MHG Understandings | gilltract
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© 2019 by UC Gill Tract Community Farm.

Our Medicinal Herb Garden

Understandings

Inner Mission

  • To ground oneself and one’s life in the context of the earth, plants and compassion.

  • To dwell simply among the plants, in peace and harmony as a calm and compassionate presence.

  • To cultivate and exemplify a consciously immanent: “through the body” presence.

  • The cultivation of ever deepening inner sensitivity to our feelings, thoughts, intentions, energy manifestations, orientation (alignment in the Light), our health, the feelings of others and of all beings, and the environment.

  • To live a life of heartfelt humble service, facilitating and inviting compassion, in a truly deepening compassionate manner.

  • To reconnect our consciousness and life style with our bodies, our health, our environment, and our hearts and spiritual foundations.

  • To facilitate and encourage bodily, psychological and spiritual “literacy” regarding all elements of consumption and environmental conditions; including foods, thoughts, intentions, aromas, allergens, chemicals, fumes, and energies

  • To consciously engage our “Western” culture with its organ of reproduction: EDUCATION: asking ourselves who we truly are, what is within our hearts, what is our humble context, what are our environmental constraints, and how we can be living our lives.

  • To facilitate a cultural lifestyle which intrinsically values all species, all cultures and the environment.

  • To exemplify how we can live in this “Western” society, but not of it.

  • To exemplify and encourage us to have faith in our hearts (rather than calculation and fear in our heads), and thereby the courage to choose accordingly: “pro-actively,” rather than re-actively, blindly, or “inside the box.”

  • To facilitate and encourage the perpetuation and resurgence of traditional cultures and their healing arts and consciousness/ wisdom.

  • To facilitate and encourage the return to holistic plant spirit medicines; and to wean us from addictive dependency upon inertly harsh pharmaceuticals.

  • To dwell simply among the plants, in peace and harmony, as a calm and compassionate presence.

Vision
 

We live in a community of numerous cultures and traditions, many of them rapidly vanishing.  As we lose these, we lose their inherent depths of consciousness and manner of mind use; all of which facilitate compassion and peace throughout the world.  A multi-traditional Medicinal Herb Garden provides the opportunity for the restoration of our relationships with the plants, revitalizing our respect for their compassionate energies, and thus also with the traditions based upon them.  Reverence for the energies of living presence, as well as their pharmacological properties, requires a sacred space within which to experience spiritual communion with them.  We have a choice!  When we spend our time with the plants, they ground us, relax us, and focus us in our hearts:  We feel compassion and Peace!

Philosophy

We have a choice! When we spend our time with the plants, they ground us, relax us, and focus us in our heart: we feel compassion and peace.

Plants are not in a hurry, trying to do “good” things. They simply stand there, with their roots down into the earth: grounded; and they are aligned in the Light of the Sun.  And what are they doing? Breathing!  Breathing in what ever comes their way: all our pollution etc. And  what is the result?  They are radiating out peaceful loving energy: compassion, which we can tangibly feel. Their compassion transforms us, because this is what is within our hearts: they invite us deeper into our own hearts.The more we are with them, the more we learn to value and respect them, and thus seek to preserve and live in harmony with them.

We remember our inherent dependence upon them for our food, our medicine (physiological, psychological, and Spiritual), and for the air we breathe. They are foundational to our cultural traditions, and to our traditional wisdom. They provide a significant compassionate energy presence here on earth.

Simply being in the garden with the plants is a harmonizing and healing experience. When we live in harmony, our natural life force energies flow, and we don’t become stressed, stagnated and diseased.

When the wisdom keepers of our traditions regain access to the living plants they know to use for healing, their holistic traditions can continue to thrive, enabling us to shed our addicting dependency upon inert pharmaceuticals.

Now, you can open yourself to the Spirit energy presence of our most revered Healing Spirit Plants. Get to know them, and invite their presence to find a home in your garden, so that you may find the opportunity to spend more time with them, and they with you.

Plant Spirits heal us invitationally from within our hearts.   You will learn to FEEL the difference.

Helpful Understandings

 

 

Bodily Literacy

All bodies are physiologically, psychologically and spiritually/energetically different. Each has its own unique and extremely complex constitution and set of conditions.

