We are largely an unhappy planet. The crises that are affecting the world as of now, economically and otherwise, have shown considerable changes in the wellbeing of people within a period of just one year. But, even though income has increased, happiness levels have remained the same or in some cases, have even declined. India in the Gallup survey to do with income levels and life satisfaction is ranked 121. But, on the Happy Planet Index survey its rank rises to no. 32! This is because of its low ecological footprint. Countries like the United Arab Emirates that have high life expectancy and life satisfaction fall behind in the HPI because their ecological footprint is extremely high.
Could there be similar indices for individuals, neighborhoods, organizations and cities? What might happen if there was one single index for planet Earth as a whole? ‘ And we could link our personal and organizational indices to that of our nation and planet? This is a very fertile are for rapid research and innovation.
Global Governance, what can be done?
From command and control hierarchies we are moving towards more collaborative structures, with open spaces for sharing and learning. The future governance of the planet will not be a single, central authority. Each individual will be governed by spirit, by his/her own awareness.
At all levels, there will be gatherings in unifying circles. A Circle has one centre, and can have infinite points on its circumference. These Circles could happen at the family, neighborhood, city, national or international levels. Besides geography based circles, they could be also around domains.(Like City Farming, Health, Art from the Heart, Sustainable Livelihoods etc.).
Such gatherings for One Wholesome World are platforms which are:
‘ Free and Neutral Spaces for people gathered,
‘ For listening to the guidance of purity, peace, positivity of the Heart,
‘ Beyond any Individual /Organizational/Gender/Religious or National affiliation;
‘ Beyond boundaries and identities of any kind;
‘ Celebrating and Appreciating with gratitude, what is already working;
‘ Expressing through Music and Dance, Joyful and celebratory; and
‘ As Universal as Silence/ Peace / Love /the unifying Core of Life.
The Heart of these platforms is symbolized by a Circle of Light. We will all sit on the periphery of this Circle in deep reverence and gratitude, listening to the insights and inspiration for loving action.
In these gatherings:
We seek to reclaim our Wholeness through deep allegiance and faith in our One Source. We look to this Source for guidance/inspiration/ integration and innovation to be instrumental in reclaiming the Wholeness of Life. In this guidance, the only expert is Life (Love In Full Expression);
We are serving no one else but Life. We adore, surrender to and are devoted to Love and Light alone;
We are pure channels of Healing (making Whole) starting with the healing of ourselves.
We work and play with deep compassion for the Team based on deep Listening.
People going to regular conferences are tired of the mechanics, of jostling egos, of negotiations for power, tired of working from complicated and fixed minds, tired of listening to experts. They are now looking for meaning, higher Purpose and Inspiration. They want to listen to and work creatively from their Hearts. The gatherings for One Wholesome World are meant to provide a shining contrast/example of what happens when we are working from a space of meaning /purpose/heart for the wellbeing of all and the whole of life.
One Wholesome World Circles are portals of grace and love, of pure, loving and intelligent thought, feelings and action. They will be circles of Healing and integration, giving the people gathered energy, descending through us in the circle of Love and Light. This will be very different from being in awe of experts, who may be pushing their own agendas or working from cleverness of mind. We will all trust the innate wisdom and intelligence of Life.
Our work will be based on sharing, collaboration, conversations and co-creation, all guided by Wholeness.
There is a lot to learn about this way of living and governing from indigenous cultures all over the world. The ‘kraals’ of the Maasai tribe of East Africa are circular in fashion, facilitating a lifestyle of sharing and collaboration. Their main subsistence comes from livestock trading. The chores of the family members are equally divided, where each individual is responsible for something of importance ‘ the woman builds the house, the man looks after security and the boy of the livestock herd. For thousands of years the Maasai have refined the way they grow and foster their leaders. What can we learn from the Masai? According to Chris Howe, Director of Changemakers in the UK ‘Humility, authenticity and transparency, willingness to pass down knowledge, insistence on leading by example, the fact that they are all working towards a common goal, and an ability to trust, show respect and dish out responsibility to the younger tribe members’
‘In traditional rural Africa, people think differently about time and space and their relationship with nature. They have a radically different concept of purpose, identity and achievement. Some of those foundations can perhaps enrich our way of seeing what is going on around us and within us’ Michael Meehan (2004, All Will Be Well)
The Kogi people of Columbia are another unique indigenous community that call themselves the ‘Elder Brother’. They have managed to stay away from the encroachment of humans but are now heeding the warning to their ‘Younger Brother’ (which means us), that if we don’t protect the environment, the world will come to an end.
Just like the Masai and the Kogi, the Aborginis of Australia and many tribes in India, have managed to maintain perfect ecological harmony and harmony amongst themselves. They work together, in the spirit of love and treat each other like family members, with a pure and noble heart. They trust each other’s intelligence as they all work from a space of peace and joy. They have thus formed links that are self-organized and they realize that their communities that are interlinked and interdependent on one another.
We could take the opportunity to reflect on our own practices of leadership and governance by looking at these tribes. They act in ways that strengthen their community; they love nature and are deeply humble. They are honest, accommodating and open even in times of crises. Their life is committed to the value of wisdom and to lifelong development.
Love In Loving Action
‘ Reflect on how you see your local Government. Do you see ‘them’ as separate from you, or do you see yourself as a co-creator along with other roles? What might happen if you saw yourself as a powerful, integral and active part of the governance in your neighborhood, city, state or nation?
‘ Map out who your local councilors, Members of Parliament, Legislators are. Write to them expressing your ideas and offering support/partnership.
‘ Do you have a neighborhood community circle for Change? ‘A community of neighbours who join together regularly for action to make a difference? If not, consider initiating one. There are many sites on the web which will guide you on how to convene and run such Circles.
‘ In the final analysis, Life is Love In Loving Action or Love in Full Expression! What single step/action can you take now to improve life for all in your neighbourhood?
1. Wakhlu, Omkar, N., Unpublished Letter, November, 2000.
2. Initiatives of Change (IC), Introductory Brochure on Centre for Governance, New Delhi, August, 2003. ([email protected])
3. Kaufmann, Daniel Kraay, Aart and Mastruzzi Massimo, ‘Governance Matters III: Governance Indicators for 1996-2002’, World Bank Working Paper No 3016, June 30, 2003
4. Srinivasa Raghavan, T C A, ‘Schopenhauer Was Right After All’, Business Standard, , August 15, 2003
5. Mitra, R. K. and Gupta, M. P., 2003, ‘E-governance’, Indian Management, August 2003, pp. 52-59, Mumbai
6. Suresh, N., and Raparia, P. S., 2003, ‘Master of Services’, Human Capital, August 2003, pp. 45, New Delhi
7. Mahaldar, Anjali ‘The Natural Leader’, http://www.boloji.com, December 2002.
8. Wakhlu, Arun, 2002, ‘From Fear To Love’, Business World, December 2002, pp.70, Mumbai
9. Eileen Caddy, 2001, ‘Opening Doors Within’, Soul Zone Publication, 2001.
10. Ranganathananda, Swami, 1979, ‘Social Responsibilities of Public Administrators’, Indian Institute of Public Administration, September1979, pp. 35-37, New Delhi.
11. Wakhlu, Arun, 1999, ‘Managing From The Heart’, Response Books, New Delhi
12. Wakhlu, Arun, 1998, ‘Relating for Oneness’, Chinmaya Management Review, December 1998, Bangalore
13. (6)Royal Government of Bhutan, Seventh Five Year Plan, Main Plan, Document (1991), p. 2
14. (40)Norberg-Hodge, Helena. Ancient Futures. Learning from Ladakh, p. 73
15. Anita Roddick (1992), “You can have profits with principles”, World Executive Digest, Feb., 43-45. See also, Anita Roddick, Body and Soul, by Anita Roddick, 1991, The Body Shop International, PLC, Crown Publishers, New York.
16. Amartya Sen (1986), “The Concept of Well Being” Chapter 1, Development Perspectives, 11-28
17. Kamla Choudhry (1994), ‘Environment, poverty and Development’, Report on International workshop on forest on India’s forest Management and Ecological Revival
19. Tangled the movie from ‘Business at the speed of NOW’, John M Bernard, http://www.massingenuity.com
20. http://www.globalgaia.org (Accessed on July 2nd 2012)
21. http://www.maasai-association.org/maasai.html, accessed on july6th
22. Jennifer Pangas, from the Masai Leadership Program, August 2009
23. Abdullah S, Michaelson J, Shah S, Stoll L, Marks N, 2012, The Happy Planet Index Report 2012, New Economic Foundation, London
24. Joseph J. (2004), ‘Development as Freedom , Freedom as Happiness: Human Development And Happiness in Bhutan, Gross National Happiness and Development’ , edited by Karma Ura and Karma Galay, Published by Centre for Bhutan Studies
25. Kaufmann, Daniel and Kraay, Aart and Mastruzzi, Massimo, The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues (September 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5430. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1682130
THE WORLD OF TOMORROW
‘The world of tomorrow will be, must be, a society based on non-violence. This is the first law; out of it all other blessings will follow.
Individuals, groups and nations must adapt the way of non-violence, the way of love. I see then no poverty in the world of tomorrow, no wars, no revolutions, no bloodshed.’
~ Mahatma Gandhi
‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.’
~ HH The Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness
The United Nations has actually declared March 20th of each year as the International Day of Happiness! President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser says the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal: “I believe that the proclamation of an international day of happiness by the General Assembly to be observed over a year with full participation of the international community as a whole would be a forward looking way of focusing on the value of happiness as a universal goal and aspiration on the lives of all.” https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2012/06/30/un-adopts-international-day-of-happiness/
HAPPY PLANET CHARTER
(Source : Happy Planet Index :2012 Report)
We need new measures of human progress.
The Happy Planet Index offers us an excellent example of how such measures work in practice. It shows that while the challenges faced by rich resource-intensive nations and those with high levels of poverty and deprivation may be very different, the end goal isthe same: long and happy lives that don’t cost the earth.
We must balance the prominence currently given to GDP with those measures that take seriously the challenges we face in the 21st century: creating economies that deliver sustainable well-being for all.
By signing this charter we:
‘ Call on governments to adopt new measures of human progress that put the goal of delivering sustainable well-being for all at the heart of societal and economic decision-making
‘ Resolve to build the political will needed across society to fully establish these better measures of human progress by working with partner organisations
‘ Call on the United Nations to develop an indicator as part of the post-2015 framework that, like the Happy Planet Index, measures progress towards the key goal for a better future: sustainable well-being for all.
Here are a few examples of organizations that imbibe wholesome governance
Jaipur Foot Mahaveer Sahayta Samiti by Dr. Devendra Raj Mehta (www.jaipurfoot.org)
A former civil servant, who after an accident felt deep empathy towards the pain and suffering that people who have lost their limbs and their livelihoods too, go through. His organization BMVSS serves the disabled by providing all assistance for a negligible cost ‘ artificial limbs, callipers and other aid. In India and across 26 countries, more than 1.3 million amputees and polio patients have been rehabilitated. The ‘Jaipur Foot’ as it has come to be known, costs only ‘ 2500 (or free), which in the United States would cost approximately US$ 10,000.
Awarded a Padma Bhushan in 2008 in recognition for his commitment to social work, Dr. Mehta, also a retired IAS officer and former chairman of SEBI, serves as a great inspiration to one and all.
Karnataka Sakala by Dr. Shalini Rajneesh (www.sakala .kar.nic.in)
‘Be Online not In-line’
Karnataka Sakala Services Act 2011 assures timely delivery of government services to citizens. All the services covered under this act ensure their completion in a time bound manner, empowering citizens and making processes more transparent. A compensatory cost, deducted from the salaries of the in charge government officials is made payable to the citizens in case of a delay.
This fine example to effective governance and administration is sure to guarantee success and progress. Authorities of more states should give time and effort into enabling schemes of this sort.
Community policing and outreach programmes which are mostly initiatives of individual police personnel has had far reaching benefits in many parts of India. Creating and working from a space of trust can do wonders for our security, confidence and progress. When a population of 2.4 million would need 7000 police constables, Trichy is managing well with the 260, because of their community policing experiment. Before this was initiated in Trichy the crime rate was extremely high. The Indian Police Service (IPS ) officer Mr Tripathy, introduced various schemes – He divided the city into ‘beats’ and made 4 constables incharge of each beat. This empowered them to be more responsible, take decisions and tackle civic problems efficiently. He also started a complaint box system in different areas of the city to gather information. A Wide area Network (W.A.N ) was set up across the police stations and offices, bringing the citizens and police closer to ensure transparency and interaction. Schemes for women and adoption of slums was also implemented. All these efforts encouraged involvement of the citizens, built confidence and fostered accountability among the people. It has controlled the crime and conflict rate to a large extent.
