Humanity is gradually waking up to the reality that we are facing a global crisis. We are now witnessing the consequences of our unchecked exploitation of the natural world, including disadvantaged communities and other species. The global crisis is manifesting as ecological degradation, poverty, health inequalities and shortages of food and water, which are set to impact further on millions of people as the world’s population is set to increase to 9 billion by 2050.
A key question for all of us at this time is; how can we respond productively and sustainably to worsening global conditions and improve life on planet earth for the well-being of all?
In my book: The Unselfish Spirit: Human Evolution in a Time of Global Crisis, I discuss how the ecological challenges we are facing could also inspire renewed ways of living. A central premise that runs through the book is that we live in a world of interconnections, and if we are to survive and thrive as a species we will need to reflect and act more cooperatively. First, we will need to cultivate a deep awareness, that in this brave new world our state of disconnectedness from one another, other species and the planet is revealing how the global crisis is also a spiritual crisis. Second, we are faced with an opportunity to evolve our human potential, which means that we can explore what it means to be a brave new human who acts and interacts for the greater good.
In The Unselfish Spirit I explore how we have not given much consideration to the psychological, behavioural and spiritual transformations that will power the collective adaptations required to face the challenges of worsening planetary conditions. Indeed, it could be argued that one of the underlying factors that have contributed to our global crisis is the wholesale neglect of our human potential to live sustainably and cooperatively.
We are entering a time of great transformative potential, where we will need to reflect on our over-investment in a limited ego-ideal - at the expense of the collective - which can no longer be sustained. Humanity has an incredible opportunity to develop a renewed relationship to life, which includes the evolution of our ways of doing, knowing, being, becoming and belonging. To be able to accomplish such a transformative shift in consciousness and behaviours at this time will require each of us to accept our responsibility for doing what we can to create an improved future.
One of my interests as an occupational therapist concerns the role and function of doing as an evolutionary force for change and adaptation. Doing provides opportunities to engage a renewed sense of purpose, through soulful participation and meaning in life. In this way, doing with depth is a soul journey. This perspective emphasises that we all belong to One World, encouraging us to reflect and act intimately with life’s wholeness; the anima mundi, or the soul of the world. Therefore, in this time of global transformation, we need to be emboldened and empowered to bring forth a soulful and sustainable vision into realisable action. In doing so, we are engaging a new spirit of human evolution. It is here that our unexplored potential is at the forefront of shared responsibility and sustainability. This collective clarion call can be neatly summed up as: ‘we do therefore we evolve’. Perhaps this is a useful mantra for brave new humans who wish to work for the greater good in this brave new world.
Mick Collins Mick spent 9 years training in transpersonal psychotherapy, and he integrated spirituality into his therapeutic practice. He currently works as a lecturer in Occupational Therapy and is a Director of Admissions within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia. His book, The Unselfish Spirit: Human Evolution in a Time of Global Crisis, is published by Permanent Publications, the book publishing arm of Permaculture magazine.
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