By Nina Beety
Global Research, December 23, 2015
This is a magnificent universe.
Everything is alive and conscious. Children know that. Indigenous people know that. And in your bones, you know that. It is your deepest dream and desire.
Atoms and particles are alive. Where else would life and consciousness come from? Everything around us has life, from the atomic level on up. You are surrounded by friends and allies. You are not alone.
How is it that we turn our backs on such a glorious reality? Why do we cut ourselves off from such knowledge, learning, communication, and friendship?
The secret life of plants
Westerners often wonder how indigenous people know what plants to use for healing. The simple answer is: the plants tell them. Indigenous people cultivate relationships with the creatures around them. All of us can do that.
In 1966, polygraph expert Clive Backster hooked up his house plant to a lie detector machine to see if it would indicate when it needed watering. Instead, he made very different discoveries. He found that plants have profound awareness, they feel pain, they have a range of emotions, they go into shock when overwhelmed with events or emotions, they exhibit compassion and love, they communicate with each other instantaneously across distance without regard to distance, they telegraph threats to each other, they care about the people who care for them, and they connect with those people across distances. These discoveries, as well as those by other people, are detailed in The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.
Biophilia is the birthright of every human – real fellowship with all living beings. It is no wonder that many humans, particularly in Western society, feel so lost and alone. This level of relationship is what we’re made for.
Nature is reality and wisdom
Trees, plants, and mycelium are chief examples of the highest species on Earth.
They are integrated into existence, into life. They are rooted and interact and interface with the very elements which are the foundation of life. Think of that.
Their interaction with the earth includes this essential rootedness to a place and to the Earth. Humans, the most mobile species, are the least connected. Mobility comes at a high cost: connection and belonging. When home and rootedness are removed, with its related earth wisdom, humans are lost — uncertain who they are, unhappy, refugees and aliens in their own land, prey to hucksters, reduced to survival, their moral base gone. Look around.
The wise thing to do is to root and land, to learn from trees and plants, to connect to place, and to spend time outside sitting, listening, and seeing.
Children are most connected to rootedness, and they grow deeper, stronger, calmer, wiser, healthier, more compassionate, and more independent the more time they are in nature and with trees. They are our teachers. The most important thing for communities and our world is to free children to spend their time outside so they can show us how to be connected.
In a healthy society, every child would have a connection to trees, would have their own garden, would have special places outdoors, and would be expert in the nuances, the seasons, the species, the sounds, and the wisdom of those places. Those places would be laboratories of learning and study. Each child would be a teacher of his or her discoveries. Children would be leaders in our communities.
The more connected humans are, the more content and capable they are and the less need for material things, for status, or to be placated or soothed. We become free when we are connected.
Freedom is our birthright. Examples surround us — wolves, horses, prairie dogs, coyotes, snakes, streams and rivers, mountains, trees, and children. These are our teachers and mentors.
Happiness and creating the future
Plants and trees harm no one in order to live. Think of that. This is true of bees and butterflies and other species. They are life-positive. They take what they need to live and harm no one. Their lives are a constant and beautiful gift, full of abundance, and they are essential for the rest of us. The oxygen alone from trees and plants makes our lives possible.
What vast wisdom is in these life-nourishing people that use no violence. To create thriving, diverse, happy, and healthy societies, we begin by sitting at their feet and listening and learning.
Universities of life
Skills permeate every bit of life from the atomic level, as well as
- insights, knowledge, and wisdom
- values, and
They are intrinsic to life, a part of the “is-ness” of reality. They are in cells, molecules, atoms, particles, and light. They are part of all beings.
The highest education is the most connected to nature, the most rooted and local-based, the most integrated, and the least technological, with only the most porous of walls. The true universities are outdoors and integrated with nature. The best universities would be the forests.
Can you talk with trees and plants? Can you hear nature’s wisdom and messages? Are you rooted and connected to a place? What do you know about your home? These are the most important skills and knowledge.
Places of learning would be typified by diversity and teaching flowing back and forth; all would be students and teachers. No degrees or pieces of paper. One’s life is the only reliable proof of learning and wisdom.
This type of education would be free. No college debt. And no SAT, GRE, or ACT tests required.
Real world skills would include creating new healthy systems of food, water, energy, building, and production, eliminating waste, and recycling. Each person would discover for themselves what is good and valuable and important.
These learning places would be characterized by languages, community, healing arts. They would be everywhere — vibrant, pulsating with honest, open dialogue, with life and happiness, authentic, open, heart-based, and earth-based, for all ages and species. Each would learn many skills.
Trees, plants, mycelium, and other species transmute elements by the “technology” of their own beings. Water responds to spoken or written words. What incredible skill sets to include in any curriculum.
Trees are very special among Earth’s people. Wise and beautiful, their deep, abiding qualities have been honored throughout time, and many regard them as sacred.
As a long-lived people, they acquire a deep wisdom and perspective. Because they are place-based, they embody and create home. They are protectors, strong, often tall, fragrant hiding places for people large and small, with fruits and flowers available to all, and amazing voices. They offer deep and soul-nourishing friendship to all who wish it.
They are our hope for the future. The Ents of J.R.R. Tolkein’s stories were not a huge stretch of the imagination. Trees are wisdom keepers, mentors, teachers, and friends.
Trees are people. They are not fuel or building material or oxygen factory. They are not extra or unimportant. They are living, breathing, feeling, tremendously wise and good people. When humans cut down a tree, they murder a person. Protecting trees is of the very highest importance.
Trees can help us be at home, wherever we are on Earth. Their friendship can bring us joy, fulfillment, and peace. Trees are willing to be a part of our lives into the future.
Trees are the master teachers living everywhere who can help us create life and peace, prosperity and health beyond the 7th generation. They stand ready to be partners in creating communities brimming with life and happiness.
The only hope for the world is if we realize the reality and goodness that surrounds us, if we start paying attention to all the people, whether they have leaves, bark, fins, wings, horns, fur, scales, feathers, cilia, many legs, or no legs, and understand, in the midst of all the other benefits, that we belong to a community of extraordinary people.
Our partners wait. The future is possible. The rest is up to us.
Nina Beety is a researcher, writer, and public speaker on foreign policy, the environment, and wireless radiation hazards. Her 2012 report for public officials “Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems: Legislative Solutions” is on her website http://www.smartmeterharm.org. She lives in Monterey, California.