Giving more, taking less
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 salary!
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.
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 sustainable manner.
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 effort!
Article by FRANÇOIS BOUDERLIQUE
May 01, 2021
May 01, 2021
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