How We Learn From Plants

To Learn from Plants . . .
The premise for what follows is that plants have been actively engaged in guiding humanity since our emergence as species, and that we would do well to wake up to this fact and take advantage of it, as we need all the help we can get at this critical juncture in our collective story.

To understand how plants educate humanity, we must first reverse the popular assumption, backed by conventional science (and the not so popular Creationism, for that matter) that humans are ‘smarter’ than plants.  Why are we smarter?  Because we can do such clever things.  We can talk, write and read books, argue among ourselves, invent technologies, create art, go to the moon, and so on.  This assumption of a superior intelligence comes with a ranking of the natural world that, predictably, places humans at the top, firmly seated on the throne of our neo-cortex.  The elements and their manifestations in rivers, forest fires, weather patterns, and such, are thereby not thought to act with any purpose, but are merely forces of nature acting and reacting according to physio-chemical laws. The usual religious fundamentalisms often grant these forces purpose, but only to serve their dogmas of judgment, such as when a city is punished for its lax morality by being visited by a hurricane. We commonly grant some rudimentary volition to the lesser life forms, but assume they have not developed enough to communicate with us with much more than wilting leaves, stings, grunts, and meows. The apes are closest to us in evolution, and we try to teach chimps cognitive language to develop (another way of ‘improving’ nature) them to ‘talk’ to us.  Notice the efforts always reference intelligence in our direction, unilinearly up the supposed evolutionary ladder.

On Intelligence
This ego-centric viewpoint ignores the possibility that plants, and all of the natural world, may be operating via different kinds of intelligence, rather than just lesser versions of the human experience.  For these beings, the world is experienced in ways that are simply appropriate to their form and function.  When we get past the judgments of hierarchy, we open to a worldview in which Gaian intelligence shines thru the different tribes of creation as light varies thru different facets of a jewel.  The diversity makes up a rainbow of life, yet all the colors are merely different frequencies of One light.

With this understanding, human intelligence can be fruitfully directed to become more conscious of the subtle source currents of planetary life, and to follow their change of frequencies into various forms and functions.  In this way we know the world by walking the paths of Creation from common origin to individual expression.  The more expansive our intelligence, the more encompassing our viewpoint, and the more we can see the same story beneath the different ‘tellings’ of it by different life forms. In the same way, the different groups of cells that compose our body sing the same song of our body’s overall functioning, tell the same story of our metabolic integrity.

This is illustrated by the Chinese parable of the well-bottom frog.  This story tells of a frog who lives its life at the bottom of a deep well, and knows nothing of the outer world except what he can see thru the single opening above.  All that passes across the top of the well is his reality.  If holes were to be drilled at various angles from the surrounding land into the well, his reality would be made more diverse, his intelligence would adapt to the new information, however his world would still be limited, just less so.  But this doesn’t happen.  Instead, one day a sparrow flies into the well, and tells the frog what’s going on in the topside world.  The frog expresses disbelief, ontological arguments ensue, until finally the sparrow has had enough, picks up the frog, and flies him out of the well.  Upon experiencing the outside world, the intelligence of the frog goes thru the appropriate radical readjustment, his awareness expands, actuality illuminates his reality, and his life is thereby enriched.

We are much like the well-bottom frog when we cling to a rationalist definition of intelligence.  If we are to let go to our innate felt-awareness of the world, to the range of gross and subtle sensations, we can move into a heart-felt way of understanding, and more easily open to receive plant communications.  We thereby become conscious of the ancient and powerful field of energy that defines the vegetative realm.  It carries a wisdom of elders, as plants are senior to the human tribe, and are responsible for much of life as we know it. They are the holders of chlorophyll, the molecular mandala of magic that allows the conversion of sunlight into 3-d forms.  The chlorophyll lineage has woven the fabric of life in countless ecosystems, and is among the most signifcant creative forces on the planet.

Plant Wisdoms
Plant wisdoms, have informed the earliest and most ubiquitous human traditions for understanding the world. These wisdom traditions arise naturally as humans seek to harmonize with their surroundings, with the larger society of Nature. Nature thereby births human cultures into existence as further extensions of ecosystemic life, as more conscious expressions of Gaian intelligence.  In this way marriage customs, agricultural and hunting practices, spirit communications, rites of passage, mythic identities, and so on, originally replicate the relations by which lightening, clouds, wind, forests, deserts, oceans, and rivers, create, maintain, dissolve, and recreate the world around them.  These relations run thru every dimension of the earth’s body, thru the elements, the rocks, plants, animals, and humans.

The direct connection between our well-being and that of the earth is often lost as humans bud into self-reflective consciousness.  This journey of separation from the Mother, the transformations wrought by the challenges and suffering of this separation, and our eventual return (many of us anyway) with the fruits of our maturation, is attended by gestures of the land to guide us thru this process.  The land extends itself thru our body, and births spiritual traditions, such as sweat lodges, prayers of re-membrance, ceremonial offerings, vision quests, care of sacred sites, tantric practices, meditations, dance rituals, and so on.  Thru these, we cultivate a body-based intelligence, and learn to live by the reciprocal relations that flow between honoring the body and honoring the earth.

Plants attend every facet of human life. They feed, clothe, and house us; yet it is in their healing work that the teaching capacity of plants is most clearly illustrated.  One way to understand this is thru the concept of symbiosis. Symbiosis refers to mutually beneficial relations between two or more different kinds of organisms.  There is a diversity of symbiotic relationships between plants and animals.  Many involve plants giving of themselves as shelter, food, and medicine in exchange for various gardening services from the animal kin-dom, such as protection, pollen distribution, and seed dispersal.  However, symbiosis takes on a unique character when dealing with the emergence of self-awareness in humans.

Humans can easily disturb their own equilibrium, and that of their surroundings thru forgetting their responsibilities to the world that sustains them.  This happens on our journey of separation, when we become enamored with the power of the rational mind, even possessed by it, emotionally crippled by unnatural cultural restraints, and obsessed with protection of a solely body-based identity.  Lost in the illusion of a separative existence, we can be reduced to navigating with the slivers of sensory vibration necessary to find money, food, and sex.

In such situations we are not fully in-formed and lose touch with our ‘original instructions’.  We simply forget.  And this forgetting leads to perversions of our natural gifts, which result in a number of ills.  Self-preservation responses turn to chronic fear, our ability to love becomes obsessive and possessive, our tool-making prowess creates self-destructive technologies, and so on.

