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O ye zealots of sustainability! How sustainable are you as an individual? How efficient you are with your human energies? How effective you are in managing in your inner clutter and use of time and effort?

Sustainability, as often misunderstood, is not so much about ecology or economy out there. By its very definition, it is by and for humanity.  And human-ness waiting to be awakened, in here.

World over there are many honest believers and missionaries who have dedicated themselves to furthering the cause of sustainability. And then there are, like it happens with any transformational movement, many humbugs that have craftily blended themselves with the sustainability brigade to become rich and famous. In my chance acquaintance with a quite a few pursuant of sustainability as a mission, I have met both the kinds - the honest and the humbug - and frankly found not much of a difference when it comes to making the mission possible. The reason is simple: all of them are passionate about doing something outside, with the ecology (the supply side) or with economy (the demand side) or both. Yet none seem to be concerned about looking at themselves – their being and their behaving – and work towards transformation of themselves as human beings before going out to transform the world.

Few realize and acknowledge that no transformation is social, ecological, political or even religious.  If sustainability has to succeed as a mission, it needs to embrace and start with enabling individuals to become emotionally and spiritually more energy efficient, responsible for their behaviors in the human eco system and sensitive to the impact that they leave on humanistic systems by what they think, say and do.

What glares as a blatant irony is how sustainability can be pursued by those who are denying their humanness and living life like machines or marionettes. It’s painful to see, the ones who are meant to be the benefactors and beneficiaries of sustainability, sleep walking and sleep talking, the blind following the blind, without any awareness of themselves and their surroundings. They are busy in meaningless activities and carry a lot of noise, inside much of it is also heard outside.

We then get to see individuals who are compulsively toxic. The thoughts they carry, the words they speak and the behavior they demonstrate, though may be backed by well-meaning intent, is strongly influenced by fear-led conditionings which impact their space with highly toxic emotional energies.

A large number of members of sustainability initiatives are very poor in managing their own energies as well as that of the others in the subsystems. They deplete and dissipate energy by talking meaninglessly at random, engaging in intellectual yet futile debates and arguments and playing unhealthy games amongst themselves.

Such is the condition of people, well-meaning people, who have jumped onto the bandwagon of sustainability. How can they bring in transformation in the lives of others to promote energy efficient practices when they themselves are energy deficient. How can they refuse, reuse and recycle waste when they themselves have made their lives a barren waste land – wasted talent, wasted time and wasted effort. How can they promote and support responsible behavior in the world when they themselves are locked horns with others in never ending blame games.

Human beings are perhaps the only form of life on this planet that is capable of generating energy not only for them but also for the environment in which they live. Through consciousness. They’re meant to carry a sense of awareness and be led by love which is essentially who they are, to incessantly create and cascade energy all around. It is this consciousness which gives rise in the human, compassion for the earth and all its sentient inhabitants. It is again this consciousness that brings in the human deep contentment with what life has to offer, as it is. And cradled in lap of this compassion and contentment lies sustainability – a natural outcome of human transformation and evolution.

I can’t think of many missions being mainstreamed and successful where someone wanted to go and change the world without bringing in any human transformation. Slavery is yet to be abolished, racism continues to thrive under the gossamer of suavity and poverty, illiteracy, corruption largely still remain agenda for rich deliberations happening under the aegis of apex bodies without touching the core of human soul. Such will be the fate of sustainability too unless we start from the individual, showcase that we are zero energy driven human beings and extend the same to propagating sustainable human practice. Two possible exceptions of such missionaries who have been successful in mainstreaming their mission are Gandhi and Vivekananda and in both cases they either started with the individual or went out to preach and propagate or enable human transformation simultaneously with their effort to bring in a social transformation. We have perhaps a few more such success stories not to ape but to reinforce the truth that all egoic, ‘holier-than-thou pursuits’ of wanting to make-my-mission-adopted-and –accepted-by-others would be futile unless we submit to the fact that it starts with transforming  myself and my immediate context with humility. Unless that happens, I am afraid, the world will not see any difference between the intent of the honest and the humbug.

Copyright © Indroneil 2012

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