The Secret Teachings of Plants

For Beyond 50's "Green Living" talks, listen to an interview with Stephen Harrod Buhner. He'll talk about the tradition of direct perception of Nature through the "intelligence of the heart." All ancient and indigenous people insist their knowledge of plant medicines comes from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation. Less well known is that these plant teachings are at the basis of many of the modern discoveries in both medicine and in plant foods. Buhner will explore this heart-centered mode of perception that is our birthright. You'll understand how to learn the medicinal uses of plants directly from the plants themselves and to understand the soul -making process.

Perceiving Nature's True Nature

According to Buhner, when we perceive Nature in a linear way through the scientific mind, we are basically taking a static picture of it, rather than capturing its series of flowing movements holistically, as in a motion picture.  And, we tend to separate and isolate it.

If we were to perceive Nature in a non-linear way, we can notice it as a highly irregular structure (like fractal geometry) full of unpatterned, random chaos.  It is "always in flux, flowing along and between dimensions, never in predictable ways," explained Buhner.

All living organisms give and receive electromagnetic and magnetic field signals that are fractal and oscillating.  Each signal imparts unique information that's encoded.  For humans, it's done powerfully through the heart - the organ of perception and communication, also known as the "seat of consciousness."  For plants, it's through their highly sensitive nervous system. 

Buhner adds that "there is an extremely sophisticated electric and magnetic  communication that is going on all the time among trillions and trillions of organisms.  A web of communications that is so complex and detailed that there is no way to understand it with the linear, analytical mind."

 An Exercise to Try:

To receive the secret teachings of plants, Buhner recommends that you "first sit with the plant and become aware of your heart.  Breathings in through your heart, breathe in the feelings of the plant that are coming to you..  Now, feel the nonphysical energy field of your heart emanating out from you.  Envelop the plant with the field that your heart is creating with each beat.  Feel it holding the plant within it.  Now, let the beauty of the plant affect you.  Notice how much you care for it.  And the plant, like all life, will take them in, respond to them, altering its communications in turn.

As you develop your sensitivity, you can feel the plant begin to move toward you, respond to you, engage with you, entrain with your heart.  You can tell, when you pay close attention, the moment when the two of you have established rapport.

In that moment, send a request out from the deepest recesses of yourself.  Ask the plant how you can use it as medicine.  Tell it of your need.

There will be a response.  Though you may have to pay attention to your body, your feelings, and the odd stray thoughts or pictures that pop into your mind to perceive it.  Sometimes a phrase will, of itself, emerge into the mind."


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