Similar programes have also been implemented in Amritsar, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam etc.
(Source: ‘The First National Social Innovation Seminar, Nov.17th 2013, ‘Community Policing in India’ CHRI police reforms unit) and http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/new/community_policing_experiments_in_india_1.pdf
EXAMPLE ‘ ETHICS IN PUBLIC GOVERNANCE
The DoPT (Govt. of India) has invited the IC Centre for Governance, I of C and Pragati Leadership to develop comprehensive and suitable modules on ‘Ethics and Values in Public Governance’ based on the positive results of the ‘Ethics in Public Governance’ program, for all the 29 Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs) and Central Training Institutes (CTI’s) in India. The joint team has also undertaken to develop and train identified government employees as ‘Trainers’ to facilitate their participation in high quality and transformational programs on ethics in public governance. 42 such trainers have already been trained from all over India.
Unique features of the program ‘Ethics in Public Governance’:
The objective of the program is to catalyze and facilitate thinking and action for creative, effective and ethical governance. The success of this program is partly due to the active involvement of serving and retired senior officers of the IAS who have publicly demonstrated their ethical and exemplary achievements. They have set their performance bar higher than their normal duties and are willing to take risks against their personal interests. They serve as leaders of ethical and effective leadership in government.
Application oriented training involves actual situations of ethical dilemmas. They are analyzed using case studies and live sharing. These help participants identify with similar aspects in their own life. They learn by observing how other people solve a dilemma to help chalk out their own future actions.
Key learnings from program implementation:
Discover, Expand and connect the positives rather than struggle with the negatives – Look for and celebrate what is right with the world. The inspiring photographer, Dewitt Jones of National Geographic, echoes my own deepest sentiments: ‘By celebrating what’s right, we find the energy to fix what’s wrong’.
Connect people through conversations -Get people into circles of spirited conversation to generate opportunities to create, act and heal.
Be open to serendipity and possibilities. Enjoy operating out of humility and total acceptance.
Steadily hold a clear intention in your mind, be open to possibility and watch the magic unfold. Listen deeply to your own intuition, the people around you, the situation, and respond wholesomely at all times, with a deep acceptance and respect for all around us.
Go for Joy, Energy, Enthusiasm and Peace.
Take great care of yourself, keeping your life unblocked and pure
Keep yourself in good health through regular exercise, meditation and reading books with high inspirational content. Take care of yourself before you try to change things outside.
Begin change with yourself. Replace judgment with wonder, curiosity and action.
Be in integrity and start change with yourself. Remember that, initiative, integrity, innovation, integration and India all begin with ‘I’. Blame happens only when we do not see the wholeness of life.
Know where you are going and trust life.
Having a clear context and a clear intention is enough to get started even when we do not know how things will unfold. Existence has a beautiful way of orchestrating things for us to realize our dreams.
NEW PUBLIC MANAGEMENT
Pradip N Khandwalla’s summary of Good Governance (Transforming Government through New Public Management)
New Public Management (NPM) as a concept originated in the U.S and Britain but has now been adopted by many countries (of course, it has been modified to suit their local flavours). Like it has been suggested above, this concept emphasizes on the inclusion of the private sector into governance to ensure accountability and performance. It also encourages participation, professionalism, is stake holder centric and boosts new innovation. Even though the current political parties are failing us, the people are becoming more aware and are voting for good governance, not otherwise. This problem is not specific to India alone, but many liberal states have taken years to settle into the democratic routine.
Khandwalla (Transforming Government Through New Public Management, Pradip N. Khandwalla, Ahmedabad Management Association, 2010 – India – 395 pages) primarily talks about increasing government capacity, not by discarding democracy or bureaucracy but by adding a new player who is professional, futuristic, innovative and task focused. Improvements in governance need to be based on a clear understanding of why it is failing so often. In his analysis of Transformation of India’s governance suggested in the book ‘Transforming Government through New Public Management’ written by Pradip. N. Khandwalla , Dr. Khandwalla suggests a slew of improvements in Governance aimed at making it more Transparent, Performance oriented, Professionally run(including Ministers who do not necessarily have to be legislators), and using more New Public Management tools like Stakeholder Mapping, regulatory Impact assessment; and strategic decision making via Policy Analysis. He recommends other actions like: compulsory training in constitutional governance for legislators and ministers; extensive ‘agencification’; ‘Deliberation Councils’ of wise experts and representatives of Civil Society attached to each Ministry; extensive use of e-governance and Performance Management Systems, and much more extensive use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
These are excellent proposals. In our view, the problem is not that there are not enough proposals for change, or that people do not know what to do. The real issue is an energy crisis’ of not having the focused and energetic will to execute the task at hand.
FOUR PILLARS AND NINE DOMAINS OF GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS (GNH)
The intuitive guiding principle of Gross National Happiness led to a practical conceptualization of the concept. The foundation is made of four pillars:
Good Governance: Good Governance is a considered pillar for happiness because it determines the conditions in which Bhutanese thrive. While policies and programs that are developed in Bhutan are generally in line with the values of GNH, there is also a number of tools and processes employed to ensure the values are indeed embedded in social policy.
Sustainable Socio-economic Development: A thriving GNH economy must value social and economic contributions of households and families, free time and leisure given the roles of these factors in Happiness.
Preservation and Promotion of Culture: Happiness is believed to be contributed to by the preserving the Bhutanese culture. Developing cultural resilience, which can be understood as the culture’s capacity to maintain and develop cultural identity, knowledge and practices, and able to overcome challenges and difficulties from other norms and ideals.
Environmental Conservation: Environmental Conservation is considered a key contribution to GNH because in addition to providing critical services such as water and energy, the environment is believed to contribute to aesthetic and other stimulus that can be directly healing to people who enjoy vivid colours and light, untainted breeze and silence in nature’s sound.
The four pillars are further elaborated into nine domains, which articulate the different elements of GNH in detail and form the basis of GNH measurement, indices and screening tools.
‘ Living standards
‘ Community Vitality
‘ Psychological well-being
‘ Good Governance
‘ Cultural resilience and promotion
These 9 domains, clearly demonstrate that from the perspective of GNH, many inter-related factors are considered to be important in creating the conditions for happiness. For example, GNH counts the importance of material security as one of these ‘ and assessing whether people enjoy sufficient and equitable living standards, is included in the GNH survey. Similarly, the happiness of human beings is not seen as separate from the wellbeing of other life forms, and ecological diversity and resilience are included in the measure of GNH. The balance between material and non-material development, and the multi-dimensional and interdependent nature of GNH are key features that distinguish GNH from GDP as a measure of a country’s progress.
In accordance with these nine domains, Bhutan has developed 38 sub-indexes, 72 indicators and 151 variables that are used to define and analyze the happiness of the Bhutanese people
Epilogue: Reclaiming Our One Wholesome World
‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way’
– Kufunda Learning Village (http://www.kufunda.org/)
‘We must understand each other and work in harmony with one another , because it is our responsibility to develop in human beings their natural disposition for Peace’
– HH the 14th Dalai Lama
‘All the joy the world contains
Has come through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains
Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself (at the expense of others)’
– Shantideva (in ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’)
We started this book with a story about how this book evolved. The chapter concluded with the following quote from Eileen Caddy:
‘You talk of peace and harmony, of the new heaven and the new earth, of doing My will, of love and light being radiated out into the world and of moving into the new, but what are you actually doing about it? Are you living in such a way that you are helping to bring it all about? Don’t allow yourself to become like a parrot, saying things that mean nothing to you. Pray without ceasing for deeper and clearer understanding, and give thanks and move forward and upward. Above all, live a life and; let things happen to transform your life.'(Eileen Caddy, 1986)
We are repeating portions of this quote here because of its urgent call for action. It is a reminder once again, that the words in this book are useless unless we begin taking steps to manifest the vision that they convey. If not us, who? If not now, when? The transience of life is such that death can come any time. Let each moment be a joyful contribution to wholesomeness in our life and the lives of others.
Having come this far, the discerning and ‘practically’ minded reader would surely be asking the question, ‘So what next? What are the things I can do now?’
Luckily, there is a lot one can do!
Appendix 1 of this book (Web Resources for One Wholesome World) gives a whole list of web resources for you to draw from for learning, information and action. As we have often said in this book, we truly believe that the world has all the knowledge and resources for all of us to co-create a world that works for all and for future generations in the long run. What is needed is more inspired and informed action.
However, before we rush headlong into ‘doing something’ or ‘saving the world’, it may be useful to remember that more important than ‘doing’ is who we are being? What is the emotional and spiritual space that one is experiencing in the moment? Is it one of Joy, Peace, Abundance and Wholeness? Am I deeply accepting whatever I am experiencing now as being perfect, and also as something I can improve upon at the same time? It would be helpful to keep in mind what was mentioned in Chapter V on ‘Inner Transformation’.
To give you a metaphor, we have many gadgets and appliances with us(like motors, pumps, fans, mixers, toasters , TVs etc.) but the electricity is missing. To reclaim our wholeness and oneness with Life, our efforts and initiatives have to be rooted in wholeness. We need to remember that Inner Transformation (the electricity in the metaphor above) is the foundation for wellbeing, creative expressions and social coherence . It is also the foundation for compassion in action and experiential reverence for life as a whole.
Inner Transformation is the foundation for working well together with harmony and coherence. It is an antidote to the fragmentation, strife, agitation, violence and self-serving people and organizations that abound on the planet today (2015).
Basic Principles for unfolding One Wholesome World
Ismail Serageldin (1993) points out that “the social dimension, putting people first, has to be at the heart and the core of any development activity. By social, I mean focusing on the well-being and empowerment of people”. The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, (Union of Concerned Scientists, 1993) in a comprehensive statement provides a five – point programme for action summarized as follows:
‘ Control environmentally damaging activities
‘ Manage critical resources more effectively
‘ Stabilize population
‘ Eliminate poverty
‘ Ensure gender equality
One Wholesome World (OWW) is a vision of the future that provides us with a road map. It helps to focus our attention on a set of values, ethical and moral principles which guide our actions as individuals, and in relation to the institutional structures with which we have contact’governmental and nongovernmental. The manifestation of a vision of One Wholesome World (OWW)..a world which works for all’.requires the structuring of a set of basic principles to serve as its foundation:
1) The whole journey of moving toward a more wholesome world needs to start with individual action in the moment. Without action ,the best plans are of no use.
The first step is to recognize that the inner space from which we need to work has to be one of deep acceptance and gratitude. We need to approach this work in a spirit with ‘All is well and all is perfect and still can be improved’. This is a space of acceptance and joy.
Listening to my inner guidance, moment to moment ,and being fully in touch with my intrinsic wholeness is the foundation for living in this way.
Box 11.1 gives a way forward in Listening to Inner Guidance.
2) People on the journey of OWW are aligned with their deepest Life Purpose. In listening to our inner voice, we also find our life’s purpose at a deeper level. Our life’s purpose is simply to be one with the ‘peace of Love which passes all understanding and which is the same as being one with life’. Being this, is a way of dancing with life. At another level, our purpose is to share and experience the gifts that we have been blessed with, in the service of our fellow being and also of life.
As the sage Patanjali said:
‘When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be’.
Patanjali (1st ‘ 3rd Century BC)
Box 11.2 gives you a tool to find your Life Purpose.
3) It is finally people who are both the doers and beneficiaries of any developmental effort. We need to keep this perspective in our consciousness at all times.
OWW starts with individual effort and cultivation. It begins with a change in the way of thinking about who we are, of how we see things and how we choose our thoughts, words and actions. The whole spiral of actions leading to OWW needs to start with loving and responsible action at the level of the individual. Every single thought, word and action of ours can move us all a step closer to our vision, or a step away.
Transformation, One Person at a Time:
When we listened to guidance for ‘creating a movement’ the clear answer was ‘Don’t!’ Most such ideas come from the Mind which thinks something like this: ‘We will create a Grand Design, and then try to execute it, and enlist people, and then track progress towards the shared Vision over a period of time, (typically 3-5 years or more).
