© Maximiliane Wittek

„In the beginning of the 21st century two phenomena can be witnessed
simultaneously, however mostly addressed far apart from each other:
the societal call for a sustainability transformation and an increasing
desire within individuals to unfold their inner potential.“

The master thesis ”Transforming Our Self” written by Laura Martin and Sarah Sarita Bhandari, explores the potential of merging the sustainability discourse with the field of self-development and mindset transformation. Considering Humanistic Psychology, systemic thinking and the current trends of mindfulness and co-creation practice, they collected various approaches showing how mindsets essentially affect the quality of created outcomes.

Their research explores what kind of mindset creates transformative change and wonders how to cultivate such. To do so, interdisciplinary expert interviews were conducted, analyzed together with relevant literature as for example “Theory U” by Otto Scharmer, “Deep ecology” by Joana Macy or “Ecosynomics” by James Ritchie Dunham. An essential outcome of their research is that underlying systemic structures, which, on the whole, lead to non-sustainable system behavior, are also anchored in individual ways of thinking, and must be identified and changed accordingly (e.g. the tendency of separation, dominance and instrumentalization).

The more the individual comes in contact with its own, often subconsciously suppressed feelings and its intentions, the more a transformation process is triggered, in which understanding the own connectedness between thoughts, actions and life situation (vertically) and one’s interdependency with other living beings (horizontally) is enhanced. By cultivating such self-transformation, one trains to relax into uncertainty and to perceive an ‘inner compass’ navigating one through the ever increasing complexity of life. Gaining confidence in the personal ‘transform-ability’ and understanding life as a commune learning journey, the research results offer new perspectives on how sustainability may become the pathway towards a cultural transformation, taking an evolutionary step from a mechanistic towards an organismic worldview and as a chance to increase the aliveness of the whole system, including Our Self.“

For further information check out www.transformingourself.com (soon) or connect with Sarah (sarah.bhandari@posteo.de).