‘The Horizon’, Part I, Chapter 8: about living seeds, the dream of paradise, and the ancient law of life that supports the roots of this dream — the 8th clue on our treasure hunt towards creating a human world
“You can’t bring back the forest that once grew where there is now a desert.”Severn Cullis Suzuki
How long does it take?
Severn Suzuki was 12 years old when she spoke at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
She had travelled 5,000 miles from Toronto, to tell the adults “you must change your ways.”
“I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests, full of birds and butterflies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see …” she said.
“I’m only a child, and I don’t have all the solutions. But I want you to realize, neither do you. You don’t know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer. You don’t know how to bring the salmon back up a dead stream. You don’t know how to bring back an animal now extinct. And you can’t bring back the forest that once grew where there is now a desert.”
Her speech became famous, but has it made a difference?
Felix Finkbeiner was 9 years old when he gave his first presentation about global warming in front of his class in Pöcking, a small town near Munich. His audience was so impressed that he received requests for further public appearances.
“We cannot trust that adults alone will save our future. We have to take our future in our own hands.” Felix Finkbeiner told audiences in Germany, Norway, New York, and South Korea.
His plan to create a better world can be summarised in 3 simple steps:
1 — Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes a climate catastrophe.
2 — Trees absorb carbon dioxide.
3 — Plant lots of trees.
Felix Finkbeiner’s suggestion has captured the imagination of many children and adults, including businesses who want to support him. With the help of 40,000 € from Toyota he could start building his organisation called Plant for the Planet.
Within 3 years Plant for the Planet had inspired people of all ages to plant one million trees in Germany alone and spread to many other countries.
Felix Finkbeiner is now a global eco-superhero, but is it making a difference?
Vandana Shiva is a physicist, philosopher, and environmentalist living in Delhi. She has been campaigning and working towards the creation of a better world since at least 1982.
In India thousands of farmers are committing suicide every year after becoming dependent on a cocktail of genetically modified seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides. They slide deep into debt, while the quality of their farmland deteriorates, until their world and livelihood is completely destroyed.
In 1991 Vandana Shiva founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity of native seeds, as well as the promotion of organic farming and fair trade.
Vandana Shiva is an advocate for nature, an influential and controversial figure in the global landscape of ‘creating a greener planet’. She is very skeptical of the ‘humanitarian’ intentions of big corporations feeding on the sales of cash crops to poor farmers and starving populations.
“In nature’s economy the currency is not money, it is life,” she says. That’s why healthy, natural, unadulterated, organic seeds are so vital to the survival of humans on planet Earth.
In Hindi the word seed means ‘that from which life arises on its own, forever and ever and ever.’
In this sense, genetically modified seed material — which has been engineered with the intention to interrupt the cycle of life — must be described as a ‘suicidal seed’.
Vandana Shiva has written over 20 books, she is an advisor to government and non-governmental organisations in India and other countries, she has received many awards and been featured in several documentaries.Does that make a difference?
“Nature is a living and creative process, the feminine principle from which all life arises.”Vandana Shiva
When I first came across the concept that ‘humans are the creators of their own life’, I felt excited. But my enthusiasm was based on a false assumption. I thought it meant that I can be in control of what’s happening in my world, which means I can shape my reality according to my dreams, intentions, and wishes…
Isn’t that what it says in the creation myth of the Bible? — After creating the world in 7 days, God told the first humans to ‘subdue the Earth’.
We got the impression that we are the ‘Crown of Creation’, divine creatures in human form, at the top of the food chain, and with as much power over all animals as we wish to use — not to mention plants and nature as a whole.
If the project of creating our world doesn’t work out as expected, then a little enforcement here, some manipulation there, and consistent effort in general is perfectly in order. This is the attitude we also bring to our work of inner growth.
If we want to create a ‘garden of Eden’ in our inner world — figuratively speaking — then it makes perfect sense to us that we have to get rid of ‘weeds and other pests’, and focus our attention on nurturing the plants we want to cultivate.
The promise to create a personal Paradise according to our own dreams has grown into a multi billion dollar industry. New ‘proven success-strategies’ — based on ‘ancient wisdom’ or ‘scientific evidence’ or both — sprout up every year.
The self-improvement industry sows seeds of hope into the minds of people looking for change.
Whether you want to improve your health, love life, or success in the work place — or eliminate unwanted voices in your head, bad feelings in your heart, or an outdated program in your mind — somebody has probably developed a method to help you solve that kind of problem.
In the introduction to her book Anita Moorjani writes, “The main purpose of sharing my story is so that others do not have to go through what I went through.”
The industry is built on thousands of self-help authors who have had a difficult time, experienced dramatic changes, and feel called to share their experiences because it might help others. And of course this information can be very valuable, inspiring, and indeed helpful.
