By Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM)
(Transcribed from a live talk at the Florida Sustainable Living and Permaculture Conference, Plant City Florida, March 26, 2011)
Welcome! I am so happy that you all have come to share this Sustainable Living and Permaculture conference with us and explore what sustainability is. There is clearly a lot of passion in this group about what sustainability is and what a sustainable life means. I’ve been going around and talking to lots of beautiful people with really succinct, clear and dynamic visions about what they are trying to achieve in sustainable life style and creating a sustainable planet. These are big goals!
I am a licensed Pastoral Medical Doctor, a Doctor of Natural Medicine and naturopathic physician, oriental medical doctor, and a board-certified Vidya (Classical Indian Ayurvedic Physician). I am one of those Doc’s you think of when you hear about alternative medicine or complementary medicine physician. What you think of when you hear about wacky medicine that actually has conscience. I am one of those people and I’m proud to be one of those people. Most of my life is spent teaching alternative medicine, holistic health, yoga, and natural medicine. One of my many goals is to convey what it means to try and survive in this world as a healthy balanced person.
At first when I was brainstorming for this talk sustainable living I thought, “well maybe I can talk about 10 principles of health for sustainable living.” The more I thought about it the more I realized “well that’s just crap! I’m not going to be able to do that!” First of all, anybody who knows me knows that one thing I like to do is get behind the curtain and go behind the scenes to get to the real issues because I’m one of those crazy doctors that thinks that in order to balance and achieve optimal health we actually have to go to the origin of the symptoms of our dysfunction. The problem with that is that there are a lot of causes, and some of them are kind of big! There is such a thing as geopathic stress, there is such a thing as economic stress, there is such a thing as social stress, there is such a thing as ecological stress, interpersonal stress, toxins, poisons, bacteria, viruses, chemicals and especially radiation right now. Add to that mix of external stress the internal truth that we can be our own worst enemies. Whew!
All these things are contributing to whether or not you feel happy and well right now in this moment. How are we going to achieve that? Even more complex, how are we going to sustain it? Oh my god! That’s a complicated issue. But we have to start somewhere. I have taken some insight from some of the other presentations here and I may not be able to remember the individual names of the presenters because I was so tied up in the really beautiful messages that they speak. I want to always pay respect that I learn from other people, that’s basically how I got here. I’ve been fortunate to have really good role models for sustainable ideas about personal health, wellness and balance and that’s what I’m trying to perpetuate.
Our common survival is linked
So I am Dr. Anthony James and I live here. This is my home, this is my classroom and this is where I teach every day. I want to welcome you to share our space and to bring your energy and contributions on a personal level because I think one of the core concepts that we have to focus on in sustainability is that while we get caught up in the environment, we get caught up in ecology, we get caught up in the external landscape issues, the bottom line is that we are people and we are concerned with ourselves and each other. One of our primary motivations to try and find sustainable solutions to the questions that the world is giving us right now is so we can survive as humans, so we can survive as people! I think one of the most important ideas that we have for sustainability is that we keep reaching toward connectivity with each other and that we don’t let these issues separate us and cause us to fracture and to go off in our own little survival corners with our own little survival strategies. I think our survival as a species or as individuals is absolutely connected to us remaining connected to each other. No matter the kinds of strategies we’re working with, we’ve got to hang! Our survival is dependent on one another. No matter what else I say it’s always going to be in the context of community because the more research I do, the more I realize that I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving long term if you personally aren’t going to help me do it. It’s not going to happen! On many simultaneous levels I am completely dependent on my community for survival. No matter what our individual strategy of sustainability we have to keep bringing it back to our family, to our friends, to our community, which are all flesh and blood people. You know, “you prick at them, they doth bleed” kind of thing, that’s the core of it right there.
In this community I know we have some people in our midst that are hardcore sustainable educators and permaculture educators. But we also have a few people here who don’t really know what the word means. They’re not really sure- What is this sustainability thing? What does that even mean? I am going to start with that and then take my marching orders and try to get through as much of what I have to talk to you about as possible. I know you’re probably not going to remember anything other than the “hello,” however, I also believe that there is such a thing as the Akashic record. I also believe that the ‘stress adaptive human biological transformational machine’ that is sitting in the chair has an absolute perfect ability to mimic, record and adapt to external environments and circumstances. If in fact I can say anything at all that has substance and resonates with any core truth within you then you will have a perfect memory for it and at some point you will recollect it in context, although you may not remember where it came from and I’m OK with that.
What are the principles of sustainable living?
Whatever it take to live a long, healthy, and happy life while respecting and caring for the community of life in which we live.