Teacher Plants (and Fungi)
As nature always seeks balance, it provides plants (and fungi) that specifically nourish and educate the soul – the common link with all of Nature – to help us re-member.  These specialists are often called Teacher, or Master plants, and depending on their effects, Vision plants.  In the larger sense, they act as anti-bodies in ecosystems threatened by destructive human behaviors.  We find for example, Psilocybe mushrooms in disturbed soil in Cascadia,ayahuasca in the frontier towns of Amazonia, and Cannabis in the ditches of Kansas.  They act thru reminding us of our evolutionary heritage;  they can awaken us to the karmas and consequences of our actions, reveal our latent potentials, how to act in right livelihood as a species, and catalyze spiritual transformations. Many earth-honoring peoples consider them as gifts from the Creator to help them come into balance with all creation.

Though all plants are teachers, as is all the world a teacher, if related to as such, the Teacher plants are distinguished by unique biochemistries.  The pheromones, chemicals by which plants ‘behave’ through communicating messages of attraction and repulsions via scents, coloring, toxicity, and so on, take on distinctly telepathic effects in Teacher plants.

These plants usually contain alkaloids, such as phenethylamines (e.g., mescaline), or tryptamines (e.g., dimethyltryptamine and psilocybin), which are part of a structural group that includes neurotransmitters, (e.g. dopamine and serotonin).  Neurotransmitters route sensations, such as hunger, pain, and pleasure to the brain and relevant organs.   Our nervous system has evolved in co-creative relationship with this group of molecules, and uses many of them to effect communication within our body.

We are therefore tuned to a biochemical sense of self, a serotonin-dominated holding pattern which roughly defines our feeling of normalcy.  When serotonin drops we tend to get depressed, when it is high we feel good and a bit sleepy.  In these ways serotonin, to various degrees, alters our state of consciousness.

By ingesting Teacher plants we change neurotransmitter levels and ratios within our bodies, as well as introduce novel forms of these molecules.  The expansion of our neurotransmitter range, like an antenna redirecting itself, opens us to the multidimensional band width of the natural world. The plants are in this sense a kind of media.  We tune in, on a ‘Nature channel’, to ‘dialogues’ carried on by all manner of element, plant, animal, ancestor, and deity.  We sense them both within and without us.  They tend to appear less as ‘other-than-ourselves’, and more as participants in the construction and function of our skin-defined body, and larger definitions of our body, such as a local woods, mountain ranges, the earth itself, the sky, and beyond.  We are thereby offered a more expansive sense of self.  If we choose to expand in this way, we become populated by a diversity of stories, by the dreams of existence of many life forms.  This attunes us to the mythic realms, the land of origins, from which all creation is ‘thought’ into manifestation.  Entry into these Dreamtimes renews our awareness of the unifying fabric of spirit that conjoins all the tribes of creation.  One then re-members the ‘old language’, the soul speech, and can again communicate with the world, is again re-minded of our heritage and purpose, our responsibilities and potentials.  One thereby becomes an initiate into the inner world of the culture of Nature, and is moved to help human culture stay in alignment with it.  This work comes of awareness of primary forces and purposes of planetary evolution, the destiny of humans to consciously participate with them, and the impulse of life, thru us, to become increasingly aware of Itself.

Teacher Plant Traditions
With all this said, it is not surprising that people who traditionally use the Teacher plants consider them to be highly intelligent and endowed with strong personalities.  They are thought to be portals into great mystery, to reveal both beauty and terror, divinity and inspiration.  In exchange for the great gifts they give, they require a respectful attitude, integrity, and responsibility in those that seek them out.  Otherwise they can be dangerous, for their misuse unleashes mirroring forces of high negativity, sorcery, and insanity.  Teacher plants heal by pulling the veil away from the vastness of the universe, by presenting confrontations with depths of awareness unfathomed by most individuals.  Such confrontations can precipitate a crisis as the patient, or by this time initiate, seeks to sift the lies from truths of his or her life, to assimilate the results.  This generally resolves itself by the individual surrendering to some kind of radical transformation, to the chaos which allows higher orders of integration to arise.  One may then be resurrected as a child of the plant, and the spiritual agencies that work thru it, and raised to work with the healing forces that brought about the transformation.  In this way plants creates allies to work with them, and the planet gains humans consciously aligned with its purposes.

The paye, or ‘gentleman of the rainforest’, a wisdom figure of the Desana tribal peoples of the NW Amazon, is an example of one such alliance.  The paye uses a number of Teacher plants to enter into the heightened feeling states necessary to effect dialogue with the spirit life of the surrounding forest.  In the Desana cosmology, a kind of forum, or meeting ground exists in the dimensions accessible through these plants wherein humans meet with the spiritual aspects of the other rain forest inhabitants in order to manage the affairs of the biotic community.  Many of the cultural conventions and taboos of Amazonian peoples are derived from these interchanges.  The larger effect of these culture proscriptions and prescriptions is to maintain ecological equilibrium with the forest, to preserve equity among inhabitants in the sharing of finite energy and resources.  The payetherefore has a role as protector of animal and plant-life, as a manager of resources.  The Teacher plants, as vegetative counterpart to the paye, likewise have a role as protectors and managers of the human population.  Social disorder and illness among the human tribe are thought to be symptomatic of disruption in the flow of energy though the greater ecosystem.  These are diagnosed to be caused by violations of social norms, such as overfishing, bearing an excessive number of children, or lack of ritual respect in hunting, which, again, have their origins in agreements made in the mythic realms of spirit.  The paye then acts to correct the imbalance by conciliatory gestures towards the violated parties.  Healing is mediation;  the skill of the paye is largely one of skill in relationships, among humans and between the species.

The plants (and fungi), and some of the peoples who care-take their traditional uses, include the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii) of the Huichol (Sierra Madre Mts. of NW Mexico);  the San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi) cactus of Andean highland peoples, the mint (Salvia divinorum) and mushroom (Psilosybin sp.) of the Mazatecs (Oaxaca, Mexico); ganja (Cannabis sp.) of Saddhus (India) and Rastafarians (Jamaica);  and the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) of Siberian tribes.

While the survival of many of these traditions is threatened by a rapidly changing world, others are adapting by syncretizing into new forms.  For example, thru Teacher plant-inspired religions, the Christ figure has been transfigured from its recent identity as a Protestant prophet of profits, into a force that embraces all of Nature with love, care, and acceptance.  We find this resurrected Christ in pan-Native American peyote religions, churches that employ iboga root (Tabernanthe iboga) in colonized central west Africa, andayahuasca-based churches born in the Amazon basin with the influx of colonists and forest extractivists into territories held by tribes who used a variety of Teacher plants.

