Sustainable Living

One evening my daughter who just completed her degree in textile design was telling me about sustainable practices in the textile industry that she was pitching for a film series. It set my thoughts rolling on how we can bring sustainability in all walks of our life. The thought excited me so much that I could take it up as a project for the rest of my life!

Another evening she told me that we need to do something at the community level to make people aware of sustainable living. That very evening I saw in my building WhatsApp group that we need to conserve water given the current situation.

This was a great opportunity to also talk about sustainable living like my daughter was suggesting. So here are a few points that we discussed in the meeting that happened the very next day!

What is sustainability?

Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
“the pursuit of global environmental sustainability”

Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

It has three main pillars:

economic,
environmental,
social.
These three pillars are informally referred to as people, planet and profits

Sustainable living requires a paradigm shift. It requires us to form new habits. It requires us to come out of our comfort zones. It requires us to not just think about our and our family’s convenience, but to think about what is good for the larger community and the planet. Its requires a change in consciousness.

Why is sustainable living important today? Why should we care?

http://www.greenewit.com/inmedia/blog/why-it-is-important-to-live-sustainably.html

Let us set an intention to live a sustainable life and set an example for our larger community.
How can we bring sustainability in our everyday lives?

1. Reduce waste. Read up the zero waste movement. On how we can reduce waste disposal in our homes. Its great that we are already practicing segregation and composting in our society even if there room for further improvement.
One example is to switch to menstrual cups. No more disposing pads and adding to landfills.
https://www.nykaa.com/personal-care/feminine-hygiene/menstrual-cups/c/9475?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkeHavtuQ4wIV0worCh1hjQ9JEAAYAiAAEgJQtvD_BwE&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMIkeHavtuQ4wIV0worCh1hjQ9JEAAYAiAAEgJQtvD_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!599!3!282173849468!b!!g!!&utm_source=GooglePaid&utm_medium=Search&utm_campaign=DSA_Main

2. Recycle and reuse: As far as possible do not throw stuff.
Clothes, shoes and some other household articles can be repaired, reused or upcycled. There are facebook pages to sell gently used or pre-loved items and clothes!

One need not be ashamed to use and buy used things anymore! If its going to save the planet why not!!!

We can conduct a workshops for children and youngsters on how to make simple repairs on clothes like hemming, sewing, sewing buttons and button holes.

3. Avoid plastic products- for example, plastic tooth brushes take 400 years to decompose.

Avoid wrapping gifts with shiny plastic gift covers. It will anyway go to landfill. Instead get children to draw on white paper or paper bags!

One can buy bamboo tooth brushes, straws, pens, ear buds, etc instead from here or other sites: https://www.bambooindia.in/

4. Use biodegradable products:
Bamboo fibre sanitary pads
https://www.heydaycare.com/

Use bamboo fibre napkins

https://letsbeco.com/shop/beco-sustainable-bamboo-serving-napkins-25-pieces/

Use baby diapers only when you go out or when its unavoidable once in a while. Use biodegradable bamboo nappies: https://wonderhood.in/collections/bambo-nature-premium-diapers-buy-online/products/bambo-nature-premature-size-0
Let’s go back to the exemplary Indian toilet training practices. At home only use washable cloth nappies.

5. Stop buying more. Let’s go back to buying new clothes just twice a year. Once on your birthday and one for your special festival….like old times when new clothes were really special.
Encourage fair trade, Slow fashion and handloom.
Let’s encourage crafts made by hand. Industries indulge in sweatshops with unfair practices and underpay and use child labour.
Slow fashion where we can buy handloom material and get it stitched is good for everyone even if it costs more- at least those of us who can afford it.

Let’s learn more about minimalism.

6. Go back to pre industrial practices. Speak to older generation on how they did things in their time.
Let’s see if we can buy groceries in loose and avoid plastic packaging materials.

7. Go vegan. Plant based food takes up lot less resources than animal based food including dairy.
https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/why-go-vegan
Contact me for vegan alternatives.

8. Use natural products like Reetha, shikakai, methi for hair wash, stuff from the kitchen for facials and scrubs like fruits and lentils. Let’s avoid products that come in plastic bottles and those that contain harmful chemicals although they may seem enticing.

These do come in plastic bottles but are completely chemical free: http://bubblenutwash.com/

9. Encourage small home businesses for buying various products. For example I buy shampoo bars and dishwasher soaps from my friend who makes them at home and the products are great!
https://m.facebook.com/fatimashaikh2229/

10. Let us go organic and encourage organic farmers. Let’s buy directly from them. As more and more of us demand pesticide and chemical free food, the cost will reduce as production goes up.
Let us avoid giving our children processed food as far as possible and give them homemade food.

11. Let’s conserve limited resources such as fuel, water and electricity. Let’s cut down on using ACs at home. Let’s patiently educate our domestic help to conserve water. Let’s spread awareness on rainwater harvesting.
Let’s walk instead of driving wherever possible.
I heard of an 80 year old lady, a scientist who has been living without electricity for the past 60 years!!
Did you know Solar panels are available for home use!?
https://www.amazon.in/Belifal-Lighting-System-20Watts-Battery/dp/B01DPBSE9Y?tag=googinhydr18418-21

12. Let us be vigilant when it comes to children’s gadget use. Let us encourage them to play outside more. We’re lucky that our kids have that possibility.
Let’s teach our children to live and consume responsibly by example.