Here is another way of looking at the same thing: ‘I surrender this bodymind to the Infinite Power of Wholeness, my own I Am. I am One with Wholeness because there is only one Whole! . It’s nature is Peace, Joy, Abundance, Ease and Grace. This bodymind trusts the guidance of the Whole in each moment as it speaks in the language of Well-being, Joy, Energy, Enthusiasm and Peace. I wholeheartedly do what Life is calling this bodymind to do. I see LIFE as Love in Full Expression. Guided by Joy, I act lovingly and playfully LILA: Love in Loving Action. I trust the larger unfolding to Life. My role in this moment (which incidentally is all there is or will ever be) is to share my love through loving service and do whatever I can to eliminate suffering and to expand happiness.
The journey has to start with me.
As Lao Tzu put it so elegantly:
‘If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.’
Swami Chinmayananda echoes this sentiment:
‘World transformation through Individual Transformation! The world can only be changed by the spiritual unfoldment of each individual ‘ not by political revolution, but by spiritual evolution.’
Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex intelligent behaviors. ~ Dee Hock
When many people on the planet start following a few very simple rules all geared up towards the expansion of Joy and also of Sharing, complex and intelligent behaviour will arise spontaneously. Here below are a few simple points that have emerged from conversations with people who are passionate about making a difference and have considerable ‘hands on’ practical experience in the field:
1) The very first step is to Listen! With empathy , listen to your own Inner Voice (see Box 11.1). What is life calling you to do. Remember that yours in not to do everything, to fight all battles. Listen to and feel empathetically into what feels joyful and expanding for you. This step will point you to what is yours to do.
2) The next step is listening to people, listening to the environment and even listening to the future. Deep empathetic listening reveals opportunities for change. Areas where what is yours to do (step 1 ) and what needs done (step 2) intersect, are the opportunities for making efforts.
3) Since you cannot do things alone, find the right ‘sparked up’ people who share the understanding of the need to come together and make a difference collectively. What are the domains of knowledge they are working in? What questions bring them together? Where they are physically located? What complementary strengths and skills to they bring?
4) Connecting them all up for conversations is the next step. This can happen locally, or via the internet. Tools like http://qiqochat.com/about and http://openspace-online.com/ are available.
The purpose of these conversations is to form Action Learning project teams. Such teams move together towards shared goals and also keep learning from their experiences as they move forward.
5) Finally, as we begin to achieve tangible results and create impact in a certain domain or geographical are, it is time to build capacity. This could take the form of developing Changemakers , or I Catalysts, or simply other facilitators who can successfully replicate and grow what you have started.
An important area of personal change is our pattern of consumption. What do we consume? How conscious are our choices in consumption and buying? The collective power of our spending is enormous. For example, what might happen if thousands of people gave up smoking out of their own conscious choice? Let’s look at this a little closer:
Changing Patterns of Consumption
Every change that you can make needs to ripple out from the silent depths of your awareness outwards to the immediate family, your physical home and work place, the neighbors and neighborhood and so on. The metaphor of a drop of water creating ripples on a lake is apt. The following story underscores the power of simple acts:
‘Tell me the weight of a snowflake,’ a coal ‘ mouse asked a wild dove.
‘Nothing more than nothing,’ was the answer.
‘In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story,’ the coal ‘ mouse said.
‘I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow ‘ not heavily, not in a raging blizzard ‘ no, just like in a dream, without a wound and without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd dropped onto the branch, nothing more than nothing, as you say ‘ the branch broke off.’
Having said that, the coal ‘ mouse flew away.
The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for awhile, and finally said to herself, ‘Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come to the world.’
Starting with one’s own purification and inner transformation, one slowly begins to purify relationships and actions. These have their own spontaneous impact. My own experience has been that talk of wholesome devolvement or wholesome leadership is futile and sterile unless it is backed by living and radiating that in one’s own life. This book has finally come out only when the authors have chosen to dedicate their lives to facilitating people to awaken to and return to wholeness.
There are many things that one can do to reduce consumption and lead a more wholesome and sustainable life. Simple things like switching off one’s computer when not in use, recycling water, curtailing consumption of fuel ,using more locally made food and food products. A conscious change in ones diet for example, can save costs, improve your health and help the planet all at once. Carpooling with neighbors helps build community, cut your transport costs and also reduce your carbon footprint.
Appendix 1 of this book ( Web Resources for One Wholesome World) has many resources on changing the way we consume, including things you can do in your neighborhood and community to save resources.
We can also choose to consume things that have been made locally, and be more in touch with our neighbours.
People need to feel loved, appreciated, seen, and heard, especially as children growing up. They need to be nurtured in order to become nurturing, loving and happy people. Living, learning, working and consuming locally make this possible. It is about healing (or making whole) our relations with ourselves, other people and with Nature based on love and care. It is about restoring connections and care . That is why Helena Norberg-Hodge, a pioneer in this area, argues that ‘localization is the economics of happiness’.
Localization is based on the belief that those people that live in closest proximity to the resource possess the best knowledge of it. Localization of essential production, consumption, trade and of services like health and education is a move in the direction of wholesome progress.
Some of the features and benefits of localization as shared by Helena Norberg- Hodge ( in the Economics of Happiness Conference , Bangalore , 15th March 2014) are given below:
‘ Localisation is the diversification and decentralization of economic activity
‘ Localisation strengthens human scale business ‘ especially basic needs such as food, water, energy but also in housing, baking, healthcare.
‘ Localisation relies more on human labour and skill and depends less on energy and technology.
‘ It requires less transportation, less packaging and less processing, thereby reducing waste, pollution and fossil fuel use.
‘ Localisation adapts economic activity to the diversity of ecosystems, restoring cultural and biological diversity.
‘ It fosters a deep connection between people and nature.
‘ It rebuilds social interdependence and cohesion, providing more secure sense of identity and belonging, which in turn is a prerequisite for peaceful existence.
‘ Localisation challenges conventional notions of international development, instead reclaiming and regenerating diverse knowledge systems, languages, aesthetics and wisdom traditions.
In the same vein, Ms. Ela Bhatt (2009), Founder, Self Employed Women’s Association(SEWA), Ahmedabad writes ‘I would urge us to use things and services of primary needs to life that are produced within 100 miles around us. To name them: food, shelter, clothes, primary education and primary healthcare’. As part of one’s personal commitment to wholesome development, we need to work not only in a way that the work is aligned with one’s calling and unique contribution, but also to live , learn and earn in close proximity with each other. This will be reduce waste and also our Ecological Footprints, besides developing a deep connectedness with life.
The starting point for civic action is your own neighborhood. Reach out to your neighbours and have regular meetings to reflect on joint action. Such meetings need to have moments of quietness and listening to the inner voice .Neighborhood circles can also become the social structure for initiatives such as segregation and recycling of garbage ,growing vegetables on your roof top, using bio-culture and perma culture, joint civic action for more ethical governance and even celebrating festivals together. The same platform can also serve as a foundation for the gift economy and gift exchange which will form the basis for the new economics. Sikshantar Andolan, working out of Udaipur Rajasthan, India is spearheading one of many such experiments all over the world. Localization will also change the very face of work .
Good Work for All
Deeply related to the shifts in the way businesses are owned and run (including localization) will be deep shifts in the way people work. How we work is critical to our sense of our well-being. As places where we live, work, and learn progressively come closer to each other , there will also be a need for re-organizing our work. More and more people will turn to entrepreneurship. More and more people will start earning their livelihoods in ways that leave a low ecological foot print. More and more people will be aligned with good work and with a wholesome life style.
Work being done by many people today is toxic: toxic to themselves, to other people and to the planet. It often carries unnecessary risks to workers, is stifling to the spirit and does not generate ‘True Wealth’. Local economies everywhere are threatened by economic globalization, and yet jobs for local markets can often be created at a fraction of the cost of jobs for global markets. In the ‘developed countries’, many skilled workers are unemployed whilst ‘developing countries’ often suffer from severe skills shortages.
We need to address this by creating a new paradigm and process of ‘Good Work’ which is soulful, empowered, innovative, using local resources and in harmony with the environment. Such work is work in the ‘Flow State’ i.e. Fullness and Love Overflowing in Work. This implies that they would have to work out of their own self-nature, unfold their own vocation arising out of their own deepest impulses and harmonized with the needs of the environment around them. It means being aligned with ones natural profile of motivated skills, being productive and beneficial to ones surroundings and operating out of a deep loving, free, creative energy. Work would need to be as much person driven as it is environment driven. Work would have to be aligned with the deeper Purpose of People. (See Box 8.2).
This would be in alignment with the paradigm of new forms of doing business in Chapter 9. All the knowledge and experience that is needed to create new approaches to ‘Good Work’ exist on the planet. These resources are, however, not connected to each other or to the people who can use them.
Leaders will need to connect all the relevant resources and provide an ‘eco system of support’ ‘for local enterprise centered on ‘Wholeness’. This support system would include Extension Services and Technical Support, Economic services, Entrepreneurial Training (including attitudinal Shifts based on inner Transformation and the principles of Abundance), Ecological Awareness and sustainable forms of Eco enterprise, mentoring and IT Support.
A Global Revolution in Human Consciousness:
Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better. This means moving from a fragmented disintegrated view of life to one which is whole.
‘The Berlin Wall has gone into history. Sadly there are still many walls existing today: the wall of suspicion, of disbelief, the wall between the rich and the poor, between human being and nature. People must be realistic and see these walls!’ Mikhail Gorbachev speaking in Berlin on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. 9th February 2009.
Amidst these intense challenges, and largely catalyzed by them, lies the prospect for tremendous growth in human potential and consciousness. People and communities all over the globe are coming together to reclaim responsibility for creating their own living situations ‘ at local and regional levels. In the process, they are overcoming prior limitations and developing new talents, skills, knowledge and approaches. Paradoxically, many of the most innovative solutions rely on a timeless, perennial kind of wisdom that seems to have been disregarded recently. The potential for a refreshed, renewed, revitalized humanity goes hand-in-hand with meeting the challenges of our present age.
A new stage in the evolution of man has already begun. A new consciousness, higher than the mind, a truth-consciousness, as Sri Aurobindo said, in which the dualities, hesitations and limitations of the mind and the greed and blindness of the ego will no longer exist, has already started to appear. All the upheavals and convulsions that are at present so painfully tearing our Earth apart are the outward signs of this evolutionary and spiritual crisis. This new consciousness is already at work in the noosphere of the earth. We can connect with it, evoke it in ourselves, and use it to transform our own life and consequently the world in which we live.
Wrong perceptions have to be left behind. Listening skills and Life skills have to come to the forefront. Arrogance: racial, political, ethnic, material or any other, has to be replaced by compassion, altruism and concern. Erroneous judgments based on past prejudices need to be buried. Conflict prevention and conflict management have to be developed as skills to prevent war and strife. The United Nations needs to ensure provision of security at a global level in social, economic, political and ecological spheres. Ensuring human rights; development of democratic participation and institutions; and ensuring international solidarity and harmony shall be the foundation for the wholesome development of the world. And these will flower only when attention is concentrated on the wholesome development of people everywhere.
The starting point would be getting people to see differently. The entire foregoing analysis sees the problem of development as one of changing our mind-models of the way the world works and what constitutes good behaviors or good actions. In a sense, development is the process by which our mind-models undergo constant change and refinement until we begin to realize our intrinsic freedom from all mind models. When we awaken to this ground state of free awareness, we find a profound fullness which manifests as playful and creative action.
The question that then arises is: how do we get the maximum number of people to unfold their awareness and thinking, and through that, to evolve their actions towards more joy, more health, more integration and well being? The task is to get this view across to people, not so much in terms of intellectual models or theories, but more in terms of direct experience.
To awaken more people to this space of freedom and wholeness, we need to:
‘ make visible the interlinkages between people, between people and nature, between what they do and the consequences thereof;
‘ make visible our deep relatedness to each other and to nature;
‘ show how we are really one with the whole i.e. with all of existence, and
‘ show how this direct experience of oneness affects almost everything we do.
There are many exercises that have been developed over the ages to meet this need. There are many existing techniques. Newer techniques can also be devised, to get people to see things clearly and get a direct insight into their real unbounded nature from which wholesome development springs. This is the most important task ahead of us today.
Linked to the above is the need for inspired communication and education using processes and devices which encourage and facilitate holistic thinking and which could help people to see the big picture. Today’s written devices make it difficult for people to connect things together and see the interlinkages. The use of creative and integrating graphics will need to become more common. Also, a balance between the rational and logical approaches and the more mythological and emotional approaches to development issues would have to be arrived at.
