SHIFT – verb: change, alter, adjust, vary; modify, revise, reverse, retract; do a U-turn.
ETHOS – noun: the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations
“From amoeba to elephant, all creatures nourish the ecology of the planet. Only us humans destroy the Earth and we think we’re brilliant.”
– Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev – Founder of the ISHA FOUNDATION
SHIFT ETHOS is an organization hoping to bring about a desperately needed shift and elevation in human consciousness, promoting not only “inner well-being” but the well-being and sustainability of the beautiful planet we leave as an inheritance for future generations.
It’s unfortunate, but most of us understand far more about our iPhones than we understand about ourselves, our connection to one another, and our profoundly intimate connection and dependence on the planet that provides for us. There’s definitely a price we each pay for living in today’s fast-paced society. We prioritize just about everything over taking time to explore the inner dimension of ourselves and our intimate ties to Mother Earth. Our focus is completely outbound.
Coming into the world as a blank slate, everything we believe is a product of indoctrination. We’ve been taught how to see the world and our perceived place in it.
Because we have not been encouraged to invest time and energy, nor given the tools or the resources to explore the inner, intangible aspects of a much deeper dimension of ourselves, it can be a difficult undertaking to shed the ideological and prescribed beliefs we’ve been proselytized with since childhood and see reality for what it really is. I can promise you, it is something far more wondrous than most realize.
Humanity, especially in first world countries, lives in a commercialized, largely illusory reality that can only appeal to and meet our needs at the most superficial level of the egoic mind, preventing us from finding answers to our deepest questions and preventing us from ever connecting with a much deeper and far more relevant aspect of ourselves.
Today, immersed in an overwhelming sea of technology, conveniences, and endless avenues of entertainment, we live in a state of extreme physical contentment and yet suffer from tremendous distress and discontentment within. This is because society works against the individual by programming the individual out of the individual, keeping us centered around our careers and perpetually running from one obligation to the next. Living our lives at this level reduces us down to our mere functionality as a member of society. As a result, peace of mind and having a sense of relevancy is something that is very elusive for most of us. We see ourselves as separate, isolated, and often lost.
The fact that food, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol, are the three largest industries on Earth, reveals the current status of human consciousness and how its continued evolution is being subverted and undermined.
This is the rather predictable and sobering result of having neglected perhaps the most relevant part of who we are. We are not the body we temporarily reside in, nor are we the thoughts that endlessly plague us. We’re the awareness behind our thoughts and something far greater, with infinitely more depth and complexity than most of us are aware of.
SHIFT ETHOS is a website devoted to creating awareness about environmental issues, teaching environmental sustainability, and about heightening consciousness through the Yogic traditions of the past that served as a tremendous guidepost and prescription for discord and the disconnection society so inherently breeds in people, allowing those disciplined enough to pursue it to pierce the veil of reality and peer into a much deeper dimension of ourselves; the part of us that is “connected” to everything. One understanding this connection doesn’t need to be encouraged to be a mother to the Earth, nor do they require morals or ethics to guide their choices. The desire flows forth from us naturally.
“Spirituality,” not to be conflated with religion, is a term typically ascribed to that which lies beyond our five senses, or the hereafter. In reality, it’s really an exploration of what lies beyond our mind. Sadly, it has been marginalized by science, and because of religious charlatans who have turned the spiritual sciences into a ridiculous commercial enterprise, we’ve severed our connection to the only “real” reality that exists, our “Inner-Essence.”
Gautama the Buddha looked at what lies beyond the conscious mind in a more clinical, more scientific, more logical way than just about anyone else in human history. Because we live in a society that reveres science, spirituality really needs to be talked about as a science. It’s something that can only be introduced to us at the level of our logic. But, science is a very limited way to try and understand life because science only observes the circumference of everything it investigates, never getting to the essence of anything. This is why most “spiritual” writings of the past have always been presented as poetry.
To bring relevancy to this pursuit, Patanjali and Gautama the Buddha, expressed their investigations of the mind in the form of sutras, which means detailed formulas. So their teachings were basically a bunch of well-defined instructions. They made their explorations of the spiritual dimension into a science just like the physical sciences. They said, “if you quiet the mind, use it like this, you breathe like this, you do this, this, and this, this is what will happen to you.”
In applying the wealth of knowledge and yogic practices they left us with, we see life in a much different capacity, accessing higher and higher levels of consciousness. Life experienced only at the level of our 5 senses is like viewing it through a keyhole….We are surrounded by countless frequencies and energies that lie beyond our five senses. Learning to sense them requires a discipline of learning the practice of tuning our dormant senses to them. When we do so, we see that Life is about involvement and inclusion, not exclusion, not us vs them, not us against nature. Only unity, only oneness, which is what the word yoga actually translates to.
