How To Create a “Culture of Care”


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We know that the world is in utter chaos and we all crave for a world order to be brought about – by Governments, by Scientists, by others…..

Pope Francis’ Encyclical entitled “Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home” that sets out a program for change calls for the need to develop a “Culture of Care” in society and it starts with each individual.

A friend of mine asked “Why do we need to listen to a religious leader talking about climate change when the scientists who are the authority on the subject cannot get heard? My response – Pope’s call is not just for religious followers but for the entire humanity, because Climate Change is not just a scientific issue but it is a moral problem.

In order to fully comprehend Pope’s message, we need to first unpack what is a “Culture of Care” and how it looks like and then perhaps connections can be made how the world’s chaos needs spiritual solutions.

A ‘Culture of Care’ is based in Love.  When Love permeates a human being, he/she will do nothing but care for themselves and the others, wherever they are, which has a domino effect eventually.  When enough people care, societies transform. Caring nature results in beauty in character.

Sai Baba said – ” When there is beauty in character, there is harmony at home; When there is harmony at home, there is order in the nation; when there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.” 

So a Culture of Care results in world peace.  Sounds far fetched? Let us explore what that Culture of Care actually looks like.  A Culture of Care looks like:

  • Content humans with what they have, which grounds them in the present.
  • A grounded person in the present has a solid identity of who they are.
  • A person who knows who they are is not competitive or an aggressive consumer
  • A non-aggressive consumer does not focus on ‘getting.’
  • When the focus in not on getting, the natural opposite fills in the void – which is ‘Giving.’
  • What can a content and grounded, non-aggressive consumer give?
  • A natural compassion because there is no comparison or competition.

What does natural compassion look like?

A Kind, Satisfied, Happy, Caring, Sharing Person because a naturally compassionate person has

    • Love in their thoughts – therefore Truth prevails
    • Love in their actions – so Right Conduct manifests
    • Love in their feelings – and Peace penetrates
    • Love in their understanding – thus a non-violent world results.

Is this formulaic? I don’t think so. Do you see the connection?

It starts with stopping being an aggressive, competitive, jealous consumer and be content with what we have and live in gratitude. There is always someone who has less than us.

A content and caring individual recognises the interconnectedness as they see the world from within.

If contentment is an answer to create a ‘Culture of Care,’ how can we remain content when the world screams at us that we cannot be happy unless we have more?

Pope’s answer is “Growth marked by moderation” In fact this principle has been given as a “Ceiling on Desires” program four decades ago by Sathya Sai Baba.

Accordingly, Desiring is a natural human phenomenon and cannot be eliminated completely. So, we put a Ceiling on our Desires to consume, whether it is food, money, time or energy.

  • If we learn to stop with one piece of chocolate cake, there is more to share – Ceiling on Desire for food can be connected to relieving world hunger – you do the maths.
  • If we learn to use less energy, there is less burden on natural resources, which means more to share and a safer planet.
  • If we conserve and manage our time, we overcome unhealthy anxiety which means happy families and peaceful societies engaged in meaningful activities.
  • If we desire less, we don’t have to buy more, which means savings. More savings, better lifestyle and happy individuals.

Our consumption of food, money, time and energy are directly linked with our capacity to be content or discontent.  Sounds simplistic? Don’t answers to large problems often have simple solutions?

So, ‘Culture of Care’ starts with an individual and can happen only if we stop excessive consumption and be content. When we are content, we create a ‘Culture of Care.’ Love blossoms as a result and Inner Peace that is directly related to care for ecology and common good results. This is each and every one of our responsibility.

Without a moral and imaginative structure that links our wellbeing to that of others, so that their suffering feels as urgent as ours, or is at least measured on the same scales, we will render our planet uninhabitable.  Not only do we urgently need to understand the human nature but live with the knowledge that Love is the undercurrent of everything and that Love is our true nature.

Ceiling on Desires is a simple ANSWER for today’s complex crisis in the world – from micro to macro.

Shall we start a revolution by creating a ‘Culture of Care?’ Share your thoughts and action plans please….

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

“4 Fundamental Desires That Fuel The 3 Enemies – Part II”


"Energy Crisis!" ...
“Energy Crisis!” … (Photo credit: Toban B.)

Desire to Create & Desire to Experience

  • A comfortable lifestyle
  • A safe and secure future
  • Fun
  • Pleasure etc.,

Translated as physical manifestations, these two desires equate to Money and Energy.  You need money and energy to Create and to Experience.  This is what drives you to work and earn.

Now,  that desire in itself is quite noble because you don’t strive to create and experience all that just for yourself but your loved ones as well.

But when these two desires drive you constantly, incessantly and continuously, then they are prime sources for the cause of worry – don’t you think?

Excessive spending (consumerism) in the hope that somehow it creates comfort, safety, security, fun, pleasure etc.,  =  Waste of money and Waste of energy.

How do you put a Ceiling on Desire to Create &  Desire to Experience?

Do you need so much of……………., so many of…………….( You can fill in the blanks)

Do you have to keep up with what your friends have?

Are you conned by the media that unless you have X, Y, Z, you are not complete?

More = Clutter = Maintenance = Money = Energy = Worry.

Can you not have just enough of everything?

I know ‘enough’ is subjective and relative but you do know what I am talking about.

Enough shoes, enough clothes, enough stuff, enough as you are

Etc., Etc.,

How does putting a Ceiling on Desire on Money and Energy help?

