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Episode 038: The Power of Service as a Change Agent with Ronald Porter

May 26, 2020

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This week on the Seeds of Tao Podcast, we have a very special guest. Ronald Porter is on the air with us telling his amazing story about traveling the world, and incorporating what he's learned into his teaching, permaculture practice, and yoga. 

Here are some resources Ronald recommends to dive into, some of which he mentioned in the episode...

The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Luminous Emptiness: Guide to the Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita 
        Heart Sutra
The Alchemist (we've read and highly recommend)
Warrior of the Light: A Manual
Avatar: The Last Airbender (super great show for all ages, really cool
       to connect to eastern philosophies of chakras and such...)
The Celestine Prophesy: An Adventure
Contested Humanity: Blackness and the Educative Remaking of the Human in the Twentieth Century (Ronald's dissertation from
The Tao of Pooh
Ishmael: A Novel
The Prophet
And Ronald's beautifully written reader, A Rainbow in Black

Educating the Whole Mind

Lately, education has definitely been on our minds. Not only did we have a previous episode specifically talking about education with Kevin Cormack back in Episode 034, but our big dream here at Seeds of Tao is to create truly holistic permaculture education, both online and in a brick and mortar environment. We feel as though we've been truly called to education, this will be our legacy for this and future generations. 

We, here at Seeds of Tao, we also homeschool our kids and have found through research and practice, that educating the whole brain is far more effective than simply giving people books to read (that being said we are also TOTAL book nerds). There's an aspect of gaining experiential knowledge that cannot be over-valued or replaced by other methods in terms of creating impact on ourselves. Ronald's story of his extensive travels and education attest to what we've found ourselves.  

One of the great things about permaculture is that it can be implemented on so many planes in our lives. We can garden with our hands, build communities, create vibrant physical and mental health, all with following this one simple and yet extraordinarily complex design theory. 

Gaining a Better Perspective

We sincerely believe that education is power, but, as the Spiderman quote goes, "With great power comes great responsibility." By gaining knowledge and perspective, it can be incredibly freeing, but also may feel like a burden. When you discover inequalities, and hardships happening in the world, it's difficult not to be thrust into action to help. 

When I graduated from college with a Bachelors Degree in Latin American Studies, I wanted so deeply to help those impoverished and living destitute in Central and South America. While at this point in time, I haven't been moving my life in that direction, gaining that global perspective helped me to do truly see humanity on a global level, rather than just through rose-colored "American Girl" glasses. Josh was able to do some of the same when he went to Argentina in his teenage years for skiing. 

Both our hearts yearn to engage and unite humanity with a more global audience. That's one of the reasons permaculture has been such a blessing in our lives. Not only has it taught us to create a better life for our family, but we've also been able to connect with amazing permies all over the world, like Ronald, and the many others on our global Slack channel. We're able to be part of something bigger, a movement we're passionate about.

If there's ever an opportunity to gain a better global perspective, it's a priceless opportunity. 

The Impact of Service

It's a common misunderstanding that service is to benefit those who are being served. 

Sure, that's usually why we start service, we want to help those around us. We don't want the orphans to have leaks in their roofs in Nicaragua, or for elderly to be lonely in the care center down the street, or for our neighbor who just had a baby to be worrying about feeding dinner to their family after coming home from the hospital. Any person not actively engaged in service will totally see this perspective. It's all about helping them.

Yet those of us actively engaged in service, openly acknowledge the true blessing service is in our own lives, as well as those we serve. Through service, we are opening our hearts to better receive. Oftentimes we hit roadblocks in our lives that go back to a gap somewhere in our give and receive cycle. Way back in the blog post of Episode 10 we touched on the power of the give and receive cycle. When we activate service in our lives, things we never thought would be connected are opened up and move on their way.

Integration Rather Than Segregation

Service brings us close to those we are serving, and closer to our higher selves. Service connects people. 

Being actively engaged in service is truly living the permaculture principle of Integration Rather Than Segregation. Opening our hearts to understanding, accepting, and embracing those around us allows us to integrate ourselves into a bigger community around us. Suddenly instead of being a bunch of corn seeds planted in a row, we become a plant guild, helping each other to grow even better than we could have done on our own.

We hope that this message today in the blog post and the interview with Ronald has touched your hearts and opened you up to chances to further educate yourselves, and to serve, it is a catalyst of change like nothing else. A catalyst for change in the community where we serve, and for change in ourselves.


Keep Growing!


Previous Episode: The Built Environment and Aligning Ourselves With Nature with Marcus Sheffer