Healing the planet.

The planet is seriously ill. This is no news for the readers of this blog – they all know this. But what many of us don’t realize – the planet that is we. We are part of the planet, Gaia, the total ecosystem. We are cells of one of its organs: humanity. So we are ill, but we, the majority in the Western World,  don’t feel sick. That reminds me of the days I had cancer. I didn’t feel sick at all, but was very ill, even in mortal danger. So it is with us: we are dangerously ill, but don’t feel it. Furthermore, if we think about the illness of the planet we take the symptoms – ecological collapse, extinction of species, pollution, global warming, violence, the market, gun-addiction, etc. –  for the illness itself. But that is not the illness. So we need a more holistic thinking, and then we can see what the illness is. It is, as many guides, including our inner guide, tell us, a lack of awareness in the human race. In think this awareness was greater in the seventies, when we talked about ‘healing the planet’. Nowadays one hardly hears that expression anymore.

When you are ill you are going looking for a cure, or a healer that can provide that cure. Some illnesses are so serious, that effective cures or healers are difficult to find. But, if we want to live, that doesn’t stop us from searching. Even if we are successful in finding the healer however, that doesn’t release us from our own responsibility for our healing process. We have to cooperate with the healer, and with our own mind and body.

And that is what we should do as humanity: looking for ways to heal the planet, including ourselves. That is partly an individual process: developing our own awareness: becoming conscious of what is going on in ourselves and the world around us. But is also a collective process: developing our collective consciousness. That is hardly possible without medicine men or women. In the collective field we call these guides or leaders.

In 1998 I published Spiritueel Leiderschap, my magnum opus, translated in English as Spiritual Leadership, Wisdom for Work, Wisdom for Life.*) That opens with the following sentences: ‘There is a harrowing lack of leadership in the world. Is this the way you see it too?’ That book already then dealt with the kind of leadership we need in this world. Next month (around the first of April) I’ll say something about that kind of leadership or guidance. In the meantime I invite you to think about that yourself: what is the kind of leadership we need, and how do we find this?



Disclaimer: I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker

Datum Door erik.van.praag Laat een reactie achter

‘We have come too far to disdain the future now.’ 

Since the nineties we know that in business organizations can’t work effectively without a collective vision (see f.i. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Senge 1990). The same is true for countries and nations. But strangely enough politicians don’t seem to know this. They are completely focussed on the short term and on how they can win votes in the next elections.

Already it is said in the Bible, Proverbs, 600 B.C.: ‘Where there is no guidance, a people falls’ (11:14), and ‘Where there is no prophecy the people cast of restraint’ (29:18). This in my opinion is exactly what is happening today, especially in Europe and America. But the question of course arises: what should that vision be and where should it come from?

Proverbs suggest that it should come from ‘counsellors’. However in these days counsellors are  so-called experts, who mostly differ in opinion about where we should go in the future. Anyway, they are not a source of inspiration for a collective vision. Moreover I think that the collective vision should be a shared vision. Otherwise it could never inspire us to move and act in the desired direction.

This is where leadership should come in. One of the last politicians who was not merely a manager but a real leader as far as I know was John F. Kennedy who said: ‘We are all visionaries. Let it not be said of this Atlantic generation that we left visions and ideals to the past, nor purpose and determination to our adversaries. We have come too far; we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now.’  Also Barack Obama to a certain extent was a visionary, but unfortunately he lost most of that during his presidency.

Anyway, what we can learn from both presidents, is that a shared vision cannot come into existence without the full participation of a community, that part of the public that feels  engaged and is concerned with the common cause ( the‘caring majority’; see ‘No is not enough’ by Naomi Klein, 2017). So visionary leadership should not only inspire, but also create the conditions for a public dialogue. This is what we need in these times of global warming and so much tension in the world.

Now, if our ‘leaders’ fail to exert this kind of leadership, we have to do it ourselves. If it is not coming top-ddown, it has to come bottom-up. We have to start this dialogue about the future we desire in  our own small communities, and extend that dialogue to wider communities. ‘We have come too far; we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now.’


Disclaimer: I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker.

Datum Door erik.van.praag Laat een reactie achter

Let us listen to Mother Nature in 2017.

For the New Year I can’t think of a better message than that of Julia Roberts. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM.

That’s enough for today. May  The Great Turning (Joanna Macy) come a step closer in 2017. May you all be well.