This kind of symbiosis works on a primarily spiritual level.  The Teacher plants align the human intelligence with its own, or other spiritual forces acting thru it, and allow us to see the world, and especially our lives, thru the eyes of the ‘others’.  This allows us to become more aware of the threads that connect us all, and thru them feel the consequences of our actions on others.  Since it is usual to make ego-dominated decisions, realizing the consequences can be unsettling, or even terrifying, but ultimately redemptive.  Regardless, the insights and attending emotional responses are strong catalysts for changing one’s ways, to be born anew.  This access to one’s own internal authority is in marked contrast to conventional Christianity, with its external God, and by extension church authorities, who proclaim the do’s and don’ts by which one is expected to live.

Of Sacraments and Medicines
Teacher plants, when they are not called ‘drugs’, are more respectfully referred to as either medicines or sacraments.  These words connote medical or spiritual perspectives on their actions.  However, these distinctions do not hold true in many cultures, where the two together create an indivisible concept.  For example, the word ‘medicine’ among many Native American peoples refers to the mysterious and unaccountable power behind something.  The horse is then ‘medicine dog’, the gun ‘medicine iron’, alcohol ‘medicine water’, and the ‘medicine man’ a healer and worker of magic.  The ‘medicine’ of something is sourced in the spirit that underlies, creates, and is everywhere present in the material world, and is the ultimate origin of all health and illness.

The unity of medicine and spirituality is commonly expressed in the conception of the body as a precipitation of the individualized spirit, the soul, into material existence.  The soul then is the root, or template of the body.  Illness is a manifestation of the ego acting without guidance from the soul.  This loss of connection between the spiritual and material in one’s life can rob one of full presence in the world, and result in possession states, confused identities, meaninglessness, and so on.  These are issues at the pre-incarnation level, the realm of sacraments, where distortions can affect the subtler bodies and then ‘bubble up’ into physical symptoms, the realm of medicine.

With the Teacher plants, the two realms are nearly indistinguishable.  The plant body helps the human body, and the plant spirit helps the human spirit, with the ultimate goal of bringing the two, body and spirit, into a unified, fully incarnational existence.  Whether they are called medicines or sacraments then depends on the emphasis of the tradition, usually shamanic or church, in which they are used.

To restore the balance between the soul and body, spirit and reason, is a common definition of spiritual healing, whether by Teacher plants or some other means.  Spiritual healing often follows a period of crisis, or great distress, that forces a person, or social body, to draw upon hitherto unknown resources of strength, perseverance, love, and understanding to get thru it.  Those that return from such ordeals often find themselves cleared of the issues that created the drama in the first place.  This opens up new space for energy flow and vitality, which then suggests possibilities of how to continue the process, to be pro-active in healing.  Now familiar with the territory, one can choose to live a life of transformation, to seek out the ‘medicines’ in the world of form, and use them to surrender to the call of unified existence, of spiritual life.

Just as health can be defined as a verb, beyond the noun of  ‘no symptoms’, so can many positive states and behaviors, such as kindness, cleanliness, and peace, be defined pro-actively.  For example, to wage peace is to live by principles of non-violence, to root out the nuances of violence in our personal and cultural conditioning, to be increasingly conscious of our behaviors, to grow in presence.

Of Spirituality and Religions
Pro-active healing is another way to understand life lived as ceremony, as a spiritual practice.  Such a life is led by recognizing negative patterns, disidentifying with them, and then facing them with ever deepening acknowledgment and presence to release the life force trapped within their distortions.

However, many individuals are so entranced with their mind-created selves, that they do not easily feel the spark of spiritual awareness, the pull towards union, the karmic truth of the Golden Rule.  Nature addresses this by providing currents of love and beauty in the world.  Sunrises and family togetherness, the wonder of a newborn and the peace at death, can all outshine the projections of mental designs and interpretations that so commonly ensnare human awareness.  But the mind is tenacious, and when a crisis is reached, when the spiritual ‘I’ has enough of the dramas of a separative existence, Teacher plants are often consulted.  By surfacing our deeper selves, revealing our truer natures, they can help set us on a path of self-awareness.  A good example of this happening on a collective scale occurred during the 1960s.  The renaissance in all manner of spiritual traditions in the modern west, from yoga to Zen meditation, Sufi dancing to sweat lodges, was significantly catalyzed by the Teacher plants, most notably Cannabis, and their chemical counterparts, such as LSD.

Predictably, we find such plants present at the founding of many religions.  Perhaps the most primordial example is Soma, the mysterious plant (or fungus) recounted in the Hindu Rg-Vedas.  It was considered the drink of the Gods, a vehicle of self-transcending ecstasy.  In such plant-based traditions, one is initiated by a sacrament that gives, rather than demands faith.  This is an important distinction between spirituality and religion.

Religions, though they arise out of individuals who are, ideally, in constant identification with the Divine, tend to put obstacles in the way of those attempting to replicate the path of the founders.  They do this because a religion is identified with the church, the bureaucratic organization that tends to grow up around a spiritual lineage.  Bureaucracies, due to a phenomena known as ‘bureaucratic drift’, tend to look out for their own interests, their own power structure, over those of their ‘constituents’.  Spiritual transformations empower individuals in ways that threaten these structures, and their attendant culture.  Such individuals then no longer need the church, or the wider status quo, to tell them what to do, as they take their direction directly from the Source. They may then define spirituality different than the dogma of church, practice life differently from their neighbors, and begin teaching those drawn to them, planting the seeds of what could become another religion, and with it another culture.  Such efforts are usually suppressed by the religious hierarchy and culture cops, who often label the individual and his/her adherents as heretics, blasphemers, infidels, witches, criminals. terrorists, or whatever.  Suppression is intensified when the religion is co-opted by the political intents of the state.  In such cases the ‘official’ God usually appears as an authority figure with a judgment agenda, in resonance with the usually tyranny of the state.

Teacher plants by their nature empower individuals, as they attune us to our inborn, native intelligence, which in turn connects us with the guiding wisdom of our evolutionary heritage.  They reveal authority figures to be both unnecessary and unnatural.  The God they affirm is an evolutionary deity.  All creation is therefore sacred, the earth a great temple.  The respect and reverence necessary to walk the spiritual path in such a world comes from being responsible in all relationships.  The only expectation of such a God (if God could even have expectations) is for us to live lives of self-discovery, in order to know and transform those aspects of oneself that avoid such relationships.

The life prescriptions of an evolutionary God are in direct contrast to those that arise from the founding myths of modernity.  All attitudes, cultural norms, and lifestyles that are contrary to the Gaian dharma are ultimately negated by these plants.  All investments that an individual or culture may have in a world where reason dominates, or disallows, spirit, is threatened by these plants.  This is why they are often demonized, and illegalized.

