Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Joyouschee: Unsustainable Living vs Infinite Abundance

Joyouschee: Unsustainable Living vs Infinite Abundance

In recent months, the world is facing an unprecedented financial crisis since the Great Depression. When we watch the news or read the newspapers, we are bombarded with calls from various leaders and economists to spend our money. They argue that spending is the only way to revive the economy, or at least prevent it from deteriorating further. Many nations have since launched various schemes, incentives, and even cash handouts to encourage their citizens to spend.

It is rather ironic to have to remind people to spend. If you ask people what they do for their pastimes, many will tell you that shopping is one of their main pastimes. A history professor declared not too long ago that the 'Great American Pastime' is shopping.[1] He counted 11,000 shopping malls in the United States thirty-five years ago. In 2003, that number has more than quadrupled, to 45,000. From the Mall of America to the strip mall nearest you, these American cultural phenomena occupy some 5.5 billion square feet of space and generate more than a trillion dollars in annual sales.

It's numbingly strange how our society functions. We spend most of our time at work producing goods and services to earn an income. Then we leave our workplaces, patronize the other stores and services, and hand them back our salary. This seems to go on and on in an endless cycle.

Stuck in a senseless pattern of consumption, we have created a God of Consumerism and handed him our powers. The world economy today revolves around this unforgiving god and his laws of profits, sales, and growths. When sales are down and profits dip, the first to go is disposable human employees. The God of Consumerism is increasingly more powerful, and our consumerist society today is producing and consuming more goods than ever to worship him.

By year 2000, global wood consumption has increased 64 percent since 1961. World cereal consumption has more than doubled in the last 30 years, and meat consumption has tripled since 1961. The global fish catch has also grown more than six-fold since 1950 to 122 million metric tons in 1997.[2]

Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund-U.S. noted in his latest report:

"Global consumption of natural resources far exceeds the Earth's regenerative capacity. We are borrowing from our natural capital at an entirely unsustainable rate. And, as is evidenced from the current economic crisis, unsustainable borrowing is not without profound consequences. To raise the stakes even further, there can be no bailout if the Earth's systems collapse."[3]

According to an EU-commissioned study, the global economy is also losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis:

"Whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today's rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2 - $5 trillion every year."

Alarmingly, the total net loss in forest area each year is about 73,000 km2 - the size of Ireland or Panama.[4] Reforestation projects are barely keeping up as we simply could not regenerate an Ireland-size of forest in one year. We are certainly not replacing what we take away.

Indeed, author Thom Hartmann reminds us that the ancient sunlight is running out. In his book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight", he explains how ancient sunlight was captured millions of years ago by plants, and compressed into oil deep under our soil and oceans.

According to the International Energy Agency, humans consume 1,631 kilograms of oil equivalent per capita in the year 2001.[5] In other words, the entire world uses up two million Olympic-sized pools of oil in a year. If we line up the pools end-to-end along the equator, they would stretch 2.5 times around the world. It is taking us merely a few decades to use up what nature has spent millions of years to produce.

How do we connect this seemingly unsustainable way of living with the infinite abundance that many spiritual teachers have spoken of? Could we consume all that we want, and still manifest the reality to support it?

Maybe. But I suspect our access to infinite abundance is proportional to the amount of love or level of consciousness that we possess. The more love we have, the higher level of consciousness we obtain, and the more abundance we could experience.

For instance, cars that run on water or air are already a reality.[6] Yet why are they not replacing the oil-guzzling cars on the road today? That would have been a great leap forward towards infinite abundance.

Our limited level of mass consciousness is perhaps our biggest stumbling block. There is easily plenty for everybody on the earth if we live in a space of love. But if we live in a place of fear, grasping, hoarding and self-centeredness, there will not be enough.

Today, fears and separation permeate many pockets of consciousness as people look for short-term gains at the expense of others. Oil producers, for example, are only interested in reaping maximum profits from oil while they can. Complicated chains of self-interest relationships, lobbying, and political agendas thus prevent the proliferation of clean energy sources and technologies. Large sums of money are spent in building risky nuclear reactors instead of developing tidal and underground thermal energies that are free and clean. Cars that run on water and air are already there for our taking, and yet most humans are probably not even aware of them.

Nevertheless, these fear-based behaviours are really a reflection of the level of our mass consciousness. Take the presidency of George W. Bush for instance. People are ultimately responsible for the leaders they elect. It is inconsequential if Bush won the presidency fairly or stole the election from Al Gore as some have claimed. If Bush is sitting at the White House, it is because our mass consciousness had supported this man and his agenda, allowing him to take office.

Thankfully, nothing is wasted. The soul that is George W. Bush in this incarnation played a wonderful job in awakening humans to the consequences of their choices, and a sufficient shift in consciousness has led to the successful election of Obama and new principles of being.

However, I doubt Obama and other well-intentioned leaders could do much by themselves. As I have pointed out, consciousness must shift further to a positive polarity if we want to find our way to infinite abundance.

Paradoxically, a higher level of consciousness could also lead us away from wanting more, and we could become more appreciative of the natural abundance that surrounds us. Such abundance could come from the sacred view of all creations, universal love for one another, enjoyment of the beautiful nature, sharing of what we have, time to do what we like, space to express our creativity, and freedom to be who we are.

In the recent hit movie, "The Day The Earth Stood Still", Klaatu (alien representative played by Keanu Reeves) learns towards the end that the human mass consciousness would only have the willpower to change when a global crisis occur. It is no coincidence the movie gets remade at this critical point of time. Perhaps the current global economic crisis could be our best chance to move in a new direction?

[1] Professor Jim Farrell, One Nation Under Goods: Malls and the Seductions of American Shopping
[2] World Resources Insitute, How Much Do We Consume? (http://earthtrends.wri.org/features/view_feature.php?fid=7&theme=6)
[3] Living Planet Report Details Dangers Of Living Beyond The Environment's Means (http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2008/WWFPresitem10439.html)
[4] Green Facts (http://www.greenfacts.org/en/forests/l-2/2-extent-deforestation.htm)
[5] Data by International Energy Agency, World Health Organization (http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/data_tables/ene1_2005.pdf)
[6] BBC News: Air Car Running on Compressed Air (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov4t1P9bdGw), Drunvalo Melchizedek, Water Car is Now a Reality (http://spiritofmaat.com/sep08/water_car.html)

About the Writer
Joyouschee is the co-founder and editor of Cosmic Lighthouse Metaphysics Magazine. He hopes to add love, light and joy to the world through the magazine which is made possible by many wonderful contributors. www.cosmiclighthouse.com * Cosmic Lighthouse Metaphysics Magazine www.cosmiclighthouse.com *