Indifference to Climate Change will destroy your Children
You know the weird feeling that you have been getting recently, that the weather is constantly changing. It’s not what it used to be when you were a kid. That’s because we the humans have messed things up on this planet. I know it’s a hard fact to grasp, but be with me on this for a while as I elaborate. Global warming, that’s what we will address in this brief piece while providing the most effective means to actually treat it. But of course, I am only going to show you the means, but in the end, it is up to you, to either practice or not practice it. But the point is, if you don’t practice it, you may die without actually facing the wrath of mother nature, but your children and grandchildren will surely suffer for your mistakes and callousness. And this is not a prediction, rather a fact.
Let me give you an example. Imagine there is a bottle of poison on the desk. What do you think will happen, if you bring the bottle down and drink the poison! You know the answer right! You see it as a fact, that if you drink it, you surely will bid goodbye to life. Similar is the matter of global warming. If you stay indifferent and don’t act to treat it, then it’s your descendants who shall have to bid goodbye to their life.
Global warming is happening right at this very moment, as you are reading this piece – deal with it. It’s not a prediction or a matter of the future anymore. And some of you may think that there’s nothing to worry, for all humans will eventually move to Mars. Well, here is the news for you. Science does not yet have the means to colonize an entire planet and make it suitable for human living, no matter how much some privately owned space agencies boast about it. Also, when we actually develop the technology to visit Mars, may be in a century or perhaps more, the trip is not going to be available to everyone. Only the richest will get a chance, to simply visit Mars, and not to live there. To actually live on Mars, it’ll take many millennia. So, for the countless millennia to come, Mother Earth is going to be our only place to live – the place called home.
Now here is a shocking fact, since Earth is our only home, which is actually currently in danger, in the coming centuries, this only home is going to become less and less suitable for living. Hence, your children and their children will have nowhere to go. The only factual future that awaits your progeny, is a horrible death. All because you do not feel responsible enough to take actions to treat the damaged home you live in. You will die after living a comfortable life, but the life of your kids and grandkids will be full of misery, because, you think, global warming is not an urgent enough issue to pay attention to. So, pay attention, while there is still time.
To treat our own Mother Nature we need to conserve her wellness, which means, we need to take every single measure that can promote her well-being. Every single measure that I am going to mention now, has utter significance in reducing the rate of global warming and slowly restoring a healthy environment around us.
Global warming is largely caused by greenhouse gas emissions. By taking actions that effect in reducing the greenhouse gas emission that you contribute in your personal life, you can take a real stand against global warming. All you need to do is change your consumption habits and be efficient. Consume as less energy as possible, in any manner possible. Driving is the biggest ways people contribute to global warming. So, by minimizing driving, you can make a huge impact on Mother Earth. Here are some measures that you can take to minimize driving. Carpool to work with others. This not only reduces greenhouse gas emission but also strengthens a social bond. Use public transportation whenever possible, or ride a bike. If you own a car, then make sure that you maintain it regularly. This makes the car emit less greenhouse gas. Also, to reduce power consumption, replace the old incandescent light bulbs at home to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Especially LED bulbs are the most efficient so far and can save a lot of power, also they are brighter than the old incandescent bulbs. This simple act of yours will not only reduce energy consumption but also it’ll reduce your electricity bill.
These are the very simple few steps that you can take right after you finish reading this article. You are not required to read thousands of books on global warming to make a real contributing in treating that global warming. It only takes the simple sense of responsibility. Do you feel that responsibility my friend? Do you? If you do, then start acting right now – at this very moment, and a few other humans around you will automatically learn from your actions and feel responsible enough to do their part as well. You cannot tell them to be responsible, you can only show them, how it is like to be responsible through your actions.
I beg you my dear sibling – please act – don’t stay silent and indifferent anymore, to the agonies of Nature, because the agonies of Nature are getting worse and they’ll destroy the very elements of wellness and joy in the life of your own children and grandchildren. Your indifference would only worsen the situation, so awake, arise and act – act not just for the rights of the humans but for the rights of Nature as well, because without the fundamental rights of wellness and peace restored in the heart of Mother Nature, humans will not have a home to rejoice their rights – their unity and their uniformity.
