|Source: DonkeyHotey, |
Here are five ways that we must act if we are to save the world.
1. Give Up Control
Western culture has prided itself on being able to understand nature and society by breaking them apart and studying the component pieces. It has then used that knowledge to control nature and society. However, the world does not work in such a mechanical and linear fashion. Some elements within western culture are beginning to understand this and are letting go of the need to control. The sooner we collectively dispose of this need the better we will all be.
2. Slow Down
“Slow down, you move too fast, You got to make the morning last” sang Simon and Garfunkel in 1966. When Paul Simon wrote that song it may have been just a catchy lyric or he may have been presaging the Slow Movement that began two decades later and has been gaining impetus ever since. Our pace of life is so fast that we rush here and hurry there with little or no time left to connect meaningfully with one another or with the world. We are so busy that even connecting with ourselves gets put to the bottom of the to-do list. Until we slow down we will never be in a position to make the connections that we need to in order to save the world.
We live in a globalised world that pushes consumerism at us at every turn. We are told that who we are is defined by what we have, and that what we have is never enough. So we give up our lives to an endless cycle of work-get paid-buy-consume-work… It is ruining us. It is ruining the planet. We have to learn to accept and then we will find that accepting what we have will enable us to find the contentment that we all deserve. Accepting will also enable us to discover the gratitude that will save the world from being pillaged to death.
Think of the last conversation you had with someone. Did you truly listen to them? Did you understand completely what they were saying? Or was it a case of listening only to find the break into which you could speak? Often we don’t really listen to others. The power of active – or creative – listening is liberating. It is well worth learning to be a creative/active listener. It is also worthwhile to learn how to listen to ourselves; to our deep longings and our intuitions. If we slow down and listen to our heart/mind we may find the source of a creativity that we can use to save the world. Remember too, that there are many non-human voices to which we must listen.
5. Work Together
We are all connected. There is no you/me. Nor is there an us/them. We are, as Thich Nhat Hanh names it, inter-beings. When we deliberately connect with one another we bring together a diversity of knowledge, skills and wisdoms that no-one of us can provide alone. That diversity is exactly what we need to utilise when we come to dealing with the complexity of the world. Working together is the foundation of mutual support and also the well-spring from which creative possibilities can emerge.
Five ways. We could do just one, maybe two of these. If we do all five, together and in harmony, then just imagine the possibilities.