If we were to dispassionately take stock of the year 2015, there might be a general consensus on two major developments that have stood out, both having serious implications for the very existence of humanity!
The first would be the threat posed by rising fundamentalism, violence, and nefarious terrorist activities with the most recent example being the barbaric carnage in Paris.
The second is the growing menace of environmental degradation and the degenerative impact of global warming that brought more than 190 countries in Paris to brainstorm on implementable solutions to safeguard planet Earth. In 2015 alone, we have seen freak weather phenomena, be it floods in the desert of Chile, four cyclones in the eastern Hemisphere and temperatures rising to 17 degrees Celsius in frozen Antartica!!
The year 2015 will no doubt be the hottest in the planet’s history. Certainly there would have been positive developments as well and the intent here is not to sound pessimistic but to present a realistic picture of the looming crisis that stares us squarely in our face.
Most of the problems in the world that confront us have typically been diagnosed as either social, economic or political in nature and hence solutions that are being considered also have their roots in a social, political and economic discourse.
Climate change and terrorism are not new issues that have cropped up in the most recent of times.They have existed for some years now and whilst there is enough awareness of the same, we have to accept that no tangible solutions seem to be in sight, in fact the intensity of such problems only keeps getting magnified with time.
If we were to probe deeper into the genesis of such problems through calm introspection, we might find that social, economic and political issues including terror and climate change are just symptoms. They are actually manifestations of the core problem which one would like to term as a “Spiritual Deficit”.
What aspects support this submission?
1. Terrorism of the kind we are experiencing today finds its roots in a sense of “separateness” that has engulfed different religions, communities and even within a religion, different sects. Fed on distorted belief systems , groups swear by their own convoluted and false “doctrines” with a clear message – “My religion is the only true religion and anyone deviating from this religion is to be ruthlessly exterminated”.
We have forgotten that we are actually Spiritual beings having a human experience and not barbarian humans with an animalistic nature. And a Spiritual being is one whose true Nature is Love and Compassion for one another. A Spiritual being sees everyone in this Universe as a creation of the same source – The Divine and hence sees himself in the other. If so, where can there be room for hatred, violence,intolerance and selfishness? It would appear that the Soul of human beings has got ensnared by the Mind/Ego interplay which has lowered the collective consciousness of humanity. Identification with the mind (and body)rather than the True Self is the delusion which has trapped us and made us gone astray.
2. Everything that happens in our world (every event, every circumstance) is based on an all-pervading principle of “Cause and Effect”. Every cause made must produce an effect and every effect that we experience has to have an underlying cause behind it. This principle is clearly validated by the manner in which the Universe and Nature function and hence cannot be doubted. If so, then even Climate change /Global warming must be a consequence (effect) of some causes that have been made again by the collective consciousness of human beings.
A little reflection would reveal that man has systematically exploited and desecrated nature in various ways – whether unabashedly cutting down trees, releasing toxic waste into the rivers, depleting the ozone levels, polluting the atmosphere with harmful and in some cases life threatening particulate matter and a host of other ways - all to pursue his selfish, vested interests. The moot point to ask ourselves is - Isnt all this a manifestation of GREED?
Does it not reflect a constant stream of unsatiated desires with humanity relentlessly chasing more and more of all the material wants?
Does it not indicate that the world wants to grow at an uncontrollably fast pace with no thought being spared for the devastating consequences that are bound to follow through an abdication of responsibility towards a sustainable environment?
It might therefore be worth examining whether the events unfolding in the world are actually a mirror reflecting the states of human consciousness. For instance
a) We all condemn terrorist activity and point fingers at those radical elements who spew hatred and violence of an unprecedented magnitude. None of this can be condoned. But are we sure we don’t carry streaks of hatred,anger, violence,bitterness in our own minds in terms of our relationships with our family, friends,relatives and society?
If we have not learnt to treat one another with love, compassion,care and affection, are we not a part and parcel of the larger problem that we despise?
b) We criticize our Governments for the state of uncleanliness, increasing filth and garbage and poor hygiene conditions. But if we shamelessly throw litter around, if we spit in public places, defecate in the open, are we not irresponsibly creating causes for a host of diseases to manifest? Is the problem then not just externally driven but a function of our own minds that need “spring cleaning”?
c) Most of us are aware of the hazardous effects the increasing pollution has on our health whether in the form of respiratory disorders, cardiac problems and even cancer. Again the blame game is played and the Government is hauled up for its failure to arrest the problem. Without trying to absolve the Government of its responsibility for it has a significant role to play, we must look inwards and ask ourselves – Are we doing our own bit to help alleviate the problem? Perhaps not. For if we were serious about contributing towards solutions, we would not relentlessly keep acquiring more cars(beyond what we need), we would not use and throw away toxic plastic bags that are not biodegradable, we would not burn leaves in open areas or dissuade others from doing so to keep warm during winters, we would have taken personal responsibility to plant trees and so on.
The simple fact of the matter is – The world has enough resources to meet the needs of everyone on planet earth but it may not have enough to meet the unlimited wants of people driven purely by self-gratification and limitless desires.
And herein lies a message for humanity – Contentment and responsible living is the best wealth you can ever have. We need to free ourselves from the slavish tendencies of the mind/ego and connect with our true selves where there is no room for hatred and greed. This may be our only salvation to rescuing our planet from annihilation.
And as Mahatma Gandhi rightly said – “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
The time to put this to practice is NOW.
Author: Ajay Sachdeva