Plant Consciousness; Do Plants Sense, Feel, and Communicate?
Just like the love we receive from our mothers and grandmothers, nature is a life-giving, lovable, and powerful healer. Is this interconnectedness and interdependence born from nature’s pre-engineered biology, or is there a type of plant consciousness? Are they sentient beings, with the ability to sense, feel, fathom, and communicate? The answer to this is more remarkable than you might imagine.
When we wander in the forest, we might be conscious of the abundant life around us. If we allow ourselves the opportunity, we might understand that when we walk among flowers and trees, our bodies, minds, and hearts are healed in some way. As we absorb the luscious beauty around us, somehow, with limited effort, we feel cleansed from head to toe. This is not just a feeling, it’s often a reality.
We see a robust and majestic pine tree, drenched in sunlight and surrounded by wet earth. Thirty feet away we see its equally vital twin in the shade, surrounded by dry soil. Scientists say that it’s not only that the twin tree has roots that will reach to the nearby wet ground for sustenance, it’s also that these two trees share nutrients and messages via an intricate underground network. This is why the tree in the shadows is as healthy as her sunlit neighbor.
“You know what a lima bean does when it’s attacked by spider mites? It releases a volatile chemical that goes out into the world and summons another species of mite that comes in and attacks the spider mite, defending the lima bean. While we have consciousness, toolmaking, and language, plants have biochemistry.” — Michael Pollan
Can Plants Feel Pain?
As far back as the 1980s, researchers like Frank Kühnemann at Germany’s Institute for Applied Physics at Bonn University, have worked to understand how plants communicate. It’s not airy-fairy curiosity that gave birth to this pursuit; it originally began to help farmers understand why their crops soured when stored in local silos or during intercontinental transport to foreign nurseries.
Originally developed by scientists at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands and later improved-upon by The Institute for Applied Physics, a unique acoustic device was built to evaluate plants’ stress levels by measuring the energies of ethylene gas molecules provoked with lasers.
During harvesting, cultivation, drought, and after exposure to salt, poor ozone quality and cold air, plants emit ethylene gas. While they emit the gas when being eaten, attacked, or cut, they also emit the same levels of ethylene when their fruit is ripe.
That amazing smell after you cut your lawn?
The result of the grass reacting to being cut.
The German acoustic device determines the stress level of the plant by converting the levels of ethylene gas into corresponding sound waves. This helps us understand the levels of “pain” and stress the plants are experiencing.
Acoustics-based research surrounding plants has given farming a boost. More specifically, it’s helped farmers understand that storing apples with other crops can damage the other crops. This research also points to the stress that plants experience during travel, given certain types of plant-based traveling companions.
The results of these experiments and many since have shown us plants can respond and react to their experiences. They can also remember and learn from their experiences and can make adjustments based on what they’ve learned. Plants emit gases and chemicals into the soil around them and send messages through their roots to nearby plants. Suffice it to say that the world of plants is mind-blowing.
“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” — Erma Bombeck
Do Plants Have Feelings?
When hearing that plants react and feel “pain,” your heart might fill with compassion and empathy. You might want to start a new organization aimed at protecting plants from cruelty! Certainly a noble pursuit.
While there are similarities among humans, animals, and plants, it’s important to consider that a plant’s purpose and systems are mostly dissimilar to those of humans and animals. When a human feels pain, they cry. When plants are cut or stored alongside rotting apples, they emit ethylene gas. This doesn’t mean the plant doesn’t feel pain, it means we have a lot to learn about the nature of plants, especially as it relates to the notion of suffering.
It’s probable that plants don’t suffer in the same way humans and animals suffer and plants don’t feel the same way humans and animals feel. It’s certainly a lovely notion that at least one part of the Earth’s ecosystem might be saved from a measure of suffering.
While humans, animals, and plants all have unique systems for connecting and each has a distinct cry for help, plants don’t have the same cortex and therefore, do not think and feel in the same way humans and animals do.
It’s within thinking that emotions arise. And it’s during the expression of emotions that we understand when a creature is in pain. That said, plants clearly have their own thinking and feeling systems, many of which we have yet to understand.
It begs the question, what is a vegan to do? If my cucumber can feel my bite, should I become a Breatharian? For now, vegans should probably continue to eat vegetables, but feel free to be more loving and grateful when you bite into them!
Can Plants Communicate?
Although it started with the exploration of what seemed to be an insane premise — plants, just like humans and animals, can be shy or aggressive, connected or reclusive, and givers, receivers, or both. Upon certain conditions, plants will also warn their neighbors about impending attacks, problems, and the abundance and depletion of nutrients within the plant’s network.
Science seems to agree. According to Velemir Ninkovic, an ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, “Plants … use signals to avoid competing situations and to prepare for future competition.”
