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Honor the Seed

--by Jim Ewing (Sep 03, 2013)


Honor the seed. The words seem so simple. This is knowledge that was passed down to me from my father. Yet, today, those simple words — and sentiments — are so forgotten.

My father, a big, raw–boned man with giant, calloused hands big as catchers’ mitts and shoulders broad enough to carry my sister and me as kids around the yard for an hour without tiring, grew up on a farm in Mississippi. Despite moving to the city and working behind a desk in his adult years after World War II, he still had a lot of ‘country’ in him. Some of it was, well, rather rude — others of it, wise. As deep and fertile as the soil, as lasting as the seasons.

It was my father who taught me how to ‘taste’ soil to see if it ‘was any good.’ If the soil tasted flat, it needed fertilizer; metallic, it needed more organic matter; if it tasted tart, it needed lime. His method was intuitive and, I guess, a matter of taste. Literally. […]

The admonition to care for society to the 7th generation includes the careful harvesting of seeds from the crops and the planting of the best of them in the following growing season. It is a way of life that ensures the health and continuity of society. It is a nourishing way of life for all the people, not just a few, and not only those living, but a mindful setting aside of health and well–being for future generations, as well.

The seed is more than an agricultural product. It is at once a symbol of hope, of a new generation, and a predictor of the future. If we are not careful with the seeds we plant, and conscious of what we are doing, we will reap a certain harvest based on what we have planted. Feast? Famine? Future? Or end? Those are the seeds we are planting today with our modern industrial society.

We cannot go back to a society where small farmers lived in isolated villages in rural settings that lasted essentially the same for generations. But we can learn from our ancestors in this New Age we live in and choose the type of future we want for ourselves, our children and our children’s children to seven generations. That’s the responsibility we have to follow some simple, time–honored advice: Honor the seed.

-- Jim Ewing


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On Sep 4, 2013 Jyoti wrote:

Today we are literally in a struggle to even save the seed, rather than honoring it. Geneticaly modified seeds are created to self-destruct or kill 'pests' who might feed on these plants, are designed so the farmer has to buy afresh everytime, bringing in the profits for the corporations. It is just plain sad. Mercifully, there are people working to preserve seed banks, as in http://www.navdanya.org/  As a metaphor, I find that I have many seeds in me, some of which blossomed and others did not, depending on what I fed and nourished.



On Sep 4, 2013 lizzie wrote:

 I ponder on the 3rd world countries and their future vs genetic engineering of seeds/plants in capitalist countries that do not propagate.  What will happen to their future?



On Sep 4, 2013 Mish wrote:

 What does the state of our world today indicate...what kind of seeds were planted, to produce worldwide terrorism & planetary destruction? Sigh.



On Sep 4, 2013 Jonathan Knudsen wrote:

 It takes awareness to recognize the seeds we are planting.  We’re destroying the planet, but it’s as if we don’t see that.  We’re absorbed in the competition of the game.  If you’re intently playing a game, one you’re determined to win, you’re not also gazing at the night sky and looking at the stars.  You’d lose the concentration you need, and then your competitors gain the edge.  You can’t be both attached to material status, comfort and success and also at the same time spiritually aware.  And a society dedicated to materialism is the enemy not just of a seventh generation, which may not ever come to be in a mad and nuclear-armed world.  Our planet is dying, our civilization dead, our brothers and sisters starve, and we are doomed - doomed that is, without awareness.  Awareness is the fruit born from the seed of detachment.  You become aware when you realize your ego's desire fo  See full.

 It takes awareness to recognize the seeds we are planting.  We’re destroying the planet, but it’s as if we don’t see that.  We’re absorbed in the competition of the game.  If you’re intently playing a game, one you’re determined to win, you’re not also gazing at the night sky and looking at the stars.  You’d lose the concentration you need, and then your competitors gain the edge.  You can’t be both attached to material status, comfort and success and also at the same time spiritually aware.  And a society dedicated to materialism is the enemy not just of a seventh generation, which may not ever come to be in a mad and nuclear-armed world.  Our planet is dying, our civilization dead, our brothers and sisters starve, and we are doomed - doomed that is, without awareness.  Awareness is the fruit born from the seed of detachment.  You become aware when you realize your ego's desire for excess is the death warrant of others. That the seed of greed produces a harvest of war, starvation, misery and want in a world of plenty - populated by children of the one God.  Gandhi said, "Live simply so that others may simply live." That is awareness.  And it is our only hope.

