FRANÇOIS BOUDERLIQUE learnt about the
basic principle of Nature – to give more than you take – when he left a
high-powered banking job in Paris to live and farm in Kutch, India. He
realized that his understanding of eco-farming was colored by his past and
he needed to open his eyes to a new reality.
For the last ten years I have been fascinated by Permaculture, a new way
of considering farming processes starting from organic farming to
integrated eco-housing, water systems, etc. My grandfather was a farmer,
and I spent most of my childhood with him witnessing his extraordinary
capacities to do things by himself, whether it was constructing an entire
house to repairing a simple electrical device, maintaining his car,
etc.When I stepped out of a city lifestyle in Paris to live in rural India
in 2014, I was hoping to create a more conducive lifestyle suited to my
spiritual quest, practicing Heartfulness Meditation, which I have done for
the last three decades. I believed at that time that the natural
environment would do the trick, and being in tune with Mother Earth would
facilitate my soul-searching experience.
Looking back at those six years, I realize that the real shift has been
in my own perception of what eco-farming is. I believed in organic
products, and many techniques which would enable me to thrive in the field
of producing, taking advantage of the “trendy” ecological movement in a
more sustainable manner.
The problem is that when we are born in a cultural environment where
everything is about “taking,” the mindset is totally opposite to the
“living” environment of Nature, where everything is about caring, sharing
and exchanging. Natural systems cooperate, whereas the knowledge of modern
agriculture is about taking more, increasing yields and harvest. I should
admit it to myself – 20 years in the banking industry had made me an
expert taker. I was literally excelling at taking my six-digit
I believed at that time that the natural environment would do the trick,
and being in tune with Mother Earth would facilitate my soul-searching
Fortunately for me, the farm was situated next to a Rabari community in
Kutch, Gujarat, where life was all about living and sharing first when
taking from Nature. It was a natural offshoot of a “liver community” based
on Indian traditional farming. The sense of property is different. A
shepherd would enter my property after the harvesting season, without
permission, taking water from my farm when the local village bore well was
dysfunctional. This was natural and not questioned.
Soon enough, I understood that the real meaning of eco-farming was about
acquiring the knowledge of how to care, versus technology and systems that
are designed to take.
Caring for the wellness of the community comes first, then the land, the
eco-system, elaborating long term solutions where healthy food grows in a
So the real move for me was not to sit with birds and trees looking at a
nice sunset, but to step out of my comfort zone of coming from a taker
community, in which I had been conditioned. I was learning how to blend my
lifestyle with a “liver community,” which was totally alien to my previous
set-up and knowledge, based on how to take.
Recently, it made me think even about the meaning of spirituality and the
spiritual field. What if spirituality is about a knowledge of the capacity
to live, to care, versus the capacity to take? You see how the word
“taking” has invaded our language and our so-called modern life? From
taking a decision, to taking the time to do something, or even taking care
of somebody or something.
If we agree to this new definition, the realm of the Spirit will
encompass all our activities, something which I experienced by farming
within a “liver community” where caring is a natural way of life.
So friends, why not step into the field of knowledge based on how to
care, while taking for ourselves only our due share in the process of
caring? Life becomes simple and natural. If we become students of this
type of knowledge, whether it is in farming or any other field, and excel
in caring, we will become in the process part of Spirit, which lives and
gives first. Trust me, I experienced it on my farm. What will follow in
the most natural way is that we don’t have to strategize how to take
anymore, because we are receiving more and more with less and less