TOPAZ Issue 11 / 2004
Sustainability and Spirituality
Self determined or determined from outside or elswhere
7 suggestions for self-reflection as a start to each new day
Mr. Green, The Greengrocer
What is honour?
Poetry - A window to mind making
Why ask questions?
The human mosaic of reponse: The purpose of human life?
Waunifor, a tranquil rural Centre in Beautiful West Wales
The "International Colourful Festival of Arts" in Cologne
Dido & Aeneas

Sustainability and Spirituality

by James Smith

Discovering pathways to a sustainable future is now a major challenge. If pathways to such a future are not found then human prospects are bleak. It is clear that our present pathway is rapidly taking us towards disaster. Examination of any textbook on global trends quickly confirms this view. Global Environmental Outlook produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) sets out an array of staggering and rather depressing trends.

The human race faces two options. Extrapolating the current trend leads to the first option, which at worst is extinction or at best much diminished numbers living in an impoverished world. The second is to face the challenge of the human race getting back on track and finding ways of developing into a better future.
There are many reasons why the human race faces such enormous problems. Population growth, greater material consumption and higher expectations all place a tremendous burden on the planet and create challenges with no easy to see solutions. We have created a god in materialism that gives no real satisfaction or purpose to our lives.

A greater factor is however that we are in a time of change, rapid and enormous change. We might think that this is as a result of human endeavour, but this is not the whole picture. Just as the human race is seeking to advance and develop so too is the universe. The universal urge is perhaps greater and this urge washes down upon our planet. We are at the time of epoch change and a time when the planet is now subject to new and higher universal potencies.

These new influences and potencies stem from the universal wish for development and growth. Just as the universe is growing so too does the human need to grow and develop, not in material ways, but in the ways of the universe. Creation is now looking for volunteers to support its purposes.
Creation is beginning to merge with the planet. In the old epoch only exceptional people were able to progress beyond the planet as spirit lives. Shortly everyone faces that challenge and in our own lifetimes. In the face of this we all become equal, none better than the other, the only issue is how we each choose to pursue our own lives as spirits with a purpose in creation. Time passes and the human race is behind schedule.
What we are now seeing in the world are the many and various established structures breaking down. This is particularly true for those structures that are misaligned to the purposes of creation. This immediately creates a challenge because in their place new structures are needed, and these new structures need to be aligned to the purposes of creation. This means that we need to discover the purposes of creation and the place of the human in it. We also need to find and discover the templates for these new structures.

Taking a forward looking approach is also important from another perspective. Trying to solve the problems of the old epoch will not provide solutions that will work in the new epoch. We need rather to be looking forward into the future to work out what to do now. Therefore it requires an approach that seeks progression and update.

In order to discover these structures human development is needed that will release brilliance, innovation and new ideas. Science tells us that we presently use only a small fraction of our potential. It is also clear that humans do develop greater levels of skill and ability. This can be seen reviewing the history trace of the human story from early cave men through to the modern day. In the future epoch the potential for human growth and capability will be greater.

We therefore need to find ways of developing in the arts of human science. Finding pathways towards a sustainable future will demand great persistence in human development. Success in the human development endeavour will yield far reaching and beneficial results for humanity.

Finding the pathway that will lead towards a better future needs a tuning fork that will give us guidance and reveal new insights concerning the changes that are taking place. The human spirit has the capability to do this, but as anyone who has been following a development journey knows, this is not easy. A developed human leading a spiritual life will have the perception and insight to know which direction to head in. It is such a pathway that will give the intelligence and ideas about what will be needed in the future. The starting point then for sustainable development is personal development.

Human growth involves personal development and indeed through time there have been many people who have set their feet upon this path. They were the outstanding individuals who found the music, art and science of their time. In our time we have the double challenge of finding what will work in the new epoch as it onsets. Those people who are able to develop will be the people who discover the ways of the future.

There are many clues from history and we can take forward the best of what has been. However because we are at the changeover time between two epochs we are also searching for what will sustain into the future.

The challenge then is to find what will sustain into the future knowing that we are at the time of epoch change and what once worked in our established structures is now having great difficulty. This journey will involve human development, understanding the purposes of creation and also being able to discover what will work in the future.

Discovery presents a particular challenge and research is urgently needed into many areas. Sustainability is about understanding the relationship between people and the planet and when researching this, much can be accomplished by looking at nature and understanding the principles of sustainability embedded in nature. There are easy to see examples such as balance, interdependency, taking only what is needed and self cleaning. This can give a starter concerning sustainability and the wider purposes of creation. Alongside there also needs to be a journey that looks at human potential and begins to make that real.

This is the journey that begins to develop a personal spirit life that does not rely on any dogma or historic formula. Rather it is based on what each person knows to be true from the evidence gathered from their own work. It is a forward facing adventure into the unknown to discover what will work in the future.

We are in times of great change and challenge, perhaps the greatest that humanity has ever faced. If we continue on our present path destruction awaits. To change path will require a great leap into the unknown of our futures. These times are perhaps the best to be born into and certainly the most exciting.

Sustainability Training Advice Review

We are seeking to develop new approaches to delivering sustainability training and development programmes using facilitated processes to aid discovery and innovation. For additional sustainability and training programmes visit our web site: The course programmes are delivered by Eur Ing James Smith, BTech, BA, DMS, MSc, CEng, MIMechE, MIQA, MIEMA, Principal Environmental Auditor and ISO 14001 Lead Assessor.

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