Everything is medicinal in small enough (and exact) dosages: includes strychnine and arsenic. And, Everything is toxic in large enough (too large) dosages: includes oxygen and water.  Appropriate dosage varies from body to body, and from moment to moment.

The important thing is to discern your body’s language: how the specific body, organs, cells, and energy feel and respond. How sensitive (consciously aware) are we?

Is this medicine right for your body being? Please learn to feel, learn from, and respect bodily communications. Pay attention, feel the differences: discover your intuition. The deeper our sensitivity (conscious awareness), the greater our ability to act harmoniously, the less out of balance (stressed) we make ourselves, our bodies, our environment, and our relations with the rest of the worlds cultures.

A given person may be able to tolerate something in the winter, but not in the summer, or visa versa. A large person will be different from a small person. An older person different from a younger one. A woman is different from a man. A woman on her moon will be different then when not.

Plants exhibit similar variances in accordance with age, season, size/health/robustness, gender, and time and conditions of harvesting. Plants harvested at full moon, or new moon, or during the day versus the night, may have differing properties, and hence uses.

Feeling Consciousness: Intuition

Learn to feel, learn from and respect bodily communications.  Pay attention, feel the differences: discover your intuition.  The deeper our sensitivity (conscious awareness), the greater our ability to act harmoniously, the less out of balance (stressed) we make ourselves, our bodies, our environment, and our relations with the rest of the world’s cultures.

 

Immanence vs Transcendence

We talk about “Transcendence” (out of the body), but then there is also “Immanence” (through the body).  The body-being is more than just the material, and includes the subtle energies of the auras which extend out into the universe. We come to understand that everything is a “through-the-body,” felt immanent experience.   Our bodies are like giant antennae, receiving all the energies of the universe all the time; we generally are not  “tuned in” (conscious) enough to be able to be aware of them.  When we pay attention, cultivating our deepening consciousness, we can become aware of what our bodies are feeling.

 

Life-Force Compassion

Living entities exhibit a compassionate, Divine harmony seeking, energy presence which brings them into being, and fills them with an orientation toward a unified integrity.  This compassionate energy presence within living beings can be known as “Life force” or “Qi.”

 

Life-Force: Light of Spirit in our Hearts

“Life Force” is the living Light of spirit that transmutes otherwise disparate inert material conglomerations into the flowing unity and integrity of living presence.

 

This clear Light has compassion by virtue of its foundational harmonious presence within all beings, which causes all to be in original harmonious relationship.  As such, a living being is a manifestation of compassion, because it contains this Light foundationally within the heart, or core/ “cour” of its being.  Living beings naturally seek and orient themselves towards the Light, because this is what is in their hearts.  It is because of the foundational compassionate harmony of clear Light within and around and between us, that we have a foundational unity that is greater than the sum of our parts.  It is this “Life force”: clear Light radiance, that enables us each to invite Divine inspiration within one another.  It is through feeling within our hearts that we can become sufficiently energy conscious; and upon examining, we can feel and discern a functional quality of difference in “life force” compassion between whole plant substances and refined disparate pharmaceutical products or chemically derived substitutes.

Bodily Harmonization, Choice

Our bodies harmonize with the energies we surround ourselves with.  We have a choice: road rage, electronics, cement, or the garden.  Plants have life force energy, which is by nature compassionate: it feels comfortable!   Life force energy is the Divine Light that is deepest within our hearts, so we inherently connect with the compassionate plant energies; they invite us to open and feel ever more deeply within our own hearts.   We come to experience our energetic connectedness with all that is around us.  This enables us to become more consciously compassionate: feeling how we are feeling, and then also feeling/receiving the feelings of others.

Dosage

Everything is medicinal in just the right dosage for a given body at a given time.  This includes strychnine and arsenic (known poisons), which are homeopathic remedies.   Beyond the correct dosage, everything is toxic. This includes Oxygen and water:  we can’t take pure oxygen, and  people have died from drinking too much water.  So, it’s not about that “bad” plant “out there,” it’s about the dosage that’s right for the body “in here.”

