SOIL, SEED, AND STATISTICS
When I started writing this piece the first words that came were “it’s vitally important”. And I listened to what I’d said. ‘Vital’ is to do with lifeforce in whatever way you understand that.
For some it’s prana, to others it’s chi, or even the Force that’s in Star Wars – close to 400,000 declared themselves adherents of Jedi philosophy in the 2001 UK census. (Numbers have fallen since, in which time there’s been a huge increase in the number of those identifying as pagan.)
Something that we all get about lifeforce is that it’s experiential. You know when your heart is singing, that a floppy-tongued dog can’t contain its pleasure at seeing you, the effect a baby’s eyes lighting up has, how it feels when a treasured tree is destroyed. Those experiences define our lives.
And we also need other ways of understanding. To ensure my business is sustainable in every sense it first and foremost needs to be profitable. And the ways needed to think about that require numbers, and data, and analysis. All good – until it ceases to be.
If I wanted to make more money with products I could easily look at my supply chain and get ingredients from elsewhere. But in doing so there would be repercussions. I make my choices on the basis of interwoven relationships. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of Ayurvedic principle. That comes first – the facts which evidence traceability, profit margins, distribution costs, and my approach to plastics follow.
Data matters, but it’s often put it into boxes – real or metaphorical – and forgotten about. In doing so any notion of relationship is erased. Ayurveda doesn’t categorise like that, even when it looks like it might. The first piece of Ayurveda you may have come across is people being of three types – doshas. You learn to recognise those, then see that someone who is pitta is in some contexts also kapha. They’re the same person, but in recognising a facet of who they are that you now have a way of perceiving differently, you can respond to them anew. Lo and behold, they act in a new way. Which of you has changed? Or is possible that relationship is something existing between people rather than within them?
Questions like these vex some scientists and economists. Good. They’re got a lot to answer for given the way the world is now…and much to offer as well. If we are to restore our relationship with wood and water, sun and soil, air and habitat, we need to pay greater attention to what we know to be true. How we respond inside shapes how we behave on the outside. By harmonising in this way with seed and skin and soil, soul is nourished.
Until next time … Namaste