One of the greatest needs of humanity today is the coming into oneness, or the nurturement of a sense that the individual is intimately connected to the planet Earth and universe as a whole.The Egyptian alchemical symbol of the Ouroboros (shown here), the snake that bites its own tail, means “All is One.”Alchemy as a means to produce human transformation of consciousness is about the process of an individual coming into “oneness” through the integration of the psyche, soul and spirit.This process is called individuation.It is the ultimate goal.
The human collective is currently biting its own tail by not changing the paradigm of economic growth and excessive consumption of the Earth’s resources. According to the Global Footprint Network and WWF 2006 Living Planet Report, in 1961 humans were using about half the planet's biocapacity.We began exceeding the Earth’s life sustaining capacity in the late 1980’s.In 2003 over 1.25 times the biocapacity was being used.Moderate projections suggest that by 2050 demand for the Earth’s resources will be twice as much as the planet can supply.However, after overshooting capacity for 50-70 years, the natural capital needed to meet these needs may be depleted.Two of the most extreme environmental ramifications of this human behavior are the sixth mass extinction event currently taking place on the planet and the increasing temperatures from global climate change.Scientists have determined that this is the first time in the Earth’s history that either of these events were caused by humans.Clearly radical human transformation is required to alter the current path of destruction.Will you begin your alchemical transformation and become a part of the solution?
As someone interested in making the world a better place, I believe change first starts from within. Or to use the words of Ghandi, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
Author and life coach Brad Swift describes in the early part of his new book Life on Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life, how when he sees the negative events around the world highlighted in the media it exemplifies a world without vision, and people without purpose. I absolutely share his desire for the number of headlines focused on the creation of lasting peace in the Middle East, the end of hunger within a decade, or celebration of the largest spiritual gathering of interfaith leaders Jerusalem to outweigh those that dominate the news today.
A significant portion of the book is dedicated to assisting readers in creating their life purpose. Some points worth noting:
Your life purpose isn't about what you do, it is about who you are
Your life purpose is meant to nourish and nurture you and others
The basic elements of an enpowering life purpose are Vision, Values and Being
To discover these basic elements, Brad suggests examining your answers to the following questions:
What are the core values that you would give your life to uphold?
Who are you and what can we count on from you?
What context or vessel could shape the rest of your life and all that you do?
Brad explains how a life purpose is based in love. It inspires what you do. This contrasts from one's inherited pupose or default mechanism (important distinction), which is based on fear. Once you have done the internal work to understand both your inherited purpose and life purpose, you can take steps to build your Life on Purpose. Something Brad highlights is the importantance of your life purpose not only being in your consciousness, but also in the consciousness of others. Valuable tools to achieve this are offered such as identifying purpose partners who know and relate to you as your create life purpose, participating in a purpose pod or a group of like minded people who are supportive in your living true to your life purpose, and creating a purpose project that kick starts your process of living a life on purpose.
Since I will soon be beginning an Integral Studies Masters program, an area of personal interest to me was touched upon with the reference in the book to Ken Wilber's 2001 Theory of Everything. Refinements in Ken's four quadrants can be explored further in the 2005 Integral Operating System 1.0, which may help readers understand how the theory relates to Brad's topic of Life Purpose. Wilber's four quadrants are identified as the "I" representing the interior individual (intentional), the "it" being the exterior individual (behaviorial), the "we" the interior collective (cultural), and the "its" the physical exterior collective (social and environmental). All four of the quadrants have stages of development. So, for example the "we" progresses from egocentric, to ethnocentric, and then to worldcentric consciousness. As more individuals and societies evolve toward universal consciousness the potential for planetary peace and wellbeing increases exponentially. Living a Life on Purpose is a step in that direction.
While working on my Masters in Environmental Security and Peace, a large portion of my research was focused on the devastating environmental and health impacts of the oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon over the past quarter century. The biodiversity in the country has significant value to the world. An article this week from the United Nationa Inter Press Service reported of an announcement made by Ecuadorian officials at an international meeting that their government would ban exploitation of huge oil reserves if it was compensated for its effort to save the natural habitat of the Amazon region. This is HUGE! Now is the time for the international community to rally, and make this a reality.
Several months ago I was contacted by James Lawson about a project proposal to make Ecuador an important "circuit for exposting information on global development." His vision is to establish in Ecuador, a country that includes 28 of the world's 30 basic bioclimatic zones, a working model for understanding the technologies and techniques necessary to regenerate the Earth and develop sustatiable development strategies that can be transferred to other regions of the globe. He is seeking funding and support for this project.
The timing could be perfect for this idea to push this forward, given the political climate in the country.
Students from three University of California campuses began a hunger strike this week in a peaceful protest of the University's involvement in managing the nation's nuclear weapons research laboratories. More information about the strike is available on the No More Nukes in Our Name blog. One of these facilities, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is located within 15 miles from where I live and work.
The Department of Energy plans to double the plutonium limit at Livermore Lab to 3,080 pounds - enough plutonium for more than 300 nuclear bombs. Having this much plutonium in Livermore presents enormous, unstudied risks - such as making the lab a terrorist target, leaving the San Francisco Bay area vulnerable to environmental releases from accidents or routine operations, and provoking other countries to follow suit and increase their stockpiles of nuclear materials. Tri-Valley CARES made an alternative proposal to manage Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and remove the highly enriched uranium and plutonium from the site within 4 years. Instead of continuing the history of nuclear weapons research, they developed a plan to conduct research exclusively on non-weapons programs that would be designed to help health and the environment. Their bid was rejected.
Nuclear weapons research continues in full force in the United States. For now. But in the long-term peace will prevail.
Al's headed to Washington D.C. on March 21 to testify at the Congressional hearings on the climate crisis. He wants to fill the room with signatures from people who demand action. Help make it happen by inviting 10 friends to add their name to the list.
Until we succeed in passing wilderness legislation that protects the Arctic Refuge in Alaska, proponents of drilling will continue their efforts to turn our nation's last great wilderness into an industrial complex. Fortunately, with the recent introduction of the Arctic Wilderness Act, we have an incredible opportunity to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge from drilling once and for all. Help send the message to Congress that it is time to stop global warming and permanently protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge in Alaska. Ensure that Congress hears your concerns about the climate, your quality of life, and America's fragile Arctic wilderness by participating in Climate Crisis Action Day. Sign up to join thousands of dedicated activists in Washington, DC on March 20, 2007.
The Anderson Cooper 360 program on CNN has launched a six month project called Planet in Peril that will include a series of reports from around the world all related to the current state of the environment. It is thrilling to see this mainstream media coverage, expanding beyond the topic of the war that had dominated the US media for the past five years. Environmental stories common on channels like National Geographic or Animal Planet, but these channels reach a specific and limited target audience. Information about the risks we all face from environmental change and destruction needs to get out to a much larger audience. It is exciting to see Anderson Cooper 360 program moving into new territory. The 360 Executive Producer David Doss desribes the project in his February 13 posting on the 360 blog. Anderson's stories and blog posting today mention his experiences with the bugs in the Amazon and I could definitely relate. I have written about my experiences with the insects in Costa Rica often, most recently on Naturally Connected this week.