The Karma Project When you depart this world, will you leave it a better place than you found it? If you have children or grandchildren, do you feel proud of the world you have created for them? If you believe in re-incarnation, are you excited at the thought of the world you will re-incarnate back into? If you cannot answer "Yes" to these questions, would you like to be part of changing things? The Karma Project is about creating a corner of the world we are proud to leave to our grandchildren, and a place we would be happy to re-incarnate back into. Come to meetings, watch videos, talk with others, get inspired, join a work group... and start contributing to the future you want to see.
What is The Karma Project about? Are you waiting for that blinding flash of revelation? Are you expecting to wake up one morning to find that everything has changed? "Beam me up Scotty", the "Age of Aquarius" arrives, "Armageddon", "The ETs have Landed", "The Great Shift", 2012 - well something dramatic anyway! You might be disappointed if you are. Human revolutions take longer than that, and nothing in nature happens so fast. Having said that, when a human population does an "awareness shift", it does happen suddenly. One day there were no organic groceries in the supermarkets, the next they were everywhere. Seemingly overnight, the population demand for organic produce tipped the scales and organic goodies flooded into mainstream consciousness. In reality, there had been armies of us scouring the back streets for many years, hunting out an organic cucumber here and a jar of natural honey there. But one day, one more person joined the army and the point of critical mass was reached. The evolution that had taken many years to build up, reached the point of critical mass where the revolution occurred. The same is true with major changes in the way humans organise themselves. Many small shifts and mini revolutions occur over very long periods of time, then suddenly one tiny shift is enough to tip the balance into a new paradigm of life. These are the major shifts in human history, the shift from tribal to nation state, to "new world order", the shift from hunter gathering, to agricultural, to industrial, to technological. These all took many years to come about, then suddenly one generation was born into one "view of reality", or "paradigm of life", and died 90 years later in another. This happened to my grandparents generation. They started life without electricity and ended it with computers, but that is not as great as the "paradigm shift" we are now facing.
The Paradigm of Disempowerment We are leaving one paradigm and entering another. I can best sum them up with the words Disempowerment and Empowerment. Sounds a bit trite? Then read on. The greatest truths are also the simplest. The world we are leaving is one of dis-empowerment in almost every aspect of our lives. Our culture is built around and based upon hierarchy, where the person above disempowers the person below. We go to school and wait for the teacher to tell us what to do and how to think. We get sick, we wait for the doctor to tell us how to get well, we vote in our politicians, and then do as they tell us to do for the rest of
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their elected term. We are told, we are done to... we don't get to make our own decisions in life and act them out. Of course, individuals demand empowerment in some aspects of their lives. A powerful person runs their own empire of companies and so seemingly empowers themselves. That same person then goes to the doctor when they get sick to be given toxic and often unnecessary medications that eventually kill them. Sometimes even groups seek empowerment together. The hippies wanted to design an empowered life. They bought up huge tracts of relatively unused land to build their own communities. But no-one told them about the council regulations that would stop them from building multiple houses on a single title, and stop them building radical new housing designs that breached some archaic housing code or other. They forgot that they would be forced to send their children to state schools - an education system premised on disempowerment. And where are they all now? They were before their time and doomed to fail - at least for now - because the very foundation upon which our current human world is built is disempowerment. We all do this; we fight against disempowerment here and there, but we never get to live a totally empowered life. When we fight against disempowerment in one area of our lives, it creeps up behind us in another. But it does not have to be this way.
What Disempowerment looks like Do as you are told, think what you are told, take what you are given.
Spirituality - in all modern spiritual systems, your priest, minister, rabbi, guru, life skills coach etc, tells you how to behave and what to think. They mediate between you and your God. They know better than you where your spirit lies. Government - all modern governments are dictatorships. Some are permanent, and some we get to elect every few years, but once in power they are dictatorships. We have an illusion of choice, but once in power they all obey the same master. Education - in modern education, you are taught what to think, not how to think. Work - most work relationships are master/servant. You are told what to do and how to do it. Health - your doctor tells you what to do and you believe them. You are a patient, not a customer. They are under no obligation to sell you a product or service that works, with a money back guarantee if it does not. Food, water and air - we trust our food, water and air quality regulatory bodies to decide how much toxic contamination our bodies can take, and then police their decisions. They tell us what is OK, and we have no say in the matter. Clothing - we take what we are given. Fashion dictates disposable clothes, nothing is made to last. Shelter - Councils dictate standards for suitable accommodation, and rarely allow variations on the norm. Transportation - Multi-nationals and governments determine that we continue to use expensive and environmentally damaging transportation options. We have little choice.