Value of Plants

A “weed” is a “plant in the wrong place.”   Plants have been around way longer than we have;  in fact, all of our traditions  arose and survived  dependent upon the plants in their environment available to them.  Plants have been our source of food, medicine, healthiness, awareness and happiness since before our beginning.  Our harmonizing receptivity  enables us to become aware of these gifts in our environment.

 

Everything is Medicine!

Medicines come in all forms: the food we eat, the spices we flavor it with, our physiological medicines, psychological medicines, spiritual medicines that open our consciousness,  ceremonial medicines that cleanse the toxic energies of a space or around our bodies, medicines that facilitate ease of social interaction, medicines that invite our connectedness through prayer and gratitude, flower essences, aromatherapy, essential oils, and homeopathic micro-doses.  Even the toxic elements, that confront us with what we like least, are good medicines, as these are also our teachers.  Plants facilitate and invite our deepening consciousness of the infinite energy realm within which we exist.

Energy Realm Manifestations

Everything is energy; some solid, some liquid, some gaseous, and a whole lot more that we can’t see or hear or measure; such as the energies of our feelings, that are running between us, that radiate from our beings, that we receive from the plants, and from the earth, and from the stars, and from the moon and the Sun.  All of these energies are in some manner contributing to our existence; who knows where or how to draw the boundaries between ourselves and others: consider the air we breathe and share: that which the “other” has breathed out.

Mind-Use Focus

Everything is also an interactional presence affecting us and inviting our response in exchange.  There is no non-response!  So, we receive the opportunity to choose how to respond, and from where to respond.  This opportunity invites us to consider how, and for what, we are using our mind: our “mind-use focus.”  In our Western institutions, we learn to use our minds to calculate and control; other indigenous traditions remember (still know) to use the mind to stand aside, opening to receive the felt information received by the body and through the heart.  They  receive and feel  the energies of the plants as food, medicines, poisons, evidence of danger, evidence of elements that are important to their wellbeing, such as weather, animals, light, earth’s vibrations etc.  Women inherently practice this as well; we refer to it as “intuition”; it is a felt awareness that is immeasurable by “Western” science.   We need to restore the energy conscious foundation of science.

The Science of Feeling

There was once a time when science was known (understood and practiced) as felt or received understanding:  Our word “Science” comes through the Latin as revealed in the ancient Portuguese “Ciencia” with the understanding : “si en si” meaning: ”to know or study within oneself”: what  one feels and becomes clear about through the practice of deep inner study.  A true wholistic, energy conscious Science would therefore be the study of feeling: what is felt.

Simple Practice

In practice, simply being in the garden, among the plants with their compassionate radiant energies, we/ our bodies  absorb, and harmonize with, the compassionate life force energies inviting us ever more deeply into our hearts, where we are feeling that which is energetically happening through us and all around us.   When we can be conscious of these energies, and also our heart’s compassionate intent, we become more fine-tuned to the harmonious and disharmonious qualities and effects of certain kinds of energies we engage with and can reciprocate.  We receive the opportunity to act at all levels in ways that are less harmful: more compassionate!  We learn to treat our bodies, others, other traditions, and our environment with increasing compassion.

Subtle Energies and Oxygen

The compassionate energies of the plants are rather subtle; but en masse, they are actually quite strong.  And they are strong in a subtle way; they invite us to relax, surrendering ourselves deeply within ourselves, feeling deeply within the depth of our relaxation.  We can consciously focus our attention into any part of our body that feels tense.  Using focused intention,  we can breathe oxygen into those areas of tension. The compassionate energies of the plants invite us to feel more comfortable in this process. Plants are producing (exhaling, exuding, offering, providing) the oxygen that we need to breathe.  Oxygen has the gift of neutralizing stagnant and toxic energies which bind our stresses in points and knots of stored trauma.  Oxygen unlocks these energies, releasing the stresses and also the traumas that were stored there by means of our failure to breathe sufficiently in those moments.   Thus, the plants open us to surrender ever more deeply into our bodily feelings.

Breathing!

