Sustainability starts from within

Sustainability starts from within

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

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

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. 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 transforming themselves as human beings before going out to transform the world.

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.

Human beings are perhaps the only form of life on this planet that is capable of generating energy not only for themselves 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. 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 egoistic, ‘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.

(This article was published on August 22, 2012 Wednesday in Management Next.)

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