Posts Tagged ‘wisdom of plants’

Overall, we are an arrogant, voracious and rapacious life form.

We consume with little regard for supply, waste, the needs of others, and, most certainly, the needs of other species and the planet. This human arrogance extends to stereotypic thinking about the intelligence and language abilities of animals across the phylogenetic spectrum.

Research in ethology and comparative psychology have demonstrated repeatedly, however,  that our assumptions about the limited intelligence and symbol use among animals is usually wrong and much more impressive than we first thought.

Irene Pepperberg, Psychologist, published an illuminating record of studies with her African Grey Parrot, Merlin, in which she showed this bird’s capacity to communicate with her about his wants and needs using symbols on a computer monitor and typing on a keyboard to make selections from an impressive range of items.

Our own meager ecological intelligence, however, is constantly being demonstrated, including our well-intentioned history of tampering with the environment only to later discover untoward and unanticipated effects on habitat, and the plight of other species affected by what we considered a good and self-contained change ( e.g., genetically modified foods and the negative impact on bee populations).

We have much to learn from the animal kingdom. In fact, we also stand to gain in  spiritual ways by looking to the plant kingdom and appreciate the lessons from them that stream into us daily, though we are not usually attuned to the fullness and significance of their presence. After all, life on Earth depends entirely upon them.

So, this morning, I celebrate plants, trees, and flowers, affirming the counsel of Jesus of Nazareth to “Behold the Lilies of the Field and how they grow.”

This conference center where I am this week invests a lot in landscaping, and goes so far as to label the many trees and plants on the property. This alone ( coupled with a good Audubon Guide or equivalent resource) can go a long way toward helping me cultivate eyes to better see them, and a mind better attuned to recognizing their encoded messages.

Celebrating just two of these beautiful and uplifting species and their impact on me:

  • Japanese Andromeda:  a base of green leaves with a central burst of deep crimson ones, and lime green seed pods; such a joyful effulgence and youthful vitality, an outstretched and wide open embrace of its surroundings with gentle grace;
  • Feather Reed Grass: about 6 foot grasses bending easily in the slight Fall breeze of the morning, adding a reddish bronze pallette to the environment and reminding me of the strength that comes from flexibility, adaptability, and strong rootedness, the very philosophy of tai chi.

As the birds sing at dawn and dusk, the plants also are in conference. Unbeknown to us, they bring nutrients to the Earth, to insects, and they add color to the landscape in a simple but majestic acknowledgment of the mystery, magic, splendor and playful reverie of the Beloved.

Let us pay attention, intuit the meaning they embody, and make sure that we do not fail to open up and appreciate these gifts from the Spirit.

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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