–Working to improve the quality of our life, enabling human beings to realize their full potential for life expression. Building self-confidence and leading lives of dignity that are in and of themselves fulfilling.
-Living in such a way as not to be a burden by creating suffering for ourselves or others while seeking health education, a decent living, political freedom of expression, human rights, and freedom from violence. Sustainable means stepping away consciously from the origin cycle of the creation of suffering for ourselves and for others.
Some of you might recognize that last phrase. It is the last statement in the Metta Sutra Buddhist mantra that is considered to be the most perfect example of Bodhichitta or generating a perfect thought. An example of the most perfect thought a person can have in their head is, “May all beings be happy, may all beings be free from suffering.” Regardless of high, low or middle status, may they be free from suffering. The last sentence in the Metta Sutra says, “May I no longer participate in the origination cycle for the creation of suffering for myself and for other beings.” Essentially those are the principles of sustainable living!
We have the technologies, ideals and philosophies of sustainable living, but how do we get there? How do I no longer participate in the creation cycle of suffering for myself and for other beings, and then how do I explore, experience, and receive the effect of that philosophy? This is where we get into our green technologies. We get into to our democratic social imperatives, our holistic medical paradigms, and we get into our geologic viewpoint of “think global, act local.” These are technologies to actually implement the imperatives.
I am connected to the global paradigm of life
I know that I want to say no to pain, suffering, disorganization, disease, manipulation and coercive ideologies. How do I do that in real terms for myself, my family, my friends, my neighborhood, my community, my town, my county, my state, my country, my nation, my ocean, my sky, my world? How do I do that? Is there a way that I can be functional on all those hierarchies? I do believe that it is possible. Again, I’m another one of these holotropically and holographically minded people and I believe on some level that simultaneously within the context of my humanity and expression of physiology and my DNA that energetically physically, emotionally, and mentally I am connected to the global paradigm of life, I am part of the thin veil or film on the surface of mother earth that we call organic life. On some level, we all serve a function and we’re all interconnected in that way. There is a way to live within the framework of internal and external natural equilibriums and sustainability is the key. There is a way to conserve the earth’s vital resources and diversity while promoting our own for our selves, our friends and families, children and childrens children. As the Native Americans say, “we work for the life of seven generations.”
Not being sustainable is counter-intuitive to you own survival
The main reason to be sustainable is that it’s crazy not to be! It’s crazy! If you really understand what’s going on, it would be insane to not be. So, I don’t want to be crazy! It has been part of my path of life to move myself through whatever means was available towards a progression of sanity. I want to be more; I don’t want to be less. Not to be sustainable is counter-intuitive to your survival. Thoughts, actions and deeds that are counter-intuitive to your survival and those around you are freaking crazy! I don’t want to be crazy and that’s one reason I want to be sustainable.
Planetary die-off cycles of humanity?
Did anyone hear the lecture yesterday on paleo-human life here in the state of Florida? Did you hear the part about periodic human die-off? 12,000 years ago there was proliferation, anthropologically speaking there were millions of humans in our geographic region. Then they just kind of go away and there was a period of time where they weren’t here. Several thousand years later we start to see a continuation but it’s not too good. The technologies aren’t too good and it’s like they lost something. Then they kind of pick it up and they get going again and the arrowheads get a little sharper and a little more precise – and then, they go away for a couple thousand years! Then they come back again.
My understanding is that we are at the precipice of one of those cycles right now and we are arrogant to ignore that these cycles exists. They have been repeated several times in the last 12,000 or 15,000 years! We will be subject to the consequences if we ignore our external environment and internal environment. Anthropologists say that the disappearance and resurgence of the population is a result of conflict over harvesting of food and inappropriately harvesting of food that led to massive die offs. Spreading of disease without containment strategy also led to massive die-offs. Not understanding the impending doom by noticing the changing planetary conditions led to planetary die off.
Guess what folks? We have all of these things happening right now. The only difference between us and our paleo brothers and sisters is that we have the internet so we have more of a real-time communication network that allows us to address these issues a little bit faster whereas our paleo brothers and sisters were dependent on the “telephone game” to communicate this information. “The sky is falling! The glaciers are coming!” Then a couple of thousand miles away: “I heard something about…there is some guy with snow-cones coming?” “Well I don’t even like snow-cones, so screw that!” They were subject to that problem. We have the possibility of hope because we have a greater ability to communicate. It’s not necessarily technology, but the possibility of simultaneous global communication.
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Copyright© 2011, Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), SMOKH All rights reserved under International and Pan American copyright conventions. World rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Inquires should be addressed to: Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), SMOKH, 4715 Bruton Rd. Plant City, FL 33565 · http://www.ThaiYogaCenter.Com