The Isha foundation: a theme park for aware adults.

In the shadow of Coimbatore, a significant clean city in the south of India, a so-called ashram thrives in a radiant way you could never imagine. Oneness already seems to find its way at the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains, the place where Shiva spend 3 months of his live finding his own truth. And now we are provided with the necessary tools and energy to dive deep into our own souls in a décor of unlimited expanding awareness.

 Light-seeking engineers
From all over the world mainly pragmatic and logical soulseekers are drawn into this Isha ashram. A foundation found by Sadguru, an extraordinary amiable and profound yogi who combines eastern ancient wisdom with western sciences which creates a full, constructive and exhilarating story attracting engineers, business peops and mind-driven middle and upperclass lightseekers. And you don’t have to worry about that life is working, knowing that the team is mainly formed by ex-microsoft engineers and technical managers.

Luscious ambiance
As soon as you set foot on this electrifying ground, something elevating happens. Upon the beautiful view over the mountains, layered in a blanket of luscious palmtrees, the wholeheartedness of people honoring their treasure is what will inject you most. Immediately. Even the guy in front of the toilet welcomes you with his hand on his heart sincerely. When you continue your way, the concretes and precise care of every little detail overflows you. And where you maybe expect an ashram a little bit old-fashioned and dusty, this playground is of modern standards with a hipster lunch bar, fresh facilities and modern technologies. What do you think about airconditioned temples, automatic coconut-splitters for offerings and electric scooters. Limitless in efficiency.

Sadguru
And all initiated by this Sadguru. A well-being visionart not afraid to talk about, amongst a slightly reserved Indian crowd, taboos as sexuality and death sentence. Who isn’t afraid to make daring jokes and outfacing the cutting edge. Who find the most pragmatic answers on all confused questions amongst academic and world’s most intellectual whiz kids. A yogi who established a foundation which goes beyond measurements. With his far-reaching projects and national campaigns, he reached a wide range of the 1,324 billion habitants, which not only includes middle-class. With his strongly caring and scientific heart, he points successfully at farmers, ministers, people in the slums and kids with a rapidly increasing community as an evident result.

Diving deep
And this community find its base in Coimbatore, the most vibrating place you will ever visit. Beautiful surroundings expanding with flowers, wild-life, music, playing, laughing people. All showing their gratitude for life and everything which comes with it. People who are willing to work on an inner- and outer level, not afraid to dive deep, dedicating their lives for a higher purpose. Working hard on that purpose; but with the knowledge of the underlying growth, efforts become funded. It creates oneness. It hits you right in the heart. Because you always knew that this was what life was all about. That this was what your seeking heart was longing for, trying to fill it up with all the external bullshit.

Freedom
If you are here, you are free; you don’t need anything from outside. It makes you feel alive. Really alive. Filled with happy elixirs ‘just’ by walking on the grass. ‘Just’ by looking at the sky. Indignation on expansion of life blooming out of your system continiously. Cravings vanish. This place fulfills you on every level. Your stomach being fed on nutritious ways, your mind being elevated on scientific philosophies, heart flows over from genuine juices and a true being exploding injected by the vibrating love which breaths through this whole place. Yes this playground makes you happy. Truly happy by being actively involved in the ashram rhythm, practicing your techniques, volunteering, sharing, dedicating.

Innerpeace
It’s the best example we could wish for in order to enroll this way of living in our own countries and cities. Venues in which we are longing for a deeper way of sensing, where we seek for happiness in the outside world, where we hit our stress limits and strongly desire more innerpeace. This place enables us to be inspired, to get a proficient example to support the transition which is happening right now and which needs new approaches, technologies and angels. This place shows us that it’s possible. That we are able to create a world in which happiness will be the natural state of being and we striving together for the good purpose. Namaskaran.

