Approaching the Age of Maturity and Spiritual Civilization, Part 1

Exploring the framework for a “Balanced Development” model

 

Ramses Rashidi

©2008 Center for Balanced Development  (www.cbdus.org)

 

 

In the last article we talked briefly about the advent of the spiritual era and humanity’s coming of age. Here, we are going to examine some of the signs and features of the age of maturity and the approaching spiritual civilization.

 

 

Human relations

 

The foundation and the key element of social maturity is harmonious human relations. It’s here that we need to invest heavily to create unity within the family, among friends, with our neighbors and within the global community. This spiritual behavior is rooted in the understanding that the global body of humanity and the economy can function at their optimum when each member cell contributes fully and unconditionally to the well-being of the whole. Meanwhile the cell itself becomes the recipient of the kind of vitality and balance that this approach is capable of producing. It’s interesting to note that we see this concept working, through the law of attraction, at all levels of creation. We see it working in rocks, natural elements, vegetation and animals. Surely, human beings, as the pinnacle of creation, are capable of reaching this level of sophistication in relation to each other.

 

In search of a transition mechanism to reach this higher dimension of understanding and maturity, we reflect on individualism and ponder the prevailing emphasis on self. We consider the possibility that, at any given point in the process of our mental and physical development, there is an aspect of our reality that we don’t know about and we don’t understand.  Let’s call it the unknowable essence of man. This unknowable essence can be observed in the world of creation and can be viewed as our higher nature. It’s the source of perfection and as we try to get close to it, we take on the characteristics of a virtuous being. Meanwhile we are aware that we will never reach an absolute state of perfection and that our reality is relative to time and space. This realization and implied acceptance is bound to create a feeling of humility within us which in turn will make it possible to strive for higher levels of maturity and intelligence as we act upon our capacity to create more unity and harmony in every aspect of our lives.

 

Undoubtedly, we are destined to reach the stage of social and economic integration at some point in the not too distant future, as the forces of disintegration are hard at work around the globe and therefore expediting the search for balance in the development process. It’s nature’s balancing act. Conflict, contention, estrangement, apathy and lack of compassion are pushing us towards a major breakdown in the basic functions of our global community. Public institutions, private enterprises, groups and individuals are pulling in different directions depending on their social, economic and personal orientation. This fragmentation has placed tremendous pressure on our lives. Whether we live in a large city or in some remote village, we cannot escape the effects of the social breakdown, over-exploitation of our natural resources and the accompanying stress of simply “making a living”.

 

Please note that when we talk about the framework of a balanced development model it is not just a philosophical debate. We realize that we are in desperate need for direction. We also realize that we need to have an objective assessment of the current state of affairs. It’s time to start looking at the root cause of what has brought us to this point. It’s time to look for a new perspective.....

 

The concept of harmonious human relations, as discussed earlier, has unlimited applications and numerous implications. Here, we are going to further examine some of the critical and indispensible elements of this concept to build a framework for further research and planning.

 

 

Education and Human Potential

 

Here, let’s examine the need for an integrated education model as yet another key element in our efforts to reach social maturity. In order to create balance in the development process, we need to carefully look at the underlying assumptions and mindset that is the result of education and what we teach our children. Furthermore, we have to start exploring the missing ingredients of the current education model by reflecting on our vision of a harmonious society.

 

First and foremost, we need to incorporate the spiritual education of children at all levels. This requires a commitment by the parents, teachers and society to set an example for children by behaving in the same way that we expect them to behave. If we promote irresponsibility and conflict through our behavior in our daily interactions or through media and entertainment, then we should not be surprised if children would emulate and portray those values. Spiritual education is also more than just virtuous behavior. It’s about developing skills in relating to others as well as actively identifying and serving the needs of society. This means being aware of our families, friends, neighbors and the global community. It means being sensitive, in the same way that every cell of our body would be, to an injured cell.

 

As a next step in the process of integrated education, we must foster and nurture the full expression of human potential. Each human being is created noble with unique talents, attributes and traits. By exposing children to a variety of disciplines and experiences at an early stage, we allow them to resonate with that which is part of their innate character. It’s interesting how the internet is changing the way the education process functions by providing a sea of information from which children can choose. However, identifying children’s special talents requires systematic and scientific observations as well as social contact. In this process, the teachers and educators can provide guidance in developing children’s skills in their fields of interest and expand the scope of their knowledge and experience in an intensifying fashion. So, by the time they reach 15 or 16 they are already utilizing their unique capacities and skills at a global level.

 

Obviously, in order to establish an effective integrated system of education, we need human and material resources. In this light, the participation of parents and teachers is a must. But just as important is the participation of society at large. In other words, the education of children is the responsibility of the whole society. This can happen in the form of sharing our way of life, know-how and experiences with children in as little as a few hours per month. This approach allows children to learn from a variety of practical and real-life sources and it takes the pressure off of parents and teachers. It also helps children to identify their own talents based on what they observe at an early age rather than to wait till they enter college.

In terms of the material resources needed to implement the integrated education model and making it available to all, the government and public institutions that serve society are clearly in the position of responsibility. It’s imperative that the necessary funding to be provided to make sure that all children have equal opportunity to reach their potential. It’s important to realize that our children, in effect, are the backbone of economy and not the gold standard. A community shall experience balance, well-being and prosperity to the extent that it provides for the education of its children.  

 

 

In the next article (part 2) we’ll examine the concept of work, harmony among industries, ecology and human health as contributing factors towards a balanced development model.

 

 

Ramses Rashidi  (ramses@cbdus.org) is the founder and director of Center for Balanced Development.

The center is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and services that foster global balance in social, personal, ecological and economic development.