This is the first of a series of articles I wrote for the OneSmile Magazine
Two-way communication with trees is usually described as a kind of telepathy. What does that mean and what is the true nature of our dialogue with trees?
Our language is problematic. If we say trees talk to us, we seem to be projecting human attributes, thoughts and emotions onto something that clearly isn’t human. People do it all the time of course, when speaking of their pet dog or cat. This kind of projection even has a name—anthropomorphism. It not only drives the scientifically minded crazy but can also give those of us who do have knowledge and experience of the normally unseen layers of the world a very flaky reputation.
Is that telepathic communication we receive from a tree really in words? No, and most people who recount such experiences acknowledge that the tree is not ‘talking in words’. The left hemisphere of our human brain, which deals in language, logic, time, boundaries, linear sequences etc., has a need to interpret our experience in ways that it understands, within a framework it already has, so it will turn a telepathic, non-verbal communication into words, if not at the time, then certainly when we want to convey the experience to someone else.
What is it that is actually coming from the tree? Simply put, it’s energy. When a tree responds to us, it emits energy parcels that we interpret as thought forms or feelings complex and powerful enough to be described as a conversation. Their energy has a certain quality. Usually it’s on the ‘warm fuzzy’ side—loving, welcoming, wise and joyful.
There are many ways to initiate a two-way ‘conversation’ with a tree. Here’s a simple one: First (obviously) select your tree or let it select you! You may find the larger the tree the easier it will be for you. Stand or sit comfortably a short distance from it. (You don’t have to touch it.) Feel the warmth and love of your heart space, silently state your intention and with respect and humility, ask the tree’s permission. Now turn off your left brain chatter. That’s the loop that constantly replays words and thought patterns in our heads. Instead, it’s the ‘Being’ side of yourself that you need to engage. That’s the right brain hemisphere that doesn’t delineate boundaries between one thing and another, between our sense of ‘me’ and ‘the world’ that is outside ‘me’.
Just telling yourself to stop thinking will keep you in the chattering side of your brain. Instead, let go of any tension in your body, especially the muscles of your face and eyes and give yourself over to becoming more and more aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the sounds. Listen until you hear more and more—birds, insects, rustles. Feel the breeze on your skin; be aware of movements. Without effort, let your eyes drift into the leaves or bark, get lost in the veins, curves, bumps and hollows. Don’t catalogue, name or analyse, just experience.
You might at this stage feel you want to close your eyes. If you do, retain a powerful vision or sense of everything you have experienced about the tree. When you find yourself losing your sense of body, drifting into the colours of the leaves or the textures of the bark, or drifting—with eyes closed but awareness open—towards the tree, allow gratitude to well up in your heart. Gratitude is an aspect of love and our ticket to joy. It’s a form of praise for Being. Why is joy so important in communicating with nature? Why is communication with nature even possible?
Nature has inherent intelligence. Please don’t confuse this with the ‘God as Intelligent Designer’ argument. What do I mean here by intelligence? It’s the ability to respond. It’s the Yin component of our Universe that is built into every configuration of the energy we call matter from the smallest, simplest levels of the atomic world to the complexity and scale of Galaxies. That inherent ability to respond is why the beautiful tree in front of you can receive the waves of your energy of joy and merging, and communicate energetically back to you.
People have been communicating with nature for countless ages. Folk tales and tradition are full of what we call Nature Spirits, divided into categories like fairies, brownies, pixies etc. Behind these traditions is something much deeper and all pervasive. The ‘how to respond’ intelligence is infused into matter at all levels of density. That intelligence is called the Deva Kingdom, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Being of Light’. The Deva Kingdom is a hierarchy from the simplest elementals to powerful, organising and over-lighting deva of species, ecological systems, planets and more.
Each tree species has its own Deva – a distinguishable, ‘how to’ intelligence that is the architect of the tree’s physical form. It is this Devic intelligence of the tree that receives and responds to your approach. Sometimes you may also encounter a sylvan, a nature spirit associated with the tree.
Deva evolve through joy. That’s why gratitude and joy is your easy route to communicating with their trees. It may not come easily but practice with relaxed, open-hearted trust. Nature will communicate with you if you go at least half way to meet it. If you find yourself suddenly ‘inside’ the tree, don’t be alarmed. You won’t get stuck. Just enjoy, look around, ask questions with loving respect and when ready to leave, express your gratitude.
We have taken only a pinhole peek into this vast and complex subject, doubtless raising more questions than we’ve answered. In the next issue of One Smile Magazine we will look at what happens when we destroy trees.
For a list of classic books on Deva and research into the responsiveness of plants go to Links
My illustrated novel, The Children of Gaia, will give you a much greater understanding of Deva and the ecology of trees and forests.