Ah, but... I hear you say. I live in an intentional community where the council has allowed us to do something different. And I agree with you. There are some alternatives out there. You may tell me you are using electro-medicine, where you are totally empowered to look after your own health care. So I ask you how you earn your income, or where your children go to school, or what air you breathe. Somewhere we will find the area or areas of life where you are still disempowered. If you are not - please talk to me - I want to see how you are doing it, because you ARE the future. This does, however, raise an important point. ALL the ways in which we can live an empowered life already exist. There is nothing new under the sun. There will be no blinding light; no extra-terrestrial Page 2
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take-over. Everything we need to do has been modelled in the past and we can look behind us - carefully - to see the way forward. Our single challenge - to put it all together.
The Paradigm of Empowerment Our single challenge - to put it all together. Simple to say, perhaps not so simple to do. We are easily duped. We are offered prizes, only to find when we have them that the trap door is shut tighter behind us. So how do we test our lives; how do we test the enticements, to ensure that we are moving into empowerment, not into greater and greater levels of disempowerment? Simple - just ask the right questions.
Does this new situation empower me to be who I am, or does it require me to be something I am not? Does this new situation enhance my physical, emotional and spiritual health, or will it damage me in the long run? Is it sustainable, both personally and environmentally?
Oh, so easy to say and so hard to do.
What Empowerment Looks Like The best way to see this is to examine the same list we used for disempowerment. Make your own decisions, make up your own mind, think for yourself.
Spirituality - Gnosis; the Greek work for knowledge, but in this sense is means going within to connect with your own sense of the divine. You mediate between you and your God. Government - this one is difficult and the very word indicates the problem - it means to rule over. But we do have the Swiss model for referenda, and in Australia, the GetUp movement is leading us into a new model. I don't think we are there yet, but there is a train to catch. Education - it was tried in the 1970's and got destroyed by budgetary constraints. Student centred learning, where the student follows their own learning goals and the teacher facilitates. Discovery learning. There are bits and pieces over the last 40 years that just need to be collected together into a new model. There are probably some private and home schools out there worth modelling new schooling systems on, but they may be hard to find. Work - this is well under way and entails customer/provider rather than employer/employee relationships. There are also worker co-operative models such as Fletcher Jones and Modern Maid - failed now, but worthy tries. In the new model, you are the expert at your bit of the puzzle. You offer advice or services, your customer decides whether or not they want to buy what you are offering. Health - you are your case manager, and your practitioner supports you, using a health modality that can do you no harm - ever. Yes, the systems are there; we are just blocked from accessing them. Food, water and air - back to basics. If it's not clean, it's not OK. There is no acceptable level of contamination. Clothing - clean, natural, classically styled clothes, designed to last. Shelter - there are many radical new styles of housing. They exist. Transportation – this relies on us getting the rest right, living and working locally to reduce the need, then using clean or cleaner forms of transport where we must.
So where to from here? Page 3
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THE WORKGROUPS How the workgroups work We are all over-worked and have too little time available, or perhaps just too little energy. Anyway, we find it difficult to add another commitment, and yet we really DO want to do something. So come along with an idea you would like to see put into practice - an idea that is consistent with the empowerment aims of The Karma Project. You may want to start a community garden, or a home schooling support group, or get some help with a new environmentally friendly invention you have. The idea is yours. Present your idea to the group. Others will present their ideas too. You will all ask for helpers from the group. When an idea gets 11 helpers resulting in a group of 12, that idea becomes an active project. The idea remains yours. You are the boss. Your 11 helpers are there to offer support, advice, skills, nurture - but not to take over. Your idea becomes a branch of our tree, and we work with you for as long as you need us, to get your project off the ground. We can run many projects. We are only limited by the number of people we have with good ideas and the number of people willing to support those ideas. We are starting in Melbourne. If you are from anywhere else in Australia or the world, you can still participate by being a helper for a Melbourne work group or working on a "virtual" project. When it becomes clear that your approach is right for the aims of the group, you may be offered two options, the chance to start a work group for which remote help will be enough to support you, or the chance to start a branch of The Karma Project in your geographical area. Hopefully we will branch out to cover the world!