Dialogues with Plants
To learn of plants from plants, it is first necessary to practice a kind of imaginal hygiene, a clearing of your imagination from as much clutter, noise, emotional conflicts, ideologies, consumerist spells, and media agitations, as possible.  The more you have a clear imaginal playing field, and receptive attitudes towards wonder, enchantment, and the unexpected, the easier it is to receive and interpret vegetal communications.

It is likewise important to learn to recognize transparency in the 3-D world around us, to sense the underlying dialogue, or conversation, that is continuously carried on among the elements and species in myriad subtle forms.  To do this it is helpful to reorder one’s senses – taste, smell, vision, hearing, touch – in ways that are receptive to the particular ways plant ‘speak’.  The mono-species (human to human) dialogues usual to modern Western culture prioritizes the visual (e.g. printed media), and to a lesser extent, auditory senses (e.g. radio).  Touch is often either professionalized (massage), or carried on behind closed doors (sex);  smells tend to be manufactured (perfumes and deodorants), and taste often numbed by great amounts of salt, sugar, and grease.

Lifelong conditioning to this narrow spectrum defines a deficiency, one that deprives humans of the information feedback that comes of a life informed by a full spectrum of sensory input.  For example, what looks and sounds good (as in the pretty charms cast by advertising) might not necessarily feel good, what tastes good might not be good for you (junk foods), and what tastes bad might be good for you (bitter medicinal plants).

By contrast, we have evolved to know the natural world with the full range of human sense-abilities.  We can draw on this heritage to develop a fluency in all the senses, and an awareness of balance in their ratios to one another.  This results in a more whole perception of reality, which allows us to more easily tune into the languages of creation, and receive the power and balance that speaks itself thru our body.  We learn to speak back thru the power of prayer, thru respect and reverence.  This dialogue moves in a current of creation, a chanting of the world into its possibilities.

Four ways of doing this are discussed below.  Though they focus on plants, they apply to relations with all the tribes of creations.  Each requires from the human a progressively greater degree of participation in the dialogue, each then creating a symbiosis, a deepening blend of consciousness.  These can be understood as asanas of resonance.

The Language of Aesthetics
When we garden, or walk in the woods, we often feel at home there, relaxed, in tune with the world and ourselves.  We easily feel gratitude and appreciation for our surroundings.  Nature speaks to us thru all our senses, telling us her stories.  We feel the season, see the mound left by a passing gopher, smell the freshness after a passing rain, and note that a tree fall had created a space for fast growing, light loving plants to grow.  If we cast our attention on a single plant, we can experience that it too has a story.  We call this by the names of flavors, odors, textures, beauty, etc.  When we engage our senses to ‘hear’ this story, we know it as aesthetic experience.  By clearing out thoughts and expectations, giving ourselves over to whatever way it wishes to make itself known to us, a meaning may appear.  An imaginal cognition.  Possibly a faint curl of awareness.  By feeling into it, fanning the flame of its existence with our focused awareness, it begins to take shape.  It smells faintly of character, tastes slightly of personality.  Over time, and possibly many visits with the plant, we get to know it better, and the story becomes relational with our own story.  We find areas of similarity, or mutual helpfulness, and may develop it into a friendship.  We may then come to like the company we keep with plants, and begin to circulate more fully in the community of the plant ‘people’.  Our senses become more intelligent as we develop our conversations with the vegetative world.  Our nose, for example, can gain entry into worlds of sensory realities as it becomes more fluent in the fragrance of flowers.  We become aware of the subtleties of what attracts us, and what we need to keep our distance from.  We learn to navigate thru the jungle of life with a sophistication born of the jungle itself.

Gestures and Signatures
To refine the senses is to know them closer to the frequencies they have in common, at the point where they easily bleed together in higher vibrations, and cross-over into one another.  The synesthesia that underlies the senses is hinted at when we hear a color in a sound, such as the musical style of ‘the blues’, or notice the sharpness (texture) of a taste.  With practice the world can be read in ways that reveal unifying currents beneath the diversity of the physical world.

These currents arise from even more unified archetypes, or essences, which ‘echo’ specific qualities of form and function into material existence, depending on the animal, plant, mineral, or element.  For example, the archetypal gesture of grasping and squeezing is found in the strangler fig native to Amazonia.  This plant begins as a epiphyte high in a tree, which then sends down adventitious roots.  These eventually grow into a vine-like tree that ‘squeezes’ the life out of the host tree by taking up its growing space.  The essence of grasping is behind the action of talons in birds, such as the eagle and owl.  It is also found in the gesture of the womb when it menstruates or gives birth.  These three have an affinity in their shared essence.  Thru this affinity, one can effect change in the other.

These principles can be applied therapeutically.  In the case of a reluctant menstruation, the womb be can understood as having ‘forgotten’ its grasping function.  A preparation made from the strangler fig can be prescribed in order for it to ‘teach’ the womb, to help it remember its archetypal gesture.  This preparation can also help a person learn massage, or gain more tenacity and perseverance in their personality.  In this way one learns to match the story of a plant with the story of a person so that the person’s story is benefited, is restored.  This way of reading archetypes and matching affinities is known in the West as the ‘doctrine of signatures’, or more actively ‘doctrine of gestures’, and is the basis for much of our inherited herbal wisdom.

At a more intimate level, plant-human dialogue can also be expressed as a cross-possessioning, a shapeshifting.  This is where it becomes apparent that you are perceiving the world thru the experience of the plant, the plant then perceiving the world thru you the human, and you both become energetically intertwined, taking on properties of each other.  This is commonly experienced with Teacher plants and fungi, though the principle holds true on more subtle, often unconscious levels with anything you take into your body and metabolize.

In this alliance, one’s psycho-physical being becomes the substrate, or soil, in which the spirit of the plant takes root.  One can then feel the strength of the plant coursing thru your body as it sets about growing with and within you.  This allows the opportunity to awaken to various vitalizing potentials you share with the vegetal world. When these vitalities activate, the body-mind becomes like a seedpod that bursts open with creative forces. These are especially felt in what traditional Chinese medicine calls the wu hsin or ‘five centers’, energy portals that act thru the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and the face.  For example, a rooting or budding may want to happen thru the face.  By opening the mouth wide to accommodate it, possibly going into the lion pose of yoga, with the tongue extended and down, it can feel as though the whole face wants to split open to let something emerge.  Likewise, a blossoming impulse can appear in the chest, moving one to stretch open the sternum, to give the heart room to expand.

