14. Cultural Cycles and Climate Change- Living Natural Values
This Blog is about the benefits of living natural human values as an integral part of our life.
What is a natural value?
It is a value which is inherent in the nature of a human being. For example, when you ask anyone what it feels like if they consciously tell a lie, the overwhelming response is that it is not comfortable, physically, mentally or emotionally. This is valid and it is the reason that lie detector machines can work, as there is a natural reaction within when we do not speak the truth. To speak the truth is natural, to lie is unnatural.
In our daily activities, there are three material aspects of our being that are continually engaged; our mind, our emotions and our physical body i.e. how we think, how we relate to others and how we act. How we use these faculties will influence the quality of our access to the fourth dimension, our spiritual being. It is my strong belief that if we live natural human values in the performance of daily activities, we will achieve a high degree of peace, happiness and love, which will manifest naturally in guiding us to serve the common good. This is the universal Golden Rule in practice.
We will now look at a sample for each of these three ways in which we live our life. Quotes from various traditions are used to support the direction offered.
How We Think
We should establish a stable and balanced state of mind when making decisions.
There are many decisions that need to be made every day, usually with several options. These involve significant external pressures, for example, to meet expectations of other people, or internal pressures, such as, I want to win and gain personal recognition.
What is needed is a decision-making process based on a mindful awareness that enables you to remain calm and still within. To concentrate in order to be clear about your motives and the guiding principle that should be used as the basis for the decision. Key values in this realm are: stillness/inner silence; self-control and calmness.
“There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge and stability that comes from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence.” Deepak Chopra
“Self-control means having the ability to channel thoughts in the right direction.”
“ Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against the challenges. So relax.”
How we relate to others
We should establish and maintain a harmonious environment for all activities with other people.
When a high level of voluntary co-operation is in place, the results are greater than the sum of the individual parts. Crucial to the personal efficiency, motivation and satisfaction, is a positive atmosphere, where mutual respect and an active concern for the needs of other people prevails. Such an environment puts more emphasis on ‘we’ than on ‘me’. Co-operation; respect; and compassion are values that help create fine harmony.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
“A wise mother knows: It is her state of consciousness that matters. Her gentleness and clarity command respect. Her love creates security.”
“If you want others to be happy, practise compassion. If you want to be happy, practise compassion.” Dalai Lama
How We Act
We must learn to deal effectively with challenges, mistakes and uncontrollable external factors.
As life is full of uncertainties, the best way to respond to the inevitable challenges, be they self-imposed or from an external source, is to maintain a balanced and unattached state, then our full faculties are available to discern the best response. The related values here are: equanimity, steadfastness, and determination.
“Those souls who overcome the desire for sensual pleasure and maintain a state of equanimity, conquer the pains of mundane existence.” Mahavira
“Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.” Marcus Aurelius
“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can, In all the places you can,
At all the times you can, To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.” John Wesley
By putting into practice, by living the natural human values, great benefits accrue for all; family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, the community, nation, society at large, and you. While certain material resources are required for life, they need to be achieved without violating basic moral principles and great care must be taken to avoid excess. What is really sought by everyone is happiness, a sense of contentment and peace, all of which naturally arise when you think, speak and act consistently, in the right way. This is real success. The natural results here are: happiness; peace/contentment; and unity.
The next Blog will explore some additional examples of values guiding how we think, relate to others and act.