I paint outdoors whenever I can. The natural world is full of conscious beings without eyes or ears like ours, but they sense, and they know.
I’m generally talking about plants, though there are clearly fairies flitting about the magical forest below, and myriad other beings who are invisible to most. The invisible world may take time to reintegrate with humanity, but at least we are coming to realize, collectively, that there are other forms of consciousness we can see – the trees, the leaves, the flowers, the fruit. PBS offers a startling documentary about plant behavior: What Plants Talk About, and though it doesn’t definitively point to this beautiful word, consciousness, the research it exposes in plant behavior is highly suggestive of something special, some kind of intelligent system within plant organisms which enables them to interact with their environment.
When I place my hand on a tree I can feel tremendous life energy pumping through it – this is chi, universal life force. But I can also feel it feeling me. We have an exchange. For a human being like myself, thoughts dominate much of my life experience; it is difficult to imagine conscious experience without thought. Does the tree think? Does the moon have a thought as I behold him? This train of thought reminds me of something said by the indigenous Ancient Egyptian wisdom keeper, Abd’El Hakim Awyan:
If I come and I say, ‘I saw you in my dream,’ you’re going to ask, ‘What did I see?’ and then I say the dream. Now, did I saw you? The verb see is not there, because I did see you in my dream but not with my eyes, because I was asleep. So how did that happen?
The answer to Hakim Awyan’s question might be in the endocrine, or glandular system. Specifically, the pineal gland (located in the brain), which has been recently observed to contain many of the same structures as our eyes and has a long history of association with spiritual experiences.