With ayahuasca, it is sometimes said that if one drinks the plant and feels no obvious effects, then the plant grew inside of the body but did not flower.  If one feels the effects, and has a profound experience, then the plant is said to have flowered.  Every time one drinksayahuasca after that, one is watering the ‘signature’ that remains of the plant.  If nurtured in this way, it continues to grow and strengthen, and becomes an ally.

The internalized plant also gives feedback, thru the feeling body, on ways to condition the ‘soil’ to allow the plant to grow well and flourish.  If one feels dis-ease, it is apparent that one is toxifying one’s soil, often thru any number of lifestyle choices.  These can include too little exercise or rest, excessively processed or poisoned air, food, and water, unrelieved stress, emotional imbalances, lack of love, emotional support systems, or connection to spiritual guidance, avoidance of personal responsibility, the general effects of living in a fear-based culture, and so on.  In contrast, choices that bring about positive responses from the plant within, i.e., one feels good, indicate one is fertilizing the soil.  This results in health for the human, and an attitude of well-being born of those choices.

Plant-human cross-possessioning is symbiosis by way of revelation, as it activates the embodied wisdom of our evolutionary heritage.  It can awaken us to the potentials of our own plant within, the qualities we share thru our common ancestry.  We therefore draw lessons and vitality both from our plant ally, and our inherent plant nature, our own soma within.  This opens up further educations in pro-active health.  We can learn, for example, how the plant works the absorption, assimilation, and release of energy.  This can give insight into primordial processes by which organisms manage life force, and how to use them to best effect, how to breath, move, imagine, and voice them into their possibilities.  Plants have amazing regenerative powers, which we can draw upon for new possibilities in healing everything from bodily injuries to emotional trauma.  Also, as plants operate on a more unified level of consciousness, they can re-mind us of our more psychic, telepathic, capabilities.

The Human Flowering Response: cultivating the Soma within
The following is a discussion of the yet further reaches of all this plant communion: the awakening of the ‘plant within’ that we all carry in the make-up of our human vehicle. Though all of our evolutionary ancestry is present within us, the plants we work with will, understandably, contact that of which they know, namely our own plant nature.

Evolution and soma
The human flowering response is a way to understand how we transform ourselves into agents of divinely-inspired creativity.  It describes our shift to a higher vibration, our birth into the life of spirit, and how this process is shared with other life forms, with our ancestors.  While the images draw from our vegetative heritage, its ‘physics’ unfurl from the common origin and destiny of all the tribes of creation, for we are, ultimately, all One on the great journey of Life.  In this way, we can understand planetary evolution as the life of a single multi-species being that has grown to encompass the earth, and is now tentatively extending out into space.

What is soma?  Long ago, when humanity embarked on the journey of separation from the family of creation necessary for our self-awareness to develop, Nature in her great beneficence provided guidance for the return home.  Among these guides, or healers, are an especially wise tribe within the kin-dom of plants, or fungi, known archetypically as soma. The term is Sanskrit, and its role is recounted in the Rg-Vedas, among the oldest of the spiritual literature extant on the planet.  Soma is the Holy plant, or fungus, which acts as a vehicle of spiritual illumination, and is considered to have awakened humanity to our divine nature, and the rules of the game on this planet.  What species, or amalgam of species, somaactually was, is to me less important than what it represents:  a bridge to higher consciousness offered to us by the natural world.  Such bridges have led to the founding of many spiritual traditions, and continue to offer safe passage for our lives.

For the purposes of self-cultivation, we can understand soma as less an external intelligence ‘telling’, or ‘teaching’ us anything, and more an aspect of ourselves in external plant (or fungus) form that reveals and awakens our internal soma, our own guidance, from its sleep of forgetfulness, thus activating our evolutionary heritage.  Our job then becomes to stay awake, to develop this soma-tic intelligence, to re-member our abilities to think and act like a responsible, evolving ecosystem, so that we no longer need the help of the external soma, or can graduate to more advanced lessons.

Plant-human similarities
Structurally, humans are plant-like in a number of ways.  Our circulatory and nervous systems radiate from our heart and spine like the roots and branches of a tree, our lungs are shaped like leaves and share the same role of respiration, our brain appears as a big bud of marrow rising out of the spinal column, and our hemoglobin is nearly identical to chlorophyll, differing by the molecular exchange of magnesium for iron.  Our energy bodies can be similarly understood.  For example, the spine is analogous to a stalk upon which are found chakras, subtle vortexes of energy in vertical alignment in the body.  These are traditionally understood as lotus flowers that open in response to various stages of our spiritual development.

Said another way, just as God can be understood to be (commonly) unrealized within each of us, so all creation exists as potential within us, and within all creation lies the potential of the human being.  More specifically, plants contain the potential of humans, and humans contain the potential of plants.  When we raise our awareness to the point where we become consciously co-creative with the planet and its evolutionary processes, we bring these potentials to the surface.  This allows deeper purposes of self-fulfillment to be realized across all life forms, and unleashes a new order of creativity upon the earth.  In this way the planet moves to higher octaves of life;  in this way Gaia dreams herself into the next phase of her story, of our story.

Such signatures allow us to understand ourselves as big succulents who have lost our roots, literally, and often otherwise.  Though we are fleshy, prone to vocalizing, and flopping about upon the earth’s surface, we are still plants in our deep design, and are genetically and energetically disposed to follow the same growth patterns as the vegetative world.  These traits allow us to look towards the world of plants, its life processes, cycles, and seasonal changes, to gain insight into the forms, functions, and futures we both share.

Plant development – the three stages
Plants – and we are speaking very generally of that glowing edge of the kin-dom known as the flowering plants – can be understood to go through three phases in their life cycle.  Each phase, archetypically (and esoterically), comprises a great ‘breath’ of absorption, assimilation, and release.

With an inhalation, life force condenses into the seed, which eventually bursts into an exhalation of germination.  This outbreath begins a growth process, and the plant rises and extends, branches and leafs.  It reaches a certain progression of maturity, an adulthood, which completes what we will call stage I of its life.  At this point, having achieved a respectable and operative physical presence in the world, it lessens the attention given to growing physically larger and turns instead towards drawing in the ambient vitality around it to effect a higher frequency, to raise its vibration.  And so begins stage II.

In stage II the inhalation of life force is maximized.  This engages the plant in a long extended vegetative pleasure principle, fed (and often interrupted) by sun, fog, rain, or drought;  by rich or poor soils;  still air, breezes, or strong winds;  the rhythm of light and dark;  the attention of other plants and animals.  This is experienced as a nourishment ‘high’, a feedback which urges the plant to continue vitalizing.  Eventually the synergy of the forces it attracts possesses the plant with a unitive experience, an emergence into greater wholeness.  This process precipitates into the formation of a flower bud, a reincarnation of the plant in a subtler form.