However, if a unique healing journey of one person is misinterpreted, reduced to a universal success formula, and then sold it as a ‘creative strategy to improve millions of lives’, then it becomes the equivalent of genetically modified seed material.
By the way, at the end of her introduction Anita Moorjani makes it very clear that she is NOT promoting a ‘one-size-fits-all dogma’.
In the inner world as in the outer world we are faced with the same opposed positions, which seem to be incompatible:
On one side there is the analytical perspective of science, representing the masculine principle. On the other side there is the holistic perspective of nature, representing the feminine principle.
The masculine principle promotes profitability through generalised strategies. The feminine principle promotes sustainability through individuality and bio-diversity.
The masculine principle likes to base its position on measurable standards and be informed by objective facts. The feminine principle prefers unique expression as a basis and uses subjective experience as a source of information.
Vandana Shiva is a scientist with deep connections to nature. In her book Staying Alive she explains that in the ancient Indian world-view nature is called “Prakriti, a living and creative process, the feminine principle from which all life arises.”
“It takes more years to restore the soil flora than it took to destroy it.”Aldo Leopold
At first sight ‘scientific profitability’ and ‘holistic sustainability’ seem to be incompatible. However — as we have seen in chapter 7 — a kind and loving cooperation between masculine and feminine principles is a fundamental requirement, if we want the creative process to succeed at all. This is a universal law, and it applies to the outer and inner worlds alike.
The question is: how can we reach consensus between science and nature, profitability and sustainability, generalisation and diversity, objective facts and subjective experience?
An excursion into the plant kingdom may help us find some answers. Scientific research in biology over the last few decades has revealed what indigenous people have always known: Plants have Consciousness.
Florianne Koechlin is a Swiss biologist. In her essays she shares that plants have ways to ‘talk to each other’, they can remember things, learn from experience, and even communicate with other species.
Plants actively engage with their environment to create a better life for themselves. Tomato plants warn each other against predators, vines love listening to Mozart symphonies, and flax plants grow better in the vicinity of millet — researchers discovered that millet plants literally draw nutrients from the soil and feed them to the flax.
Florianne Koechlin describes that “plants have an active social life, they have friends and enemies, form alliances,… share nutrients and exchange information… In a forest, trees are connected with each other via a huge underground network of roots and fungi. In the technical jargon this network is called WWW — the Wood-Wide-Web.”
This discovery is not that new. In 1942 the ecologist and forester Aldo Leopold wrote about a hardwood forest in the Spessart, a mountain range in Germany. Half of the forest was ‘slashed’ in the 1600s, the other half was never ‘slashed’. The whole forest had been under rigid protection since around 1800.
In his essay The Last Stand Aldo Leopold writes, “The old slashing now produces only mediocre pine, while the unslashed portion grows the finest cabinet oak in the world; one of these oaks fetches a higher price than a whole acre of the old slashings…. Foresters attribute the inferior performance of the old slashing to its depleted microflora, meaning that underground community of bacteria, molds, fungi, insects, and burrowing mammals which constitute half of the environment of a tree.”
With his observations Aldo Leopold shows the role of the environment of the forest in creating the individual tree, how the tree is dependent on other species, that a healthy forest produces trees of a much higher value, than a depleted forest, and that “it takes more years to restore the soil flora than it took to destroy it.”
When trees are harvested for a ‘quick profit’ — without concern for the forest —, we destroy the environment in which future trees can thrive.
When seeds are manipulated and the soil is poisoned — without concern for the environment —, we destroy the life cycle which produces future seeds.
When the mind is programmed for short term success — without concern for the natural cycles of human Consciousness —, we destroy our own creative source.
This is neither profitable nor sustainable.
“Every human creation begins its life story as a seed in the soil of human Consciousness.”Veronika Bond
In the late 1990s a Dutch man had a dream of creating a paradise, his name is Tim Smit. He wasn’t a gardener, or an architect, and he didn’t have a lot of money either. At the time he was a music producer, and he talked about his dream to other people.
Many listened and felt inspired. Among them were architects and gardeners, artists and bankers, musicians and bureaucrats, performers and politicians, business people and builders.
They found an abandoned clay mine in Cornwall which looked like a moon landscape. Within a few years they transformed it into a garden of Eden.
The Eden Project in Cornwall has been growing since the first seeds were planted in 2000. The dream seemed unrealistic. Nobody knew whether it would be either profitable or sustainable.
Now this little paradise supports the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and thousands of plants. Seeds of the dream of paradise are sown into the minds millions of visitors.
Many profitable and sustainable projects are supported by the people at Eden. The dream of paradise is bearing fruit and producing new seeds.
Sustainable ways of gardening, agriculture and forestry are well known, they are being developed further, and becoming increasingly popular all over the world.
There are various methods of permaculture, biodynamic gardening, and organic farming to choose from. They offer genuine profitable alternatives to the conventional approaches, without destroying the planet.
