Reveals the use of direct perception in understanding Nature, medicinal plants, and the healing of human disease
• Explores the techniques used by indigenous and Western peoples to learn directly from the plants themselves, including those of Henry David Thoreau, Goethe, and Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One Straw Revolution
• Contains leading-edge information on the heart as an organ of perception
All ancient and indigenous peoples insisted their knowledge of plant medicines came from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation. Less well known is that many Western peoples made this same assertion. There are, in fact, two modes of cognition available to all human beings--the brain-based linear and the heart-based holistic. The heart-centered mode of perception can be exceptionally accurate and detailed in its information gathering capacities if, as indigenous and ancient peoples asserted, the heart’s ability as an organ of perception is developed.
Author Stephen Harrod Buhner explores this second mode of perception in great detail through the work of numerous remarkable people, from Luther Burbank, who cultivated the majority of food plants we now take for granted, to the great German poet and scientist Goethe and his studies of the metamorphosis of plants. Buhner explores the commonalities among these individuals in their approach to learning from the plant world and outlines the specific steps involved. Readers will gain the tools necessary to gather information directly from the heart of Nature, to directly learn the medicinal uses of plants, to engage in diagnosis of disease, and to understand the soul-making process that such deep connection with the world engenders.
Citing Goethe, Thoreau and other opponents of overweening rationalism, Buhner (Sacred Plant Medicine), a researcher for the Foundation for Gaian Studies, criticizes the Western "verbal/intellectual/analytical" "mode of cognition" that has suppressed the "holistic/intuitive/depth" cognition of "ancient and indigenous peoples." The antidote to our "linear" scientific mindset, he contends, is the cultivation of direct sensory perceptions through rapt observation of, and psychic communion with, plants until "the student and the plant interweave... their two life fields entrained." Such emotional and spiritual connections to nature are feasible because, according to Buhner's discordantly scientistic theory of all-penetrating cardiac electromagnetic fields, the heart is our main organ of perception and communication. These methods also apply to the "depth diagnosis" of human ailments through direct perception of patients ("Her chest caught my attention, standing forth of its own accord. Beckoning," he writes of a woman with asthma), which he uses in his healing practice. Buhner's romantic-transcendentalist critique of intellect often lapses into anti-intellectualism ("Keep your botany out of this!... Do not use big, scientific words!") and is undermined by his own murky resort to big, scientific words like "molecular self-organization" and "stochastic resonance." He does produce some evocative passages about real plants, but these are often buried under the loam of a New Age mysticism that only the already convinced will appreciate.