Connecting for Sustainable Change

I believe that 'connecting to our connectedness' is one of the keys to sustainable change.
02/27/2013 03:40 pm ET Updated Apr 29, 2013

"Are we blind? We are on a trajectory that makes no sense. Do we really think our children will survive in 30 years?"
-- Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Director Earth Institute Columbia University) during the World Economic Forum 2013.

Why do we fail to see and act upon the nearing destruction of our own planet? Can't we see that the storms of the planet might not hit 'us' directly, but will hit us, and for sure our children, as a consequence of the rising food prices, scarcity of water, migration of populations and wars that will follow after?

What is it that makes us 'blind' to these consequences? What causes our inability to act in a truly responsible way so that our children will have a chance to survive in 30 years'?

I believe that one of the causes is our inability to truly connect. And in a world where we are able to connect 24/7 through mobile phones, television, email, Internet etc., that sounds strange -- I know. But I am talking about a different kind of connecting: I am talking about connecting to our 'connectedness.'

Because how often do we really consciously reflect on how much our own lives depend on the efforts and kindness of other people and on the resources the earth shares with us?

How often do we, for example, consciously realize that our food, processed or not, has grown somewhere and has been taken care of by someone? And what about all the other people working in any random department of, for example, transport companies and supermarkets, without whom we would not be able to buy the products we need and desire in life?

How often do we consciously reflect on the fact that those people have families to take care of, have challenges and difficulties and also have a wish to be happy, just like us?

It might seem a bit crazy or not so necessary to consciously reflect on all these things. And it might also be challenging to see how these reflections are going to make a difference. But I want to plead here -- these reflections are fundamental.

Our connectedness to each other and the earth are at the basis of our lives, and reflecting on this will make us 'feel' that connection, instead of just 'knowing' that it's there.

We are conditioned people, and we thus can only find real change if we de-condition our minds. One of the oldest and easiest way to do that is by systematically putting other thoughts in it. Wise thoughts.

It's a very powerful tool that doesn't cost a lot of time, and costs no money at all. That makes it very simple to integrate in both our professional and personal lives: it just takes one moment a day to consciously reflect on how we are connected.

When it becomes our ritual to do this, it will bring forth gratitude, joy and understanding. And not only the understanding that we are connected, but also the understanding that we are actually depending on others and that our current actions will indeed lead to the destruction of the earth. And it's this understanding that will bring forth the determination and compassion to make healthier choices, for ourselves, for others and our planet.

I believe that 'connecting to our connectedness' is one of the keys to sustainable change.

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