Significant actions will need to be taken by the media to transform the collective consciousness of people in the world. Media today is mistrusted because of the negative role that the advertising industry plays in fostering a collective myth of deficiency leading to a culture of addictive consumption. Not only does the media foster unwholesome consumption but is also responsible for implanting in people’s minds images of violence, separation, hatred and strife. Media will now have to be governed with a wholesome understanding of life and a professional ethic that shapes its role in unfolding a wholesome world. New forms of financing the media industry e.g. through wider use of the internet and also through more opportunities for free expression by citizens (e.g. as in YouTube) will need to be put in place. Journalists need to see that freedom of operation and a commitment to Truth and Wholeness are absolutely essential for their own well-being and the fostering of a better world. Ultimately freedom of access to information, freedom of expression and freedom to tell the whole truth will be the foundation for a more wholesome role of the media. Transparency, balanced and unbiased reporting and a focus on stories that foster the positive, the true, the good and the beautiful will need to be the pillars of a new media which awakens and fosters a different consciousness in society. Journalists and media persons will need to awaken to the true meaning and import of their work.
Can journalists see themselves as harbingers of Wholeness on the planet? Not only as passive reporters of what is happening around us, but as enlightened shapers of the collective consciousness that is within us. The media needs to see its role as active shapers of the collective consciousness, and not passive handmaidens of vested interests. They need to understand that there are many people on the planet who will support positive efforts if they play a role in promoting the same.
To raise awareness, continuous dialogue inspired by deep and silent reflection can improve the ability of all actors in the system to make informed, responsible and responsive decisions, promoting a pro-active approach to development. The increased engagement of the scientific, technological, business and government sectors and civil society in these dialogues is essential.
Education and Learning
While on the issue of dialogue and inspired communication, we could visualize organizations like UNESCO drawing up a few basic primers for children, giving young children all over the world a unified worldview of wholesomeness. It is also possible to conceive of beautifully made films which are deeply humanistic and which creatively bring out the essence of oneness and wholesomeness in our lives. They would present the new vision of a full life for all in an innocent, humanistic, fun, joyful and a creative way. With the present potential of the media (particularly the electronic multi-media) to reach out to millions of people round the globe, these can be powerful instruments for raising consciousness. These would need to:
‘ reinforce the positives rather than the negative; and
‘ focus more energy on creating & transmitting images of true wholesomeness and global well being.
The communication devices mentioned above would have to show not only new ideas or a new vision, but also would have to point towards methods to transcend our mind-models and our conditioning. The process is primarily one of psycho-spiritual renewal. This would spread into groups of people spontaneously rather than through coercion. The process is already alive and well tried. This needs expansion and strengthening.
Teaching and learning opportunities would have to be proliferated at a local level with people of all ages and categories self-actualizing themselves, engaging in all kinds of occupations at various skills levels. “Much of the learning would have to be done “hands-on” and through apprenticeship, with no one being too old to be an apprentice or too young to be teacher.” (E.F. Schumacher). Continuous learning alone at all levels would ensure growth and development in a natural wholesome manner.
Learning will also require the development of networking and a very rich exchange of information and ideas. We would need to look for, learn from and empower the “other”. This would deepen our relatedness. It will call for participation and action around shared goals. Even businesses would have to start thinking of themselves as learning systems (a learning process of people via work).
Given the vastly expanded and revolutionary breakthroughs in communications and information technology (IT) worldwide, it is feasible to expeditiously activate such global learning systems permitting the best inputs of experiential learning from everywhere in the world. For the momentous task of Inner Transformation, it is imperative that the matter be placed on the global agenda for immediate action.
The four billion poor people in the world have to find an innovative way to convince the two billion rich about the great need to live through the present crises together or else perish together. The global agenda of interdependence of all peoples in achieving development with harmony needs unequivocal emphasis. This is the most basic attitudinal change needed in order to open the floodgates of universal creative energies for wholesome development in the 21st century.
Opening the floodgates of human creative energy will need a change in the way we connect, converse, collaborate and co-create with each other. Open and free participation by all, supported by the values of democracy, nonviolence and peace will be crucial in bringing about these changes. These skills and values will need to be integrated into formal education and life-long learning to foster a more sustainable way of life.
Wholesome Development through Good Governance
If localised economic growth is essential to eliminate poverty, then it is crucial to have good governance to enable such balanced growth. Economic growth is critical but not the sole requirement for success in the fight against poverty. It is equally important to have a social policy that places particular emphasis on meeting basic human needs. Education, training and extension services as well as availability of credit, fostering self-reliance and initiative in people from all segments of society.
A further component is a social climate in which the door to full personal development is open to everyone ‘ regardless of gender, race, socio-cultural background or other differences. Where a socio-economic ambiance of this quality has been put into effect, it has led to impressive economic success from which the lowest income groups have also benefited. This is since government expenditures in the education and social welfare sectors could be financed from it. Such countries have also been more successful than others with respect to the ecological sustainability of their development policy.
Where there is long-term investment in people’s health and education, where both men and women, regardless of their social status, have access to the necessary means of production, extension and credits, they can take their fate in their own hands and make use of opportunities to improve their quality of life.
Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations has remarked:
‘Good Governance and sustainable development are indivisible. That is the lesson of all our efforts and experiences from Africa to Latin America. Without good governance ‘without the rule of law, predictable administration, legitimate power and responsive regulation-no amount of funding, no amount of charity will set us on the path to prosperity’
In an International Conference (held under the auspices of the Caux Roundtable for Business) aimed at studying the problems of globalization, after four days of deliberations, the distinguished participants came out with the view that it was Governance really that was at the root of the problems facing the world. In the next conference focused on Good Governance, they came to the realization that it all boiled down to good leadership. When the gathering ,at yet another conference, sincerely probed deeper into leadership, they came to the understanding that the core issue was not just leadership but ethical leadership.
This story underpins a very important understanding i.e. it is only when leaders can work from an inner understanding of wholeness, the foundation for ethical behaviour, that we can have the governance and the leadership required to bring about substantial changes towards wholesome sustainable development. This implies that there has to be an ongoing dialogue and conversation between politicians, NGO’s, civil society, education, business, artists and the people who formulate and implement policy. It is only through such ongoing conversations that a holistic perspective can be fostered. In addition to this dialogue, there is also a need for integrating good governance with the spiritual aspects of life.
In India, in a series of programmes on Ethics and Public Governance, the authors have personally experienced the power of integrating the spiritual and wholistic dimension with the issue of governance and leadership. Participants from four programmes on the above topic have gone back and made significant impacts in their own areas of work. The design of the programme is proven and can be replicated all over the world with minor changes relevant to local situations. What is required to scale this up, however, is a gathering of all those who teach ethical leadership and governance and their mutual exposure to each other’s best practices and also to the paradigm and practices of wholesome sustainable development.
Actions Related to Planning of Development
People need to plan development from the fullness and unconditional okayness of their inner core of Peace and Bliss.
The way people work will need to change. They will have to see clearly the linkage between their work, their own evolution and development, and the larger social purpose. This approach could provide a sound moral base for providing joyful work for all.
Organizations, all over the world, including government organizations, NGOs, Social organizations, religious organizations would have to align their objectives with wholesomeness and well being of people and the preservation of the ecosystem. Work would need to be as much person – driven as it is driven by the need for a wholesome environment.
Planning would have to receive guidance from a higher and deeper level coming from a holistic understanding of man. Technology would have to serve man rather than move unrelentingly forward on its own trip of feasibility. The focus would have to be on the stimulation of the balanced growth and liveliness of people as the central issue rather than the curbing of it. Focus would have to be on the motivation of the individual, rather than on making him a passive element in a faceless system.
Healing our cities is eminently possible. All the knowhow and talent to do this exists. Governments need to take this up. Local municipalities can be better integrated into international sustainable development programmes given their direct involvement in managing the urban environment. Local elected corporators and municipal officials should receive training in wholesome sustainable development issues including the appreciation and preservation of heritage. State governments, NGOs and international institutions can be encouraged to create best practice networks and development cooperation projects with city governments. Such projects can be financially self sustaining and can serve other cities and governments in a ‘value networking’ process where all benefit. Decentralized ‘city-to-city’ cooperation could become a major force in poverty alleviation and the promotion of north-south solidarity.
There is only one world. It is a totally integrated and beautiful mechanism which some people have called ‘Gaia’. There are no intrinsic boundaries in it. The atmosphere and oceans are one. Superimposed on this wholeness (which has been working so well on its own, based on millions of years of evolution!) are manmade boundaries.
We will need to envision and manifest a single world government not in the hands of people, but in their hearts.
It is said that the hierarchy of power in the world is the following:
‘Spirit first, mind follows and the body/Matter belongs.’ This means that Spirit is supreme. The energy of our inner consciousness is the highest. This is the same as Love. This is the greatest power in the universe. This governs the mind, and mind can govern the rest of matter and the material world. This implies that a One World Government would be governed by Love. Love stands for Wholeness. Love and Wholeness are exactly the same thing.
A new humanity would be governed by Love’ Love for oneself, for others and also love for the environment. People who are surrendered to Love and run their life by what Love calls them to do will coalesce spontaneously into a network’.. A Radiant Network. This radiant network will work guided by Love, since each member in it will know through a direct understanding of and connection with wholeness, what has to be done. The creative intelligence that runs the whole world without human intervention will orchestrate some very beautiful manifestations. This will slowly result in a One World Government. It will be based on decentralization and the rule of Love. The most effective channels of Love and Light will be the ones who will govern in a just, equitable and fair way for the well being of the whole. We are very close to the emergence of such a network. The creation and publication of this book is one of the many concurrent processes which are egging people on the planet towards a new Heaven on Earth.
The clearer we become of what we want, and the more we communicate with like hearted people on the planet, the greater will be the coherence that emerges.
Leaders in Government (who resonate with what has come through in this book) can take some actions along the following lines:
Actions by UN and Other World Bodies
1. Catalyze the creation of a World Wisdom Council of the wisest people on the planet. This council would appreciate, oversee and address the institutional linkages and interdependencies between economic, social, cultural, environmental and peace concerns. Their authority would be derived from their selflessness and integrity, and allegiance to and obedience to Love as the supreme governing principle. The Vision of the Council would be a Wholesome Sustainable future for all of humankind. Its Mission would be the implementation, coordination and supervision of all aspects of the co-creation of this future.
2. Let Governments the world over empower the United Nations Organization and other world bodies to network into a unified organism with the well-being of all people as the main focus of their vision and work. This organism will be geared towards fostering universally needed knowledge, skills, and attitudes.( The word’ organism’ has been used consciously instead of ‘Organization’. The latter is reminiscent of the old command and control machine like structures that stifle spirit and innovation. An ‘organism’ is more like systems found in nature.)
3. Move towards the creation of a few strategic World Organisms like a World Environmental Organism, and a World Learning Organism, and a World Peace Organism. The World Learning Organism would focus on providing inspired learning for basic education and skill development on a massive scale and for the long run. Sustainable Societies cannot be reached without learning in local communities, organizations and in our daily lives. These World Organisms could be hosted within the UN structure, or a new organism could be created at the level of today’s Security Council. At any place in the One World Government people would owe allegiance to Love, the common thread, core and purpose of the One Wholesome World. (This is how Life actually runs right now! Human beings, who are out of touch with Wholeness, deviate from this Law of Life, and end up creating the very conditions that will eventually restore the understanding!)
4. Look for outstanding examples of Wholesome Sustainable Development from all over the world and find ways to support the natural proliferation of these examples. This may also require the creation of a dynamically evolving Global Knowledge repository, which could be administered by the World Learning Organism. Use the GAIA (Global Appreciative Inquiry for Action) process described earlier, for different priority sectors like Water, Sanitation, Ecological Healing, Healing cities, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Culture.
