I was lucky enough to attend a two day retreat at the beautiful 42 Acres in Somerset led by Satish Kumar and accompanied by his wife, June Mitchell.
Satish is a leading peace and environment activist who was until this year editor of Resurgence Magazine. He famously walked an 8,000 mile peace pilgrimage at the age of 25, from Ghandi’s grave to Washington DC via Moscow, Paris and London to deliver packets of peace tea to protest the nuclear bomb.
Now 80, he lives in Devon with his wife June, is a visiting fellow of Schumacher College, which he co-founded in 1991 and speaks around the world. He is the author of You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence, The Buddha and the Terrorist, Spiritual Compass: The Three Qualities of Life, Earth Pilgrim, Soil, Soul and Society: A New Trinity for Our Time and his autobiography, No Destination.
The theme of the retreat was Satish’s new holistic vision for the world, focused on a trinity of Soil, Soul and Society, where human well-being depends on the well-being of the natural world for we are all interconnected, interdependent and interrelated.
This vision takes us from the dominant narrative of Anthropocene; that nature is there as a service to humankind and a resource for the economy to one where nature is accepted and embraced as the source of all life. Supported by theories of Holistic Science, nature is alive, and in this trinity soil represents nature. Often overlooked in environmental discussions, soil is the producer of life, and maintaining the quality of the soil is a priority.
“The greatest security comes from love; love of nature, the earth, people, yourself.”
Satish’s advice to those of us who believe passionately in the preservation and protection of our planet is that even when things are very urgent, you have to have patience and action; be active without expectation that you will achieve the result immediately, but know that the action itself has value.
The soul within the trinity is the personalised, intimate and unique element of the spirit, and the truth of it is in your own experience and in your heart.
“An artist is not a special kind of person, but every person is a special kind of artist.”
Satish encourages us every day to ask ‘who am I?” knowing that we are beyond any label or physical reality. He advocates making time for yourself, as taking care of your soul is taking care of yourself, as we journey towards being and our authentic selves.
“Spirituality is not a belief system. Spirituality is to relate through generosity, compassion, love and beauty.”
Society is about union; nothing is separate, and we are all members of one human family. Satish promotes diversity as a celebration of evolution as opposed to division which is a social construct. He believes we need to revision economics to be smaller and local, in keeping with his friend and colleague E.F. Schumacher, author of the famous book, Small is Beautiful: A study of economics as if people mattered. Within globalisation, everything becomes a commodity, whereas within a local economy, it is more important to meet the needs of the people. Ultimately it is not possible to have infinite growth on a finite planet.
“I might be idealistic, but what have the realists achieved?”
Satish is a true inspiration and his approach to life; one of celebration, joy and happiness is certain to sustain us in our work towards positive environmental and social change.
About 42 Acres
The magical 42 Acres in Somerset, offers retreats covering various holistic, well-being and sustainable topics. The beautiful farmhouse accommodates 24 guests, is run on a solar farm and biomass boiler and offers the most delicious vegetarian food, comfortable beds and the restorative energy of the surrounding fields and woods. For more information visit their website 42acres.com.