These are some of the things we can do every day in our homes. Most, if not all of the links are of products I use. Some I found just now!
I’m not sponsored by them. My intention is to give examples of such alternatives.
Let’s us indulge in conscious consumerism. Let’s preserve the planet for our children and grandchildren.
It’s now a very real and urgent problem that needs our heart and mind space.

Nirupama Rao

HEALING AUTISM THROUGH SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING

This article is a work in progress. It has been so since the past 4-5 years that I have written it and will continue to be so as long as I keep learning and evolving. Expansion of awareness and consciousness is happening at breakneck speed today. So if I think I’ll have to edit it before I publish it, this article will never see the light of day.

So here it is! Healing autism as I experience it….

HEALING AUTISM THROUGH SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING
“We are not human beings in search of spirituality, we are spiritual beings in search of humanity”- Unknown
INTRODUCTION
My journey with Autism has been amazing and it gets more and more amazing as the days pass by…I wonder how much more I am going to learn through this amazing phenomenon of our times called ‘Autism’. When I started in ’94, the incidence of autism was one in 5000 births. Today it is one in 80 births. Staggering!

Autism cannot be treated or cured. For it is not an illness. It is a way of being. But yes, there are many issues and difficulties that are faced by children and adults with autism due to their special physical Constitution which can be healed. Once they are healed of these discomforts, they will still be autistic but more happily and magnificently so!! They can then shine in all their brilliance and can shine their light upon the world.

Until a few years ago, autism was for me, as it still is for many, a neuro-developmental condition with a genetic etiology. It is a biological condition. Yes- it probably is, but only at a physical level. Some may ask,”only physical? Is there more? I would say, “Yes, the physical aspect is just the tip of the iceberg. What is beyond the physical is all the rest of it.” This is not my quotation. This is what is said in the Vedas, The Gita, and the teachings of all the seers that have blessed this earth with their grace and presence.
The minute we are ready to acknowledge that there is more to reality than what can be perceived by our five senses, our spiritual growth begins. How would one explain the sixth sense, the intuition, telepathy, near death experiences, gut feelings, past life remembrances and all the rest of it? These are not scientific facts that can be proven in a laboratory. These are truths that need to be experienced. There’s no other way one can learn about the true reality. No matter how many lectures we attend or books we read, this knowledge becomes truly ours when we experience it. It may not come as sudden enlightenment, but it can come as little bursts of realization. For me, it has come through autism. For, I believe, that is the real purpose of this phenomenon of our modern era- to elevate humanity to a higher level.
THE ORIGIN AND HUMAN INCARNATION
This entire universe is made up of vibrations. What we think of as the source, the ultimate truth or what some of us like to call ’God’ is of the highest, lightest vibration. It is the vibration of love. It is all pervading. After that is the high vibrating pure souls with autism and also the intellectually challenged who are full of love and bliss. Followed by this are human beings who are in the realm of total unconditional love, compassion and oneness. After this comes the realm of nature, encompassing the amimal and plant world. The animals are again high vibrational beings that can bring great healing to the world as do so many plants and trees who are the perfect creations of God. Physical matter is of the lowest vibration in the natural world the densest, yet still posessing many high frequencies like the healing crystals. Right at the bottom are again us human beings who are vulnerable to negative energies in the form of negative thought patterns and feelings like fear, anger, doubt, anxiety, worry, stress, jealousy, envy, insecurity, etc. The human beings possess the entire range of vibrations. From the very dense and low vibration, to the very high. Because we are made up of everything that makes up nature! The essence of the mineral world, the life forces of the plant world and the soul forces of the animal world and we are the only creations of nature to experience the essence of the spirit. The same person can experience high and low vibrations based on his/her thought patterns. When we become aware and conscious, we have the capacity to raise our vibration to come as close to that of the autism vibration as we possibly can and experience the oneness which they are a part of.
Before we step into human existence, we are part of this high vibrational world that makes up everything. But the minute we are conceived, we are turned into matter. For a while into our new life as a human child, we are still a part of this high vibrational world where there is no concept of time and space. The ‘here and now’ is the only reality for our children. Until slowly, the process of separation begins- separation from the spirit, the source. This is where the ‘ego’ comes in. The concept of ‘I’ which is lacking in the animal world. This is what it is, that sets us apart from the animals.
This process of separation begins at about the age of three (which is decreasing these days) and continues till it separates completely at about the age of nine when children often experience an existential crisis of who they are and why they are here. Different children experience this in different ways, and if parents pay close enough attention, they can be sensitive to the emotional state of their children at this time. My daughter started voraciously reading about the life and teachings of ‘The Buddha’ at nine and became a complete vegetarian for the next three years! This was entirely her journey without any parental influence.
AUTISM- A VEDIC PERSPECTIVE
Coming back to autism, I have been working with children with autism since the year 1994, and have seen, as have many others that these children are gifted. They can perceive what most of us can’t. They are highly sensitive to the extent that is hard to imagine, and can hear what is a small sound for us, magnified a hundred times over. The same applies to all the physical senses, different for different children. But the part that is most distressing for these highly sensitive and vulnerable children is that, they are also able to perceive the thoughts and the emotions of the others around them! This is the worst suffering that anybody can go through, more so if what they sense is not positive.
This is because; these children are vibrating at a very high level- Much higher than the average human being. Yes, children with hyperactivity, learning disabilities, etc are also highly sensitive high vibrational beings, but are comparatively a little more grounded than the children on the autism spectrum.
To speak in the Vedic language, for a human being to take an incarnation on the earth, it is not sufficient if his physical body alone is here. We are made up of many aspects other than the physical; we also possess a mind, a soul and a spirit (ego/I). All of these need to incarnate along with the physical body. How that takes place, the order and the sequence is a subject on its own, but the point is that we are not just a physical body.
According to our Indian Vedic wisdom this process of separation after physical birth and the merging back again with the spirit after physical death is a cyclic process that continues many times over. Ancient scriptures talked about Advaita and Dvaita philosophy . Advaita is a state of connectedness or unity with the spirit and Dvaita is a state of ‘dualism’ or separation from the spirit. In our children with autism, physical incarnation happens but the spirit or the ego incarnation does not take place when and how it should. They are in a permanent state of Advaita. They are never separeated from ‘All That Is’. This makes them very highly connected high energy spiritual beings who are hyper sensitive and almost clairvoyant. They are aware and know everything that is going on around them. We may be saying something but thinking something else. They can see the discrepancy and this bothers them. It would bother us if we could hear what others are thinking about us wouldn’t it?
Just like there are various levels of evolution of the human beings, there are souls with autism at various levels of evolution. Some of them are advanced souls who are aware of who they are and about their own divinity. They have learnt to communicate divine messages to the world. They have recognized their true purpose on earth.
Many of these children are gifted. They already possess the knowledge and wisdom that it would take us lifetimes to acquire. Initially before the parents and these children themselves are aware of their truth and purpose, they display or demonstrate their knowledge and wisdom only in occasional bursts depending on the vibration in the environment !! Owing to their non-verbal nature, they are sadly misunderstood to be intellectually challenged. But when parents get a glimpse of their gifts, like precocious reading, memory and arithmetic skills it speaks of visible, tangible gifts on one side and their incapability to do simple and basic tasks like reading and writing, playung, socialising, etc., on the other they are often confused and perturbed about who this child really is and what they are really capable of!! They are not sure that little peek into their true being was real or was it our imagination as doting parents! But it is true.

