Some wise words from a departing colleague…

A colleague of mine has recently left the organisation I work for. On departing, he emailed us all with these wise words, from Satish Kumar.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a spiritual person. Although I still felt these words were worth sharing. In place of a Spiritual Imperative I see an imperative for meaning and values. I think the message is still the same.

Spiritual Imperative by Satish Kumar
An extract from the Schumacher Lecture October 2004.
Spirituality and Civilisation
My land, my house, my possessions, my power, my wealth are the cravings of small minds. Spirituality frees us from small mind and liberates us from the small I, the ego identity.
Through spirituality we are able to open the doors of big mind and big heart where sharing, caring and compassion are the true realities.
Life exists only through the gift of other lives: all life is interdependent. Existence is an intricately interconnected web of relationships.
We share the breath of life and thus we are connected. Whether we are rich or poor, black or white, young or old, humans or animals, fish or fowl, trees or rocks, everything is sustained by the same air, the same sunshine, the same water, the same soil.
There are no boundaries, no borders, no separation, no division, no duality; it is all the dance of eternal life where spirit and matter dance together.
Day and night, Earth and heaven all dance together, and wherever there is dance, there is joy and beauty.
The religion of materialism and the culture of consumerism which have been promoted by Western civilisation have blocked the flow of joy and beauty.
Once, Mahatma Gandhi was asked, “Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilisation?” He replied, “It would be a good idea.”
Yes, it would be a good idea because any society discarding spiritual values and fighting for material goods, going to war to control oil, producing nuclear weapons to maintain its political power cannot be called a civilisation. The modern, consumerist culture built on unfair, unjust and unsustainable economic institutions cannot be considered to be civilised.
The true mark of civilisation is to maintain a balance between material progress and spiritual integrity. How can we consider ourselves to be civilised when we don’t know how to live with each other in harmony and how to live on the Earth without destroying it?
We have developed technologies to reach the moon but not the wisdom to live with our neighbours, nor mechanisms to share food and water with our fellow human beings.
A civilisation without a spiritual foundation is no civilisation at all.