Stephen Buhner Is Listening to the Plants

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In The Secret Teachings of Plants, Buhner does his best to counteract some of the prevailing materialistic fundamentalism by singing his own song of the body electric. The back cover of the book describes Buhner as an “Earth poet”, and in this book he offers us a good deal of the poet’s hope and inspiration. The book opens like a poem, and then gradually develops into a guided meditation. Buhner leads us into the unfathomable plastic that is conditional existence, skillfully describing the chemical and electro magnetic life of the cells. It is inspiring, excellent reading.

The core of the book contains Buhner’s writings on the heart itself. His descriptions of the functioning of the human heart, and the spiral circulation of the blood, were music to my ears. It is here, painting his picture of unity, relationship and interconnectedness, that he is at his best: 

The whole body is cradled within the electromagnetic field generated by the heart. The information embedded within that field is communicated to the external world through electromagnetic waves reaching out from the body. It is communicated within the body through the blood stream, which conducts electromagnetic impulses throughout the body.

He goes on to say: 

But the heart is not only concerned with its interior world. Its electromagnetic field allows it to touch the dynamic electromagnetic fields created by other
living organisms and to exchange energy. Like all nonlinear systems that display self-organization and emergent behaviors, the heart is supremely sensitive to external perturbations that may affect its dynamic equilibrium. The heart not only transmits field pulses of electromagnetic energy, it also receives them, like a radio in a car. And like a radio, it is able to decode the information embedded within the electromagnetic fields it senses. It is, in fact, an organ of perception.

In these passages, Buhner reveals an esoteric secret formerly reserved for serious doctors and spiritual practitioners: the heart, not the brain, is the true seat of feeling and consciousness. The idea that human consciousness is somehow a product of chemical processes in the brain is, to state it bluntly, wrong. Human consciousness is a kind of “step-down” modification of infinite consciousness, and it is the heart and not the brain that is the true organ of perception. In the modern world, we are taught to exercise our brains, not our feeling hearts. And this is the source of all our trouble.

This “linear mind”, as Buhner calls it, has made us destructive exiles in our own garden world. In The Secret Teachings of Plants, Buhner uses his extremely compelling observations of cells, plants and the living system around us to get our attention. Once he has us tuned in, he then artfully works to draw us out of this linear mind and into the feeling realm of the heart. This is no easy task for a writer—or any artist, for that matter—but this is their necessary work. Now, more than ever, humanity requires the clarifying voice of true artists and educators. 

As the great teachers of mankind have always instructed, the mind must fall into the heart. Humanity must wake up to the unity of all things. At the end of The Secret Teaching of Plants, Buhner offers exercises and guided mediations that are intended to help us do just that. We are called in these exercises to stop, breathe, and simply feel the biosphere in which we exist. It is sound advice for any moment.

Every single human being is utterly dependent on plants for healing and sustenance. The symbiotic relationship we share is utterly unique, an emotional and psychic connection that goes beyond the physical. Nature responds to our essential human needs through the plants. We are evolving together. Buhner wants us to rediscover this shared growth and change. For the sake of humanity, he wants to restore that living intimacy to all our lives.

There is no arguing with what Buhner has to say. We have to restore our right relationship to the world around us before it is too late. Our survival in this human form is completely dependent upon a right cooperative relationship to the greater pattern in which we exist. Even so, nature, in and of itself, is not the God that humanity so sorely needs to embrace. Nature can bathe our olfactory senses with exquisite perfumes one day and wipe out hundreds of thousands of innocent creatures the next. There is no lasting peace in nature. Humanity’s ultimate liberation lies in the realization of the radiant transcendental consciousness in which nature inheres—that ultimate reality to which Buhner’s excellent books always seem to be pointing us.

Angelo Druda, author of The Tao of Rejuvenation, is the Health and Sexuality editor of DharmaCafé. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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