The exhalation begins when the vitality builds up to a point where it becomes more than can be contained, and that which has been absorbed now overflows and ascends into blossoming.  This is a (relatively) rapid movement upward and outward, a flowering ‘orgasm’.  Flowers, with their radiant colors, delicacy, fragrance, and intricacy of form, are the geometries and intentions of higher frequencies exposed and made transparent by the sexual power of creation.

Stage III begins as an inbreath.  This creates the ovary of the flower, and the vitality is condensed into a seed.  There the flowered plant essentializes itself, and invests the lessons of its life in hereditary coding, instructions for the next generation on how to best live and adapt to its surroundings.  With an outbreath the elements of the plant’s life are transformed into its means of dissemination, and a gift to the world, the fruit.  This reciprocation completes the circle, and with it the plant fulfills its structural destiny.

The human flowering response –stage I
The human story can be mapped onto this cycle, as we are designed for the same process.  An inbreath of life sparks us into existence as an embryo.  Thru an outbreath we grow and reach a physical adulthood, which generally completes stage I.  At this point, if our natural inclination to commune with our body, with the world, with vital force, is allowed expression, we begin to catalyze into stage II.

However, we more commonly stay in and around stage I for the duration of our lives, because we think stage I is it.  We do not – at least in the ‘official’ disassociative mythos of modernity – recognize anything beyond, and it is in the interest of those who control this mythos and receive the (apparent) benefits from it, that we do not.  Why?  Because to the extent we do not engage in the vitality practices, the communions leading into stage II, we are disempowered, dispirited.  We are cut off from our roots, and so from the nourishment that Nature provides to feed and guide us thru our life, to bring us home to Ourselves.

When we are disconnected from the balancing and expansive qualities of spirit, when we are bereft of the awareness of the formative role it plays in our self-development, then the ego acts out its contractive (separative) nature unimpeded.  On a collective scale, this plays itself out in the rise and fall of civilizations, alternating seasons of hubris and collapse.  In an ego-based culture one is easily hypnotized by the social conditionings of separation, wrapped into pleasure-button pushing addictions, engaged in the play of countless status games to shore up the forever crumbling illusion of control, trying to keep it together a little more and a little longer than the next person, and constantly distracting oneself from seeing, and feeling, what is really happening.  Such strategies inevitably give rise to societies controlled by ‘fear pimps’, whose job is the business of fear, to convince you it is better to live by what you fear than by what you love, and often sell you things that support that notion, such as insurance policies, car alarms, weight loss products, and preemptive wars.

The unhappiness that attends living in fear is actually the key to the way out.  A poison creates its own antidote.  Unhappiness points to areas where the human spirit is frustrated, is starving by inaction or distortion on the vitality front.  If one rationalizes, ignores, numbs, or suppresses that unhappiness, one leads a life of falsehoods until the spirit ‘speaks’ its complaints via sickness, the sufferings of an unpleasant life, and a likely early physical death.

Because the urge to vitalize is feeling mediated, to the extent one engages in it, one feels good, or at least feels on track.  To feel good is a feedback that develops and refines itself as one progresses thru the stages.  It is Nature’s way of pointing you in the right direction.  Hence the compass-like importance of the ecstatic body.

Our embodied drive to vitalize originates in the tap root that feeds sexual reproduction, and radiates from there into various forms and transformations.  In modernity, the vitality impulse is unevenly suppressed, or distorted, often getting little further than the ‘bad boy/girl’ trinity of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.  These, in their more degenerative forms (e.g. pornography, street drugs, pop hooks and negative music genres), are powerful avoidance strategies that function as pleasure distractions, addictions, and stress releasers.  Compare them to the vitality baselines from which they are birthed (sexuality, the urge to alter/restore consciousness, and music) to where it could go if developed as a spiritual practice (e.g., tantric sexuality, the use of Teacher plants (soma), and devotional music).

In order to spiritually mature, we need to think for ourselves, and take responsibility for our lives.  If we do not, we live in states of denial and become given over to a life of continual stress.  Stress and tension disrupt the flow and balance of our vital energies and interferes with the genetic signals that trigger our higher evolutionary functions.  We then seek satisfaction in false vitalities, in the mirages of pleasure offered by the biochemistry of stress, the adrenaline highs.  These include the lower emotion dramas of irresponsible anger and irrational fear;  the neediness of co-dependent relationships;  the release of loveless sex;  the taking of drugs that are quick to bring you up and quick to put you down;  and the bombarding of numbed senses to get any kind of stimulation (the ‘Las Vegas effect’).

As these never satisfy, they are repeated endlessly, wearing ever deeper grooves of compulsion and craving.  The personal power that our vital force was meant to give us drains away.  Much of world history is the story of the human vitality drive routed by various customs, morals, and laws into loops that keep people within the artificial confines of stage I.  Like rings in the noses of cattle, these become addictions, breakdowns in volitional responsibility, proof that the masses cannot control themselves and need handlers (their moral superiors) to run their lives for them.  The masses become controlled by those who control the means and marketing of addictions, and the ideologies and attitudes of disempowerment they justify.  These are the strings by which citizen puppet is jerked this way and that.

It is little wonder that those who feel trapped in stage I often respond to their situation thru self-medication.  This impulse can move down two pathways, that of escape (of numbing, or indulging), or breakthru.  If escape, there are plenty of drugs to choose from.  I am defining drugs in the broader sense as anything that is used to avoid the reality of one’s life circumstance and the responsibility for changing it, anything that engenders unconscious, addictive behaviors.  We use drugs to ameliorate the deadening effect of a culture that suppresses the evolutionary unfoldment of humanity.  We use them to stimulate the chemicals that would be developed by natural bodily processes of consciousness expansion, if culture had encouraged and facilitated such developments.  However, as these strategies are unsustainable, there will be a breakdown, followed, in this existence or another, by a breakthru.  It comes down to how hard or easy you want to make the process.

Some things are easier to use in the way of drugs, such as T.V., credit cards, pharmaceuticals, junk foods, and so on.  Some are more difficult, such as the many Teacher plants or fungi that know how to defend themselves from abuse.  Try escaping with ayahuasca or psilocybe and you’ll most likely find yourself in a head-on collision with yourself.  Out of the wreckage you may find some glimmering soul glyphs that point to the way out of Stage 1.  You may breakthru to your own internal soma, the evolutionary wisdom we all carry that urges us towards the flowering of our consciousness.  Many things, many ‘medicines’, and many drugs turned into medicines, may effect one’s awakening to stage IIlife.   These include personal and cultural disasters, illness, grief, astute assessment of the world situation, literature, music, immersion in other cultures, meditation, associations with awakened people, the garden path, or simply grace.  By whatever works, you’ll get there sooner or later.

