Food for Thought
by Puja Dhyan Parsons, Co-Owner of Growing Spaces
As I am moved by the amazing colors of the harvest season here in the Rocky Mountains, it seems so appropriate to share why I feel so honored to have Shumei International® teachers arrive as our guests in teaching Natural Agriculture.
We Americans were once gardeners and people of the land. My own lineage were farmers from Minnesota who emigrated from Norway and Germany to find their way in the promise land of a new country. As a child I was proud to read “Giants in the Earth,” about how these people came and homesteaded their farms. My cousins, like my Mother, took gardening for granted. I remember the tastes of fresh organic produce as we sat around an oval table with the “hired hands” on the family farm. I thought the food just tasted better, because it was such an adventure to be out in the fresh air chasing cows, and witnessing all the earthy ways my natal family lived.
Now in the 21st Century, Shumei addresses a deeper purpose. The importance of life itself and the many levels of life are celebrated by this tradition. The reverence for life that motivates us as a green company and the reverence for life I studied in ten years of practice in the martial art called Aikido, gave me a special connection with the culture we honor in this seminar.
Rodale Institute was a huge influence toward preservation of our earth’s bounty, and I remember studying many books in the sixties that came from Rodale Institute. They were pioneers, in the organic movement, and provided a living presence in the world I now work in. Shumei joined Rodale to create a magnificent garden in which our Growing Dome® greenhouse was included.
The reverence for life I have found in the teachings of their leaders for the last 100 years, echo the care and concern my husband and I feel personally for the well-being of all people and our planet. Respect for nature is primary. As business people we are not allowed to speak of our motivations, but health and well being for people comes from heath and well being of our natural systems.
When I studied Aikido, and worked as a consultant in Conflict Resolution in the eighties, I learned that a Sensei or teacher in the Japanese tradition is not just a person who has theories about life, but rather one who embodies his or her tradition enough to model a way to act. “The kanji (symbol) for “Sensei” is a man leading an ox by a nose ring. This indicates that through wisdom and intelligence a teacher is able to guide even that which is difficult and resistant.
One of my teachers Richard Heckler wrote a whole chapter on Teachership in his book, “Holding the Center.” How different the presence of a real teacher who has more experience and whose consciousness has expanded and who embodies a vision of the world that is more powerful than the one we now live in, is the gift of a Sensei.
My experience meeting the Sensei’s from Shumei is exactly this; One is honored to be gifted by the presence of such a teacher.