Image courtesy of Gabriel of Urantia.
FEATURE - April 2017
The Strong Impact of Community Consciousness on Sustainability
by Gabriel of Urantia
I am glad that so many people across the country have been trying to start communities and grow organic food, but sustainable living is not just about goals of things to accomplish. Long-lasting and continually evolving sustainable living requires a shift in consciousness, a state of being. It is a total lifestyle—a way of thinking and doing that is not done in part.
Thirty years ago, I co-founded, with Niánn Emerson Chase, a vision of sustainable community living that turned into a reality. Now, we live with nearly 120 people from all over the world in a beautiful 220-acre Eco Village in southern Arizona. I want to share some of the reasons why more people should start communities like this and how they can succeed.
Independence from the system must begin in our mind, in our consciousness, which determines our decisions and actions. And we can’t do it alone. It’s going to have to be with a group of individuals, all working together to make this independence happen.
Buying land together may be the first physical step. Building “green” the second, but before you do either one, you should have many meetings together, deciding how to live in “green,” sustainable consciousness, because we are the permaculture—the new, permanent agriculture.
Perhaps the most important part of sustainable living is interpersonal sustainability. That requires efficient and effective conflict resolution, selflessness, and being more service-oriented. The values of communal living must be taught to adults and children so that there is a unifying goal of self-improvement as well as community improvement.
In the world of over-consumerism and self-serving values, people are always running around trying to be seen by the right people, buy the right thing, wear the right clothes, and go to the right event. This modern consciousness madness is so inbred in Western civilization today that many people miss one of the greatest things that they can do for humanity, and that is, slow down and give someone a smile or a kind hello, take time to really know another person. In true community life, there should be more quality time with another human being. It is easier to do that in a rural lifestyle where the pace is slower and people pay more attention to each other.
Many people have the consciousness of “bigger is better.” However, in forming a community, we carefully consider how much land to buy based on our ability to plant, maintain, harvest, and steward. All we may need is a few acres.
We also have to realize the necessity of good leadership. Using only consensus for making decisions, especially with more than six individuals, is usually counterproductive because everybody has his/her opinion of how things should be done and run. So, if we really want our community to survive and grow, we need leadership—a decision maker—because when people are locked in their opinions and do not agree, someone has to decide. A good leader values the opinions of others and seeks advice from others, but ultimately the leader has to make the decision.
Living in an intentional community helps us begin to realize that others are watching how we use water and other natural resources, and so our consciousness of personal responsibility begins to blossom more quickly in that social situation. You will find that in choosing to live in a community of people who want to become more sustainable in their lifestyles you become more aware of the natural elements and how precious they are for our survival.
In community living, we need to get away from the consciousness of just looking out for our own biological family, because the whole community becomes our extended family. I coined the saying, “My child is your child, and your child is mine,” for we not only share material things, we share the care and upbringing of children so that the burden of parenting is lightened.
In my community, no one owns anything except private clothing and heirlooms; everything else is shared. That’s sustainable because we don’t have to run out and buy everything. Someone in the community probably has it already.
Many people in community find that their creative abilities begin to come out, and they begin to develop a more creative consciousness. Individuals have time cultivate ideas and to try to create more energy-efficient systems and machines. Some may even be able to develop free-energy devices.
In community, we pay the bills as a group, and the every-day-living bills are decreased because we are sharing more and consuming less. In my experience, many of the mental burdens of being in survival mode are lifted when we join others to create a better quality of life together that benefits even others outside of our community—as well as the land we live on.
Consciousness in humans does indeed have cause-and-effect ramifications, a domino cascade of short-term and long-term impacts in every area of human and natural life. Is our consciousness part of the perpetration of the rapidly unraveling web of life on Earth, or are we moving into a consciousness of sustainability that contributes to the correcting and healing of people and planet?
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Gabriel of Urantia is one of the most unique and distinct spiritual leaders and authors of our time. His work provides wisdom, cosmic absolutes, and answers to the questions of the seeking soul.
Gabriel is the co-founder of Global Community Communications Alliance in southern Arizona, a multifaceted global change nonprofit, comprised of about 120 change agents from five continents on 220 pristine acres called Avalon Organic Gardens and EcoVillage. His life-long devotion to God and service to humankind has led him through many levels of spiritual growth resulting in his founding innovative and highly successful programs for helping others to ascend spiritually so they can heal and prosper as ascending souls of God. http://gabrielofurantia.org/