5. The World Bank, IMF, and other economics related bodies need to erase the boundaries of “developed” and “developing” nations. People everywhere must be accepted as equal partners in the important task of global togetherness to produce a happier life for all. We can all learn from and teach each other. We need to learn with humility from our ancestors and rich (culturally, spiritually and environmentally) indigenous communities like the Kogi, the Ladakhis, the people of Bali, Tibet, Hawaii, North American Indians , the Inuit and many more such communities that are on the verge of extinction now. (Edwards, Andrï¿½ï¿½s R. , ‘Thriving Beyond Sustainability’, 2010, New Society Publishers)
6. A world organism like UNESCO should create an experiential learning system, via the use of cyberspace, for the Wholesome Development of People continuously. Best inputs on experiential learning may be used from all over the world. Increase opportunities for conversations amongst international institutions with cross and multi-sectoral discussions, partnerships and programme planning. Encourage and support mutual understanding, solidarity, and cooperation among all peoples and within and among nations. Tools like http://qiqochat.com/about and http://openspace-online.com/ can be used for this. Create networks of People and Leaders in different walks of life that can forge new ground inspired by their creative and systemic understanding of issues facing humankind.
7. The voices of all civil society actors, especially the voices of Indigenous populations and the under-represented South need to be integrated into the activities of NGOs. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.
8. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to wholesome development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity.
9. Implement comprehensive strategies to promote Peace on the planet starting with Peace within people. Considering that a large part of the Violence on the planet today is between people of different faiths, can we take an appreciative look at what is the best in each faith. Empathetic and open hearted Listening and dialogues with frequent times of silence, would enable people to see that all faiths are like windows that open up onto the same sky called Love/Wholeness. Facilitate the use of collaborative and creative problem solving to manage and resolve environmental conflicts and other disputes. International Conflict Management needs a fresh universal and value based approach. The United Nations has to ensure global security through principle centered democratic institutions co-created by wholesome leaders.
10. Demilitarize national security systems to the level needed for non-provocative defense. Convert and divert military resources to peaceful purposes, including ecological restoration. Ensure that the use of outer space supports environmental protection and peace. Governments would need to halt the production and use of nuclear, chemical and biological weaponry as well as dismantle existing stockpiles of weapons systematically. When more and more people who steadfastly hold the vision of one wholesome world governed by love in our minds and hearts come together, the more likely this vision will manifest into reality. It is an idea whose time has come!
There is a need to transform our society from one based on illusions/false values to one based on the truth/ real values. It is necessary to convince people that the ideal of a high standard of living is wrong. If we are to move towards One Wholesome World, this needs to be replaced with a high level of thinking and life based on humility, joy, compassion and detachment. The growing greed for competitive luxury and conspicuous consumption cannot bring peace or even sustainable progress. One way to rouse the latent power of love in people is for them to master desires and consciously conquer greed for pleasure and luxury instead of being a slave to these false materialistic values. This cannot happen by exhortations or preaching. It is only through the living example of self-less (but joyous and healthy) leaders who hold themselves to the highest levels of integrity and consequently ‘ walk their talk’.
Happiness or well-being of all people can serve as an overarching aim of wholesome development, thus bringing the goals of sustainable development closer to the everyday concerns of individuals. If the world has to be happy, let this process begin with me!
Perhaps the whole message of this book can be summed up by sharing the meaning and import of the last verse of the sacred book, The Bhagwad-Gita.
Yatra Yogesvarah Krishna
Tatra srih, vijayo, bhutih,
Dhruva nitir matir mama .
‘Wherever there is (the spirit of) Krishna, the master of yoga (resonant wholeness) and wherever there is (the spirit of) Arjuna, the wielder of the bow (the hero of focused action), there, I am convinced with faith that true wealth, success, expanding happiness and steadfast , unshakably just governance for the welfare of all shall prevail’. (Stanza 78, Chapter 18 of the Bhagwad Gita)
Here ‘Krishna’ is symbolic of Wholeness, our one Infinite Self and Arjuna of energetic action. To quote India’s first president Dr. S Radhakrishnan, ‘When Plato prophesied that there would be no good government in the world until philosophers became kings, he meant that human perfection was a sort of marriage between high thought and just action. This according to the Gita , must be, forever, the aim of man.’ A wholesome marriage between deep Silence and Peace within and dynamic action without is possible.
Considering that Life is already whole, and that it is our minds that are deluded into believing that we are not, the call to all is really to wake up!
As Swami Vivekananda put it:
‘Arise, Awake! Awake from this hypnotism of weakness. None is really weak; the soul is infinite, omnipotent, and omniscient. Stand up, assert yourself, proclaim the Love within you . . . Teach yourselves, teach everyone, his real nature. Call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come, when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity’.
A similar cry can be heard from Hawaii:
‘Arise you lands beyond the eastern horizons! Arise you lands beyond the western horizons! Arise you leaders! Arise you of noble births! This is a wake-up call to you! For the long clouds signal a momentous occasion! Arise! Awaken! Rise up!’
~Shared in the Kapu Aloha movement in Hawaii, April 2015.
The time is not far when we as a species would have completely healed the split between science and religion, between human beings and nature, between the East and West and also between a life inspired and guided by love and light and skillful action. We would also have healed the split between human beings and the intrinsic wholeness of life. The Reasonable Mind will act in subservience to the guidance of the mystical No Mind. The Inner woman and inner man would work in harmony with each other.
While the progress so far has been slow, thanks to our deep conditioning, we seemed to have crossed the tipping point (august 2015) .The recent events in Greece, China and the middle East and the growing environmental crisis are acting as even more strident wake up calls for human beings.
Many people all over the world are opening their hearts and minds to the necessity of coordinating their activities, and providing each other the support that comes from a Community with one Vision: Joy, Peace and Abundance for all on Earth. We will soon see a most glorious awakening of Love, Creative Intelligence and Collective Action on Earth ablaze with the radiant light of Consciousness, at the end of what Josï¿½ï¿½ Argï¿½ï¿½elles called ‘a period of Harmonic Convergence’ and the end of the Mayan Long Count, the only calendar in the world to reflect the exponential character of evolutionary development.
It is this great wave of Consciousness that will enable us to build the sharing economy when the global economy self-destructs. For it is Love and Intelligence that can dissolve the fears and delusions that inhibit us from realizing our fullest potential both as individuals and as a species.
‘You and I have spoken all
But as for the way we
Have to go,
Words are no preparation.’
So , beloved reader, please reclaim your Oneness with the Whole, listen to what action Love is calling you to do right now and act joyfully on this calling. Stay cheerful and positive by being your real and whole Self.
We are tempted to quote W.N. Murray in the The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
‘Until one is committed there is hesitancy,
The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which
Kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
The moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise
Never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and
Meetings and material assistance,
Which no man could have dreamed would have come his way’
Commit yourself to the Whole, to Love, Joy, Peace and Abundance for all. NOW! This decision may be the small snowflake that is needed for the avalanche. Trust the joy and simple guidance coming from the Source for Loving in loving action, NOW.
To conclude this book, we once again sought silent guidance from a book called ‘Love Calling. A Devotional Diary’ edited by A.J. Russell:
Here is what came up:
‘Learn daily the sublime lesson of trust and calm in the midst of storm. Whatever of sorrow or difficulty the day may bring, my tender command to you is still the same’..Love and Laugh’
May we all dance together as one for manifesting Heaven on Earth. May all our thoughts, words and actions spring up from the deepest core of Infinite Love. May we joyfully co-create a world that works for all’a world of Love made visible.
Love, Blessings and Gratitude to you beloved friend. We love you immensely . We deeply appreciate and value all that you bring to the planet for the evolution of humankind towards One Wholesome World.
Love In Loving Action
‘ Make a habit of being attentive to the call of Love in each moment.. Listen to the Voice of LIFE calling you now. Ask frequently ‘What would love do now?’ and then joyfully and quickly act on that.
‘ Learn to be present to all that is happening in the now, for that is the only place LIFE is occurring. The past is dead and gone, the future is just imagination. Live joyfully in the now, accepting all as Love In Full Expression. See everything ‘negative’ as an opportunity to create its positive opposite, to flex your muscles of Love In Loving Action.
‘ Take time to find out your unique Life Purpose. What is Love calling you to do now? (Box 11.2 gives you guidelines on how to do this).
‘ Once you are clear about what you would like to act on, use the Web Resources listed in Appendix 1 to
seek connections and help for what you intend to do.
‘ Examine your patterns of buying and consumption. To reap the benefits of a local economy, buy local.
‘ Call a neighbourhood circle and watch movies like ‘The Story of Stuff’ or ‘The Economics of Happiness’ together. Have a discussion on how you and your neighbours can change their patterns of consumption. Both these films will take you on a thought provoking journey through our consumer-driven culture.
‘ Download the Poster ’31 Ways to Jump Start the Local Economy’. Use it as a Checklist of Ideas for Action. Remember, it is ALL about Loving action NOW!
Listening to the Inner Voice
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
In our busy, frenetic lives, we can choose to live reactively or reflectively. It means ‘making space for grace and reflection for direction’ .Take time every day to sit in silence to listen to the voice of love and truth that speaks in your heart. Early morning is best. To open your heart and mind without pretences or defences.
It also helps to write the thoughts down. These thoughts can be measured against the absolute principles that follow ‘ common to all religious traditions.
Why is inner listening needed?
Modern man lacks silence. He doesn’t lead his life, he is led by events. It is a race against the clock. Even Love Himself can’t get anything else in. It is vital to make space somewhere. Swiss psychiatrist and author Paul Tournier said:
‘Silence has a power that forces you to go deeper into yourself.’
Mahatma Gandhi said of Silence:
‘Silence is both a physical and a spiritual necessity for me’
‘In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light’
‘For me the voice of Love, of conscience, of Truth or the ‘still small voice’ means the one and the same thing.
The Inner Voice defies description. It has been increasingly audible as years have rolled by.’
‘In the silence of the heart, Love speaks. And to hear Love, we need a clean heart…
The essential thing is not what we say to Love but what Love says to us and through us.’
The Absurd Life
“Those who don’t listen are deaf and the Latin word for deaf is ‘surdus’. If you’re very deaf you’re ‘absurdus’.
An absurd life is one in which you are not listening any more. The Latin word for listening is ‘audire’ and if you listen with great attention that is ‘oboedire’ and that’s where the word obedience comes from.
From Fear to Love
This is what we are called to do, to become listeners to a voice of love. That is why we often say, ‘Well I am not so sure that I really want to listen because I might not like what I’m going to hear.’
‘Fear makes us deaf. I see the spiritual life as one in which we have to move out of the house of fear into the house of love.’
The daily practice: Inner listening has three components’
The working principles of moral absolutes…
‘ Absolute Purity
‘ Absolute Honesty
‘ Absolute Unselfishness and
‘ Absolute Love
Absolute Purity (complete non-attachment)
The freedom of real intimacy without manipulating people for their money, sex, power, or for self-gratification
The freedom of being a fully authentic person; revealing ourselves to ourselves and to others
The freedom to find your true Self through having a heart and concern for others. The art of lateral living.
The freedom to give and to care without the limitations of bitterness and blame.
These four absolutes are simply descriptions of our own intrinsic wholesomeness. Listening to our inner Voice is being in touch with this wholesomeness moment to moment , trusting its promptings and obeying it in swift action. This is a tool for liberation.
Source: Listening to the Inner Voice, Booklet and Presentation , Initiatives of Change, Mike and Jean Brown,
Here is a quote on Listening from Eileen Caddy:
‘Taking Time to Listen’
Many souls wonder how they are to know what is My will. This is where every soul has to learn the art of being still and taking time to listen to that still, small voice within. It may at first seem so faint, so tenuous, that you wonder whether it is My voice or yourself and your own wishful thinking. But as you go on and on, persevering and following the directions you are given in the silence, and as you see what wonders come about as you do this, your faith becomes stronger and stronger until nothing and no one can shake it. Then you know that it is My voice and you have no desire to listen to any other. That direct contact with Me is made and you learn to live by every word that proceeded from Me. You will take no action, make no move, unless it has been blessed by Me and you know that it is My will and therefore only perfect will come forth from it’….Eileen Caddy
Finding Our Purpose
Most of us often wonder why we were born. In a huge cosmos, where each human life is an insignificant speck in the larger scheme of things, one can’t help wondering about the purpose of our existence. Were we born for a special reason or was our birth a meaningless event ?
All of us are born with a purpose already imbedded in our hearts. It is always there like a seed, waiting to be seen, nurtured and then brought to fruition and fulfillment. There is one overarching common purpose for all of us. It is to be one with Love/the Whole/Life. This is a dynamic state of total peace, joy, health and abundance. It is the same as walking hand in hand with Life.
Such a purposeful life is a life of enthusiasm… being Infinite Love. When this happens, there is no boundary between Love and all of Life. It is towards this glorious merger that all of us are moving. It is a melting away into the fire of Love’s creative and peaceful energy . This is the primary purpose of our life.