Meditation is a Method-Less Act
I want you to do something today. I want you to get rid of all the things that you have heard about meditation so far – everything – all those things about focus, attention, sitting upright, closing your eyes, focusing on breathing, sound, this and that – everything – even the things that you have heard from me. Let’s try it shall we! Let’s start afresh. Let’s take a fresh look at meditation. What is Meditation? Forget everything you know about meditation and simply think. Meditation simply means – thinking over – to think over something – to put your whole attention on something without pressure – anything. That is the simplest explanation for meditation. Meditation is simply thinking over.
Today meditation has become a kind of hectic practice where you sit upright and do a lot of breathing exercises, this and that – and they call it Raja Yoga, Vipassana or something else. They need to call it that way because this way they can keep it mystical. And the more they can keep it mystical, the more they can gain from it. Simplifying it doesn’t make the whole business of yoga, meditation and all that, profitable, does it!
So let’s simplify it, shall we! Meditation has been proposed as a means to psychological well being – and that means usually comes along with specific methodologies. The Buddhists have their Vipassana technique – the Hindus have their Kundalini nonsense. I am calling it nonsense because of all the mysticism it brings along. The mystical advocates of all that kundalini stuff, truly believe that there are actual energy centres throughout the human spine, and by unlocking them one could attain glorious spiritual potential. The Hindus also call this method of unlocking the kundalini centres of chakras, Raja Yoga, as if its something supreme, and not an ordinary mental state to be attained by an ordinary human. So, when the very practice of Raja Yoga proposes the notion, that it is something not ordinary, and basically unattainable without a teacher – that it is something higher than normal human practice, you naturally feel like you are supposed to go to an expert. This makes it profitable. Hence rises countless spiritual institutions upon the edifice of the primitive elements of human mysticism.
Now let’s throw all that mysticism away and look without judgement and preconceived mystical illusions of intellect. Meditation simply means focusing on something, thinking over something. Now the question is, do we need to sit upright and practise meditation the conventional way – closing our eyes, focusing on breathing or chanting or say Aum and going through a million other rituals! Is it necessary? Well, if it suits your taste then, of course, it’s okay – nobody is condemning it. It will bring you obvious health benefits, surely. But it’s only the way of the novice, also the most robotic way. Meditation means thinking over. But think over what? Do you have something to think over – something that you’d just think over, simply to take the pleasure from it – to simply be yourself in it – anything – a practice, a habit, a hobby, an idea, anything – something you can think over without any pressure of technicality, ritual or norms – that you can pay your whole attention to, simply because you love it, not because some great so-called guru tells you to practise it or some great scientist tells you to practise it! Do you have something like that – do you – anything – painting, writing, going out for a walk of contemplation, filmmaking, photography – any human activity that you can engage yourself in, without all the pressure that comes along with the very term “method”!
When you love doing something, there is no method, there is no risk, there is no fear, there is no insecurity of failure, there is just doing it. You just love it and do it. Often we also use the term “passion”, but I think, the word “passion” is a petty human attempt to justify the activity in front of the society. Why do you need to justify it! You simply love it and you do it. When you love it and do it, you are basically meditating upon it. And when the humans have something they love to do, and they do it, which means meditate upon it, they give a certain amount of time from their daily schedule to that activity, not out of pressure, not out of the insecurity of psychological obscurity, not out of a revolting attitude against the social norms, but simply to be themselves in that activity. When you do that on a daily basis, or find time to do that every now and then, every week, you are basically engaging your brain almost in the same manner as anybody else does in practising the conventional way of meditation – sitting upright, closing their eyes and focusing within. The brain functionings in both cases are basically similar – and they bring the same kind of inner emotional stability, same kind of inner content more importantly – basically the same kind of internal well being, which is sustained in the long run, if you can simply do what you love to do on a regular basis. This way your brain goes through a kind of unique refreshment – that basically is the product of meditation – the simplest meditation – meditation upon the activity that allows you to be you.
Meditation is a method-less act – an act of contemplation – an act of being. And this contemplation or this being is not a Buddhist thing, a Hindu thing or a Jewish thing – it is simply a human thing. No pranayama, vipassana or kabala has any kind of exclusive authority over meditation whatsoever. All these ways are merely the means of the novice to begin the journey. But the means is not the real act itself. Seeing the method of meditation as meditation itself is like confusing the menu for the meal. The real journey takes place when there is no means whatsoever – when the self does not need to make efforts to be the self – that’s real meditation – the meditation where you simply are who you are and do not seek methods to attain a superficial state of mind.
