Spirituality and Ecology

Keynote by BK Jayanti for the British Association for the Study of Spirituality

Abstract: Spirituality is about understanding our inner self and connecting with treasures of peace, love, happiness, truth and power within. This enables us to view and interact with the outside world more positively and respectfully. The word ‘ecology’ comes from the Greek oikos (home). Human beings belong to each other and share one home. Individually we have many ‘homes’ – our mind, our body, the family home, the Earth and the universe. But today’s world is fragmented and in chaos. Our apparent disconnections from other people and the environment stem from our disconnection with our spiritual selves. Identifying with our physical form – the body – has led to a materialistic, ‘consumer’, attitude towards the world. External initiatives, whilst valuable, will not bring order and cohesion from chaos and fragmentation. Transforming our inner consciousness and cultivating inner contentment will enable us to simplify our lives and reduce our needs. The inner world of thought and the outer world of physical phenomena are not separate worlds but part of the same ‘causal continuum’. Outer, physical phenomena began as inner, subtle phenomena – impressions, thoughts, feelings. The divide between our conscience and our actions, our emotions and our reason, has led to the fragmentation we see in the world. Only when we spend time in silence and connect with the being, the spirit, inside, can the self be healed – become whole – again. Then we are able to start creating a wholeness in the world around us, to rise above the current fragmentation and do constructive things for the world.

Download complete Keynote about Spirituality and Ecology (in PDF)

Water, a vital resource: waste not, want not

by BK Jayanti

Blog The Broker, an online experts platform for global development issues.

Without dwelling on how vital a resource water is for life (our life!) on planet Earth and without elaborating how water scarcity impacts the lives of countless human souls on planet Earth, I feel it is best to begin with my own personal relationship and responsibility towards this valuable resource. My own personal relationship with water is one of extreme care, caution and enormous respect – to use it economically, equitably and sustainably. As a member of a faith-based organization, a spiritual organization that believes in the possibility of world transformation based on individual self-transformation, I learnt a very wise slogan that I have come to use in all walks of my life. The slogan is “Waste not, want not.” What that means is, “If we don’t waste what we have, we’ll still have it in the future and will not lack (want) it.” Looking at it from the cause and effect perspective, if I do not over-consume, over-use, exploit, abuse or waste water, I will not lack it in the future. When communities embrace this slogan, nations benefit and prosperity is assured. Over-consumption and wastage of all things valuable is the bane of today’s world. In the name of modernization, the developed world consumes far more than its sustainable quota, depriving the under-privileged. When people are denied their rightful and equitable access to any resource, the ‘karmic’ debt of that denial weighs on the entire planet. When individuals exercise personal responsibility towards water, they will become catalysts for co-operation from groups, communities and even nations to come together and meet the challenge of water security for all. In my opinion the only way to transcend cultural, political and social barriers, and tensions in the way of water security is to empower the individual to do the ‘right’ thing. In summary, the message I wish to bring to all is one of personal responsibility down to the individual level. When I change, the world changes.

An online consultation – in which Sister Jayanti participated – was part of the preparation process for the Wings for Water (W4W) initiative on the 21 March 2013 and World Water Day (WWD), hosted by the Netherlands and UNESCO on 22 March. The Broker consultation should provide input and develop concrete recommendations for the Post 2015 Development Agenda on water, which was presented on 22 March to members of the High Level Panel that advices the Secretary-General of the UN on the global development framework beyond 2015. The Broker debate will therefore also closely feed into the worldwide consultations organised by the UN.