Earth Day and the ecology of consciousness
MANILA, Philippines - Today, April 22, is Earth Day. Leadership and personal and organizational speaker Ken O'Donnell offers some penetrating insights on the global ecological problems that we now face:
- “Our true work goes way beyond the cost-benefit discussion of environmental programs. It also goes beyond the discussion about the needs of other living beings or the debate about what sustainable development really means."
- “Our capacity to change ecosystems is proportional to our capacity to change our own consciousness.”
An Australian currently based in Brazil, O'Donnell is the author of 15 books on leadership and personal and organizational development. He has worked as a consultant and trainor for state departments, central banks, and education ministries across Latin America. In 2009, O'Donnell won the Personality of the Year Award from the Brazilian Association of Training and Development. He is also a Raja Yoga meditation teacher since 1975.
Debunking the longstanding paradigm of “man vs. nature,” O'Donnell brings our awareness to the fact that human beings, including our built-in environments, are very much part of ecology, highlighting their interdependence.
He clarifies that ecology is not just the romanticized world of the "noble savage" untouched by civilization and the modern cities. Simply, ecology comes from the word “oikos” meaning “house”; thus ecology is simply “the study of houses.” In his spiritual paradigm of ecology, we need to consider that:
- The first house of ecology is the human consciousness
- The second is our physical bodies
- The 3rd is our relationships with people; and
- The 4th is our relationship with the natural world itself
“It is not 'Man against Nature' that he has been fighting with for a long time...Even our bodies are made of the same elements; it is the same air, water, and food that sustain each of the body’s molecules.
"The cities are also just transformed nature — the rocks that have become cement and steel, the trees that have been converted into beams, flooring, and furniture, the ancient forests that have ended up as petroleum and later as plastic.
"Nature is not something that starts where the cities finish. It’s everything we can see, touch, and feel.”
Offering a spiritual approach to the ecological crises of our times, O'Donnell highlights how a fundamental shift in human consciousness is required to allow the healing of nature back to its original state of balance and wholeness.
In this paradigm, the first healing to be addressed begins with the first house, the self and its subtle, inner world of consciousness — the collection of thoughts and feelings we generate in our minds.
“While we continue to see nature as something separate, a passive subject like an unconscious patient on an operation table, we will not understand depth of the interrelationship and interdependence between ourselves and our planet that has been like a long-standing marriage which has gone sour.
"The dance between the observer and the observed implies that the external problems in nature and therefore in society are the manifestations of the contamination and confusion that reign within us. They are inseparable,” O'Donnell shares.
In his book "Pathways to Higher Consciousness," O'Donnell further guides us to the heart of the matter by proposing the alchemy of meditation as a long-term route to changing our inner ecology that will automatically cascade to benefit our outer ecology, and allow a return to our and nature's original state of wholeness and balance.
“By understanding the relationship between my state of consciousness and my day-to-day activities, I can start to transform my life. The seeds of actions are in my state of consciousness. The fruits are in the situations I create for myself.
"By learning about the tandem nature of what happens around me and what happens within me, I can start to take my destiny into my own hands and employ the instruments of change.”
A seasoned self-development trainer, O'Donnell outlines the practical benefits of meditation which he has seen help transform many people and communities that he has worked with for decades in the field. He enumerates that meditation results in:
- Transformation of negative personality traits
- Obtaining power for self-control (i.e. in a situation of anger or irritation, the soul is able to overcome its negative tendencies)
- Improvement of the vision one has for the self and others
- Inner emotional fulfillment
- Replacement of lost or spent spiritual, mental, and physical energy
Calling meditation as “a link of love,” O'Donnell speaks of how this link with one's best thoughts, coming from a deeper self-awareness, and a link with an absolute Source of love and healing, will propel one to transform in the deepest ways, which will cascade to a more harmonious, responsible connection with people and our natural world.
Among the courses and workshops that O'Donnell continues to lead all over the world include Quality From the Inside Out, Values-Based Leader, and Managing Change.
Besides handling tough development issues of the moment, O'Donnell is also a surprisingly artistic person. Also singer and songwriter, O'Donnel has produced a CD of his songs titled “You Can't Write Your Name on the Sun” based on his experiences as a long-time meditation student and practitioner of Raja Yoga, which he says is the anchor of his principles in both his personal life and his successful career in development work.
Link to Ken O'Donnell's song 'You Can't Write Your Name in the Sun' here:
Ken O'Donnell will give a free lecture titled 'Breaking Our Own Limits' on Tuesday, April 23, 7 to 9pm at The Ballroom, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Makati Avenue. RSVP with Brahma Kumaris-Makati at 890-7960 or 0927-2808363.