However, before this final merger occurs, there is an intermediate purpose which we also need to attend to. This is using our unique gifts in the service of others. Joyful service and sharing of our gifts is the process which purifies us. It expands our understanding of who we are. It keeps the circle of care growing ,till one day, the whole world is in our circle of care. We experience all beings and people as our own brothers and sisters. The trees, stars, waters and winds of the earth feel like our very own kin. This is when we are close to being our real and whole self. This is Wholeness !
So how do we find our purpose? How do we know that we are on track?
It becomes simple once we understand the whole picture. Life shows us this picture through the language of feelings in our body mind. By ‘body mind ‘ we mean the one system we call yourself. The body and mind are really one . The body is a grosser manifestation of what goes on in the mind. The mind is the subtle aspect of the body. Interpenetrating and being all this, is Love .
Whenever our thoughts , words and actions are aligned with our purpose, we experience expansive feelings of joy, peace, energy and enthusiasm in our body mind. Whenever we are off track, we experience contracting and limiting feelings like being trapped, low energy and despair. When we are on purpose, there is a sparkle in our eyes, a spring in our step and a prayer of gratitude on our lips. We experience deep joy in our hearts because we are using our unique gifts to serve and benefit others. This is deeply rewarding.
Here below is a quick and ready method to enable you to find your purpose and give your life a sense of direction:
‘ Identify your unique gifts. Reflect on what you are good at doing and what you love doing. Ask yourself ‘What is the best use of my unique gifts in the now? How can I serve others using my gifts? ‘
‘ Be still, and listen to inner guidance. Apply the JEEP test to yourself.(What gives me Joy, Energy, Enthusiasm and Peace?) .If I was an empty flute, what is the song that life would play through me?
Finding one’s purpose is the key to alignment with Love’s will. It is discovering one’s unique jigsaw puzzle piece in the larger tapestry that constitutes life’s evolutionary dance. As we wholeheartedly serve life, we also serve ourselves.
Most people who are on purpose, are imbued with humility. This is because they understand the heart of Life….. that Love is and does all. They see LIFE as Love In Full Expression. Humility leads to a feeling of deep gratitude. This, in turn, reinforces understanding. The cycle goes on spiraling and expanding until they are one with Love’s energy. The compassionate play of Life (LILA in Sanskrit ) becomes their own. There life becomes a celebration of Love In Loving Action.
The great mythologist, Joseph Campbell, once said “Trust the bliss and it will lead you to where you need to go”. Follow the silent whispers of your Heart, and Love will take you to where Life wants you to be.
Peace and Prosperity for all, inspired by Love.
1. Awaken to the power of Love.
2. Trust this Power
3. Listen, Reflect and Dialogue, remembering that we are One.
4. Initiate Loving Action, now.
Joyfully Expand the circles of Love.
Guidelines for Group Dialogue
The group guidelines are intended to facilitate an environment of safety and trust within a group. If you have concerns about the guidelines or feel they are not being followed, please feel free to speak up.
1. In the groups we agree to listen with an open heart and mind, to give mutual support and to practice non-judgmental listening and sharing. Listen respectfully, with care, and without judgment. Listen carefully to what the other person is feeling. Be attentive to the underlying assumptions and deeper truths being expressed.
2. We recognize that we are here to heal ourselves. We are not here to give advice or to change anyone else’s beliefs or behavior. Being accepted as we are makes it easier for us to accept others.
3. We speak from our own experience using ‘I statements’ while sharing. By risking and exposing our own emotional state, we find common experience that allows us to experience a connection with others. Speak truthfully, from the heart. Identify what you are feeling. Disclose what you are feeling. Be brief
4. We respect ourselves and each other as unique; we recognize that each person’s process is important, not our judgment of it.
5. We support each other’s inner wisdom/guidance and assist one another in finding our own best answers.
6. The roles of student and teacher are interchangeable. They fluctuate from one to the other regardless of age or experience.
7. We practice being present with others, seeing each person as whole and not defining them by the appearance, mood, behavior or circumstance.
8. We agree to keep in mind that we always have a choice between peace and conflict, between love and fear. Engage in friendly disagreement when appropriate, and strive to understand the positions of those who disagree with you. Allow silences Love the questions, and let the answers emerge.
9. We respect and maintain the confidentiality of what we share in group, recognizing its importance in maintaining the group as a place of safety and trust.
‘ Community Groups Handbook . . . Institute of Noetic Sciences
Love and Survival . . . Dr. Dean Ornish
Guidelines for Attitudinal Healing Groups’Centre for Attitudinal Healing
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14. Haq, Mahbub Ul(1996), “Reflections on Human Development”, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Pg. 252.
15. Chinmayananda,Swami,(1992),The Holy Geeta, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai,pp 1173 to 1176,
16. Timmer, Vanessa(2004),Characteristics of Leadership and
17. Five Equator Prize 2002 Finalists, Centre for International Development at Harvard University, CID Graduate Student ,Working Paper No. 3.
18. Gardner, Howard; Csikszentmihalyi ,Mihaly; Damon, William ,’ Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet’, Basic Books.
19. Mander, Jerry (1998), ‘Internet: The Illusions of Empowerment”, Whole Earth, Winter, 1998.
20. Kaufmann, Daniel Kraay, Aart and Mastruzzi Massimo(2003) ‘Governance Matters III: Governance Indicators for 1996-2002′, World Bank Working Paper No 3016, June 30,
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24. Ranganathananda, Swami, (1979), ‘Social Responsibilities of Public Administrators’, Indian Institute of Public Administration, September1979, pp. 35-37, New Delhi.
25. Bhatt, Ela R. (2009) ‘The Way Ahead’100 Miles’; Note sent via e-mail,
26. Shikshantar Andolan(2008), The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, ‘ Reclaiming the Gift Culture’, Internal Monograph
27. Ornish, Dean 1998, Love and Survival
29. Gibbs , Charles and Mahe, Sally ‘ Birth of Global Community: Appreciative Inquiry in Action’, 2003, Lakeshore Communications Inc.
30. Radhakrishnan, S , ‘The Bhagavadgita’, 1976, Blackie & Son(india) Ltd.
31. Stadler, Anne , ‘A Story of Radiant Networking : October 2003 to April 2011’ ;
32. Norberg-Hodge, Helena, ‘Localisation is the Economics of Happiness’; YES Magazine,
33. Edwards, Andrï¿½ï¿½s R, ‘Thriving Beyond Sustainability’, 2010, New Society Publishers.
Bosma, N., Levie, f., Bygrave, W.D., Justo, R., Lepoutre, J. and Terjesen, S. (2010) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.2009 Executive Report.
BSR (2008) Meeting the Challenge of a Reset World.
Capra, F. and Henderson, H. (2009) Qualitative growth. The Institute of Chartered Accountants and Tomorrow’s Company.
Co-Operative Bank (2007) The Ethical Consumerism Report 2007.
Dalberg Global Development Advisors (2007 /8) Business Guide to partnering with NGOs and the United Nations.
Elgin, D. (1999) The 2020 Challenge: Evolutionary Bounce or Evolutionary Crash http://www.newhorizons.org/ future/elgin2020
Elgin, D. and LeDrew, C. (1997) Global Consciousness Change: Indicators of an Emerging Paradigm www. awakeningearth.org
Ellis, T. (2002) The Era of Compassionate capitalism: A vision of Holistic Leadership Developemtn in the 21st Century Executive MBA dissertation. London: Henley Management college. Available at: http://www.taniaellis.com/publications/Papers/
Emerson, J. (2008) The Blended Value proposition: Integrating Social and Financial Returns. California Management Review, 45 (4), Summer.
Grayson, D. et al. (2008) A New Mindset for Corporate sustainability. White paper sponsored by BT and Cisco.
Green, J. (2007) Democratizing the Future ‘ Towards a New Era of Creativity and Growth Philips.
Hockerts, K. et al. (2008) CSR-Driven Innovation. Toward the Social Purpose Business http://www.csrinnovation.dk
KPMG (2008) KPMG International survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting http://www.kpmg.com
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being Opportunties and Challenges for Business and Industry. World Resource Institute, Washington, DC.
Porter, M.E. And Kramer, M.R. (2006) Strategy and Society’ The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility, Harvard Business Review.
SustainAbility (2007) Growing Opportunity: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Insoluble Problems
SustainAbility (2008) The Social Intrapareneurs: A Field Guide for Corporate Changemakers.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (2008) The Digital Company 2013: How Technology Will Empower the Customer. The Economist, June.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (2008) The Digital Company 2013: Freedom to Collaborate. The Economist. September.
The Harwood Group (1995) Yearning for Balance: Views of Americans on Consumption, Materialism, and the Environment. Prepared for the Merck Family Fund by The Harwood Group. Available at: http://www.iisd.ca/consume/harwood.html
Tomorrow’s Company (2007) Tomorrow’s Global Company: Challenges and Choices.
Tomorrow’s Company (2009) Tomorrow’s Climate Beyond. Peak Carbon. Discussion paper.
Tomorrow’s Company (2009) Tomorrow’s Global Talent – How Will Leading Global Companies Create Value Through People?
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2007) Global Environment outlook: Environment for Development (GEO-4). Available at: http://www.unep .org/geo/geo4/
Volans (2009) The Phoenix Economy: 50 Pioneers in the Business of Social Innovation.
World Business council for Sustainable Development (2007) Doing Business with the World: The New Role of Corporate Leadership in Global Development.
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2008) Sustainable Consumption- Facts and Trends From a Business Perspective.
World Economic Forum (2005) Partnering for Success: Business perspectives on Multistakeholder Partnerships, January.
World Economic Forum (2007) Global Risks; A Global Risk Network Report, January.
World Resources Institute (2007) The Next 4 Billion. Market size and Business strategy at the Base of The Pyramid.
Appendix 1: Links
Acumen Fund: http://www.acumenfund.org
Australian OzIdeas and Innovations: http://home.vicnet.net.au/ozideas/
Base of the Pyramid (BOP) Learning Laboratory: http://www.bopnetwork.org
BOP Protocol: http://www.bop-protocol.org
Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: http://www.bbcorporatecitizenship.org
Center For Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship: http://www.fuqua.duke.edu
Center For Social Innovation, Stanford University: http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/csi/
Centre for Social Innovation: http://www.socialinnovation.ca
Changemakers (an Ashoka programme): http://www.changemakers.net
CSR-Driven Innovation: http://www.csrinnovation.dk
CSR International: http://www.csrinternational.org
Development Marketplace: http://www.developmentmarketplace.org
Ethicaleconomy: www. ethicaleconomy.com
Europan Academy of Business in Society: http://www.eabis.org
European Foundation for Management: http://www.efmd.org
European Research Network: http://www.emes.net
Fair Pages : http://www.thefairPages.com
Force For Good companies: http://www.forceforgood.com
Fourth Sector: http://www.fourthsector.net
Fourth Sector Strategies: http://www.fourthsectorstrategies.com
Futerra (The Greenwash Guide, Tips for Sustainability Communication):www.futerra.co.uk
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: http://www.gemconsortium.org
Global Exchange for Social Investment: http://www.gexsi.org
Global Ideas Bank http://www.globalideasbank.org
Growing Inclusive Markets: http://www.growinginclusivemarkets.org
Ideas Compass: http://www.ideascompass.dk
Learning Innovation and Technology Consortium: http://www.learninginnovation.org
Net Impact: http://www.netimpact.org
PBS’s NOW competition: http://www.pbs.org/now/enterprisingideas
Pioneers of Change: http://www.pioneersofchange.net
Sins of Greenwashing (Terrachoice): http://www.sinsofgreenwashing.org
Skoll Foundation: http://www.skollfoundation.org
Social Capitalist Awards (Fast Company): http://www.fastcompany.com/social
Social Edge (a Skoll Foundation programme): http://www.socialedge.org
Social Enterprise Alliance: http://www.se-aliiance.org
Social Enterprise Coalition: http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk
Social Enterprise London: http://www.sel.org.uk
Social Firms: http://www.socialfirmsuk.co.uk
Social Fusion: http://www.socialfusion.org
Social Innovation Exchange: http://www.socialinnovationexchange.org
Social Innovation Japan: http://www.socialinnovationjapan.org
Social Innovator: http://www.socialinnovator.info
Stanford Social Innovation Review: http://www.ssireview.org
The Future We Want: http://www.futurewewant.org
The Hub: http://www.the-hub.net
The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs: http://www.socialent.org
The New Pioneers: http://www.thenewpioneers.biz
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship: http://www.schwabfound.org
The Skoll Foundation: http://www.skollfoundation.org
The stuart C. Dodd Institute For social Innovation: http://www.stuartcdoddinstitute.org
The Young Foundation: http://www.youngfoundation.org
Tomorrow’s Company: w.ww.tomorrowscompany.com
United Nations Global Compact: http://www.unglobalcompact.org
United Nations Millennium Development Goals: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals
United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment: http://www.unpri.org
UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs: http://www.unltd.org.uk
Wiser Earth Directory: http://www.wiserearth.org
World Bank’s Doing Business: http://www.doingbusiness.org
World Business council for Sustainable Development: http://www.wbcsd.org
World Economic Forum: http://www.weforum.org
X Prize Foundation: http://www.xprize.org/future-x-prizes
Young Social Enterprise Initiative: http://www.ysei.org
The collaborative consumption movement empowers people to thrive despite economic climate. Instead of looking to the government or corporations to tell us what we want or create a solution for our problems, we take action to meet our own needs in a creative fashion. This is our power source. Start looking for ways to share at school, on community billboards, by asking friends, or use the resources below:
‘ Roomates.com -A roommate finder and roommates search service which covers thousands of cities nationwide.
