Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2019

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/1100899

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Page 17 of 31

A Rinpoche of the Dalai Lama's once shared that we may never know all the sacred ways of Mother Earth and all that lives upon her. Many of these mysteries are to remain. Scientists have helped to discover just enough of the profound mysteries to intrigue us onto the path of reverence and stewardship if we allow it. Trees have lived on this Earth for 400 million years. They live an average lifespan of several centuries. They have the ability to store memory, make medicine to cure their infections, and take care of each other above and below ground. The lovely scent one smells from the Eucalyptus is actually a signaling system called Volatile Organic Compound (VOC). This VOC signal turns on when the tree is in distress specifically communicating to trees even a mile away. An example of this behavior is the need to release toxins in leaves to ward off insect invaders or to prepare for a coming fire. The underground taproots send out lateral roots that intertwine with neighbors capable of communication similar to how information passes between our neurons via synapses. They share needed nutrients as well. Elements in the leaves exist that are very similar to the rods and cones in our eyes. It's been discovered that trees 'sleep' at night and 'wake up' with the sun. With smaller trees, because of their social network, sacred cooperation, sharing nutrients, communicating the need to adjust, strategize, protect one another along with their "seedling children," they thrive much better in community. Other than the age of a tree, there's a coded language that lives within that scientists don't speak fluently — yet. So the magic and mysterious gifts of the trees are yet to be truly known. Many of us do indeed feel them. Others have photographed their auras. We all benefit from them. Trees have so many lessons for us. Isn't one of the spiritual practices of life to allow the cycle of manifesting and letting go? It takes a tree only a week to let go of the leaves it took a year to create, knowing that when the conditions are in alignment, that same tree will create a full bloom of more than 100,000 leaves in just a few weeks the following year. An existential question we may ask is "what truly activates our gifts?" When, how, and why do we leap fearlessly into our personal unknown? The embryo of a tree inside that tiny seed can wait in the ground for years caught between leaving the sacred shell too early and waiting too long. Yet somehow, it knows. A handful of seeds can be placed together in the exact same circumstances. They can be together in the soil, sharing the same microbes, water, sun, and air only for some to wait for a year, others choose to leap right away, or others wait many years. Why? The timing — only the seed knows when to take its one and only chance to become a tree. Cherry tree seeds can wait up to 100 years. Scientists in China discovered a lotus seed (Nelumbo nucifera) in a pearl bog. They broke open the coat and gently coaxed it with water to grow into a beautiful flower. When they carbon dated its outer shell, they determined that the little seedling waited no less than 2,000 years! B Y S U N N Y C H AY E S RO O T S O F W I S D OM M AG I C A L , MY S T I C A L T R EE S! Baobab Tree Bodhi Tree Yew Tree Photo Right: Sunny Chayes; Illustration by Stewart Chayes

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