Stage II
Stage II begins when we shift the focus of growth from our physical self (assuming adulthood has been reached) to our vital, or energetic self.  Much as the plant dies to its former self and is reborn as the flower, we can die to our stage I self and be reborn as a being that consciously inheres in the life current, and ultimately, the heart.  Cultivating this inner being can be understood as sprouting, nourishing, and flowering the plant, or soma within.  In the physiological alchemy tradition of Taoism this is called ‘using the false body to cultivate the real’.  It is based on the understanding that our evolutionary heritage becomes conscious within us when we attune ourselves to the subtleties of our feeling body, to the signature frequencies of the tribes of creation that weave thru our DNA, give function to our organs, strength to our bones, texture to our personalities, and future to our existence.

Attunement comes from engaging our survival functions, our eating, breathing, speaking, moving, thinking, feeling, and so on, into a dialogue with the life current.  We thereby take ourselves out of sole identification with the physical body and its stage 1 concerns and dramas, and into a life lived as an energy body.  The energetic nature of the world, its subtleties, resonance patterns (correspondences), yin / yang dynamics, can then be sensed running as a pulse beneath materialized form.  Things that were previously mysterious thru sole reliance on the rational mind, the intellect, become clear, felt, and actual.  These include many of the healing arts and energy sciences, such as acupuncture, laying on of hands, medical intuitions, sound healing, biodynamic farming, astrology, dowsing, and flower essences.

A way of life, a vitality culture, develops to maintain and deepen this attunement.  We come to appreciate living foods, not only for nourishing our bodies, but for nourishing our lives as we (ideally) respectfully and mindfully cultivate, gather, prepare, and share them.  We seek clean fresh air and water and learn to breath and drink deeply and fully.  We become conscious of language, and how what we say affects the reality we live, and the tone and clarity of our voice changes the field of vibration within and around us.  We learn to move in ways that minimize forceful muscle exertion and maximize efficient flow of awareness, vitality, and fluids thru our body.  Our intelligence grows with an appetite for the paradoxes revealed as we move past duality into more encompassing perspectives.  Nuances of the psyche, our moods, emotions, curiosities, memories, and motivations, are felt as strings to be played on the instrument of our being, and we learn to compose ourselves in the key of ecstasy.  We gravitate towards the devotional arts and services, and begin to live the feedback between well-being and ever deepening self-awareness.

In such ways one rises to meet the challenges and receive the pleasures of the evolution Game.  The archetypal inbreath of this higher vibrational nourishment creates an environment, a springtime, which stimulates latent forces in us.  Our Creation-body awakens, which holds the history and promise of the planet in the microcosm of our individual existence.  The season warms, en-lightens, and fertilizes a divine seed and signals it to sprout (though sometimes it takes a crisis to shatter the protective casing, much like fire-germinated seeds).  Many traditions locate this seed, or spirit embryo in the lower abdomen, the Japanese hara, Chinese lower dan tien (elixir field), Hindu abdominal bandu, or Norse and Celtic ‘lower well’, and advocate deep, umbilical breathing from this part of the body to help give it life.

With an archetypal outbreath, the plant within, the soma, begins to expand, to grow.  Our participation in its growth gives us lessons on the energetic play of creation.  For example, we learn the importance of marrying the polarities of heaven and earth, to sink like water and rise like fire.  The yin, or descending nature of the soma within drops roots to the ground, much like relaxing one’s weight while practicing tai chi chuan to develop root thru the ‘bubbling well’ in the sole of each foot.  The yang, or ascending nature is felt as buoyancy of awareness, as a rising towards the radiances calling us from above.  When we attend to our polarities, we conduct a strong fiber of spirit, one that allows us a graceful verticality and skillful passage thru life.

As the soma within grows, it may encounter areas of toxicity, or patches of sterility in the substrate, or soil of one’s body-mind.  By living the soma’s experience of the devitalizing effects of these lifestyle choices, or of deeper energy blocks and dysfunctions stemming from old traumas, karmas, and ancestral issues, one is brought to more direct awareness of them.  Numbed or unpleasant feelings and their counterparts in illness are pushed to the surface to be cleared as the soma works to condition its soil.  These can appear as discomfort, nausea, dis-ease, emotional agitations, realizations of all kinds, and visions.   To have faith in these ways, one must often hold space for things to get worse before they get better.

To be cleared, such disturbances must be felt and followed to their source.  No matter how painful the root trauma, no matter how distasteful the emotions associated with it, it must, eventually, all be embraced, all judgments released, and all parties forgiven.  Not easy!  However, this releases life force that is tied up in knots of suffering and negative pleasures, and restores it back to its original free-flowing presence in the body-mind.  This becomes a kind of compost, providing additional life force for the soil of one’s being, and allows thesoma within to grow well and flourish.

By living out this fertilization process we experience the evolving states of vitality sought by the soma.  We become healthier and grow in spiritual strength.  This advances our conception of how good it is possible to feel (or even how good it is permissible to feel), and opens us to accommodate more . .  and more.  The experience of bliss teaches that it can not be sought outside of self-understanding, that the peace that passeth all understanding comes of letting go of all that stands in the way of it.  This is a concept, an aesthetic, much beyond the Puritan-style denial of pleasure (other than that gotten thru the commerce of conquering), that justify a lifetime of stage I existence.  It is also a step past the pleasure seeking and pain avoidance strategies of hedonism common to the borderlands betweenstage I and II.

Thru increased attunement to our soma within and the world it inhabits, by feeling the qualities of its growth, we learn to create the climate and weather patterns that best propagate it.  We learn that the more we delaminate from a mind-ruled sense of self, the more our emotions can flow clean and clear to circulate and balance the energies that pass thru our lives.  We learn to manage our life current, to know how best to allow the thunder of our being to resound, the lightening of passions to strike, the rain of tears to fall, the winds of forgiveness to blow, the morning dew of laughter to sparkle, and the rainbow of dreams to color us with vibrancy and purpose.  Most important, we come to know that the sunlight of life must shine.

‘There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in your heart’ ~ Chandogya Upanishad

Our heart is the internal sun.  As we continue to bathe ourselves in the higher frequencies of our Stage II life, the light of the heart, the love of life, shines brighter.  When we surrender ourselves to this radiance, the impulse of self-transformation carried thru the element lineages, thru such beings as crystals, flowers, butterflies, and birds, activates itself and upwells thru the heart.