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On Sep 3, 2013 Marc Tierney wrote:

 I wish we as a society honored the 7th generation. It seems so many issues are answered only for one generation, sometimes two. I have not been a part of any decision making process that involves more than 2. 7 would be insightful and honest to values. I will do my best to change my way of thinking. I sometimes do not even think to my kids generation and that is wrong headed of me.



On Sep 3, 2013 Ricky wrote:

There is nothing like holding the arugula seeds from a late summer pod saved from the best tasting plant you have ever raised.  The cruciferous (cross-shaped) white flowers had been visited and pollinated by the most varied array of butterflies, parasitic wasps, honey-mason-carpenter-bumble-bees, and hover flies, ensuring a bumper crop of fertilized pods.  Hummingbirds even checked in.  Although the family ate many of the leaves, we left plenty, apparently, for the life processes of the arugula to be resilient in the face of the annual dance of survival.  Visualizing the next generation held within those numerous, tiny, round, dark seeds increases excitement beyond what I can express, and then contemplation arises as to how to hold these over for the optimal planting time early next spring.  My dad always said to wait to plant the garden until the snow was gone from the foothills (I live in the Pacific Northwest), and friends of mine tell me it’s too lat  See full.

There is nothing like holding the arugula seeds from a late summer pod saved from the best tasting plant you have ever raised.  The cruciferous (cross-shaped) white flowers had been visited and pollinated by the most varied array of butterflies, parasitic wasps, honey-mason-carpenter-bumble-bees, and hover flies, ensuring a bumper crop of fertilized pods.  Hummingbirds even checked in.  Although the family ate many of the leaves, we left plenty, apparently, for the life processes of the arugula to be resilient in the face of the annual dance of survival.  Visualizing the next generation held within those numerous, tiny, round, dark seeds increases excitement beyond what I can express, and then contemplation arises as to how to hold these over for the optimal planting time early next spring.  My dad always said to wait to plant the garden until the snow was gone from the foothills (I live in the Pacific Northwest), and friends of mine tell me it’s too late to plant then. (Sometimes mid June)  I take measures to ensure each seed and the resulting tiny world that emerges from it is cared for if the weather turns before its maturity.  My dad didn’t know those tricks, such as starting indoors, or covering with plastic outside after transplanting.  He direct seeded, sometimes from held over seeds, sometimes from the local seed company.  I usually do this too.  And then there’s soil preparation, and the feeling of intense responsibility toward the tiny marvels to facilitate enhancing the soil thereby providing the most fertile place on the planet.  The procedures and process seem cold and calculated, yet much of soil prep and seed planting has to do with observation, awareness, love, tenderness, nurture, hard work, diligence, cycles of the moon and weather patterns, magnetic tuning and mineralization, and in the end is finally left up to the ancient wisdom of the seed.  As the round cotyledon leaves press through, they spread out to capture showers and sun, and eventually reveal the true serrated leaves of the arugula.  There is a tangible awe and inspiring sense of coexistence and even collaboration, of reciprocation, of the circle of life, of knowing what is real and honorable.  Vigorous health of this tiny entity, reproduced ten times from within the single fertilized flower and the resulting long narrow pod, demands I too be present every day in the garden; it is my pleasure and my reward at the same time to do so.  This presence continues to allow me to honor the seed, with each successive generation produced and cared for.    
In answer to the question ‘What does caring for society to the 7th generation mean to you?’ it is the deep commitment to leave this beautiful and brilliant existence in better shape and in a better space than when I arrived.  It may be why I continue to teach. Caring for society to the 7th generation means to think about the unintended consequences of making decisions for short term gain and personal/corporate greed…it means to be aware that we are interwoven, interconnected, and interdependent with each other, nature, and with all sentient beings…and ultimately it means we are responsible for our words and actions for a lot longer and with a much wider net than we could ever imagine.  How quickly we seem to be able to forget what may be unpleasant in terms of outcome or what we may be unwilling to be held accountable for.  Indigenous elders often mention the seventh generation in oral history when discussing next steps, especially in the face of inevitable change.  Caring for society to the 7th generation also demands mindfulness, presence, accountability, and willingness to learn from and listen to what is gut felt and inwardly true.  It takes extraordinary stillness and awareness to care for the society to the 7th generation as we breathe and act from moment to moment, as we ‘see’ with eyes and heart wide open to our potential and possibilities in our own ‘seed’.  The expansive growth and  enhancement of the relationship we have with ourselves, each other, and all other beings around us is ultimately why we are here at this time, and the less footprint on the earth and less damage we impose, even to one another's hearts, the more well-lived the life.    
 

