Plants’ experience of being in the world is very different from the experience of us animals. Because plants cannot move about, they exist in a state of profound acceptance and peace within themselves. Emotions such as fear, hate, jealousy, possessiveness, etc. are wholly unknown to plants and would serve no useful purpose. On the other hand, plants are capable of experiencing a wide range of higher emotions the like of which we animals could scarcely conceive.
At the same time, there are feelings which plants share with us animals, such as love, pain, joy, thirst, etc. It is the feelings we share with plants which provide the basis of our ability to communicate with them.
Feeling with plants is not so different from feeling with people. For example, when we are about to have sex with someone who really turns us on, we feel a palpable surge of sexual energy connecting us to that person. Similarly, when we walk into a room to face someone who is madder than hell at us, we feel connected to that person by a palpable wave of anger and fear. When a baby smiles at us, we feel a rush of joy that has us automatically smile back. However, most of our interactions with other people do not have this feeling of connectedness and emotional immediacy. Most of the time we don’t even look the people we are addressing in the eye, let alone feel with them. Because of our social training, we tend to regard sharing feelings with other people as threatening. We are taught to close up and defend ourselves, and to keep our interactions as sterile and devoid of feeling as possible.
In order to communicate with plants (or people), you have to be able to regard them as your equals. If you are afraid (ashamed) to talk with homeless people, beggars, crazy people, etc. then you’ll also find it difficult to talk with plants. However, it’s actually easier to communicate with plants than it is to communicate with people because plants don’t have defenses and self-importance agendas in place which engage our own defenses and self-importance agendas. To feel with plants (or people) doesn’t mean to gush all over them; all it means is to recognize them as beings whose feelings are as important to them as your feelings are to you.
When first learning to communicate with plants, it helps to be in contact with the same individual plants on a daily basis. Ideally you should go out, preferably alone, to the same tree or meadow for at least a few minutes every day. If you can’t do this, cultivating garden or house plants will work just as well, although it’s easiest to communicate with large trees. This is because from a feeling (light fiber) point of view, humans and trees are very much alike – the light fiber (auric glow) configurations of both humans and trees are quite similar, whereas that of insects, for example, is very different from either. It is easier for humans and trees to communicate with each other than it is for either to communicate with insects.
Now even the least psychic person, going up to a large tree, should be able to pick up something of the personality (mood) of that tree. How does the tree make you feel – happy, sad, loving, jolly, heavy? Can you pick up its sex: sense a male or female presence – or its age: young and vigorous or old and mellow?
This isn’t all that hard to do – you can call upon your senses to buttress your feelings, as in the exercise of seeing pictures in the clouds, except that you do it by feeling rather than thinking – by relaxing into the process rather than controlling it. It’s exactly what a rationalist would term “anthropomorphism.”
For example, spiky trees (like palmettos and Joshua trees) have a sassy, masculine energy. Cedar trees tend to be clowns or wise guys. Banana trees are joyous and loving. Weeping trees really do have a doleful air about them. Tall, erect trees have proud and regal personalities. Trees that seem to be reaching longingly for the heavens are reaching longingly for the heavens.
A good time to learn to connect emotionally with trees is when they’re dying. The next time you see a tree being felled, pause and quiet down your thoughts and watch it attentively. You should easily be able to feel the tree’s agony just before it falls, since trees (and all beings) are filled with power at the moment of their deaths and profoundly affect the beings around them. Loggers triumphantly yell “Timber!” when a tree falls to cover their sense of shame and disconnectedness – to block communication with the tree at the moment of its death.
Another good time to pick up on plants’ feelings is when they are in motion. Plants are happiest when they are moving – blown by the wind and the rain. Wave back to them when they wave at you (it’s only polite). Watch how they dance in the breeze. See how the trees which overhang roads and walkways cast down blessings on all who pass beneath them. See how the young growing tips are more alert, vigorous, and naively impetuous than the older and mellower lower leaves. Be aware of the awareness of plants: when you walk through a wood or meadow, feel as though you were walking through a crowd of people, all of whom are watching you.
