Often in herbalism you’re told to “go sit with a plant”. What does that mean? It means getting into the communication vibe of a plant. And how do they communicate? With everything. According to Sajah Popham in his book Evolutionary Herbalism: Science, Spirituality and Medicine from the Heart of Nature:
…we have to see that everything about a plant is a communication, purposeful in its syntax, precise in its diction, rich in its descriptions, vast in its meaning. Plants are composed of language beyond words.
With the lushness of summer, it’s easy to pick a plant. The first part of his plant communication involves the senses of smell, vision, taste and touch. One of his comments about this interaction makes me smile whenever I practice it because I feel like I’m learning to speak Plant (it should be rated as one of the languages offered in school). Smelling the plant by gently rubbing the leaves to release its aroma causes the scent to physically enter your body and begin to communicate biochemically. You exhale and the plant takes your breath in. When the plant exhales, you take its breath in. You are now interwoven. Since scents are linked to the limbic system which is closely tied to emotional memory, feelings can be generated from this biochemical-based interaction.
The second part of plant-sitting is learning by Heart: using the electromagnetic fields of both plant and person to communicate. This energy comes from our heart field (Heart chakra). By focusing on wrapping your heart field around the plant and allowing its energy field to connect to you, send your care, gratitude and commitment to learning via your breath. Remember, as you breathe into the plant, it’s also breathing into you. As you enter deeper into the plant, it too is learning about you. This is a two-way street as both you and the plant are sharing information from the heart. Therefore, communication will not follow a rational, linear line. Messages will be sent from the plant but it may range from words or pictures to physical sensations. This depends on your learning style (visual, tactile or auditory).
The third part of this process involves the blending of the heart message with interpretations by the brain. This requires you to return to the plant energetically and go deeper each time, to understand and then pull back to allow the brain to process what’s being communicated. This process gets repeated several times to refine and clarify your understanding of the message of the plant. You want to make sure of the message you received and that it’s true to the plant itself.
There is more detail presented in the book, but this is the gist of the process. Working with energy at this level requires time, patience and practice. Summer is a good time to start the process, with all of the varieties of plants in full bloom. Take time to smell the roses knowing that they too, are smelling and learning from you!