ISHA foundation 

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FRE2SH food securities during DDW2017

The STIR sustainocratic cooperative in Eindhoven for Food Securities in city populations, FRE2SH, is uniquely exposing itself through presentations, workshops and food trials during the entire Dutch Design Week 2017 (October 21st till 29th). We show our wurm and mushroom productions, aquaponics, the FRE2SH phylosophy and partnerships with permaculture in and around town. Also our restaurant and neighboorhood food engagement programs are being presented as well as food innovations and our intentions for the future.

Come and see us, participate and engage:

Veemgebouw – Strijp-S – Eindhoven – 5th floor

Ga jij er vol voor?

Door de poep rijden, door prikkers heen lopen, door een onbegaanbaar pad met metershoge bebossing heen laveren. Het leven test me hoe diep ik wil gaan. Hoe ver wil ik gaan. Wil ik alles ontdekken? Of hou ik ergens nog wat terug. Ben ik bereid tot het gaatje te gaan? Of haak ik halverwege af.

I want it all! Ik wil het weten. Ik ga net zo lang door totdat ik er ben. Omdat ik ergens weet dat dit mijn weg is. Omdat ik weet dat dit de capaciteiten zijn die ik klaarblijkelijk nodig heb. En waarvoor? Ik weet het niet. Gevoelsmatig staat er iets te gebeuren in de toekomst waarvoor we worden klaargestoomd. Voorbij aan onze comfort-zones, voorbij aan ‘being small’, alsof het leven ons vraagt volledig verantwoordelijkheid te nemen voor wie we zijn en de potentie die we in ons dragen.

En zo loop ik tijdens m’n verblijf in India op blote voeten, over vieze wegen, kokende asfalten en stenige paden. Ik besef me dat het de metafoor is voor mijn beweging in het leven; ik stap er vol in. Ook als het me pijnigt, beangstigd en voorziet van de nodige weerstand. Omdat ik weet dat dit de enige weg is. Je kunt er omheen. Je kunt er van weg. Maar uiteindelijk haalt het leven je in en krijg je waarvoor je hebt getekend. Dus daarom liever, direct springen in het diepe en weten dat het leven me ondersteunt.

Het is weerstand trainen. Maximaal. Leren zijn met onprettigheden. Ervoor gaan zitten, je openen en erdoorheen ademen. Dat is in mijn optiek de weg naar vrijheid. Zolang we blijven weglopen voor bedreigingen, onwenselijke gevoelens en weerstand, leven we altijd in angst. Leven we in plaats van in potentie, in zwakte. Ontdekken we in plaats van onze kracht, onze ontoereikendheid. Een staat van zijn die niemand gelukkig maakt. De staat van afhankelijkheid, altijd ergens omheen gaan met daarbij de wetenschap dat je altijd op de vlucht bent.

En het is mogelijk. Wij als mens zijn gemaakt om onze grootste angsten te overwinnen. In dit leven hebben we alle capaciteiten gekregen om deze, als kolossaal-aanvoelende-obstakels, te overwinnen. Alles begint bij het weer leren voelen. Dat is de enige manier om gevoelens en angsten te releasen. En het hoeft niet allemaal ineens. Het kan beetje bij beetje. Steeds een stukje voelen. En als je weer opnieuw met je emoties leert omgaan, ga je merken dat je hier meer controle over hebt dan je denkt. Dat je zelf je momenten kunt nemen om te voelen. Door bijvoorbeeld meditatie of yoga. Weer opnieuw leren communiceren met je systeem en ervaren hoe ze werkt. Na honderden jaren van emotie-loosheid is het een voorrecht om in onze generatie deze van creatie doordrenkte levensader weer aan te slingeren.

Combining ZEN Resorts and Sustainocracy

The Indian owner and global societal entrepreneur Dr. Mahendra Shah openly commits to work together with us by combining the best practice of his ZEN Resorts (healing and herb centers) in Bali with our Sustainocracy (core values driven democracy) in Brabant (the Netherlands) or our Global Health Deal of innovative awareness and health driven cocreation. This is what Dr. Shah writes:

I completely agree with the notion sustainocracy as it integrates sustainability of human beings with Democracy (Participatory positive (sustainable) interactions and actions amongst all members of the community-society as well as living in harmony and sustainably with nature.

