The Birds And The Trees
There are months when I have more meaningful encounters with trees than people. Maybe that says more about me than the nature of trees, but it isn’t because I loathe mankind. Not at all. It is merely due to the ease of mind, body and spirit that I feel in nature. No walls. No masks. No ego.
Besides, trees are the true romantics. Unlike many of us, they speak all of the five love languages:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
I’ve always considered acceptance the lost sixth language – a feat trees accomplish unconditionally. They openly embrace the birds and the squirrels. Man and woman. Adult and child. Wind and rain.
Perhaps number one on the list, words of affirmation, is a tad amiss. But just because trees don’t converse with us in the way we need them to, it doesn’t mean that they don’t communicate. After all, trees are great singers.
At Damanhur, a spiritual ecovillage in Italy, there is a laboratory in the woods that is home to a choir of singing trees. Since 1976, researchers at Damanhur have invented and developed equipment that can capture electromagnetic changes on the surface of leaves and roots, transforming them into actual sounds. The trees seem to control their electrical responses via a feedback mechanism, and demonstrate an awareness and preference for different types of music.
The singing plants and trees of Damanhur have sparked off such a worldwide fascination that the people began organising “Plant Concerts”, where musicians perform to the music created by the trees.
Above: Getting close to the the trees of Royal Chundu on the Katombora Island Walk at Island Lodge
There’s a whole world that we as humans aren’t privy to. Have you ever watched a dog in a forest? They roam about in their own world of intense smells and sounds that we cannot perceive.
As for love language number five, it was recently proven that hugging trees is, in fact, good for us. We don’t even have to touch the tree to get better; merely being close to it has a range of benefits.
In Japan, people practise ‘forest bathing’, where they spend quiet time absorbing the wisdom of ancient forests, taking long walks among the trees to stimulate their immune system
In the recently published book, Blinded by Science, author Matthew Silverstone proves scientifically that, through their vibrational properties, trees can improve several health issues. For instance, headaches, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, concentration levels, reaction times, depression, high blood pressure, stress and other forms of mental illness.
Everything around us vibrates in some way or another and the different vibrations affect biological behaviours. When you touch a tree, its vibrational patterns affect the biological behaviours within your body.
Watch this BBC programme for a look at the science behind tree-hugging in Finland’s Koli National Park.
Taoist master, Mantak Chia teaches students to meditate with trees, as a way of releasing negative energies. The Taoist theory explains that trees are natural processors that help you transform your body’s sick or negative energy into positive, vital life force energy. As you connect your energy with the tree, you facilitate your own physical and emotional healing.
The notion is that because trees remain very still through their lifespans, they are better at absorbing the earth’s energy and the universal force. Trees and all plants have the ability to absorb light frequencies and transform them into physical food; and they do the same with energetic food.
What You Can Do
Get in touch with your senses and discover the health benefits of trees on a walk with us through our forest on Katombora Island at Royal Chundu.
At our Soulful River Retreat in February 2016, we will be running mindful walks on the island.
Discover the trees you can expect to meet on our setting on the Zambezi’s banks in our list: The Trees and Plants of Royal Chundu and find out about Zambia’s most useful tree in our blog on the Manketti.