If you find something you love and make that your profession, then you’ll never need to practise the conventional meditation in your life, in order to be psychologically well, because your very profession would be the best meditation for you. If you don’t exactly have that dream profession, then simply taking time out from your daily schedule to do what you love to do, would still be a better meditation for you than the conventional one. And if none of these is an option for you, then you can resort to the conventional form of methodical meditation. The final call on this matter would be made by nobody else but you. But bear in mind, kids meditate on things, the adults meditate on the self. Meditation on the self is the highest form of true method-less meditation, for it brings self-awareness – which is beyond the everyday joy and sorrow. True meditation does not put you in control of your sorrow, rather it takes your mind beyond that very sorrow, as well as joy, into the kingdom of contentment – a kingdom without ideology – without cognitive extremes, such as radical rationalism, radical romanticism or radical emotionalism. In that kingdom, you simply are a human, with no name, no nationality, no tradition, no culture, no religion, no gender and no social image – simply a human.
Real Christian Existence
What is a Christian Life? What is it to be a Christian? You think you already know the answer, I am quite aware of it. But, for the time being, allow me to tell you, that being Christian is not what most so-called Christians think it to be. Most so-called Christians would most gloriously think of Christianity to be a matter of undivided loyalty to the figure known as Jesus. But that’s precisely what being Christian is not, and in fact, that’s precious what being religious is not. What is it to be a Christian, one wonders?
We may begin our investigation here, but only if you are willing to take off all labels. Are you? Good, let’s begin shall we! The first thing we need to be aware of here is that, all of Christ’s philosophical ideas and teachings can be compressed into one simple phrase – “Love thy neighbor”. It elucidates the innate kindness of human heart in the simplest manner. So, being Christian is simply about being kind, being loving, being compassionate – that’s all. And in fact, that’s what being religious is about – it’s about loving your fellow being. One doesn’t even need to call himself or herself as a Christian or even religious for that matter, to be a Christian. A Hindu can be Christian – a Muslim can be Christian – a Buddhist can be Christian – an atheist can be Christian, as long as that person practises love and kindness in everyday living.
A true human being with love and kindness in his or heart, would automatically be a Christian, whether he or she actually calls himself or herself as such, because that’s what Christ was – a true human being, with a gloriously kind heart. Basically, you don’t need to be born in a Christian family to be a Christian. Practise love – practise kindness, as you walk through your day, and you would automatically be walking on the path laid by Christ himself, regardless of whether you are announcing most boastfully that you are a Christian. Any human who practices love and kindness is a Christian. So, it is only the true human being who is qualified to be hailed as a Christian, not the person who utters countless phrases from the Bible all the time, yet does not show a sign of graceful kindness in his or her actions towards others.
Christ was a being of glorious character, who wanted to reinstall the forgotten humanity in the heart of humanity, hence he gave his life teaching humanity the lessons of non-differentiation – the lessons of love – the lessons of true humanity, yet his name has been disgraced by many of his own followers with acts of sectarianism and bigotry. Mind you my dear sibling, sectarianism is no christian act, neither is bigotry and extremism. The whole world is filled with countless creatures who call themselves Christians, yet I see very little, or alas, no trace of true Christianity in them. Be the Christian whose heart aches at the sight others’ pain – be the Christian whose acts shine with vivacious kindness and glory – be the Christian whose very life becomes an embodiment of true Christianity – an embodiment of Christ himself. Be a living Christ on earth, then and then only shall you be a real Christian.
Remember, Christ and Christianity are not separate – they are one and the same thing. Christ is a being of pure kindness, and so is Christianity. Hence, forget all rules and regulations of the so-called modern society and be the being of kindness – be the being of compassion – be the being of conscience, for that being is the only real Christian on earth, all others are mere mockery of Christian existence. A true Christian life is a life lived for others, beyond the barriers of words, labels and terms. And indeed a life lived for others, is a true religious life. In the end, to the real Christian, the term “Christian” becomes irrelevant, and what matters to him or her the most, is pure conscientious act of kindness. This pure kindness does not need a label of organized religion to exist, in fact in its purest form it is devoid of all labels, yet you can find traces of it in all organized religions.
