I am coming out of a Permaculture intensive with Adriana and Andrew at their Center for BioRegional Living in Ellenville, NY, on the Shawangunk Ridge.
The correlations between the ethics and principles of Art of Hosting and Permaculture are striking. One of my favorites is the permaculture motto ‘No Guru, No Method, No Teacher’, which was often espoused as our hosts offered their prolific teachings.
Andrew was as generous as the natural springs on his 14-acre homestead with permaculture strategies, techniques, and direct learning. All of the teachings were both historically — naming the who and when that came before our current understanding of sustainable living — and regionally based. He told origin stories so that we could see our own evolution as Westerners finding our way back to seeing, learning and working with — rather than against — nature in our homesteading and harvesting efforts.
When I first studied Art of Hosting, I experienced a similar tension around teacher-as-guru when the trainers told me that we were the same, that they learned more from me, their eager student. I didn’t agree completely. Yes, we are equal as humans, but not as practitioners in this way of thinking, living and working.
Permaculture’s ’No Guru, No Method, No Teacher’ motto helps hold that tension for reluctant gurus. It recognizes that attachment to Guru leaders and idealizing Methods are limiting. At the same time, simply by naming the motto, it acknowledges what happens when we sit at the feet of a wise person.
When someone shares the wisdom that comes from a lifetime at the intersection of theory and practice, we are experiencing the guru. It can be beautiful, inspiring and transcendent to receive tradition and application directly from an enlightened practitioner. As our motto goes in the Art of Hosting Community, it makes you want to Eat Your Teacher.
is about getting unstuck and trying something new with you.