It saves you money because you are not accumulating and consuming more than necessary

It saves your physical energy when excessive shopping is reduced

It saves your mental energy spent in deciding what to buy

It saves Mental and Emotional energy at the thought of storing, maintaining the stuff

It stops you from worrying as you don’t have to work so hard to keep up, nor do you have to worry about paying for things you can’t afford

It stops you from fear that you will lose

Most importantly, you will be living in the present, content with what you have

Money and energy are two powerful resources you have at your disposal.  A Ceiling on Desire on how you spend these two precious resources will result in a life that is much more balanced, centered and in the now.

The worry in the drive to create experiences, the worry that you may not be safe if you don’t have enough, will minimize immensely if you learn to live in the now, not at a future moment always.  Living in the now frees our energy.

Ceiling on Desire on Money & Energy = Contentment & Satisfaction

What do you do with all the saved money and energy?

You help others.

You find satisfaction through contribution and your longevity increases as a result.

How are you going to put this into practice?  

If you want to get ideas on how to minimize,  visit this comprehensive blog (my favorite) at http://www.zenhabits.net, particularly this post on scarcity

What areas of expending money and energy are you going to put a ceiling on?  Please leave your comments.  Love to hear from you

With Love and Respect
Padma Ayyagari

Do You Do This???


Words
Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

Alarm rings early………..

Hit snooze, too tired.  I will get up in a minute…..

Another hour passed before I jump out of bed.

It is Tuesday morning, my blog publishing day. I got up an hour late than I promised to myself.  Not much time to write, edit, polish and publish the blog post.  I hit the pages panicking with an eye on the clock.  I manage to  finish but the work I produce can be of a better standard.  The rush and anxiety I experience in meeting a deadline can be avoided and I can be more productive if I stick to my original thought that I should consistently work on it earlier than the due date and also get up when the alarm rings.

Promises made to myself, broken time and again.  Nothing earth shattering, little promises, little thoughts, expressed and denied in action as words try and justify the action through counter thoughts.  I am constantly contradicting myself.  There is not much congruence in what I think, I say and I do.

Result – minor irritating dissatisfaction with myself and a deeply settled discontentment and unhappiness for not having kept the word.  Lack of Unity in Thought, Word and Deed.

Now that might seem like a minor example that can be justified with a thousand reasons why I didn’t/couldn’t get up early.  Perfectly valid and I convince myself and make another promise to myself – ‘Tomorrow, Definitely,’ and the cycle may repeat again and again and again.  Before I know I even stop making that promise to myself and leave it in a too hard a basket with a permanent label attached to it, ‘I am not a morning person’ or ‘ I can’t get up early.’

When I don’t practice Unity in Thought, Word and Deed, what is my relationship with me? I can’t trust myself in my own capacities, I limit myself and settle with an increasing discontentment that is drowned in external noise.  I have lost a piece of myself.

Sounds extreme doesn’t it?

Same with my relationship with others.  I think one thing, say something different and do something totally different yet again.  When I behave like this, what is my relationship with others?  They can’t trust me.  I am not a person of integrity.

So what is the basis for authentic relationships?  Unity in Thought, Word and Deed or Unity in Head,  Heart and Hand.

What does it mean?  As it suggests, we think, say and do the same thing always, at all times, in all things, with all people including myself.  It is not just that, but the unity and harmony in the three should emanate from the highest and noblest in us.  Otherwise we will make more enemies than we can handle or justify our own actions to suit us.

The highest and noblest in us always thinks, says and does the right things that do not harm us or the others.  This is possible only when we live our lives in congruence with the 5 Human Values of Love, Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-Violence.

Spiritual journey involves becoming self aware not just of our strengths but of our weaknesses as well, knowing our less positive motives, thoughts, feelings and prejudices and modulating our behavior in light of this knowledge.  As our knowledge of self increase,we start to go beyond body and mind identification.

Unity of Head, Heart and Hand is difficult when we identify with the body and mind.  When we belive the ‘I’ in us is the subject and everything around us is ‘object’, we are cautious in our actions.  We let our ego boundaries down only when we feel safe.  We open up with people whom we identify as ours.

Practicing Unity of Head, Heart and Hand in little things to big things makes us fearless.  We feel comfortable and at peace with ourselves no matter what the outcome. We do not need to pretend or defend ourselves.  As our personal integrity grows, our relationships based on Unity of Head, Heart and Hand are pure, unselfish, honest, free from personal agendas and we do not wear any masks.  We form genuine and authentic relationships that will be long lasting.

As our subjective happiness and sense of well being increases, our stress levels decrease and health improves.  Spiritual progress can only take place with Unity of Head, Heart and Hand.

So what Spiritual Practices can help in enhancing our self awareness?  What can we do to regulate our own thoughts, words and actions first and foremost?

Daily meditation is one practice that helps in growing self-awareness.  As the awareness increases we catch ourselves and stop even if nobody is noticing.

Keeping up small promises that we make to ourselves increases the capacity for Unity in Thought, Word and Deed.  So, tomorrow when the alarm goes off at 4AM, I know what to do and it is NOT hitting the snooze button.

Another helpful practice is a daily Self-Audit where you examine your actions throughout the day and modify anything that is not congruent.

What do you think? Is Unity of Thought, Word and Deed a required mandatory practice for Self-Transformation?

Eager to hear your thoughts.  Drop a line and let me know.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari