I started Buddha Garden Community farm ten years ago and I have always felt that cultivating the land to grow food is an important part of cultivating my inner life.
I have found, however, that it is a difficult thing to write about. The connection between the one and the other is not always clear. It isn’t just about those moments when I feel a oneness with all life as I work with the soil. Or those times when I have some kind of insight as I do the weeding. Sometimes what happens in the garden is a metaphor for something going on in my life, and seeing it in the garden helps me understand it more clearly and/or deeply. Sometimes nothing much seems to happen and I just get on with the work – I just am. Which looking back on it may be one of the most transforming of moments – but not always.
During the past six months I have been asked to participate more with the organisation and planning groups in Auroville, the community where I live. Doing this as a representative of the farmers of Auroville. A lot of the time I have not enjoyed this work very much. After forty or more years of existence the community of Auroville still hasn’t been able to agree on how to disagree. Consequently participating in group decision making can be a very fraught experience.
So often I have resented having this extra work that I don’t really enjoy. I keep wondering why I persevere with it and maybe its because I want or need the challenge of finding a positive way to respond. It is a process that has certainly brought out qualities within myself that I never knew I had.
But I don’t think I could do it unless I had this work with the earth. It keeps me anchored to what feels like a very basic reality that I need to be reminded of on a daily basis.