Unfortunately, in the field of personal growth, we are too easily lured into the trap of trying to cultivate the world of our dreams without concern for the totality of our internal eco system. And there seem to be very few alternatives.
In the shelves of big personal growth business you can find plenty of fertilisers in the ‘positive thinking’ department. There are many pesticides promising to eliminate unwanted mental activity in the ‘emotional freedom’ section.
In the grey areas of ‘mental programming’ manipulated seed material is readily available too. Occasionally this has a seal of approval by the fringes of science.
By comparison, approaches to inner growth based on organic principles are surprisingly difficult to find anywhere — presumably they are not deemed so ‘profitable’.
How can we hope to create a sustainable and profitable outer world if we don’t know how to create a sustainable and profitable inner world?
All conflicts and controversies we can witness in the outer world are deeply rooted in the inner soil of human Consciousness. The dream of a personal paradise can only become reality when its seeds are awakened and encouraged to grow.
In other words, the creation of a world where ‘scientific profitability’ and ‘holistic sustainability’ are in harmony must begin within ourselves. This is the ancient law of life. If we don’t understand and apply this fundamental law, then all other principles fall on stony ground.
Every work of human creation begins its life story as a seed in the soil of human Consciousness.
“Trees are sanctuaries… They don’t preach doctrines and formulas, they preach the ancient law of life.”Hermann Hesse
In the inner world of every human the dream of paradise is alive. It may be only a seed lying dormant in the Dark Side. However, ‘that from which life arises on its own, forever and ever and ever’ is alive.
The seeds of the dream of paradise produce the fruit which sustain us in our work of creation. Here is an example of what can happen in the inner world when a seed of the dream of paradise is ready to germinate:
The Soul resonates with the dream of paradise. A world where all creatures live together in harmony is perfectly natural to her. The Soul encourages the seed to develop.
The Instinct spontaneously produces warm feelings and relaxes in the presence of the dream of paradise. — Ahh, wouldn’t it be nice…? The Instinct showers the seed with nutritious streams of emotions.
The Imagination is always ready for a flight of phantasy. ‘The dream of paradise is like wind beneath my wings,’ he cries. The Imagination instantly knows what the seed might look like when it is fully grown. Images of plants, fruit, whole orchards appear in front of his inner eyes!
The Intellect is reluctant to support the dream: ‘It is not logical,’ he contradicts sharply. ‘It is not sensible,’ he warns. ‘Is it scientifically proven?’ he asks, but it’s only a rhetorical question. The Intellect is reluctant to get involved in anything he doesn’t know, anything that doesn’t come with a proven strategy or promises guaranteed results. Why waste energy? Life is hard, and paradise might be a hoax.
The Body senses a little tingle of joy, but the thoughts of the Intellect and her own body-memories make sure the notion of a new life is quickly squashed by old habits.
The Intuition can also be skeptical: ‘My gut feeling says, we have been banned from paradise forever.’ The Intuition is suspicious because she remembers a certain fruit from paradise which, as the legend goes, caused a lot of trouble.
The Inspiration might not react at all. He indulges in his favourite past-time, dozing or sleeping. ‘Dream of paradise,’ he mumbles, ‘wake me up when you have a real question.’
The Will can lend his willpower to any argument, and there are many arguments on all sides. They can lead to endless inner battles. Getting involved is going to be tough. The response of the Will depends on his skill and experience.
Nobody is going to win this battle until all Faculties have reached a common level of understanding. Inner peace, consensus, and cooperation are necessary for any project to become both profitable and sustainable.
Here is the eighth clue for our treasure hunt:
Every step towards inner peace and greater understanding is also a step towards your personal paradise. With the ancient law of life in mind the answer to the question ‘how long does it take?’ becomes clear and simple:
It takes as long as it takes to take one step.
You don’t need to wait until some expert offers a strategy that teaches you ‘how to create your own paradise’, or until scientists have scientific proof that the work of creation really does depend on compassionate and constructive collaboration between masculine and feminine principles.
To paraphrase Felix Finkbeiner: “We cannot trust that the ‘experts’ will create a better world for us. We have to take the creation of our world into our own hands.”
The good news is: It instantly makes a difference. It transforms your subjective experience — and this is a reliable source of information for the feminine principle. It is the source of all new life.
If you find it sometimes difficult to access your own inner wisdom, and you are looking for a good teacher, they are actually all around. Good teachers have no hidden agenda of making a quick profit. Some of the best ones can be found in the plant kingdom.
The German poet Herman Hesse knew this when he wrote: “Trees are sanctuaries. Who knows how to talk to them, and listen to them, learns about the truth. They don’t preach doctrines and formulas, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”
© Veronika Bond, 2016
This article is a draft of the eighth chapter of The Horizon, volume 2 of The Solo System.
It is complemented by an e-letter, containing additional background information about the progress of the book and the creative process.
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