Today the greatest local, national, regional and global 21st century challenge comprises human health and the pollution-degradation-destruction of nature. Both these aspects are critical consequences due the escalating adoption of modern lifestyles around the world. Modern lifestyles are often characterized by (1) deficient food consumption – nutritionally inadequate, food contamination and eating “on the go”; (2) little time for exercise i.e. balanced physical, psychological and spiritual exercises; (3) Stress at work often in a highly competitive, and uncaring environment focussed on meeting deadline after deadline (4) Stress at home and the family; (5) living in ever more polluted environment. These five factor cocktail is resulting in the increasing burden of ailments and diseases of modern lifestyles such as headaches, backache, blood pressure, mental stress, diabetes etc, for all of which modern medicine prescribes drugs including pills, insulin etc just to maintain health with little hope of curing.

The fundamental challenge is how to make a human being sustainable such that he or she interacts with other human beings enhancing their sustainability and also lives in nature responsibly, ensuring a sustainable environment. Democracy is at the core of sustainable relationships between all members of the community and society

For over four decades the world community has met at countless conferences and summits just formulating and endorsing agenda after agenda for sustainable development (recall 1972 Stockholm, 1992 Rio, 2002 Johannesburg etc) and so often without commitment of actions and resources for implementation. We should learn from the mushrooming technology driven silicon valleys, now in almost every urban center around the world. Let us create sustainability valleys bringing together the doers and practitioners of sustainable development and sustainable healthy human beings.

We need to establish sustainocracy centers in every viable urban and regional setting around the world to enhance sustainable development, sustainable human health and real participatory democracies. We have had a decade of experience at Zen resort Bali helping guests from around the world to experience sustainable lifestyles and adopt health eating, exercise, thinking and living in harmony with each other and with nature.

Thus I am ready and committed to partner and work with you with you towards a “combination of Zen resorts and Sustainocratic regional resilience processes could well be the highly desired evolutionary process for all cities to follow”, including three well documented operational examples, one in Bali, one in India and one in the Netherlands

Whilst it may appear difficult to convince the congregation of the Gemert castle, and also in the case of many such properties of the Vatican, that such entities, initially created for the spiritual, moral and ethical religious welfare of the community, need to be utilized and transformed in the 21st century to meet the emerging challenges of human and natures health and sustainability. There can be no better legacy for the congregation and the Vatican then seeing their historical properties utilized to enhance human health and education towards sustainable living. Governments also have a role to support such initiatives with policy and resources as in the long run a healthy society reduces the burdens of healthcare, which are escalating in this era of modern lifestyles. Such properties were created for genuine societal wellbeing and they should not become only an instrument of economic gain.

Yes let us partner up as consortium that has its own ideology (Wellness Continuum, https://marktleiderschap.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/whitepaper-wellness-continuum/), methods (Zen resorts and Sustainocratic healing of regional communities) and mobilize funding and implement.

Who is Dr. Mahendra Shah? You can read an interview with him here in the Unsubscribe Magazine ZenResort&DrShah UNSUBSCRIBEMAGAZINE.COM BERLIN Dec2016

Social inclusion

When our AiREAS POP research revealed that our exposure to air pollution was related for 50% to our selves, lifestyle became important also for us citizens. The other 50% was due to the political economic structures that feed our lifestyle. So when we address our lifestyle we address pollution, undesired illnesses, expansion of health care costs, wellness in general and even politics. This is a mayor revelation. We used to pinpoint to governance, now we can pinpoint to ourselves. In fact, our reality is what we percieve and make of it. Perception and make ability of change is an interesting concept worth exploring. Making visible the invisible is an aspect of AiREAS that goes beyond simple measurement of air pollution. We try to visualize the effects of behavioral change on our health and quality of life.