Unfortunately, because of our conditioning, that has taught us that life is always acting upon us in fairly unpredictable ways, most of us are more engaged in an endless dialogue taking place in our heads, trying to make sense of everything, than we are with LIFE itself. As a result, we’ve created a very ego-centric, human-centric society, one that not only is destroying our own internal well-being but the well-being of the planet itself.
Today, the wealthiest, largest, most powerful, and most influential institution on Earth is business and industry. Our current worldwide economic model is one that is predicated on our cannibalizing the very planet that provides for us, in the race to constantly bring new and innovative products to market and gain market share. The ecological footprint or ecological deficit created by industry failing to manufacture and recycle in ways that would sustain the environment and the Earth’s life support systems is rarely considered. As a result, corporations and industry have become an instrument of destruction to the natural world, eventually impoverishing all of us with this methodology of doing business, since manufacturing and industrial practices are not only depleting resources like ocean fisheries, rainforests, and soil health, but what is taken from the natural world is not replaced or easily replenished.
Today we are seeing the largest species die off in 65 million years. Every day approximately 20 more species go extinct as a result of our destruction of their habitats. In the last 150 years, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, mankind has brought about the extinction of 54% of the world’s animal species and has removed 67% of the world’s forests. In a world where we are adding 217,000 people to the planet every single day, one does not need to be a mathematician to figure out the way we are living on the planet is not sustainable.
It’s fascinating when one considers the juxtaposed and incongruent beliefs we hold as a society that becomes very evident when one realizes that we simultaneously live in two completely different and very dichotomous worlds that are currently completely at odds with one another.
One, is the natural world that provides for us at the biological level of our physiological needs by providing us with oxygen to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink. The other world is the world of commerce and economics, which involves utilizing the planet’s resources to bring products to market for consumption by consumers.
Driving commerce is the exchange of currency which demands that each individual participating in the system, earns money in exchange for their time. And therein lies the issue. TIME. Who has time to worry about environmental issues?
This singular focus on “earning a living” to make money, has caused our focus to move away from a sense of community where a sense of cooperation was revered, to becoming very competitive, egocentric, self-serving society made up of individuals looking to protect their our own self-interests, with very little time to concern ourselves with others that lie outside of our immediate family or group of friends. As a result, we develop a very myopic and limited perspective of the world around us and sadly, our impact on it.
Society’s concern with respect to our destruction of the natural world is negligible at best primarily because it’s hidden from us. It’s not spoken about nor does it receive media coverage, because there’s no profitability in sustainability, only consumption which necessitates the continual need for more “production.” In a world where we are provided with a never-ending stream of distractions to divert our attention and awareness away from our impact on the natural world, we’re immersed in a reality that only dimly reflects the “real” state of the world we’re living in. We’ve learned to accept the “status quo” while continuing to conduct “business as usual.” Retail therapy, sports, and media entertainment have become the opiates of our time, anesthetizing us from the harsh reality of how much the Earth is in decline.
Despite the fact that environmental concepts such as “sustainability” are slowly starting to filter into the mainstream vernacular, society’s current level of understanding, regarding our impact on the ecosystems that we draw from to feed our economy, is lacking tremendously. Our current economic model, driven by the pressures of a global marketplace, perpetuate the well documented and stupefying decline and destruction of the natural world along with the disappearance of those species inhabiting the various ecosystems that are being destroyed.
Understanding the “ecology of commerce” and our role in preserving the planet, as opposed to an unaccountable, narrow focus on our personal advancement and the gains on Wall Street, is paramount in preserving the planet for future generations to inherit. Our current business model is not sustainable, ecologically or economically.
SHIFT ETHOS represents a movement advocating, a deeper understanding of ourselves, our connection to the Earth, better individual, better business, and better industrial practices that promote the sustainability of the Earth’s life support systems, the protection of all species that we share the planet with, and abandoning industry’s pervasive destruction of the planet.
In addition, we hope to dissolve the identification with labels that serve only to separate us, and shift from individualism and self-aggrandizing interests, back to those traits that made us the most successful species on the planet . . . cooperation, love, and empathy for one another. Despite popular belief, where we on a very superficial level associate ourselves with labels of religion, politics, nationalities, race, color, etc., there’s only one race, the Human Race, and “we’re all in it together.”
“Love and Light to all on your path of discovery in the journey we are taking together in this three-dimensional classroom called LIFE.”
All the Best,