In a sustainable developmental environment, spirituality is the ‘Nursing Mother’. It is the principal component required to foster those preliminary stages needed for humankind to start progressive strides to achieve sufficient maturation.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has made a lauded effort to advance the state of sustainability through its 17 Goals to Transform Our World.
‘The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries—poor, rich, and middle-income—to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. More important than ever, the goals provide a critical framework for COVID-19 recovery.’
However, as with a similar discourse on ways to achieve sustainable development, recommendations and programs focus on material achievement. There is brief discussion of the realities of humankind’s existence in view of those basic commonalities and spiritual qualities that form the basis of the human condition. We can use these as primary motivators for those assigned to the task: the professionals, lay-persons, leaders, stakeholders, and members of local communities that bear the burden for success or failure of a sustainable enterprise.
This is where intervention of human commonalities and spiritual principles takes place to convey understanding of the true nature of human experience combined with a specified attitude toward achieving sustainability. We stress the need for recognizing, developing, and galvanizing those innate human commonalities that define humanity as one unique species and binds its diversity as a complete operative experience, a resource with infinite capacity to resolve all challenges and advance its wellbeing.
Some active principles include:
Acceptance. Agreement with or belief in the processes associated with sustainability;
Gratitude. Based on reciprocity. Shows passion to serve as a key component to advance human endeavour;
Open-mindedness. The willingness to consider new ideas, to search for evidence against one’s favored belief-systems, plans, or goals, to be without prejudice, and the ability to weigh the evidence without prejudice when it is available;
Patience. See through the lens of others to evaluate points of tension, listen and ask questions with a positive attitude, seek perspective from a trusted resource, and don’t turn away from responsibility;
Humility. Facilitates learning and self-development by being open to helping yourself and others to open to new paradigms, acknowledge personal limitations and mistakes, ask for advice, and accept failures but work to improve outcomes;
Integrity. The quality of honesty and having strong moral principles is necessary for achieving sustainable undertakings. It’s a quality that supersede older development initiatives;
Faith. The core of who we are and having complete trust or confidence in the plans and actions taken to achieve sustainable outcomes. Its unconditional dedication to serve humanity by working for lasting positive change for the entire global community.
These core principles are derivative of spirituality, the chief intervention, and humanity’s innate core commonality. It is the driving force that defines and connects all of humanity, it occupies a non-material dimension that’s in complete harmony with the universe, denotes purity, does not seek identity in falsehoods but lays foundation to undercut the divisiveness that characterizes societal extremes.
Spirituality is bigger than ourselves. It involves a search for meaning in life. It is a unique and universal experience that touches all humanity through a transcendent interconnectedness.
Some people link their spiritual life is through their association with a particular religion, church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or other religious institutions. Others may seek meaning through their connections to nature or various forms of art. In this way they find a sense of purpose in a self-defined spirituality that may change habits by adapting their experiences and relationships. Our point is that spirituality is an innate core of the individual that establishes human identity. It is the source of consciousness, defines humanity’s oneness, and provides for unlimited human creativity. Spirituality is not contingent upon just a religious experience but is a grantor of human nature.
We must rewire our thinking to gain a unique perspective, a new reality, one based on understanding the true nature of sustainable undertakings and how we can accomplish them. It will require a holistic approach to sustainable development that integrates structural-organizational development strategy with human commonalities in societal frameworks imbued with spiritual principles, social realities, concepts, and strategies to plan and devise goals that guarantee sustainable outcomes.
We emphasize the human factors that contribute or hinder the goals of sustainable development. They include behavioral strategies, collaborative undertakings, and cooperative procedures between and among the various stakeholders, lay-peoples, and local community strategists.
Spiritual intervention as an approach to achieve sustainable development involves finding meaning and purpose in procedures that will guarantee lasting results. Spiritual interventions may include meaning-focused collaborative activities to galvanize activities based on human commonalities. Individuals and/or communities may become involved in meditation or religious-focused activities such as prayer, worship, and religious rituals.
We understand the need for tradition, cultural, and religious expression to accomplish particular objectives. However, to achieve sustainable outcomes, individuals and communities must work together but also reframe from making any attempt to indoctrinate those having a different belief-system into a particular social or religious order. If this happened it would relinquish respect for diversity-inclusiveness, negate the bases for sustainable accomplishment, mock the trial of spiritual intervention, and highlight a lack of mature understanding of the true nature of the development process. Deep anxiety and depression, loss of hope, and weakened human will follow a series of setbacks.
Stated in logical terms, based on the aforementioned criteria, our primary goal is to define, and sometimes redefine sustainable objectives. We base this on a much needed holistic approach to sustainable endeavor characterized by core human commonalities. The innate spiritual nature of humanity is the primary resource needed to achieve systematic and sustainable outcomes over extended time-horizons.