A deepening longing to return home to the Light accelerates the outbreath, until the vitality overflows and carries us into a full-bodied, ecstatic ascension.  As we rise to the inner sky of our being, we recognize ourselves in the compassionate face of this most shining star.  The remembrance begins a spontaneous transmutation, and with it a shift to an inbreath, which surrenders our energy body, and all its subtle mind identifications, into our original nature of divine presence.  So we are again reincarnated, this time becoming a bud of presence which can only say yes to the world, that lives a love which, ‘bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things’.  This bud then unfolds in an outbreath of agape, ofbhakti, of metta, of feeling to infinity.  This is how vitality culture becomes spiritual culture, this is the human flowering response.

The love that suffuses our body in this way changes everything it touches.  Just as plants metamorphose light into life, so humans metamorphize life into love.  The great diversity of beings brought forth by the external sun, all that has lived on the earth, all of our ancestors, can now release their story, their journey of creation, in surrender to the gravity of Union.  We ourselves, inseparable from our heritage, are then consciously aware of the entire repertoire of the evolution theatre performed on this planet, and the ‘workshop’ of Nature from which the players and dramas arose.

With all this comes the understanding that humans evolved as vehicles for plants, for all of the tribes of creation, to realize their origin, to come home to themselves in the light of the divine.  In this way the world awakens, Christ returns, the Mahatma arises, in the heart of each human who awakens to their divine nature.  In this way humans bud from the earth and flower as co-creator Gods and Goddesses.  The as yet unimagined possibilities of the flowering human, the power of the whole becoming conscious of itself, signals a leap in planetary evolution.

‘Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop’d.  I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell’ ~ Walt Whitman

‘Some day after we have mastered the winds, the waves and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love; and then for a second time in the history of the world, humans will have discovered fire.’ ~ Teilhard de Chardin

Stage III
With an inbreath, we gather the essence of our life to pass on to progeny, student, apprentice, society, and so on.   Much like the proverbial life passing before one’s eyes on the eve of death, the past comes forward at seeding times to be integrated, organized, synthesized, and transmitted.  We thus seed things into being as extensions of ourselves, often as lessons to others on how to best adapt to the world, or, how to adapt the world to us.  It may be to bring an embryo to life, raise children, formulate an invention, give hard earned advice, teach a trade, write a book, found, elaborate on, or end a tradition, or even live a life that serves as an example to others of what not to do with their lives.  Acts of seeding honor the cyclic nature of life.  They are necessary for the world to continue, and is how we continue after death in altered forms, such as thru our genetic offspring, our creative acts contributing to the evolution of culture, our vibrational imprints on the evolution of the planet), and our physical body returning to the elements. To seed is to go beyond ourselves, and acknowledge generations before and after us.

While seeding has an instinctual, obligatory character to it, born of the visceral need for survival of the family, society, and species, fruiting has a more generous, voluntary, and gifting quality to it.  The outbreath of fruiting is the completion of the cycle, often motivated by the enormous realization of what a gift life is, what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to incarnate as a human, to live on this magical, stunningly beautiful, and prodigiously fertile planet, with all these other amazing beings!  Much like a watermelon plant has no need to expend all that energy to make such quantities of luscious fruit just for simple seed dispersal, many humans are moved by their gratitude to Life to devote themselves to selfless service, to expend their energy on the fruits of their flowering.

Compassion for the world grows fruits of divine sweetness, which nourish the spirit, and feeds those that give, as well as those that partake.   We find this spiritual force at work in such luminaries as madre Teresa, renowned for her unflagging energy in assisting the downtrodden of India, Francis of Assisi, and his sustaining faith, Martin Luther King Jr. and his tireless activism, and Amma, the ‘hugging saint’, who can embrace thousands during adarshan gathering, and be wholly present for them all, from the first to the last.  In everyday life we offer fruits when we right a wrong, forgive a misdeed, see the best in other people, and commit random acts of love and kindness.  Such gestures keep us humble, sweetens our disposition, and ripens our lives.

While it is our structural destiny as a species to flower, this is as yet happening in only a small number of humans.   However, the planet-wide ecological crisis is signaling that it is time for this destiny to manifest thru the human collective as quickly, and with as many of us, as possible.  There are, fortunately for us, many forces at work to help make this happen.  The planetary frequency shift is sifting the toxins from the nectars, releasing spiritual pollens that attract all manner of beings, come to engage their own evolution with this great transition.  Many work thru our hearts when we open to the growing pains of ourselves, of the world, and help us release our trauma identities, and surrender to the harmonic of flowering.  They likewise attend and inspire the fruits of our work to effect and stabilize a culture come home to the family of Creation.

The flowering impulse, with its subsequent seeding and fruiting, moves in various forms, ways, and levels of engagement thruout humanity.  In a neutral sense, the flowering impulse is simply the characteristic of all organisms to grow and learn.  How you choose to work the process (or not) defines how your flowering progresses.  The norm of stage I culture is to be relatively passive in the process (e.g., health commonly defined as a state of ‘no symptoms’, rather than a pro-active work-in-progress), which usually doesn’t get you much beyond acceptable functionality in your daily life.  When the process is entered into, if often becomes distorted, or a shadow of what it could be.  To become very skilled in lying, in self-flagellation, in making a lot of $ at the expense of others, or in torturing your spouse, are all forms of aberrated flowering.  To live your life to please others and not yourself, to take your cultural script as unquestioned truth and avoid the responsibility of thinking for yourself, to be a dilettante of talk and no walk, to constantly say no to life and expect the worse from people, are all ways of nipping your flowering process in the bud.

As goes the flower, so goes the seed and fruit.  To this end, it is wise to create a nonjudgmental space for your flowering, one affirmed by organic metaphors and worldviews.  Everything, every person has his or her own rate of development, is in his or her own phase of development.  No judgment in this, only discernment.  In service to discernment, we can remember that in the Aramaic of Jesus, the word for ‘good’ meant ‘ripe’ and the word for ‘evil’, ‘unripe.’  To blossom ourselves beneath the sunlight of our opening heart is our task in this world, and for this the time is ripe!  To this beginning, I offer this prayer.

The Blossoming Prayer
May I be in peace
May we all be in peace

May I be well, in body, mind, and spirit
May we all be well in body, mind, and spirit

May my heart be open, fully giving and receiving
My all our hearts be open, fully giving and receiving

And may I be aware of the beauty of my own true nature,
And may we all be aware of the beauty of our own true natures

For ours is the power and glory of heaven as earth

A blossoming together, forever and ever

© Morgan Brent, 2007


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