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Sustainability. It was the central theme of the annual Aerospace conference called SciTech that happened this week. I attended virtually, along with thousands of other professionals, academics, students, policy makers and more. Five days of new ideas and conversations about how to create sustainable solutions for earthly aviation and beyond-earth exploration.

New technologies, new vehicles, new fuels, new investments. These were all proposed, to meet the challenges that climate change presents to the (aerospace) world. It did not take long for me to ask the question – what sustains, what creates sustainability for the humans creating the sustainable solutions?

I had to wait till Friday evening for the answers to emerge. As is often my wont, I return to the library upstairs, pick a book from the ‘spiritual’ section, and open it to a random page. I landed in the middle of a chapter titled ‘Ethics’, and the author was speaking to the three core virtues of a life of value.

Self-control (or dama) is the first virtue that sustains us. It is when we offer resistance to our desires that we develop strength, discipline and resilience. Each act of resistance adds another layer of sustainability to our spirit. Solitude and silence are two practices to develop self-control. “Progress in silence is progress to realization by connecting us to the creative power of the divine.”

Self-sacrifice by letting go (or daana) is the second virtue that sustains us. Letting go is the practice of giving or providing assistance to those in need, and also freedom from greed. What is the sustainable way of letting go? “Give with faith, do not give without faith, give liberally, with modesty, with sympathy.”

Compassion (or dayaa) is the third virtue of sustainable living. Compassion is the practice of being at peace, of forgiveness, of avoiding ill-will and cruelty. “It is through compassion that we can overcome selfishness and develop patience and forbearance.” If we can tune into the extent of suffering in the world, we can remember to live a compassion-first lifestyle.

Self-control, self-sacrifice through letting go, and compassion — three sustainability keys given to me — and I share them with you. Sustainable and simple habits are easier to integrate into our lifestyle, aren’t they? With sustained practice, we can transform our heart to a kinder, gentler, lighter, quieter, and healthier version of itself. With a transformed heart, we can discover a well-spring of love to create a brighter world for our life here on earth and beyond.


P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter chat, Sunday January 9 at 9amET / 730pm India in #SpiritChat. We will gather and talk about sustainability on our journey ahead. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK

Ref for the ‘three keys’: ‘Ethics – An Idealist View of Life,’ by S. Radhakrishnan, The Hibbert Lectures, 1929.

Harmony with the elements… a key to sustainability