Gathering of Religious Leaders in support of COP-15 (December 7th–13th)

Sister Jayanti is one of the 35 religious leaders who have been called together by an organization called the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW).

The theme of the gathering is Addressing Climate Change by Awakening to Oneness. BKWSU, Denmark was thanked, in all the literature and also at the opening plenary on Monday afternoon, for all the help that they have given as a local partner of this event.

This afternoon's session consisted of a welcome by long time friend, Dena Merriam. Dena is part of the Call of the Time network and has worked with the BKs on many occasions. Rev Joan Brown Campbell, Chair of GPIW, facilitated this session which consisted mostly of introductions, some shorter than others. The religious leaders were diverse and colorful in their robes and gave many interesting perspectives on spirituality and climate change and the task ahead of us. A few I will mention here:

Swamini Pramananda Saraswati, India, stated that she felt like this was a moment of celebration – an extraordinary moment. There was a lot of trust in the group and what would emerge would be from our hearts and not belong to one group or religion, but would be for the world.

Amazonian Indians, Benki da Silva Piaca and Moises Pinhanta Ashaninka, Amazonia, were magnificent visions dressed in their traditional costumes with feather headdresses. Benki is the son of the village chief and shaman, and Moises is his brother. They spoke of how everything was felt in the forests. They were concerned that the trees were not bearing fruits, and so what would be the outcome if this continued to happen? They were present to stress that it is a change in consciousness that is going to be effective.

Sister Jayanti spoke of the change of consciousness needed to bring a change in our actions. This has to happen, not just in the minority such as the group here, but in the majority. We need faith, 'Hopenhagen', in order to bring about this necessary shift in awareness and prepare to bring about a change in consciousness and lifestyle.

Michael Kagan, co-founder of the Jewish Climate Initiative, Israel, said that he felt it was important that we make our own communities aware of the divine, moral imperative to change the way we live on this planet. We have to take back our experiences of what we learn here and teach our own religious constituency back home.

Swami Veda Bharati, leading Vedic scholar and meditation teacher, India, spoke of the importance of spirituality. Spirituality is beyond religion. It is the path of contemplation and meditation. We are sometimes viewed as being separated from the realities, but through contemplation and meditation we no longer solve the problems but we live a life where problems cease to arise. We are not involved in conflict resolution. When we understand the relationship between our soul and body we will understand the larger body – Earth. We say we are working for different issues – poverty, environment etc. – but these are the symptoms of our own absence of contemplative practice. We need realization beyond religion. So it doesn't matter what the governments decide. Nothing will happen unless there is contentment in human beings and this will come only when we realize our own fullness in contemplation and meditation. Then we will not need to buy one more thing to fill ourselves up or rob nature beyond the share that is our own.

Andrew Harvey – mystical scholar, spiritual teacher and author, USA, spoke passionately that we were on the brink of disaster, and unless we act now and create a plan of sacred action we are doomed. We need to galvanize into action the people who come from this deeper sacred space.

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