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On Sep 1, 2013 david doane wrote:

I learned that American Indian elders took into consideration 7 generations when making important decisions.  They knew their decisions would affect the entire tribe for generations to come.  Caring for society to the 7th generation means being aware that decisions made today have long range ramifications, and it only makes sense to take that into consideration when making important decisions.  It means seeing beyond one's self and one's own short-term agenda and thinking and caring about others including future others.  It means realizing that we belong to a big system, we are part of an ongoing process, we are all in this together including past and future generations, and making decisions accordingly.  A personal story of honoring the seed, and a story that belongs to many people, is raising children including to make decisions, teach lessons, and give example that will be for their good and the good of those that come after them.  We improve awareness  See full.

I learned that American Indian elders took into consideration 7 generations when making important decisions.  They knew their decisions would affect the entire tribe for generations to come.  Caring for society to the 7th generation means being aware that decisions made today have long range ramifications, and it only makes sense to take that into consideration when making important decisions.  It means seeing beyond one's self and one's own short-term agenda and thinking and caring about others including future others.  It means realizing that we belong to a big system, we are part of an ongoing process, we are all in this together including past and future generations, and making decisions accordingly.  A personal story of honoring the seed, and a story that belongs to many people, is raising children including to make decisions, teach lessons, and give example that will be for their good and the good of those that come after them.  We improve awareness about the seeds we are planting by having and teaching a life view, a philosophy, and a theology based on the principles of oneness and karma, ie, knowing that our every decision and action affects all of us present and to come.  That is honoring the seed.  That is a sacred responsibility.

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On Aug 30, 2013 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:

 How do we improve our awareness about the seeds we are planting is a most basic question. I wish I had a good answer. When I'm aware of my present experience it is easier for me to notice the importance of awareness. Practicing  noticing one's present experience helps one to do it more easily in the future. Meditation can be of great value. Practicing kind selflessness helps one be kinder in the future. Practicing selfishness without regard for others, helps generate more of that kind of behavior in the future. Karma seems to be very real. As either the Dalai Lama, or Gandhi said: "If you want to make others happy, be compassionate. If you want to be happy, be compassionate." I'm grateful for the opportunity to respond. Warm and kind regards to everyone.



On Aug 30, 2013 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 We plant seeds with every Word and every Action that we take. Our Words have power to make a positive or negative impact, it is up to each one of us to choose wisely; it is helpful, is it the truth, is it kind and compassionate? We can plant seeds of hope with our words and spread the hope with our Actions. We can share our truth, standing up for what we believe in. Even seemingly small actions such as a smile or a hug can make a big impact. Last week I shared Free Hugs at the March on Washington; there's a lot of healing that needs to take place and a Hug seemed like the place to start. It was incredibly powerful, hugs were shared with hundreds of that afternoon as we waded through a sea of people intent on sharing a message of Hope and Healing. It was an important reminder of how a simple action; a Hug can connect us together, planting a seed of caring and compassion. My own heart felt like it might burst from all the love shared that day. The most powerful moment was when an  See full.

 We plant seeds with every Word and every Action that we take. Our Words have power to make a positive or negative impact, it is up to each one of us to choose wisely; it is helpful, is it the truth, is it kind and compassionate? We can plant seeds of hope with our words and spread the hope with our Actions. We can share our truth, standing up for what we believe in. Even seemingly small actions such as a smile or a hug can make a big impact. Last week I shared Free Hugs at the March on Washington; there's a lot of healing that needs to take place and a Hug seemed like the place to start. It was incredibly powerful, hugs were shared with hundreds of that afternoon as we waded through a sea of people intent on sharing a message of Hope and Healing. It was an important reminder of how a simple action; a Hug can connect us together, planting a seed of caring and compassion. My own heart felt like it might burst from all the love shared that day. The most powerful moment was when an African American boy of perhaps 8 said, "we hugged, now we're friends right?" He took my hand leading me up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where we had our picture taken by his Mother. Powerful; a black boy & a white woman embracing in front of Abraham Lincoln, I believe he would have been proud. Hug from my heart to yours. Let us all plant seeds of kindness and compassion.

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