… Do You live a Whole Life or do you have a Hole in your Life?
There are three important components of the sustainable life:
1. Structure to life
2. Social Network to life
3. Spirituality to life
A Sustainable Life has the ability to be continually renewed and maintained everyday. Each of these components act like legs on a tripod which sit on large rock near the ocean. When the storms and waves of life of life come, if the legs are strong, the waves will go over you but you will sit firmly on the rock of life. If one of the legs is weak, the tripod of your life will fall over in what you could call an Unsustainable Life.
Structure to life: Gives order, direction, aims and achievable objectives i.e. overall purpose. This component has to do with our body and the fact that we have a mass weight. If we do not structure in our life, it is a bit like having a body without bones. We would never get off the ground.
Social Network to life: The people around us: the synergistic effect … multiplication and complementary effect of effort: Family & friends, Clubs and Organisations, Associations, Churches, General Community, Work Colleagues. This component has to do with our emotions, our will and our mind and sharing these with other people.
Spirituality to life: Is the inner room of your life ….. Answers such questions as: Who are we as people?, What is the meaning of life?, Am I significant?, What values should I live by?, Gives identity and destiny.
As I have a Christian Spirituality, the rock of life is God and his surety of life. Such a spirituality is central to my restoration in the last twenty years from a very severe brain injury. It is a very wholistic view on the whole of life of Inner, Middle and Outer Persons (Spirit, Soul and Body).
Inherent in this framework is an understanding of our uniqueness as a created being, sustained by a loving Creator. This is in contrast to seeing all of life as being hereby chance and evolution. It is interesting to see what the late Sir Fred Hoyle one of Britain’s best-known mathematicians and astronomers in the last half of the 20th century said:
‘The notion that not only the bio-polymer but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.’
Hoyle originated the famous illustration comparing the random emergence of even the simplest cell to the likelihood that ‘a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.’ Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of amino acids to a solar system full of blind men solving the Rubik’s Cube simultaneously—see Rubik’s Cube and Blind Men. Some more problems with evolutionary ‘origin-of-life’ scenarios can be found in our Q&A pages under Origin of Life and Probability.
With this view on life, life is here by blind chance. This is the opposite view on life where life is here by a personal presence behind the universe. There is a infinite – personal God behind the universe. This infinite – personal God comes to us to build a relationship with us. It isn’t an infinite – impersonal energy force that you tap into.
Spirituality is implicit (inwardly self evident and undefined). It refers to how an individual lives meaningfully with the ultimate questions of life, his or her response to the deepest truths of the universe as he or she apprehends these. It answers such queries as:
- Who are we as a people?
- What is the meaning of life?
- What values should I live by?
Spirituality brings a sense of identity and when you have sense of identity, you then have a destiny or purpose in life. People who have no identity have no sense of purpose in life. They are continually looking for identity in other people. This way leads to very dysfunctional way of life. This paper looks at our sense of identity in further sections.
On the other hand, Religion is the antithesis of spirituality. It is explicit (outwardly evident and defined) and is marked by four things: a cult, creed, code (ethics) and community (which is more inward looking). It ends up being very law-centred …. Focusing on precise ways of living life ….. ends up with very defined expectations and precise programs.
We are also like the vacuum cleaner ….. nothing really happens in our life until we are plugged into the vertical Universal Power Source which is God.
My Personal Experience with Sustainability:
My experience with sustainability initially began when I ran a small landscape design and construction company for 20 years from 1975 to December 1995, the year my severe brain injury. I did very creative, individual designer gardens for wealthy residential clients. I was more an artistic sort of person, a lateral thinker ….. more artist than businessman. I was very concerned with sustainability in a gardening and agriculture sense ….. can certain practices be maintained? ….. is what you doing now, preparing the way ahead for new life? ….. is this garden going to survive twenty years?
I thought of a landscape as would a sculptor in a solid medium, but I saw it as a three dimensional piece of space which people walked through. This space changed with time as it grew and changed with the time of day: shadows vs. sun patterns, boulders, colour, plants, trees, earth-forms, solid structures and water. These were the ingredients in a subtle flow of landscape design and construction. Rather an intangible product to sell and run a business with!! Out of this stage I built a structure for my life: my marriage with Harriet, business and the house plus we had a family.
In 1981, we built a unique natural house which people often come out to see. This is on our five acres of light open eucalypt bush at Chambers Flat, Brisbane. The house is largely of glass set into a post and lintel construction of 100-year old broadaxed timbers and sandstone walls. The total concept of indoor-outdoor flow, has a nice ambience to it and the design is unique and lends itself well to future development.
Harriet and I are into simplicity and recycling. We live in this amazing house built out of rejected materials for minimal in 1981 (34 years ago from 2015). See the house and garden on my personal experiences website:
Our house at Chambers Flat
I went from being:
- Outer Physical Gardener (Outer Sustainability) >>>>>>>>>>>.
- Inner Life Gardener (Inner Sustainability)
- Outer Physical Gardener (Outer Sustainability): In a gardening and agriculture sense ….. can certain practices be maintained….. is what you doing now preparing the way ahead for new life? It was a very difficult business in which to make money, mainly due to the very non-standard and the seasonal nature of the work. My former life was not sustainable ….. my creativity in my business couldn’t be standardised vs. a successful business needs to be like a biscuit cutter …. Making a few $$ off large numbers of components.
This side of the accident since I was in hospital unintentionally from 8th December 1996 to now, I have really discovered people in a big way. I have really come to value people, no matter who they are, what they do or say. I have developed a passion to build inner community with many people around the world especially by e-mail. As I am on a permanently paid holiday through my life-long Income Protection, I have time to spend with people in a way I never could do in my busy business.
- Inner Sustainability: In an ongoing personal sense …. Can your life be maintained to? ….. is what you doing now preparing the way ahead for new life? I have also discovered the significance of the Inner and Outer Life. Sustainability I have come to see, has to be a wholistic view on life of Inner, Middle and Outer Persons. Problems come because things do not change from the Outside to Inside but from the Inside to the Outside.
Inner and Outer Life:
Everyone of us has a private space in our lives that we carefully guard. I call it ‘The Garden of Life’. A garden is a personal space you can go out into and to enjoy the peace, the cool air, the shadows of trees, the sun shining with translucent light through tree leaves and palm fronds, the perfume of beautiful blossoms.
No one else comes there except yourself and your family. Even friends do not just drop in. They are invited out there with you after you have let them into your house. Strangers who come are intruders and will be dwelt with by the police.
It is the same with relationships. You have to enter someone’s inner life with their consent. You do this by placing great value on the person and listening intently to what they say, as though it is absolutely important. By listening intently (consciously in a rational way and unconsciously with your intuition), you are as it were gently knocking on the door of their inner house. If that person trusts you, they will then invite you into the garden of their life. Then you can talk gently back and forth and then you have established a relationship with them. They will open their door of their inner life at a later time if you knock. To keep that process going is a Sustainable Relationship. If I act suspiciously or try and crash the door with a sledge hammer, I will not be let in. That is what I call an Unsustainable Relationship.
The Sustainable Life:
Life is like a tree with roots and fruits whereby Person – Family – Community – Universe are related in a wholistic way.