Some of them can write with support even when never learnt to write the alphabet. We think they do not know letter-sound connections, but they write about profound philosophical matters. They look at a sum and write the answer directly without going through any steps! They also sometimes surprise the parents by reading their minds!! I have seen this happen in my own practice with these awesome children.
The intellect is intact. The spiritual wisdom is intact. But it is their physical body that does not help them to express who they really are. Their fingers can’t write, their lips can’t move….how do they express themselves and what they feel? It is the mind-body connect that is compromised.


HEALING AUTISM- HOW CAN WE HELP?
This is where we come in. We need to understand very, very deeply the true picture. Autism demands of us to evolve, to elevate ourselves towards where they are if we want to truly help them. They are here to change how we live and how we think. We are foolish to think that we can make them like us and expect them to fit into our systems. We now need to change our thinking and our systems so that we can accommodate the ever increasing number of these children. For this we need to understand who they are and what they need. We need to expand our awareness and consciousness.
There is a lot happening all around the world where people are beginning to see the true spiritual purpose of autism. We can see that the spirit of this child is not fully in the body. We need to help them come into their bodies. We need to help them to ground themselves. This grounding will help them to be less sensitive, to be more present in their bodies, in their surroundings, to make eye-contact, to probably hold mommy’s face and say, “mommy be happy” (this really happened). Once we help the body to be in equilibrium, then it is more ready to take on what the head or the heart tells it to do. The will increases. Some of them may even start writing, speaking, reading.
Almost all the symptoms of autism can be beautifully explained with this holistic spiritually based understanding. This perspective also gives us the true direction of the therapy that they really need. Some of the children who could communicate have asked for this kind of therapy, where they can be who they are; where there is music, art, movement and where nature is part of the learning process and where there is no hurry and desperation.
Let us look at a few examples of the symptoms and related therapy:
Toe walking and self-stimulatory behavior: The earth gives our physical body gravity. But the spirit gives us levity. It is this levity or buoyancy which makes us stand upright distinguishing us from the four legged animals. One can see that when ones ‘spirits’ (I or self) are low, one tends to slouch…we often hear people say that one is in ‘high spirits’ or ‘low spirits’ without really knowing why they say that!! As the spirit body of these children is not fully incarnated and the larger part of it is above them, it literally carries the child up with it and the child tends to toe walk.

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