Datum Door erik.van.praag Laat een reactie achter

A new level of consciousness

13332876_1017307268357305_8741901205184574941_nA few weeks ago I participated in a planetary game in Findhorn, Scotland. As many of you may know, the Findhorn Foundation community is an experiment in conscious living, a learning centre and an ecovillage (see https://www.findhorn.org). The planetary game is a version of the transformation game (see: https://www.findhorn.org/workshops/game/) in which – in this case – over 60 participants play the game, thereby working on both their own personal development and the development of humanity as a whole. The theme this year was: Engaging with the emergent future.

From this game I gained a few insights that I ‘d like to share with you. In the first place about the interesting question of our relationship with what the Findhorn community is identifying as the subtle worlds: the unseen realms, the non-physical reality. Personally I have no direct experience with these worlds, but believe nevertheless that these worlds exist (although I cannot know this for sure). The game reinforced my opinion that we cannot solve the gigantic problems humanity is faced with without cooperation with these worlds. That however requires humility and the willingness to surrender.

A second conclusion is that the time for personal growth on and individual level is up. Personal growth with the exclusive goal of personal spiritual development is a product of the sixties and seventies, and at the time was what we personally and collectively needed. But if we confine our personal work to this now, it is a form of self-indulgence. Nowadays we have to connect our personal work with what is going on in the world and develop a consciousness about what is happening both inside and outside.

And furthermore the game confirmed my idea that it is absolutely necessary to enter our deepest pain (our dark night of the soul), if we want to gain our highest insight and wisdom. Time and again this was beautifully shown in the game: depressions or dark nights led to wonderful experiences and growth towards higher levels of awareness and insight.

My personal angel in the game was the angel of relaxation, reminding  me that we can’t push the river and the grass will not grow faster by pulling on the halms. It takes as long as it takes, which of course doesn’t mean that we can just sit and wait until the planet will heal itself. It will certainly do so, but if then we shall survive remains to be seen. We are damaging nature, that is ourselves, so it is our responsibility to do what we can to confine the consequences.

Datum Door erik.van.praag 3 Reacties

A dignified future.

If we want to solve the economical and ecological problems of our time we have to change our frame of reference, so I wrote last week. Instead of reacting we have to create. It all depends on how you ‘c‘ it. And what is it we want to create? Nothing less than a new society. I call it a dignified world.

If we want to create that we have to start with the values that should form the basis of such a society. I am choosing four: respect, freedom, openness and compassion. Respect includes respect for life, for the mystery, for others, for self, for animals, nature. It also includes wonder, awe: that everything is as it is, respect for beauty. And of course tolerance: seeing the family of men as my brothers and sisters. Freedom includes the awareness that the consequences of our decisions and actions come back to us: the law of karma. Openness implies an attitude of observing and listening; wanting to know (you) . It also includes the courage to sustain the gaze when something is difficult, to receive feedback, and to say what it is that needs to be said. Compassion in fact is the natural effect of the mentioned values.

Let’s now turn to our economic problems. In our new society we need a new economic system. I call this system a considerate economy. That should have four characteristics. It should be a  common economy, it should be a solar economy, it should be a sober economy and it should be a fair economy. These characteristics can be deduced from the values I mentioned. Let me elaborate a bit on this.

A common economy is an economy that is owned by us all, not just be a small group. This in my opinion implies that all common goods – land, water, the sea and the oceans, nature, fresh air, raw materials, resources – should be public property, not privately owned. With a solar economy I mean an economy that is based completely on sustainable energy. A sober economy is a pure economy, which doesn’t mean a miserable economy, on the contrary. It means an economy that is not based on scarcity but on abundance. And last but not least, the considerate economy is a fair economy: no fraud, no cheating, no exploitation and extortion.

If individually and collectively we could base our policies and actions on these principles, a complete economic and ecological transition would take place. This may seem far out, but it can be done. It requires a lot of open communication on all levels: micro, meso and macro. Actually, I don’t think we have much choice left anymore. If we don’t choose for a considerate economy, in the end it will result in the total collapse of our human system. But I am hoping and  trusting that when push comes to shelf, we will choose for our own survival. (although the debating culture in the American Congress is not encouraging. Maybe the need is still not high enough!)

The impossible dilemma between cutting expenditure  at the one hand and investing at the other is only solvable within this new perspective. In this blog it all sounds deceptively simple, but that is due to the fact that I have to be very condensed in this blog. For Dutch readers, it is all elaborated about in my latest book: The sun is shining freely for everyone – a blueprint for a dignified world. And for the English speaking readers: trust me, I am not as naive as you might think. Think about it, and you may find your own way and your own contribution to a better world. The time of transformation is NOW.

(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).

Datum Door erik.van.praag 1 Reactie