See keynotes with Abhijit Naskar
Interview with Abhijit Naskar
How did you begin your speaking career?
My first book in my scientific career was The Art of Neuroscience in Everything. It introduced me to the world as a scientist of the mind. It was a book of Neuroscience, but not a hardcore science book filled with scientific jargon. I began writing, not to popularize science, rather I wanted to present Science, especially Neuroscience to people in a way that would diminish their differences. Later, I made this statement official in my memoir “Love, God & Neurons”. And quite by the force of Nature, soon after the publication of my first book, speaking invitations began to pour in, as the world wanted to listen to me in person, beyond the limits of the pages of my books. Thus began my speaking career.
What got you interested in neuroscience?
I am a scientist, but it’s not the popularization of science, that I have in mind, rather, my main concern is the well-being of the human society. This has been my innate interest since childhood, for which I once renounced my home in Calcutta to become a monk, as I quite childishly believed that, in order to do good to humanity, becoming a monk is the best way. Below is an excerpt from my memoir “Love, God & Neurons”, which recounts my journey as a monk in brief.
“I roamed around some remote villages, in one long shawl covering my body. I ate whatever the kind villagers offered. One afternoon during my walk through the cornfield of a village in Bengal, I saw a big banyan tree. So, I sat down under it to have a little rest. After a few moments I found myself being lost in deep meditation. I realized the universe had consumed my whole entity with its divine sensation of eternal bliss. All I could consciously perceive in that state of mind was absolute oneness. I felt being one with the banyan tree, under which I was sitting. I felt one with the corns in the field. I felt one with the sky and the clouds in it. As if everything was me, and I was everything. I didn’t have any perception of time or space. All that there was, was an all-pervading eternity – a state of non-dualism… My purpose as a monk was complete. I didn’t need to stay away from home any more. So, I stood up and headed for home.”
Attaining the Absolute Divine state of Unification with the Universe, I realized that the purpose of life is not renunciation of anything, but the realization of the purpose itself. And my purpose was to bring actual practical growth and harmony in the human society. So, I chose science as my field, and began self-education in various fields. In this process, I came across the field known as Neuroscience, and quite spontaneously, things got clearer than ever before. I could see through the field something that perhaps no other scientist could – I saw its potential – the potential that no other neuroscientist or psychologist had taken interest in.
When you hear “Neuroscience” you would probably be thinking about the study of the nervous system. And that’s exactly how the field began its journey into scientific investigation. But I wanted to do something with it, which no other scientist or philosopher had done before. I began moulding the soft clay of Neuroscience with the ingredients of my own philosophy to prepare the actual science of self-realization. And this endeavor of mine began through my books, but today, I bring this unique science of self-awareness to the world through my speakings alongside the books.
What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?
I am a very selfish person, perhaps the most selfish on earth. I can’t bear to not have pleasure for myself, when everybody else is having fun. And I receive a glorious bliss when I see the sense of intense curiosity on the face of my audience, followed by a captivating contentment. And what multiplies my bliss is when some individuals from the audience take home from my speaking, the sense of curiosity and never stop trying to find solution to a problem by themselves.
Who or what inspires you most?
Naskar is not an individual, it is an idea of a one, well and healthy humanity. And in the making of this idea, there have been a lot of people involved.
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
The world is my home, its people my family and my family is my responsibility. And this responsibility does not allow me to sleep at night, when I visualize the gloomy destination toward which the world is heading, with its biases, prejudices, hatred, misunderstandings and conflicts. These primeval elements of the human mind are quite vividly taking over the conscience of humanity, the devastating implications of which are already beginning to manifest in various corners of the society. So, not just 5 years, but my whole life is my vessel to empower the conscience of humans from all corners of the world with the exuberant tools of self-awareness, so that they could dive within the deepest fathoms of their soul on their own and discover the jewels of peace, contentment and progress.
Why should clients use you for their next event?
I am responsible for the world, as I am the world, the world is me. And the more we realize in our heart, this innate oneness with our world, the more we can construct a healthy, productive, progressive and sustainable environment, both internal and external. The awareness of our inner world is the only means to bring forth a natural, sustainable and non-conflicting change in our environment, be it personal, professional or any other.