Soil, Soul and Society

Most people understand that we are Mind, Body and Spirit and at Omnes Healing we regularly emphasise this vital spiritual aspect, which is so often ignored in our society.

However, my view of this was expanded recently when I read an account (1) of the acceptance speech for the Goi Peace Award (2022) by Satish Kumar (peace activist and former Jain monk)
which he received “in recognition of his lifelong dedication to campaigning for ecological regeneration, social justice, and spiritual fulfilment.’(2)

In this speech Kumar propounded a new interconnected trinity for our time, of Soil, Soul and Society, to replace that of Mind, Body and Spirit, which he feels is too human-centred and lacks a sense of interconnectedness with other species who are all “members of one Earth community”.

Soil: Kumar puts ‘soil’ at the top of his new trinity. He says, “Without soil there is no food and without food there is no life, no trees, no forests. Food and forests are transformed soil. Soil represents life on Earth”.

Indeed, we need to nurture the Earth to support and honour all species and all Nature. Our health and wellbeing are connected to these. For example, trees provide us with oxygen and Vitamin B12, which is essential for our health, is made by bacteria in the soil. Humans need to increasingly recognise the interdependence of all living things and how our narrow, economic thinking has resulted in climate change, pollution and ecological disasters for all life on Earth. More than this, Kumar writes that we represent the totality of the universe. We are the microcosm of the universe as macrocosm, and therefore if we want to take care of the universe, we need to start with ourselves.

Soul: Kumar explains “Soil is the outer landscape, and soul in the inner landscape”.

Our soul is the fundamental aspect of our being. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (the French Jesuit priest, scientist and philosopher) taught us that we are souls living a human experience and we ignore this to our detriment. Kumar says that “Spiritual poverty is the greatest poverty”.

The increase in our young people taking their own lives is an example of how our spiritual poverty can lead to feelings of lack of meaning in life with dire consequences.

Kumar advises us that to care for our soul, we need to slow down. We can spend time in nature (Forest bathing has been shown to increase calm, lower cortisol levels, boost the immune system and reduce anxiety – which is evidence of another reason for the importance of soil linking with our wellbeing). We can meditate, receive energy healing, practice mindfulness, do visualistions to raise our energetic vibration, etc….

Society: The third aspect of Satish Kumar’s  trinity is ‘Society’ which is a wide, encompassing view that understands the interdependence of all living beings in the Earth community.

Recently, with the isolation enforced because of the recent pandemic, it has highlighted that loneliness and isolation have detrimental effects on mental health.

If we do not include other living beings as being part of our society we return to the insular and human-centred world view which has not served us well. Kindness to others (love in action) is important to shift from self-interest to mutual interest, thus benefitting society as a whole.

Kumar concludes: If we can have a holistic view of soil, soul and society, if we can understand the interdependence of all living beings, and understand that all living creatures – from trees to worms to humans – depend on each other and we are all gifted with human spirit, then we can live in harmony with ourselves, with other people and with Nature”.

Su Mason

1) Kumar, S. Goi Award Acceptance Speech. Paradigm Explorer. The Scientific and Medical Network. 2023:141. P19 – 21.
2) [Accessed 27th May 2024]. (Accessed 30.5.24.)

Images: Satish Kumar – Facebook; Pixabay by GDJ; Pixabay byTungArt7

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