meditation and spiritual growth

The United Nations recently completed their yearly summit (September 20-22, 2010, New York) taking stock of world progress toward fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Declaration of 2005 set sight on 8 strategic goals to be accomplished by 2015, which would greatly improve the lives of millions of men, women and children.

During this session they successfully secured pledges totaling $40 billion dollars over the next 5-years, dedicated to Women’s and Children’s health.

We are all one and the same, brothers and sisters in human form, all expressions of the divine spark. Each of us has been blessed with a human nervous system, that sublime instrument that allows awareness to directly contact the inner field of absolute bliss consciousness. As more individuals develop their full potential, swifter progress will be made toward the attainment of these goals.

Poverty on any level of human life results from lack of development of human potential. Those individual who are clear thinking and lead society have an obligation to help all of their fellow citizens..

Here is a brief summary of the 8 goals, and their progress.

GOAL 1 – Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

Target: 1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day 2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

3. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

Facts: * The number of people living under the international poverty line of $1.25 a day declined from 1.8 billion to 1.4 billion between 1990 and 2005. * The proportion of people living in extreme poverty in developing regions dropped from 46 per cent to 27 per cent – on track to meet the target globally. * The economic crisis is expected to push an estimated 64 million more people into extreme poverty in 2010.

* About one in four children under the age of five is underweight in the developing world, down from almost one in three in 1990.

Where do we stand? – The world is on track to meet the MDG target of halving the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day between 1990 and 2015. – Achievements so far are largely the result of extraordinary success in Asia, mostly East Asia. -The proportion of people suffering from hunger is declining, but at an unsatisfactory pace.

– Between 1990 and 2008, the proportion of underweight children under five declined from 31 per cent to 26 per cent in developing regions with particular success in Eastern Asia, notably China.


GOAL 2 – Achieve Universal Primary Education

1. Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

Facts: * Enrolment in primary education in developing regions reached 89 per cent in 2008, up from 83 per cent in 2000. * The current pace of progress is insufficient to meet the target by 2015.

* About 69 million school-age children are not in school. Almost half of them (31 million) are in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than a quarter (18 million) is in Southern Asia.

Where do we stand? – Despite great strides in many countries, the target is unlikely to be met.

– Drop-out rates in sub-Saharan Africa remain high.


GOAL 3 – Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education, no later than 2015.

Facts: * In 2008, there were 96 girls for every 100 boys enrolled in primary school, and 95 girls for every 100 boys in secondary school in developing regions. * The share of women employed outside of agriculture remains as low as 20 per cent in Southern Asia, Western Asia and Northern Africa.

* The global share of women in parliament continues to rise slowly and reached 19 per cent in 2010 – far short of gender parity.

Where do we stand? – Gender gaps in access to education have narrowed, but disparities remain high in university- level education and in some developing regions. – Despite progress made, men continue to outnumber women in paid employment, and women are often relegated to vulnerable forms of employment.

– Women are slowly gaining political power, mainly thanks to quotas and special measures.


GOAL 4 – Reduce Child Mortality

1. Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the mortality rate of children under five.

Facts: * The number of children in developing countries who died before they reached the age of five dropped from 100 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2008. * Almost nine million children still die each year before they reach their fifth birthday. * The highest rates of child mortality continue to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, where, in 2008, one in seven children died before their fifth birthday.

* Of the 67 countries defined as having high child mortality rates, only 10 are currently on track to meet the MDG target.

Where do we stand?
– Child deaths are falling, but not quickly enough.

GOAL 5 Improve Maternal Health

Target: 1. Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.

2. Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.

Facts: * More than 350,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, almost all of them – 99 per cent – in developing countries. * The maternal mortality rate is declining only slowly, even though the vast majority of deaths are avoidable. * In sub-Saharan Africa, a woman’s maternal mortality risk is 1 in 30, compared to 1 in 5,600 in developed regions.

* Every year, more than 1 million children are left motherless. Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not.

Where do we stand? – Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high. – Most maternal deaths could be avoided. – More women are receiving antenatal care and skilled assistance during delivery. – Large disparities still exist in providing pregnant women with antenatal care and skilled assistance during delivery.

– The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls and increases with each pregnancy, yet progress on family planning has stalled and funding has not kept pace with demand.