Who are we? How do I describe who we are and what we stand for, in a few words? The language The problem with a new paradigm is that it needs a new language. I know what I am "thinking" about, but when I come to trying to define it to others, language fails me. As I work with language for a living, I hope it is not my skill level that is letting me down. Rather, I presume it is the absence of language to say what I want to say. The demographic What is the demographic for this group? Once I started trying to define my "demographic" I woke up to the fact that the "right" people are as scarce as hen's teeth – at least for now. So what type of people are we?
We are open-minded and more than willing to explore anything different placed in front of us, but we take none of it on trust. We are self-motivated and self-educating, and are accustomed to relying on ourselves. We are happy to grant that many "leaders" are correct in some details and wrong in others, so we are careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. We do not need "experts" to tell us what to do, what to think, how to feel, or who to vote for. Nor do we want to tell others how to live. We are willing to live and let live – most of the time. We walk away from those who are too different from us.
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We accept no externally imposed limits on who we are and what we can achieve.
…and what do we agree on?
We want to get on with walking our talk; with living a life that speaks to our principles. We are all aware that there is something very wrong politically, even if we are each not entirely sure who or what is behind it. We may tend towards conspiracy theories that encompass politics, economics and religion, or at least we are not offended by those who do. We are all aware that there is something very wrong with our spiritual systems. We tend to agree that there are many paths leading to the top of the mountain, and we all seem to have a different one, which is just fine. We know that the environment is in trouble, but are agreed that global warming is probably a furphy that has been used to hijack the debate. We know that mainstream medicine is fundamentally flawed and so is much alternative medicine. We all use some "bleeding edge" alternative or other, but we each tend to be at a different "bleeding edge". We are intrigued by, interested in, and/or involved in everything "alternative".
This group will only appeal to open minds. Closed minds will be offended by us.
What sort of projects? Do you have great ideas in any of the following - in fact in pretty much any area of life where we need to see change?
Agriculture Clothing Education Energy Food, water and air Government Health Shelter Spirituality Transportation Work
Currently we have these 12 branches to our tree, but we can create more if we need to.
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What our tree may look like
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ORGANISATION Who am I? My name is Christine Kent. I make my living as a professional writer, but this is my passion. After many years as an advocate of alternative everything, it is as if I suddenly woke up. I had been thinking that the future was in some other space that we still had to get to, and suddenly realised it is all here – it just has to be put together by each individual. When enough of us put enough of it together, it is here. Some things of ages past, belong in our future; some things of now do not. The key is empowerment; that is how we know what is of the past and what from the past comes with us into the future. We each put bits in place, but most of us do not get it all in place at the same time. Equally each culture in the past has had empowerment models that we can use now - but like us, they did not have the complete picture. Individually, we work hard in one area of life and lose the plot in another. None of us sees the whole picture, but together we do. Then, when enough of us get enough of it in place, it will be here - that better future many of us have worked for all our lives.
This group and my role I thought about doing this group as an association and realised that, if I did, we would be fraught with compromise. There is no association, no constitution, no management committee and no compromise. So what is my role? I will:
run the meetings and authorise others to run meetings under this banner determine which projects really do fit with the principles of The Karma Project keep those projects operating in an empowered way if they start to revert to disempowerment norms define the community and extended community
Beyond that, you run with your own ideas.
Rules of engagement You know you have hit on a truth when it needs few rules. These are our rules:
Every project must contribute to the paradigm of empowerment. (I get to be the "keeper of the vision" and make those decisions. I might get it wrong from time to time, but someone has to do it.) Everyone who suggests an idea, owns their own idea. No-one gets to argue with or criticise another idea. Those who like it can support it, those who do not can move on and suggest an idea of their own. All human exchange must be respectful of difference. Time is donated but no money changes hands between members of workgroups except through legally controlled mechanisms such as trusts, etc.
Members must take responsibility for their own security. A group like this is bound to attract the occasional predatory individual, and all members should take all the normal precautions they take when meeting with and associating with strangers. (I will ban those individuals as soon as I know about them.) Possible first Projects
Helping start this group Starting a Time Bank for this group, potentially to expand Doing some Web Rings on www.thekarmaproject.net, for our businesses and projects Page 7