Saturday, 6 February 2016

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, Permaculture Mind

"In the Beginner's Mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." - Suzuki Roshi

The Great 20th Century Zen Master Suzuki Roshi advised that the secret of Zen practice and indeed of life, is to rediscover your "Beginner's Mind" - that fresh, innocent place inside us where we see everything anew, like a child, as clear as day, a place that is quiet and empty, and yet full of wisdom.

This view certainly stands in stark contrast to conventional wisdom - that it is necessary to accumulate vast amounts of knowledge to feel qualified to act wisely, Suzuki advocates the exact reverse! First lose all learnt knowledge, then act through your innate knowing.

Krisnamurti once said: 'The day you teach a child the name bird, the child will never see that bird again.' 

And hasn't Permaculture demonstrated this point over and over again so perfectly?

Many of the most inspiring and influential figures in permaculture didn't learn their knowledge from anyone else, and they sure didn't have a PDC certificate. Pioneers such as Masanobu Fukuoka, Robert Hart and Sepp Holzer had very little to do with the permaculture movement. Instead, they realised the flaws of their conventional education and did something courageous that nobody had ever taught them to do - they trusted in themselves. With faith in their own inner wisdom they designed brave new ways to work in harmony with nature to grow food through their own inspired methods.

These guys have done some formidable ground work for us all. Yet I hope that with the growing popularity of permaculture, the movement won't fall prey to the models of education that has so deadened and dulled our society into the very sticky mess we find ourselves in... for the most part our faithless schooling seems to have only smothered the once dancing flames of our child like inner brilliance into a damp squib of an ember - an ember that so yearns for Faith, Passion and Encouragement to Spark it back into Luminosity and Life.

One of the greatest inventors of all time, Thomas Edison was apparently regularly beaten at school by his teachers for being so dim, yet when his Mother took him out of this fearful environment and gave him the love and nurturing he needed, he developed into the man who literally illuminated the world over night  with his invention of the light bulb, amongst hundreds of others.

The key, surely, if we are to truly learn from these great teachers is not to learn from what they did, but how. In Fukuoka's seminal work 'The One Straw Revolution' he actually gives his reader's head surprisingly little practical information to feed on, compared to what he offers to nourish the Heart. He knew that the practical details of his methods were comparatively irrelevant to the limitless well of wisdom that's inside each one of us

 Fukuoka doesn't just offer us a fish, not even the net - but instead turns us towards our own inner golden thread, from where we can weave net upon net, empowering us to reap a bountiful harvest, no matter what our circumstances.

So when it comes to permaculture, let us not get too caught up on acquiring endless information, knowledge and qualifications from the outside world, but instead look in-side with integrity, to discover the true treasures of intuition, and insight, our innate instinct, and inspiration that will guide our steps toward real innovation and ingenuity, a wiser way of living and therefore a wiser way of farming.

Instead of searching in a book for knowledge, Fukuoka looked up to the Heavens.

1 comment:

  1. Masanobu Fukuoka is my greatest inspiration. When I am gardening I have in mind his admonition to do the least possible. That has taught me more than anything.