Wednesday, February 18, 2009

People Centred Practice

First we must understand what is meant by ‘people centred’. Man occupies an important place in the Gaia system. The veneration of Mother Earth in pagan and ancient religious worship was due to the innate understanding that man cannot live in isolation from his environment and must always see himself as an integral part of the ecosystem. This attitude led man to respect nature. It is the ‘ego and science’ dominated era that has distorted this holistic view and has led man to exploit nature as if nature is inexhaustible in its bounties.

To become truly people-centred, our social practice must become life-centred. We must replace an anti-life development practice, which is consumerism, with a life-affirming social way of life. An important starting point will be to replace the prevailing economics of alienation with its antithesis, an economics of community.

This is expressed in a beautiful story from the past.


"A Guru once asked his shishyas (disciples) when would be the dawning of the true light. One shishya answered; the true light dawns when along the road you notice an animal and can tell whether it is a fox or a dog. “No,” replied the Guru, “That is not the answer.” Another shishya said, “The true light dawns when you look out of your window and can distinguish an apple tree from a pear tree.” Again the Guru said, No, that is not the right answer. Then in frustration, the shishyas together asked the Guru to give them the right answer. He said, “The true light dawns when you look at any man or a woman and can recognise your brother or sister.”

The fundamental fabric of all manifestation is the same only the name and form differ.
As the Gita says:
“Just as a reservoir is of little use to people when the country is flooded all around, so the scriptures are of little use to the illumined man or woman, who sees the Lord everywhere” ….BG 2:46

This harmony of relationships is manifest in several ways. It is manifest in the injunction that when a tree is harvested, two must be planted. When nature is scarred, it must be given time and opportunity to heal. It is manifest in traditional massive Asian irrigation systems that work in harmony with natural forces. It shines forth when we respect our natural habitat as the fount of our spiritual and material wealth.

If we have to adopt 'people centred practice' the we have to adopt a 'Gaia centred practice' at every moment of our life.

Love to you all

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