This Western culture is characterized by stress, anxiety, angst and anger which are all very closely related, and the result of a dissociative lack of breathing.   Fully breathing  deepens our felt awareness and relationship within our body, and as a result, with the deeper feelings that our body is receiving in connection with all else.   It is this lack of (or forgotten) connectedness that is the separated and dissociative source of felt anxiety, angst and anger.  Our native Hawaiian peoples refer to us “white” “Western” folks as “howlies”; which means those who don’t know how to breathe!   And they are astutely correct, because in our not breathing deeply, we fail to consciously engage our bodies, and remain entrapped in the mental activity in our head: instead of receiving and harmonizing, we use our minds to calculate and control.  We have excellent “oversight” (supervisory ) vision, but fail in our ability to be a relational presence.  Being here in the garden among the plants allows them to facilitate our breathing and hence significant healing on many levels at the same time.  When the energy flow of Chi is restored, our cells and tissues inherently heal themselves by simply doing what they know how to do.

 

Spirit Energies

As plants invite our deepened opening within ourselves energetically, we are increasingly subjected to all kinds of subtle energies from our surrounding environment.  Some of these are spirit energies that we would much rather be without.  All spirits are inherently seeking the Light, as a moth to a candle; we are also spirits (having a through-the-body experience), and we are also seeking the brighter Light.  When we are more opened, we become more Light filled (luminous, illuminated, enlightened) and so attractive to those seeking  a greater degree of  brightness or clarity.  These spirit energies enter our luminous beings and can become attached within us if we do not adequately know how, and have a disciplined practice of focusing ourselves into the brighter Light.   There is a significant art and practice of facilitating this,  for the purposes of channeling these spirit energies on through us, and also in the fulfillment of our own inner spiritual necessity.

 

Grounding, and Alignment in the Light

If one is choosing a practice of deepening spiritual/energetic openness, which I believe we all inherently are, it is imperative that we be aligned in the Light, in order to be a successful conduit.   And, in order to become aligned, we must first be “grounded”!   “Grounded” can be understood as “feet on the ground,” “connected with the Earth,” “receiving the Earth’s energies,” and  “breathing deeply” so as to become fully embodied.

Pranic Breath Work

Grounding can well be facilitated through the practice of Chi Gong (elemental Tai Chi), in which one intentionally, visually sends a “grounding chord” down through the soil, through the bedrock, warmer and warmer into the fire at the center of the Earth.  From this, and breathing in deeply, one can pull the Earth’s energies up through the soles of the feet (which are called “bubbling springs”) and then continuing up through the legs, consciously feeling every inch of flesh along the way.  Upon reaching the root/base chakra, one continues with the In-breath (inspiration) ascending through the chakras, until finally blasting through the crown chakra (known as “sky window”) on the top of the head.  If this process requires more than one inspiration, feel free to let it go, exhaling a shower of relaxation and releasing the toxic energies that have become dislodged.  Allow that shower to cleanse the entire area that has already been energetically passed through.  One can feel the relaxation facilitated by the release.  Send the released energies down through the grounding chord into the fire at the center of the Earth.  Begin again breathing up through the “bubbling springs” and up through the legs etc.  It may take several rounds to actually pass through all of the chakras, and finally reach the “sky window.”  Upon blasting out through the “sky window,” channel the inspiring/ inspired energy straight up as far as possible into the Light directly above.   When fully inspired, again release, exhaling and receiving a shower of golden Light that cleanses one’s body, and clarifies one’s consciousness, and again, send the residual toxic energies down the grounding chord into the fire.   Continue this breathing practice to generate a strength of alignment in the channel of Light that has been connected through the body from the center of the Earth to the spiritual Light of the Superior Astral.  This can become an every-moment practice which keeps us aligned and clear to receive all the energies that are informing us, yet without becoming pulled off center (away from our heart), or incorporating them in our bodies.

“Running Energies”:

Channeling Spirits into the Light

It is this Pranic breathing practice that creates a conduit for all spirits to ascend into the Light; and as well, one’s own conscious connection of mind focus into the clarifying Light   This is a practice, like meditation and also breathing, that one needs to cultivate in every moment, such that it becomes an automatic habit; because it is when we don’t think about it that we need it most.  It is the necessary inner guardianship which protects us from spirited attachments that distract us and be-fuddle our lives.  One needs to be absolutely certain and confident in one’s steadfastness in this practice to be assured that the subtlest spirit entities are not entering during a momentary lapse of concentration.