Cos3i

That’s how we arrived at creating COS3I. The S and 3 make a heart shape which refers to the passion of wellness driven cocreation. The COS3I word stands for Cooperative in Social Inclusion, Integration and Innovation, hence the 3i.

But social inclusion in what? In our STIR case we decided to invite people into our core human values as defined in Sustainocracy. Rather than moralizing about air pollution and our own responsibility we wanted to get social inclusion into care for health and our opportunities. This represents a total turn around for people’s thinking, transforming from structural dependence to self leadership, through awareness and engagement.

But people do not relate to stuff they do not see. A new dimension is therefor added to our human interaction. It is one of the positive enquiry, the positive invitation. the engagement to genuin values. When we started doing this all kinds of circles of common interests started to appear. Each could be related itself to social inclusion but also used to engage other citizens.

COS3I circles

Each of these circles has very passionate people that wish to share their passion with others. We create neighborhood festivals in which we announce workshops and let people experience the circle’s energy with the invitation to engage. Despite the difference in focus the final effect of all circles together is a vibrant neighborhood and powerful wellness driven awareness and mentality. In the end the air quality improves through the social interaction, purpose driven social innovation and positive inclusion.

So internationalized that we lost our own authenticity?

Are we too internationalized in Eindhoven? Is this happening in other cities too? We arrive at interesting insights when we launched the magazine “150 years Living in Eindhoven” these days. We asked our international community what we could do for them to integrate better into our society and stay longer? Their response was mindboggling and uncovered yet another level of modern city’s vulnerability. 

In the reigning political, economic and speculative reality it is lucrative for a town to focus on pleasing those who come from abroad for a couple of years. After all they bring talent and extra productivity. It is good to have them and often these new residents bring in fresh cash. It is therefor a strategic move to make them feel welcome. The longer they stay the better it would be, in theory, for the economy. But analysis reveals that people tend to leave within a few years…Why?

We asked our visiting students and expats about their challenges and interests.

In Eindhoven our local population has important problems to find proper housing. Waiting lists for rental homes are long, up to 8 years. It is therefore surprising that the visitors have everything taken care of. Keeping a housing shortage for locals drives up the costs of housing and living, which is seen as an economy of growth. Shortage for expats and students however would keep them away and this is not lucrative. Is it all again just economics that rules? How does this money based focus on internationalization affect the community as a whole?

*What do you miss then?*, we asked during the presentation of the magazine, which we presented in English too in order to get newcomers to engage with our roots. The surprising answer was “there is no local stuff to enjoy. Where is the local culture in Eindhoven?”.

Indeed, everything seems concentrated on engaging with the foreign people, including presenting a wide choice of things from their original home culture. All the local elements have disappeared. “Even our local architectural herritage”, states editor in chief of the magazine Peter Tholen. The local alderman, Mary-Ann Schreurs, said that this was “due to the economic success of the city, motivating it to modernize its herritage”. Old cities with their historic centres had, according her, suffered poverty and hence did not have a chance to destroy their historic properties in order to replace them with modernism.

So the richer you are as a community the less engaged you are with your roots? That is an interesting viewpoint….and highly disputable….

In Germany, France, the UK, Italy or Spain people can enjoy the local atmosphere in cities. There is the local food, local drinking habits, local language, local architecture, local climate. In Eindhoven we have the international diversity and rain. That’s it. There is nothing else according the people consulted. This is one of the reasons people get bored and leave again after a few years, as stated by themselves. They go to Berlin, Barcelona or London. That is an interesting conclusion. What we are proud of as a city seems to be also our mayor handicap. Our excessive focus on internationalization….

Who makes the difference?