‘ Cohousing Directory -Cohousing is homeownership in a neighbourhood that shares.
‘ Craigslist -find almost anything including a house or housemate on Craigslist.
‘ Grubly, Eat With Me and Housefed
‘ MamaBake – Large batch group cooking saves time and money, not to mention it’s fun!
‘ Local Harvest – A massive directory that helps you find farmers’ markets, CSA’s, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.
‘ Neighborhood Fruit – find and offer free fruit to your neighbours with this site and iPhone app.
‘ Lending Club – An online financial community that brings together creditworthy borrowers and savvy investors so that both can benefit financially.
‘ Zopa – Where people get together to lend and borrow money directly with each other, sidestepping the banks for a better deal.
‘ Prosper – A peer-to-peer lending site that allows people to invest in each other in a way that is financially and socially rewarding.
‘ SmartyPig – social savings bank that enables you to save for specific goals and engage friends and family to contribute.
Entrepreneurship / Work
‘ Kickstarter – A crowd-funding site powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
‘ Profounder – A site that makes it easy for your community to contribute financially to your business, so they’re literally invested in your success.
‘ BetterMeans – Use open-source decision-making rules, and self-organizing principles to run your real-world projects.
‘ Task Rabbit – A service that enables you to outsource your tasks and deliveries (Boston and San Francisco Bay area only…for now).
‘ Use the coworking wiki, Loosecubes or Liquidspace to find a friendly place to cowork. Coworking is a flexible and community-oriented workspace option for business travellers, independent workers, and entrepreneurs.
‘ CouchSurfing – An international non-profit network that connects travellers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world.
‘ AirBnB – Connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay, all over the world.
‘ iStopOver – Homeowners worldwide rent out space in their homes to travellers looking for unique accommodations.
‘ Park at myHouse – Provides affordable and fine-free parking by enabling property-owners to rent out their empty driveways, garages, car parks etc. to drivers needing somewhere to park.
‘ Roomorama – An online marketplace for short term rentals all over the world.
‘ Tripping – Tripping enables you to connect safely with locals who will introduce you to their towns, their cultures, their lives and their friends.
‘ SwapYourShop – swap offices with someone from another city.
‘ Submate – a Parisian start-up that helps you discover new people and things to do as defined by your regular train and subway commutes.
Land / Gardening
‘ HyperLocavore – Share yards, seeds, tools and good times growing food!
‘ Shared Earth – Get free access to land and grow what you love, share some of the produce with the land owner and keep the rest.
‘ Tool libraries – check out this handy directory of tool libraries.
‘ Landshare – UK-based service that connects those who have land to share with those who need land for cultivating food.
‘ Carsharing directory – find carsharing service providers in your area with this international list.
‘ Zimride, GoLoco, eRideShare – Find a ride or offer a ride on these top ridesharing platforms.
‘ ZipCar – the largest fleet-based carsharing service in the world.
‘ RelayRides, Getaround, Just Share It, and Spride – Rent cars to or from neighbors using the leaders of the peer to peer carsharing movement.
‘ Weeels – order cabs and share rides with this smartphone app.
‘ Avego – Avego matches drivers and riders in real time as they travel.
‘ Taxi2 – Matches travelers who are going from the airport to the same or nearby final destination.
Media (Books, Movies, Games, Music)
‘ BookMooch – Lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want.
‘ Swap.com – An online swap marketplace for books, movies, music and games.
‘ Goozex – A unique trading platform for video games and movies.
‘ SwapaDVD – Trade DVDs for free.
‘ Paperback Swap – Trade paperback books for free.
‘ SwapaCD – Trade CDs for free.
‘ Check The S.W.A.P. Team, ClothingSwap.com, Swap for Good, and The Swapaholics for clothing swaps near you.
‘ Use Wear Today Gone Tomorrow or Renttherunway to rent authentic designer clothing for up to 90 percent off retail prices.
‘ Swapstyle.com – An interactive fashion website where members can swap, rather than buy, unlimited designer clothes with each other.
‘ Try Bag Borrow & Steal and Fashionhire – to rent designer handbags and accessories at affordable prices.
‘ And when the time comes to start a family, use ThredUp to swap children’s clothing and toys with other parents.
Redistribution Sites (where uneeded stuff finds a loving home)
‘ Freecycle – The original grassroots organization for giving and getting free stuff in your town.
‘ craigslist – The ultimate free classifieds site with categories for free stuff, barters, and shares.
‘ eBay – International online auction that allows you to buy from and sell to other individuals.
‘ ecoSharing – The first sharing website that lets us share what we own with people we know and trust: our friends on facebook.
‘ SpiltStuff – A new site that organizes local communities to buy in bulk and “split” the goods and the cost, thus reducing waste and unnecessary consumerism.
Renting and sharing of general goods where you live
‘ Rentalic, Neighborgoods, Keepio, and SnapGoods are leading peer to peer rental and sharing marketplaces.
‘ Chegg – Rent expensive textbooks on the cheap.
‘ Better World Books – Save big on used textbooks.
‘ Textbookflix, – A system that lets you rent text books in the same way that you rent movies from Netflix.
‘ Students for Free Culture – An international, chapter-based student organization that promotes the public interest in intellectual property and telecommunications policy.
‘ Bloomsbury College – Crowdsorced learning for the entrepreneurial student.
‘ CafeScribe – A new service that lets you download electronic copies of your textbook, add friends, and share your notes.
‘ Notely – A collection of online tools (including a Facebook app) designed to help busy students organize their hectic lives.
‘ Class Notes – A Facebook app that enables students to share handwritten or printed notes from class.
‘ Free Technology Academy – free college classes on open source technology and standards.
‘ Open Courseware – free college course materials offered by scores of top universities from around the world.
The Low ‘ Carbon Directory:
Greening Your Workplace :
A few similar approaches to “collaborative consumption” – The “gift economy” http://blip.tv/karmatube/be-selfish-be-generous-rekindling-the-gift-economy-3079410 (great talk btw)
The “Mesh Economy” Lisa Gansky’s book http://meshing.it/book the “Cooperation Commons” http://www.cooperationcommons.com/ -a Howard Rhinegold (smart mobs) project
and lastly, with the most literal focus on collaborative “consumption”… Real Good Food
Name Web-site E-mail Person to contact What does it do?
Abhivyakti Media for Development is a learning centre that engages with grassroots communities to strengthen their leadership capacity and self-belief. Our goal is to foster different approaches to learning, promote self-directed learning processes, and create a learning ecology, which supports diverse practices of learning between groups of different age
Appleseed http://www.appleseeds.net [email protected] Appleseed is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a just society. We strive for a society in which opportunities are genuine, access to the law is universal and equal, and power is used to advance the public interest. We believe the best way to achieve big results is to work for the kind of change that levels the playing field and transforms entire communities at a time. Appleseed works at the local level, establishing and networking independent public interest law centers that identify and address issues community-by-community. As one of the nation’s largest legal pro bono networks, our Appleseed Centers develop practical and lasting solutions to chronic injustices in public education, health care, child welfare, justice, and immigration
Ms. Sohini Bhattacharya, Director of Partnerships for South Asia Ashoka’s mission is to shape a citizen sector that is entrepreneurial, productive and globally integrated, and to develop the profession of social entrepreneurship around the world. Ashoka identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs – extraordinary individuals with unprecedented ideas for change in their communities – supporting them, their ideas and institutions through all phases of their careers. Ashoka Fellows benefit from being part of the global Fellowship for life.
authentic connections http://www.authenticconnections.com
Authentic Connections was founded so that Hanley and Nancy could converge their collective knowledge and wisdom and present these ideas and experiences in meaningful, comprehensive ways that embrace the best of living a full and active “outer” life while walking in the world with a sense of centeredness and inner grace. This convergence rests at the heart of the seminars, mentoring and consulting engagements that are the offerings of Authentic Connections. It offers :
Masterful change agent
Transformative action consultancy
Bahai Faith http://www.bahai.org
Through a unique process of cooperation, study, and worship, they are exploring the application of Bahï¿½ï¿½’u’llï¿½ï¿½h’s teachings on a more effective and far-reaching basis. Members carry put activities that focus on personal development, the education of children, and community devotional gatherings. The Bah”ï¿½ Faith is thoroughly concerned with the renewal and advancement of society. Bah’ï¿½ï¿½u’llï¿½ï¿½h’s writings are directed towards effecting a transformation in the spiritual and material conditions of humankind. Bah”ï¿½ Faith’s is committed to human rights, social and economic development, the status of women, and moral development and its involvement in such efforts.
Berkana institute http://www.berkana.org
Berkana supports life-affirming leaders around the globe. Berkana intentionally supports those who are giving birth to the new forms, processes, and leadership that will restore hope to the future. Since 1991, Berkana has gradually expanded its work to reach pioneering leaders and communities in all types of organizations and in dozens of nations. We define a leader as anyone who wants to help, who is willing to step forward to create change in their world. Berkana has worked with people everywhere to discover new organizational forms, processes, and leadership that affirm rather than destroy life. We use an understanding of living systems to organize in ways that are interdependent, generous, and self-organizing
Chaordic Commons http://www.chaordic.org
The purpose of the Chaordic Commons, Inc. (the ‘Chaordic Commons’) is to develop, disseminate and implement new concepts of organization that result in more equitable sharing of power and wealth, improved health, and greater compatibility with the human spirit and biosphere
Community of the future http://www.communityofthefuture.org
[email protected] Rick Smyre The Communities of the Future (COTF) is an evolving network of people and organizations throughout the U.S. and other countries that are working in collaboration to develop new concepts of governance, economic development, and education/learning for a fast-paced, interconnected, and increasingly complex society. COTF distinguishes the ideas of reforming change and transformational change. Most of today’s work in local communities is based on making existing ideas and present assumptions more efficient – reforming change. COTF emphasizes community research and development to create new assumptions, concepts, methods and techniques – transformational change.
The Earth Charter http://www.earthcharter.org
The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society for the 21st century. Created by the largest global consultation process ever associated with an international declaration, endorsed by thousands of organizations representing millions of individuals, the Earth Charter seeks to inspire in all peoples a sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The Earth Charter is an expression of hope and a call to help create a global partnership at a critical juncture in history. The Earth Charter is an authoritative synthesis of values, principles, and aspirations that are widely shared by growing numbers of people, in all regions of the world.
Fetzer institute http://www.fetzer.org
Thomas F. Beech (President & Chief Executive Officer), Kathleen M. Cavanaugh (Secretary, Executive Assistant) The Fetzer Institute’s mission is to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness through research and education programs. Current work includes research on altruistic love, compassionate love, and forgiveness; recovering the ‘heart’ of various professions, including teaching, philanthropy, law, and medicine; and exploring the nature of forgiveness, compassion, and love. The Fetzer Institute’s mission is to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community, rests on its conviction that efforts to address the world’s critical issues must go beyond political, social, and economic strategies to their psychological and spiritual roots.