Plants as Gurus

To help us with our practice, we need only observe the plants,  especially the tall trees!   They are not in a hurry, running around trying to do good things; they just stand there, on the Earth, roots down, and grounded.   They stand tall and aligned in the Light of the Sun!  And what are they doing? They are  breathing, breathing in all that comes their way, all our pollution, everything!   And what is the result? They are radiating compassion: it is so tangible that one can feel it!   That’s all we really need to do!  And lest we forget, they are all around us, reminding us: they are our gurus, showing us and exemplifying for us just exactly what we need to be doing, and how to do it!

 

Bodily Healing

The ancient healing traditions with an energy consciousness understand that our bodies: our tissues, our cells, intrinsically know how to heal themselves simply by doing what they are meant (know) to do!   What the medicines actually do is simply clear the channels, thereby restoring the energy flow.  When the energy Chi flows, it is like a mountain stream:  it moves along, bubbling over the rocks, oxygenating itself, and so it is clear and flowing and clean and drinkable.  Where, by chance, a log jam blocks the flow, the water stagnates: swirling in a circle, but going nowhere.  It becomes cloudy and stinky and festering  with dis-ease.  If we remove the log jam obstacle (dis-ease), it resumes its flow, oxygenates (like anti-oxidants) and naturally clears itself.    When we come to understand this, we can come to work with everything we encounter to facilitate our healing/living in a different way.  Everything either shows us or inspires us to do the energy consciousness work that we need to do.

Smudging

Use of smudging: sage, mugwort, frankincense, palo santo, and breu (resins) bring in oxygen: neutralizing, shifting, clearing the toxins in the energy fields within and around the physical body.  Clear energy fields enable the stream of consciousness to flow unimpeded, linking in the Divine Light within.  We feel calm, collected, clear, concentrated, grounded and present, to focus, to attend or to relax and sleep soundly.  Our bodies respond accordingly.

Deep Feeling (a meditation)

Feeling deeply within: breathing, listening into the stillness, focusing intention, melt into oneness with the Earth:  internally, intentionally feel all the body parts opening: sink into Earth, deeply into the body; Pay attention: focused attention/intention to listen and feel.  Our Body/ tissues/ cells are telling us what they are experiencing, and hence what they need.  Learn to pay attention, to receive, trust your bodily messages: your intuition.  Quiet the mind, feel/receive what comes: that soft still voice within.  Cultivate through meditation, a meditative presence.    Ask within your heart what you most truly want to know.

Plant Teachings

Introduction:

  • Our bodies harmonize with our surroundings.

  • We have a choice about what we surround ourselves with:

  • Plants have “life-force” energy: they are living organisms.

  • Life-force energy is Light, aligned, diverse, complex, whole, balanced, balancing, compassionate:

    • it feels good and comfortable: harmonizing and compassionate.

  • Plants simply stand there: Breathing!

  • They breathe in all that comes their way.

  • They transform it; they radiate out compassionate energy: it is tangible!

    • Enter a garden: be among the plants; we can feel the difference.

  • Their energy is fresh, grounded, grounding; we feel like breathing:

    • They invite us to breathe; we relax and remember that we are living: alive.

    • We can feel what is true in our heart;

      • And we remember how it is that we really want to live.

  • Plants have subtle, more finely tuned energies;

    • when we are among them, they invite us to relax:

    • to pay deeper attention,

    • to feel more deeply,

    • to receive consciously what our bodies are already feeling.

  • Our bodies are like “antennae”:

    • feeling, receiving all the energies of the universe, all the time.

  • There are no “illusions”: everything we feel is real, because it is experienced.

  • We can learn to acknowledge what it is that we are receiving.

  • Experience Plant Teachings

  • So, here we are in the Garden:

  • Plants are grounded!

  • Their roots are firmly planted in the ground (except for epiphytes).

  • Their feet are in constant contact with the nourishing soil.

  • Groundedness enables them to stand still, unwavering;

    • yet flowing in the breeze.

