Indian activist and ecologist Satish Kumar is one of the people of the world I strive to emulate. For decades, Kumar has dedicated his life to the pursuit of global peace. In 1962, he and activist E.P. Menon walked the now-famous, grueling 8000-mile ‘Pilgrimage for Peace’ to raise global awareness for the peace movement and of non-violent forms of resistance.
Kumar places a reverence for nature at the heart of all pollical and social intercourse and debate. He recognizes the deep spirituality of gardening; a view with which I wholeheartedly agree.
Gardening is powerful meditation. As we slowly walk through our gardens, clearing this and tending that, pruning, feeding, watering, talking, encouraging, and touching, we are entirely in the present moment. The whole of our attention is into the soil. With disciple-like reverence, we pay homage to Mother Earth. We nurture food and flowers so that we and others may eat and dwell, so that life may continue.
Food production is the obvious and simple purpose of gardening. But gardening is more profound than just growing food. Growing food for others is an act of ahimsa - compassion. Harm none.
When we give away the tomatoes, beans, corn, peppers, greens, melons, and herbs we’ve cultivated, we are feeding others with kindness. We’re learning the quality of nurturing plants, so that we can then directly nurture and give pure food and love to people and animals. Monsanto can’t do that.
Kumar will be on my mind this Sunday at the Pride march in New York City. He is the shining star of activism and direct action, and we all can follow his example.
And to be honest, the Pride march is - aside from an exercise in freedom of speech and a public truth-telling - a fun gathering of joyful people full of love and compassion for all. There’s an abundance of good vibes there. Everyone works hard and has a great time, and we’re in NYC - the Big Apple, the Empire State, my hometown, and the greatest and most beautiful and beautifully diverse city in the world. Hope to see you there.
Live in peace.