The Findhorn foundation http://www.findhorn.org
[email protected], [email protected]
The Findhorn Foundation is the educational and organisational cornerstone of the Findhorn Community, and its work is based on the values of planetary service, co-creation with nature and attunement to the divinity within all beings. We believe that humanity is engaged in an evolutionary expansion of consciousness, and seek to develop new ways of living infused with spiritual values. We have no formal creed or doctrine. We recognise and honour all the world’s major religions as the many paths to knowing our own inner divinity. The Findhorn Foundation in the north of
Scotland is an inspired and inspiring community of individuals from all over the planet, living and learning together. We celebrate the interconnectedness of life and are dedicated to co-creating and supporting a peaceful and sustainable world. Our core programmes reflect these core values of connecting with the sacred both within ourselves and throughout the natural world. We recommend that you begin your relationship
with the Foundation by participating in Experience Week in one of its many forms. If you find this powerful and nourishing and want more, then Spiritual Practice, Exploring Community Life or Life Purpose are great options. Living in Community Programme ‘a way to be here for longer, available in four week modules, which may be extended for any length of time.
Global Ecovillage Network http://www.genecovillage.org
Jonggon Duangsri We are creating a sustainable future by identifying, assisting and coordinating the efforts of communities to acquire, social, spiritual, economic and ecological harmony. We encourage a culture of mutual acceptance and respect, solidarity and love, open communications, cross-cultural outreach, and education by example. We serve as a catalyst to bring the highest aspirations of humanity into a practical reality. GEN contributes to the worldwide transformation toward sustainability, by supporting Eco villages, joining with like-minded partners, and expanding education and demonstration programs in sustainable living.
Green Choices http://www.greenchoices.org
Green Choices is about the choices we can make in our everyday lives to protect our environment, for the benefit of all. We aim to empower you with simple, direct information on green alternatives which make a real, lasting difference. We are committed to providing the highest quality information possible, with no party political agenda, and no commercial bias
Initiatives of change http://www.iofc.org
Initiatives of Change is a diverse network committed to building relationships of trust across the world’s divides. It comprises people of diverse cultures, nations, beliefs and backgrounds who are committed to transforming society through change in individuals and relationships, starting in their own lives. It comprises people of diverse cultures, nations, beliefs and backgrounds who are committed to transforming society through change in individuals and relationships, starting in their own lives. Initiatives of Change (IofC) is focused around the interaction of people, whether few or many, in homes, small or large groups, personal encounters, training courses, and local or international conferences. For over 70 years IofC has brought people of diverse backgrounds and faiths together. It has provided a rallying point for individuals and teams to work for justice, healing and human development, based on personal change starting in their own lives.
The Institute of Noetic Science http://www.noetic.org
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] James O’Dea – persident Explores the frontiers of consciousness, Builds bridges between science and spirit, Researches subtle energies and the powers of healing, Inquires into the science of love, forgiveness, and gratitude, Studies the effects of conscious and compassionate intention, Seeks to understand the basis of prevailing worldviews, Practices freedom of thought and freedom of spirit
Kufinda Learning Village http://www.kufunda.org
Marianne Knuth – founder Located in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, Kufunda is a learning, training and demonstration centre in creating sustainable communities. Kufunda’s mission is to work toward the development of self-reliant and sustainable, vibrant communities; and to recover and enhance living practices, initiatives and social systems that work in accordance with Life and nature.
This is an institute advising people methods and ways to get to a ‘no mind’ state based on the teaching Osho
Pioneers of Change http://www.pioneersofchage.net
Sera Thompson Pioneers of Change is a global learning network of young people, in their 20’s and 30’s, who have committed to be themselves, do what matters, start now, engage with others, and never stop asking questions. The “pioneers” include social entrepreneurs, corporate and NGO professionals, civil servants, artists, teachers, and free agents from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds. Founded in 1999, Pioneers of Change today engages over 2000 participants in over 70 countries
Primrose Earth Awareness http://www.primrosetrust.org.uk
Primrose Earth Awareness Trust is an environmental education charity, working to raise awareness of sustainable food production and other sustainable living practices. We aim to encourage a respect for the earth and an appreciation of the interdependence of people, plants and the environment. Much of our work involves young people, with school groups visiting Felindre and trust staff going out into schools. We also run in-depth courses on sustainable gardening and food production for enthusiastic gardeners and smallholders.
Retreat Gallery http://www.retreatgallery.com
[email protected] art and craft from a spiritual retreat retreatgallery.com is the on-line gallery-shop of a unique retreat and gallery in the highlands of scotland. artists and designers alex and dominic lloyd are creating a ground-breaking collection of limited edition needlepoint kits and landscape photographs which reflect the philosophy of their retreat and the grandeur of the scottish highlands that surround it. profits from the sale of all tapestry kits and photographs go to support the retreat and to develop it into a special place to stay and to visit.
The Schlumberger Excellence in Education Development http://www.seed.slb.com
The Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development (SEED) program is focused on students who are 10-18 years old. Established as a non-profit organization in 1998, the SEED philosophy is founded on generosity. A volunteer-based program, SEED provides a channel for members of the Schlumberger workforce to share their passion for science, technology and learning with youth in developing communities. It is a unique opportunity for employees, who themselves have gained so much in their lives and careers with Schlumberger, to give something back and to impact the next generation. SEED draws upon three particular Schlumberger resources: people who are willing and motivated to share their knowledge and time, expertise in networking technology and a range of science disciplines, and a long-standing presence in over 100 countries.
Shikshantar is an applied research institute in Udaipur, India, dedicated to catalyzing radical systemic transformation in education. Shikshantar’s work is inspired by the concept of ‘swaraj’, or rule over oneself, a call for people to lead and create their own models of development that are holistic, pluralistic, sustainable, liberating, collaborative, socially just and anticipatory
Ron Laurie President, General Operations & Executive Committee
The Spirituality, Leadership and Management (SLaM) Network is a member based global network dedicated to the evolution of human consciousness. SLaM is focused on down to earth, practical ways of improving how we lead and manage our organisations, communities and the natural world to facilitate this evolutionary process. Our activities include: Public education through consulting and community & corporate based learning groups; SLaM Conferences and other events; Research into spirituality, leadership and management; Publication of regular newsletters and an academically reviewed journal.
Social Venture Network http://www.svn.org
[email protected] Pamela Chaloult – Co-Executive Director
Social Venture Network (SVN) is a nonprofit network committed to building a just and sustainable world through business. SVN promotes new models and leadership for socially and environmentally sustainable business in the 21st century. We champion this effort through initiatives, information services and forums that strengthen our community and empower our members to work together on behalf of their shared vision.
[email protected] Deb Nelson – Co-Executive Director
Society for Organisational Learning http://www.solonline.org
[email protected] Sherry Immediato, Managing Director SoL, the Society for Organizational Learning, is an intentional learning community composed of organizations, individuals, and local SoL communities around the world. This is a not-for-profit, member-governed corporation. Its’ purpose is to discover (research), integrate (capacity development) and implement (practice) theories and practices of organizational learning for the interdependent development of people and their institutions and communities such that we continue to increase our capacity to collectively realize our highest aspirations and productively resolve our differences. With this intention, organizations are truly worthy of the commitment of their employees and communities.
[email protected] Jeff Clanon, Director of Partnership Development
[email protected] Frank Schneider, Partnership Development
Sykya Mahikari http://www.sukyomahikarieurope.org
Sukyo refers to “the universal laws God established at the time of the Creation so that all things in the universe can prosper eternally”, and Mahikari means “True Light”, the Light of God that purifies the spiritual aspect of all things. Through the experience of receiving True Light, Sukyo Mahikari believes it can become much easier for a person to awaken to the existence of God, and God’s universal principles.As people cultivate a deeper understanding of the universal laws, Sukyo Mahikari believes that such people will wish to work together to establish a civilisation on Earth in which spiritual values are given priority over material values, and where peace and harmony exist for everyone.Our organisation aspires to co-operate with others in society who share the same vision of a world where a spiritual outlook will naturally be integrated with humankind’s material development and progress. Sukyo Mahikari aims to provide opportunities for people to further their spiritual growth, by helping people to awaken to the existence of God and the principles that govern the universe
Sustainability Institute http://www.sustainer.org
Hal Hamilton (Executive Director) We focus on understanding the root causes of unsustainable behavior in complex systems to help restructure systems and shift mindsets that will help move human society toward sustainability. Our staff includes biologists, writers, social scientists, system dynamics modelers, and facilitators bringing a wide variety of experiences and skills to our work. We conduct stakeholder-based systems analysis and change projects through consulting, research, workshops, and facilitated systems thinking sessions for partner organizations. We facilitate reflective learning through learning histories, project evaluations and written publications in cross-sector partnerships. We also develop and conduct capacity building programs for leaders in nonprofits, government, and business.
Edie Farwell (Program Director)
The Creative Learning Exchange http://www.clexchange.org
Lees Stuntz, Executive Director
The Creative Learning Exchange encourages a view of education for primary and secondary schools based on discovery as the essence of the learning process and advocates systems education implemented through learner-centered learning. First we solicit teaching materials and ideas from teachers and participating school systems. We then make these materials available to educators. Some of the currently available materials include processes for introducing systems education and learner-centered learning, models and lesson plans from both beginners and more experienced teachers, and a quarterly newsletter with feature articles and updates from participating school systems
The 21st Learnig Initiative http://www.21learn.org
[email protected] The 21st Century Learning Initiative’s essential purpose is to facilitate the emergence of new approaches to learning that draw upon a range of insights into the human brain, the functioning of human societies, and learning as a community-wide activity. We believe this will release human potential in ways that nurture and form local democratic communities worldwide, and will help reclaim and sustain a world supportive of human endeavor.
The Shire http://www.oftheshire.org
[email protected] Tim Merry ‘ Founder and Partner of Shire The Shire is located in the village of Carleton, Nova Scotia, Canada . The Shire is 165 acres of beautiful land in Yarmouth County, situated on Mink Lake ‘ the land is a mixture of streams, meadow, wetland and Acadian forest. There are a series of interconnected hiking trails, gardens, organic agriculture and environmentally sustainable built facilities and sports activities for groups. The purpose of the Shire is to be a gathering ground for the study and practice of how to build a sustainable human future.
The World Cafï¿½ï¿½ http://www.theworldcafe.com/index.html
[email protected] World Cafï¿½ï¿½ Conversations are an intentional way to create a living network of conversation around questions that matter. A Cafï¿½ï¿½ Conversation is a creative process for leading collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes. As a guiding image, the World Cafï¿½ï¿½ helps us appreciate the importance and connectedness of the informal webs of conversation and social learning through which we: * Discover shared meaning; * Access collective intelligence; * Bring forth the future. Between individuals and within organizations, we generate meaning as a result of the quality of the conversations in which we participate. In fact, we create our world and its future through a process of connecting with each other, sharing knowledge and know-how, and building relationships–all through the process of collaborative conversation.
Threshold Centre http://www.thresholdcentre.org.uk
The Threshold Centre is a new, non-profit project to create a community space, affordable housing and eco-B&B facilities from old farm buildings in a quiet setting on the south edge of Gillingham. We are already offering some of this, and will be making a planning application for the project within the next few months.
Trees for life http://www.treesforlife.org.uk
Our vision is to restore a wild forest, which is there for its own sake, as a home for wildlife and to fulfil the ecological functions necessary for the wellbeing of the land itself. We are not aiming to regenerate a forest which will be utilised sustainably as an extractive resource for people, although we recognise the need for this in Scotland. We endorse the efforts of other organisations in seeking to establish a new, ecologically-sustainable system of forestry, but we strongly believe that this utilitarian approach must be complemented by the restoration of large areas of wild forest. Trees for Life is unique in being the only organisation working specifically towards this end.
[email protected] Ocean Robbins ‘ Founder of YES! – YES! connects, inspires and empowers young change makers to join forces for a thriving, just and sustainable way of life for all. YES! has held 90 week-long events for young leaders from 60 countries, and spoken in person to more than 629,000 people in school and conference presentations, providing support and skills to empower the next generation of leaders. In addition, YES! has distributed hundreds of thousands of books and action guides, and co-produced the award winning video based on footage from a World Youth Leadership Jam, “Connect,’ which has been shown in 70 countries on MTV. Each YES! Jam brings together approximately thirty outstanding young change makers for a week of networking, skills sharing and community building. YES! Jams create transformative fields of shared inquiry in which young leaders deepen the root system behind the commitments, prayers and actions that move through their lives.
RESILIENT PEOPLE, RESILIENT PLANET: A Future Worth Choosing
The Report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need,
but not every man’s greed.
...(download the rest of the essay above)