  • Groundedness nourishes us too

  • Groundedness invites us to become more consciously present: silent,

    • patient, breathing, feeling, receiving, acknowledging, and humble.

  • The plants have an anchor of stability and firmness that facilitates their alignment as they stretch into the Light, and receive the sun.

  • Plants are aligned

  • Plants are aligned: they orient and focus upwards towards the Light,

    • receiving the Light which is inspiring: spiritually nourishing.

  • They never waver from that focus,

  • They constantly continue in the seeking of this alignment.

  • It is this alignment that inspires them;

  • It is this alignment that is affirmed within their hearts.

    • When grounded, and aligned in the Light, we can become increasingly sensitive:

    • opening ourselves from within our hearts,

    • affirming our center, and our equilibrium.

  • We too become inspired!

  • This is a true and functional openness that allows us to be genuine,

    • and transparent, and radiant of compassionate energy: Beauty!

  • Plants are exemplary presence

  • Plants are living this life presence in every moment:

  • They simply stand here breathing, radiating compassionate energy.

  • And so can we.

  • We can cultivate our mind to orient into this Divine Light

  • We can cultivate our mind to be in service of our Heart:

    • To stand out of the way:

    • To hold open the doorway, by intentionally focusing and

    • concentrating into our heart of feeling, through which streams the Divine Light .

  • We can use the mind as an organ of perceptive inquiring!

  • The focus of our intention opens the windows of our consciousness to the subtle realms of inner beauty already immediately before us, and within us.

  • We can focus and enter more deeply into this reception of Divine Light.

  • Plants are relaxed, sensitive and harmonious

  • The plants invite us to relax, and become present with them.

  • As our bodies harmonize with their energies,

    • we are invited ever more deeply into ourselves:

    • into our own body beings;

    • into our own sensitivity awareness.

    • We become increasingly patient, and feeling and opened.

  • We deepen our sensitivity within;

  • We deepen our conscious connection with our hearts;

  • We deepen our sensitivity to our surroundings;

  • We deepen our sensitivity to others;

  • We deepen our conscious connection within our hearts;

  • We become more aware and more clear what it is that we really want, and what is truly most important;

  • We become better able to focus and simplify our lives and our activities;

  • We become less distracted, and more genuinely present.

  • Plants are Joyous

  • Plants in the Light blossom and flower, displaying

    • their radiant colors, which call to us;

    • their delicate openness, which receives us;

    • their exquisite beauty, which connects within our hearts;

    • their Divine sensitivity, which invites us ever more deeper;

    • their apertures of creation, which inspire us;

    • their abidance in the unified realm, which fillls us,

    • their ultimate expression of Joy, which fulfills us.

  • Plants simply Create Beauty!

  • Plants are living this life presence in every moment;

    • And so can we.

  • They simply stand here breathing, radiating compassionate energy;

    • And so can we.

  • Plants are living examples of how we can be grounded, and orient ourselves into the Light: to become channels of Light.

  • Plants invite us and inspire us to dwell more deeply in the sensitivity within our hearts.

  • As we become grounded, we can become aligned, focused in the Light:

    • in the same Light of what we want most, within our hearts.

  • With groundedness and alignment in the Light, we can fill our hearts and our soul with all that is Light and Joy;

  • And with increasing discipline, we can unceasingly cultivate this Beauty.

  • We can cultivate within ourselves the orientation of thankfulness, and gratitude which affirms beauty with joy!

  • We can learn and practice to dwell within the cultivation of Joy, and the compassionate Light energy that it generates and radiates through us.

  • The Garden is a Cathedral:

  • The Garden is a Cathedral of the Divine Beauty of compassion radiating through the plants.

  • In the Garden, we find ourselves invited and inspired,

    • through the exemplary Divine energy presence of the plants,

    • to focus into our own innate inner sensitivity within our Hearts.

    • to ground and align in the Divine Light.

    • to breathe, relax and harmonize.

    • to radiate joyous compassion.

    • to simply Create Beauty!

    • to dwell in the Divine compassionate presence within in us.

  • Plants simply create Beauty;

  • Simply Create Beauty!