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The Healing Grove
by Susan Rensberger
Even as an eighth grade girl listening to a teacher explain his belief in creationism despite the scientific evidence of evolution, I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. Why couldn't those who believed in creation see evolution as its means, and scientists see the possibility of a conscious design expressed through evolution? To me, the two concepts were facets of the same reality.
Unburdened by any fascination with science, I've been able to spend my adult life exploring the spiritual side of reality. Through meditation by myself and with other elements of creation-trees and rocks and water and earth-I've learned to feel my own energy, and how it resonates with other manifestations of spirit. I can "feel" my consciousness, as well as often hear and see communications from it, and also sometimes connect with the consciousness of other forms of life.
I learned to communicate with trees after reading Michael J. Roads' Talking with Nature. I found that when I stood with trees and listened deeply, by turning my attention inward and feeling the energy of my own being, I could pick up feelings and "thoughts" from the consciousness of the trees around me. I learned from them that their energy has a cleansing effect on our own, adjusting the vibrations of our energy field, which in turn changes the emotional and spiritual reality in which we live at that moment.
This may be why humans are instinctively drawn to trees, why we plant parks in our cities and surround our homes with trees and grass, why a walk in the woods can produce peace within us. It even casts suburban sprawl in a more benign light, the result not of materialistic greed, but of a deep human instinct to surround oneself with plant life. If I'm right, this energetic cleansing effect mirrors the way trees cleanse our air, consuming the carbon dioxide that we exhale and "breathing" oxygen into the air. It seems to me that humans and other animals have a truly symbiotic relationship with plants, to a far greater extent than we've realized so far.
A mystical experience that I had seems to bear this out. I walk daily in a grassy park with trees grouped here and there around the perimeter. There are several varieties of maple, a large old elm, pines, cedar, blue spruce, and a few birches. These are the trees with whom I learned to communicate, and I gradually grew to recognize their different energies or "personalities."
One winter day, I was ice skating on a rink in the middle of the park and stopped with the tips of my skates embedded in a snow bank, facing a stand of cedars and pines. Though my body had stopped moving, as I looked at the trees I felt myself-my energy body-being drawn toward them. Not only could I feel myself moving, I could see the trees growing closer. I was fascinated by this experience and wondered what it meant. I became aware of those trees as more than just a random group; they had a kind of collective identity or consciousness as a healing grove. I don't remember what emotional wound had been troubling me that day, but I felt their energy clearing and healing my pain.
After that, I began to pay attention to the healing grove and greet its trees as I walked on the path beneath them. I was walking in the park the morning after September 11, 2001, grieving the deaths of that tragic day, when I saw that two tall, straight cedars which had stood close together in the grove had been cut down and taken away by park employees. All that remained were the stumps.
As I stood among the remaining trees, I could feel grief and loss reverberating from them. You might think I was projecting my own grief on those trees, but by this time I knew the difference between my energy and theirs. The image of the twin fallen trees perfectly mirrored the World Trade Center towers, as the energy reverberating from the remaining trees mirrored the grief of all the humans around them. The cutting of the trees at that particular time seemed to me a way provided by the conscious universe for those trees to share the deep sorrow of their human companions. I couldn't help weeping with them, as they "wept" with me.
Then I discovered a power I had never thought to use before. I laid my hand on each of the trees in turn and sent love and light into them until I could feel the lessening of their pain. It was the first time I had ever experienced the ability of humans to reciprocate the cleansing or healing effect of trees on our energy, and therefore our emotional, bodies. We were truly helping and supporting each other.
Now the Garden of Eden portrayed in the biblical creation story makes sense to me. Suddenly, I experienced the world as it was created to be, before human consciousness got stuck on itself and lost its ability to share consciousness with other species, the earth and stars and sky. I know from my own explorations of inner space that the cosmos is conscious in its very being. We are all expressions of that consciousness.
It is my opinion that we are here to explore together the experience of material existence. We embody together the endless variety of spirit as it enlivens and enriches us all. When one falls, we all fall. When life expands, we all expand. That's all there is to it: expansion, contraction, expansion. Love, death, rebirth. We're here to learn together how to explore and experience consciously the joy that is spirit living, moving, taking form in the material world.
All contents of this page Copyright © 2003 by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Materials may be excerpted, reprinted, or republished only with the express written consent of IONS.