GOAL 6 – Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

Target: 1. Halt and begin to reverse, by 2015, the spread of HIV/AIDS. 2. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it.

3. Halt and begin to reverse, by 2015, the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

Facts: * Every day over 7,400 people are infected with HIV and 5,500 die from AIDS- related illnesses. HIV remains the leading cause of death among reproductive-age women worldwide. * An estimated 33.4 million people were living with HIV in 2008, two thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. * Access to HIV treatment in low- and middle-income countries increased ten-fold over a span of just five years. * Malaria kills a child in the world every 45 seconds. Close to 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, where it accounts for a fifth of childhood mortality.

* 1.8 million people died from tuberculosis in 2008, about 500,000 of whom were HIV-positive.

Where do we stand? – The global response to AIDS has demonstrated tangible progress toward the achievement of MDG 6. – Knowledge about HIV is the first step to avoiding its transmission. – Antiretroviral treatment has expanded, but continues to be outpaced by HIV infection rates. – Half the world’s population is at risk of malaria. – Major increases in funding have recently helped control malaria.

– Tuberculosis remains the second leading killer after HIV, but its prevalence is falling in most regions.


GOAL 7 Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Target: 1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources. 2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss. 3. Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. 4. Achieve, by 2020, a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers. Facts: * Some 1.7 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water since 1990. Yet 884 million people worldwide still do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines. * The world has missed the 2010 target for biodiversity conservation. Based on current trends, the loss of species will continue throughout this century.

* Slum improvements are failing to keep pace with the growing number of urban poor. The absolute number of slum dwellers keeps rising, with some 828 million people living in slums today, even though the share of the urban population living in slums is declining.

Where do we stand? – The world will meet or even exceed the drinking water target by 2015 if current trends continue. – With half the population of developing regions lacking basic sanitation, the 2015 target appears to be out of reach. – The world has missed the 2010 target to slow the decline in biodiversity.

– The target of improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers has already been achieved twice-over.


GOAL 8 Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Target: 1. Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system. 2. Address the special needs of least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states. 3. Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt. 4. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries.

5. In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially ICTs.

Facts: * Official development assistance stands at 0.31 per cent of the combined national income of developed countries, still far short of the 0.7 per cent UN target. Only five donor countries have reached or exceeded the target. * Debt burdens have eased for developing countries and remain well below historical levels.

* Only 1 in 6 people in the developing world has access to the Internet.

Where do we stand? – Levels of official development assistance (ODA) continue to rise despite the financial crisis, but Africa is short-changed and aid remains below expectations. – For most donor countries, aid remains well below the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. -Developing countries are gaining access to the markets of the developed countries. – Least developed countries are benefiting from tariff reductions. – Debt burdens have eased for developing countries and remain well below historical levels. – Access to information and communications technology (ICT) is expanding.

– Access to the Internet continues to expand, but is still closed to the majority of the world’s people.


Poverty and today’s need for the unfoldment of greater consciousness:

I hope that you will support the United Nations Millennium Goals any way that you can. By meditating every day you are contributing toward removing stress and strain from the world, developing greater intelligence, enhancing peace, love and prosperity.

For a forest to be green, it’s necessary for the trees in the forest to be green. So to we can attend to ourselves (a green tree) and then extend a helping hand to others. Solutions can be found by transcending the field of problems. Locate the home of all knowledge at the source of thought. Be a conduit for its full expression in this world. As a beacon of light you can shine upon every person and inspire their life.

Navajo Nation

Navajo Prayer Song, as inscribed at the Anasazi Museum at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico:

Today I will walk out, today everything evil will leave me, I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body. I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me. I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me. I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.

I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

In beauty all day long may I walk. Through the returning seasons, may I walk. On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty before me may I walk. With beauty behind me may I walk. With beauty below me may I walk. With beauty above me may I walk.

With beauty all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk. In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.

My words will be beautiful.

Dear friends, the universe is not only the expression of consciousness; it is consciousness, the one eternal substrate. Development of our full human potential through the daily practice of meditation brings fulfillment to the cycle of life and creation. Bless yourself and humanity by closing your eyes in meditation every day.