"I urge governments,
development and environmental organizations to work together to find sustainable solutions
to avert a catastrophe that will exacerbate human suffering to a magnitude that perhaps
the world has not yet seen."
Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Q. My impression is, that you have a
"soft spot" for the environment. Would you tell us more about that?
A. Everybody should have that.
In my case, from very early on, I considered nature as my "second home". My
parents used to have a small piece of forest, in which I always played. I had great
interest in the vegetation. Later, I became an enthusiastic bird watcher.
Q. Ever since, the situation has changed
dramatically. The "environment" being the dominant issue, with regard to our
survival. What could you contribute to saving the earth?
A. Understandably, most concern
goes to the environment itself: climate change, poverty etc. However, this our concern may
overshadow the underlying causes. With "the environment" after all, is nothing
wrong. It is human behavior, that causes the trouble.
Q. Looking at ourselves in the first place?
A. From my experience as a
(holistic) medical doctor I know, that illness can only be cured, once you know the
underlying causes. Without that, treatment will be symptomatic, only.
Q. So, what would you consider the NR. 1 factor
in human behavior, that is responsible for the current crisis?
A. It is no secret, that human
greed is most responsible. We may talk about "greenhouse effect" and
"CO2-levels". Obviously, these issues have to be brought to the governments,
international organizations and the public. The real cause behind it though, is greed,
together with its consequences: over-production and over-consumption.
Q. Putting the emphasis elsewhere.
A. It would be very fruitful
for everybody, involved in environmental action, to realize, that "the
environment" has deep spiritual roots. The essence can be phrased as "to have is
the inability to Be". Because we have lost contact with the Source, we looked for
compensatory satisfaction in "having". However, "having" doesn't
satisfy our longing for "Being", hence "having" becoming an obsession.
It is our collective self-addiction, that is destroying the earth. Hence, the spiritual
approach is essential.
Q. Which is hardly recognized by the
"official" organizations, right now.
A. Of course, environmental
organizations are aware of the pattern of behavior, that contributes to the destruction of
the environment. What they usually don't realize, though, is that these roots are
Q. Maybe they do, but consider this as a
A. Considering the seriousness
of the situation, no any approach should be left out. Neither should it be overlooked,
that the number of people interested in spirituality, is rapidly growing.
Q. What would you tell these and other people?
A. Like the environmental
organizations do, I first of all would lay emphasis on the seriousness of the situation.
This can be illustrated by the "big six": climate change, pollution, loss of
biodiversity, melting ice caps, desertification and destruction of the rainforests. The
alarming thing is, that these problems are all interlinked. Which means, that changes in
one system, may (dramatically) trigger changes in the other.
Q. Please, go on.
A. Secondly, I would emphasize
the advantages of an "ideology". Look, as it is now, all emphasis is laid on
environmental action, which obviously is indispensable. The dangers of limiting yourself
to them only, are a too symptomatic approach, lack of cohesion and being incorporated by
the "market economy" (the same economy, which destroys the environment...),
alienating yourself from the people. In order to cope with an increasing fragmentation, an
underlying philosophy could be of great support.
Q. Which inevitably has to go to the
depth of things.
A. Seeing the
interconnectedness of things is a major incentive for building insight, motivation and
empowerment. It is the essence of ecology, after all. The ideas about "Mother
Earth"* are based on it. It is here, that we may contribute. It consists of our
effort toward Transformation of Self and Society. The underlying principles, as you know,
include A New Spirituality, A New World View and A New Community.
* "Mother Earth" is a
"Daughter" of the Great Cosmic Mother. She is part of the latter's Material
Body: the universe.
Q. That is rather a mouthful. What would
be your strategy of winning people over to your plan?
A. First of all, people should
get an idea about the "true" nature of the crisis, seen from a spiritual point
of view. The fact, that our society is based on a collective self-addiction; that
accumulations on all levels of society, have exceeded critical limits; that the Cosmic
Vacuum is not tolerating these transgressions anymore; which is the (spiritual)
explanation of the worldwide disintegration of our current system. It is a movement from
the periphery to the Center. "Going with the flow" means, that you return to the
Source, in order to "die to the old", while becoming reborn as a New Self.
Q. Aren't you afraid, that quite some
environmentalists would consider this as a too "esoteric" approach?
A. If they are truly dedicated
to their cause, then they should realize, that every approach, that could contribute to
saving the earth is indispensable, even those approaches, that seem strange to them.
Q. Cooperation rather than turning away from
A. That this is inevitable, may
be illustrated by our second step. Once people have accepted the necessity of "dying
to the old" - letting go of self-centeredness, e.g. attachments to "having"
- then the logic of A New World View, as the vehicle for Regeneration, will be all too
self-evident. Patriarchal strategies, like profit, competition, exploitation and injustice
have to be replaced by "feminine" values, a.o. wholeness, interconnectedness,
inclusiveness, mutuality, cooperation and justice....
Q. Which indeed sounds fair enough.
A. Contrary to Western rational
approach, countless groups in the so-called Third World cherish, in some way or another,
similar approaches to life. Establishing relationships with them, is one of our
Q. Considering the complaints of environmental
organizations about the slothfulness of both governments, international organizations and
the public, with regard to taking up decisive action, I think the spiritual approach could
fill in the gap. It could work on the motivation of people.
A. We need "enlightened
action". This obviously, can only come "from within". What I hope is, that
my approach may ignite the inner fire in people. Once some forerunners stand up, inspiring
bigger groups of people, a breakthrough could be brought about. Our third step could be of
great value, in this regard. It is completing the first two. It consists of actually
terminating your individualistic and materialistic behavior, while fitting in into
"Heaven, earth and the (new) community, once again*. To support initiatives I offer
"Spiritual training for environmental leaders".
* See Index, click "The Great
Learning", click Step 1-7.
Q. Your varied abilities also include health
care. Could this also play a role with protecting the environment?
A. Absolutely. Already many
years ago, I launched the idea of supporting Third World groups - women, eco-agriculture,
communities - in their effort to improve the health of their members through our
"Flow System Therapy". In 1998 in Brazil, we had our first very successful
try-out. To our amazement, especially people from the favela's (the poorest of all),
received it with great enthusiasm. The advantage is, that if poor people start applying
principles of holistic health to their own communities, they will more easily understand
the necessity of protecting the wholeness of nature.
Q. Where could readers find some more
information about above mentioned?
A. Look into: www.vitalworld.org step 7; MatriTalks
67 also contains some information. Spiritual training for environmental leaders, see
"The Integral Way"
Furthermore: BBC "Planet under pressure"
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