‘Be the Change you Want to See’, ‘When I Change, the World Changes’

by Valériane Bernard
August 2019

When the initial team started to work on the idea and concept of a Faith Based project that would promote lifestyle changes, it was not yet called ‘Living the Change’, and I was among the people who supported the name “Living the Change”. These words resonate deeply in me, their significance is related to “Be the change you want to see” from the Gandhian philosophy. The Brahma Kumaris have a slogan that sums up the task at hand: ‘When I change, the world changes’.

As ONE humanity, we are globally accountable for the state of our planet. For obvious reasons, one could argue that the weight of responsibility is very different for each nation, people or individual, according to age groups, lifestyle and wealth.

But what we do know is that human activities have a strong impact on climate change.

The systems that allowed this to happen, all the amount of actions that started and sustained the process of climate change were driven by the type of cultures and awareness we developed. So if we want to transform this, if we want sustainable solutions, we need to accept that what is destructive about the way we live has to change. In order to change, we need to understand how things “went wrong” and part of taking responsibility for the quality of our actions is ACCEPTING TO CHANGE.

As individuals we are part of a whole and the incidence of our decisions and actions will definitely have a positive effect on the whole.

“Any real understanding of the issue of global climate change needs to be placed in the context of Earth as a living system. Living Systems Theory is a body of work that describes how all living systems function, how they sustain themselves, and how they develop and change. Living systems is a metaphor that represents an animate arrangement of parts and processes that continually affect one another over time. By definition, living systems are self-organizing. They grow. They change. They connect. They are cyclic. They are whole and systemic. To see living systems and to understand how they work, we have to observe the connections that make up the whole system. When we are able to see the interconnections and understand how they are intricately related, then our view of the world begins to change.

To embrace the full scope of the global climate change crisis, it is necessary to look at another system that is influencing the living system of the Earth: the system of thought at every level of human affairs, which affects our collective efforts to create a tolerable world and civilization.

The key to intervening in the unfolding events of the outer biological system is to create a change in the inner system of thoughts. First, we must make thought aware of its role in creating the world – or to put it another way – we must make the thinkers of thoughts aware that we are not neutral observers of a sequence of events: our inner beliefs affect our process of observing and the choices we make as a result, affecting the very world we are observing.

Second, we must have an epiphany, an experience that breaks through our inner system of thought with a new and paradigm-shattering awareness. It is experience that changes our awareness. We need an epiphany on a global scale. To change our inner system of thinking, we need a collective “aha” moment on the scale of those of the astronauts and cosmonauts who saw Earth from space for the first time”.

Consciousness and Climate Change: Confluence of two living systems I BKWSU

In order to understand the climate situation and its implications, we need to accept that we can make a difference and to develop the courage and the interest to rethink and change the way we live and the way we relate to nature and our fellow human beings. For this we need the courage to change individually and collectively.

Valériane Bernard, from Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University

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