Some people pick up on the feelings of plants by seeing faces in the bark or foliage. They impose that thought form (of a face with a giggly, dour, saucy, etc. expression) over the feeling of the tree, since that’s how most people are conditioned to interpret feelings – by associating them with facial expressions.
What we’re tying to get at are feelings, which can be apprehended directly, without any need for sensory cues. However, the senses can provide a useful point of reference and serve as a bridge between imagination and pure feeling, which is how they function in dreams. When you see with your feelings rather than your mind, your visual attention isn’t focused on any one thing, but rather everything within your field of vision strikes your attention with equal impact (vividness), as it does in dreams. To see this way you have to have your mind quiet, and you have to be in a joyous and abandoned mood. If you’re bummed out or grumpy, you won’t be able to see what plants are feeling any more than you’d be able to see a baby smile at you.
Much of our social training entails learning to stifle our senses – to not see what is right before our eyes, to not listen to what our ears are hearing, to be offended by smells, discomfited by touch. Cutting off our senses leaves us feeling apathetic and disconnected from our world. Therefore, if we want to renew our feeling of connectedness which we had as infants, we have to start plugging our senses into our feelings again. And because they are so nonthreatening, feeling with plants is a good place to start.
Not only do different species of plants have different feelings associated with them, but also there is considerable individual variation in personalities between different plants of the same species, between different branches on the same plant, and even between different leaves on the same branch. By lightly holding a leaf for a moment between your thumb and forefinger, you can feel which leaves want to be picked for medicine or food purposes and which ones want to be left alone. The leaves that want to be picked have a high, vibrant feel to them, whereas leaves that don’t want to be picked feel dead in your hand.
Even if you can’t seem to tune in to the feelings of plants, you can still telepathically “talk” with them. Plants can talk to you in thoughts, and these (at first) seem indistinguishable from your own thoughts. That is, it will seem to you that you are the one who is thinking these thoughts, when in fact it is the plants which are sending you messages. That’s why it’s important to have your own mind as quiet as possible – to be in a relaxed mood – if you expect plants to talk to you; if your own mind is buzzing, there’s no way the plants can get a word in edgewise. Any thoughts or feelings you have while sitting under a tree or working with plants are probably messages from the plants.
So how do you know if you are actually communicating with a plant, and not just imagining it? The answer is: you don’t. You just go with your intuition rather than going with your concepts, what you’ve been taught. Instead of hypnotizing yourself into believing that the world of concepts is reality, you hypnotize yourself into believing that the world of feelings – of magic – is reality. The only difference between these two equally valid points of view is that from one of them plants talk to you, and from the other they don’t.
If you feel self-conscious talking to plants, just remember that what you have been programmed to call the “real” world is merely a figment of your imagination also. And if you start calling something else the real world, then that something else becomes the real world; it becomes as real as this one.
If you’re dubious, just ask the plant over and over, “Is this you, Mr. or Ms. Plant talking to me, or am I just imagining it?” And if you keep getting the same answer over and over, “It’s me, the plant! It’s me, the plant!” – then just assume that it is indeed the plant talking to you, and listen to what it has to say. You can ask questions and get answers, both questions and answers coming as though you were holding a conversation in your own mind.
It’s easy to learn to talk with house and garden plants, since these are particularly eager to discuss matters such as fertilization, watering, shade, grafting and transplanting techniques, etc. But in addition to such mundane affairs, plants (particularly large trees) can give you helpful advice on all sorts of matters. Take them your problems; ask them what they think you should do. Some of my best friends and most trusted advisors are trees.
Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, you are already communicating with plants all the time. The soothing, healing, tranquilizing feeling that comes when you are gardening or are out in nature is in fact your psychic attunement to the joyous vibrations of the plants around you. To follow this feeling one step further – to its source – is to put yourself into direct communication with the plants. It’s as easy as smiling at a baby.
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excerpted from Magical Almanac ezine, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MagicalAlmanac