According to the visiting population the nightlife in Eindhoven was boring. It is gradually changing, but not because of the locals. It are the contributions of foreign people who introduce their own initiatives to combat the absence. The local people are too occupied with surviving in an economically adverse climat in which they hardly can rotate their homes, have difficulties to find a job, feel financially blocked by excessive taxes, imposed financial responsibilities, social securities and limited career options. It is a huge contrast with the international community that gets all the facilities, is well paid and has a large potential of time, need, motivation and means to deploy themselves into the city.

“Rather than helping the foreign population we should help the locals”, became the overall suggestion. The lack of opportunity these locals have due to the regulated shortages seems to reduce their engagement to social life. “We are motivated to do things with our lives here because it is all new,” students state, “and share WhatsApp and social media to help each other”. Locals don’t. They are reluctant to engage out of fear to loose social benefits. Or they feel competitive jealousy among each other caused by the shortages and lack of opportunity. Their individual or collective comfort zone and autopilot is limiting them to do things in a different way….

This observation was also relevant for foreign residents someone stated. “I have been living here for five years and had never been in this expat center”. Also foreign people tend to engage with what they like at first sight and then stick to it without creating regular change in their habits.

The vibrant livelyness of introducing a game or challenge has to be focused therefor on the creation of awareness that there is diversity to engage with while getting people, foreign and locals for equal, to step out of their comfort zone once in a while and try something new.

Local government says it does not want to stigmatize people and wants to treat them all as equals. But is this true? There is a distinction between the facilities and motivation of the local population and for those who visit. From an economic point of view these groups are perceived differently and treated accordingly. There is no equality, not in the investment nor development of opportunities for people who are long term residents. All effort seems to be focused on the growth of new people from elsewhere because of the fresh cash they represent.

The international community even offers voluntary work to see if they can make a difference for the locals. It was amazing to come to such insights. How vulnerable is a city when it depends entirely on the influx of money from elsewhere? How vulnerable is a city when it’s herritage is destroyed and its old culture eliminated, and with it its attractiveness for everyone? And: “How vulnerable are people and communities who easily get fixated by their comfort zone?”. How can this be changed? And with what effects on the human beings themselves, the society, economy and local culture?

STIR Foundation is focussing on core human values in which regional resilience is achieved by engaging all citizens into these values. It is referred to as “awareness driven regional cocreation”. Such insights demand further research and most definitely progression in the social inclusion for the wellness development of the entire community. True equality is not just reflected in true equal opportunity but also in the stimulus to make use of it. The opportunities have not been taken away by the arrival of international people but through the speculative governance over its local population. It is the international population that helps the community restore its old values and engage with new ones in a true potential identity crisis.

For STIR and our mission it has been an eye opener and an interesting challenge to connect the two worlds into a culture of interaction and progression, based on true, authentic local value creation, recognition and sharing. This may be the biggest justification for the introduction of a local city currency.

150 years living in Eindhoven

Eindhoven grew from a small rural town of 6000 citizens in 1850 into the world known vibrant multicultural community of over 220.000 today. Many people lived here for some time to study or work in one of the multinationals or local enterprises and have still memories or even family ties. Others consider moving to or visit Eindhoven, not just because of job opportunities but also because of the local focus on a healthy environment and intercultural interaction.

This global Eindhoven-minded community has now access to a unique series of stories that describe its culture and development over time, as described by the top historical story tellers resident in town while using original photographs.

Cover2UK

On Sunday 17th the series is released and presented in the Expat Hub for our local international community.  If you are living abroad and interested in the magazine and series (2 editions per year over 3 years) you can contact our partner Eindhoven News (eindhovennews@gmail.com). The price is 5,95€ plus postal charges if we need to send it to you. This first edition describes all kinds of aspects of the development of Eindhoven over de the last 150 years such as Philips, DAF, the digging of channel, the anexation of villages, the care system, etc.

The second edition, due in October 2017, will deal with people, choices and the reaction to challenges that have been decisive for the city as it stands today.