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Meeting Plants with Loving Attention
by Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt

The nettle season is soon over, however there is still time to dry the tops for nettle infusion or make a little side dish of cooked nettles seasoned with butter and salt.  But before we do that let us take a moment to be with a growing nettle plant under the shady trees at the edge of the forest.  When we sit down quietly and notice the nettle plant we may discover, although it is not the ordinary way of observing the natural world, that we are in fact looking at creative cosmic forces at work.
As long as we remain in our usual self awareness and ordinary consciousness the nettle plant will appear as a physical object in front of us.  We may experience 'something' but our ordinary way of being prevents us from having an intimate meeting with the plant and its world. Seeing plants as objects results in the usual descriptions of plants we find in all biology books and the like, where plants are described as 'things'. Plants are picked, processed and sold, and often attributed a quality – that they 'do something for us', for example nurture our kidneys. This kind of description and handling of plants shows that there is a kind of 'on-looker' distance between us and the plant. Our observations remain on the surface of the plant or are retrieved from scientific laboratories. This way of 'looking at' excludes the possibility of seeing and being united with the plant world in an act of love.  When we develop the capacity to be with rather than in front of the plant, we are developing the soul spiritual capacity of sensing. Something, our life forces, our soul being and spiritual individuality goes to meet what we are observing. We experience the plant, not as 'over there' but as a vast 'innerness' with whom we are intimately connected.

We are accustomed to thinking that plants are being pushed from below and grow from the bottom up, however with careful observation we will discover that plants unfold from the top. Substances are lifted from the ground through the stem into the leaves where they intermingle with substances drawing in from the cosmos and air though the leaves.  The form of the plant and its particular gestures come from merging or meeting of these creative forces and substances from the cosmos, with the earthly forces and substances. It is possible to 'feelingly see' this meeting and sense its universal nature as well as its specific nature which belong to the being of this particular nettle plant.

In order to get to know any plant, we have to develop this new capacity of entering into an inner presence of loving attention in which we are able to meet the plant, listen and truly 'hear' the plant's way of responding. The first, practical aspect of this is to become used to and aware of the plant's gestures. In a way it happens naturally when we turn our attention towards a plant in the garden. There is something alive and vibrant about the plant. It reaches toward the sun, spreads its leaves horizontally, and opens receptively to the light and the warmth. When we perceive the plant from this inner presence of loving attention, it is as if we are invited into the world of the plant, and it seems as if we can feel its presence. We selflessly give our loving attention and we feel something otherworldly, something of the plant's spiritual world, held here by gravity forces or earthly forces so strongly present in the roots. 

When we meet the plant in this way, the plant can carefully begin to reveal itself to us, or rather reveal itself to that part of our inner being that is connected to the 'more than earthly'. It is only because we have something like the spiritual nature of the plant world in us that we can come into union with the world of plants -and animals for that matter. When we give loving attention to the plant, something of our spiritual nature comes from us to meet the spirit light of the plants. We notice, by direct experience and clear inner observations, that there exists an intimate relationship between the Earth, the Cosmos and the human being. We discover that this holy and whole relationship is mutual interdependent -one does not exist with out the other. To me this was an immensely joyous revelation with huge insights and responsibilities.

Cooking for the Love of the World, Anne-Marie Fryer
Silence; The Mystery of Wholeness, by Robert Sardello
Love and the Soul; Creating a Future for Earth, by Robert Sardello

Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt is a Waldorf class and kindergarten teacher, biodynamic farmer, author and nutritional counselor. She has taught nutritional cooking and counseled for 25 years in her homeland Denmark, Europe and the United States.

She trained as a macrobiotic cooking teacher and counselor and studied the principles of oriental medicine and the research of Dr. Weston A. Price before embracing the anthroposophical approach to nutrition, food and cooking.

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by Anne-Marie Fryer Wiboltt

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