By all accounts, it appears that plants are resourceful, proactive, communal and most certainly communicative.
“God sleeps in the minerals, awakens in plants, walks in animals, and thinks in man.” — Arthur Young
Are Plants Sentient?
According to Kenneth Worth, Ph.D., “Plants produce serotonin, GABA, and melatonin, which act as hormones and neurotransmitters in animal brains, though it’s not yet known what they do in plants. Intriguingly, drugs such as Prozac, Ritalin, and amphetamines can disrupt these “neurotransmitters” in plants.”
Putting all the pieces together, here’s what plants can do:
- Grow with proper nutrition
- Send messages and friend requests
- Sense the need for nutrients in other plants
- Share nutrients with other plants, even as far as 30 meters away
- Send out electric distress signals
- Sense light
- Encourage neighbors to grow in ways that will help save them
- Communicate using gases and chemical secretions in the soil
- Emit measurable sounds
- Send out signals to denote proximity to other plants
- React, Remember & Learn
- Produce Serotonin, GABA & Melatonin, which act like hormones in human beings
Related to the above, if we can give plants even the slightest benefit of the doubt, it must be probable that plants are sentient.
What Do You Feel Around Plants?
While the scientific and hippie ideologies surrounding plants might not always be aligned, what’s most important is what we each feel and sense around plants. Do you talk to your plants? Do you touch them with love? Whether you’re an academic researcher, holistic healer, or magical wizard living in another realm, plants give us oxygen, life, colors, and vibrations, all of which provide measurable benefits.
Plant Research in India and China
In 1962, Dr. T.C. Singh, the head of Botany at an Indian University, concluded that plants exposed to music experienced accelerated growth. He also found that the violin provided the most value in this area. Other scientists over time have concluded that classical music has a profound effect on plants’ health. Dr. Singh also found that barefoot, traditional Indian dancing in the same room as the plants caused them to flower two weeks earlier than previously recorded.
Physicist and Indian plant physiologist Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose, concluded after decades of researching the effects of environments on plants that, like humans, plants are sensitive to noise and nurturance. He also concluded that plants feel pain and understand affection.
In China’s Fujian Province, farmers claim their crop yields increased and grain size significantly improved when using sound systems to play Buddhist chants in and around their fields.
It seems undeniable that plants are sensitive in similar ways to humans and animals. Even with gaps in scientific research, there appears to be consensus around the notion that plants sense, feel, fathom, and communicate.
It’s humbling and exciting to learn about the expansive nature and abilities of plants. It’s also surprising and illuminating to learn about the parallels between plants and human/animal behaviors.
Enjoy and connect with your plants, receive their rich abundance when wandering in the forest, and share your love with all living beings in your life.
Tiny Crystals In Our Brain Could Unlock Psychic Powers
Magnetite is one of the most magnetic substances on Earth. As you can probably guess, it has a diverse range of uses; from fridge magnets to generating electricity in power plants. But what you probably wouldn’t guess is that your brain actually synthesizes these crystals, and you have hundreds of millions of them inside your head. Much smaller ones of course.
Scientists are still unsure what role, if any, these crystals play in the brain’s function. Studies have inferred that it may play a role in long-term memory. In animals, like honey bees, homing pigeons, and dolphins, magnetite is believed to be associated with the ability to respond to the Earth’s magnetic field.
While similar studies have yet to be performed on humans, we do know that Earth’s magnetic fields effect everything from our mood to our ability to learn. Even stranger, research has begun to provide links between the electromagnetic field of our planet and psychic abilities. Could these crystals act like tiny antennas connecting our brains to each other and to the entire planet? It may sound far-fetched, but surprisingly, the evidence is there.
First, let’s look at what we know about the magnetite in our brains. To be honest, we don’t know much: In 1992, the first evidence of this mineral in the brain was published. It was shocking to uncover that this highly magnetic substance was actually synthesized by our bodies, and while we don’t know exactly what function it plays in brain activity, some interesting theories have emerged. A 2009 hypothesis proposed that magnetite plays a significant role in long-term memory. It suggests that cellular components of the brain communicate with each other through magnetic signals, with the magnetite particles acting as tiny antennas, simultaneously receiving information throughout the different parts of the brain.
Magnetite also acts as an antenna for external electromagnetic fields, including the geomagnetic field of the Earth itself. And this is where things start to get interesting. An enormous body of research is emerging that shows substantive links between magnetic fields and cognitive function.
Back in 1978, research physicist Dr. Robert C Beck published preliminary research on the effects of extremely low frequency magnetic fields on the moods of human subjects. ELF fields of 6.67 Hz, 6.26 Hz and lower tend to produce symptoms of confusion, anxiety, depression, tension, fear, mild nausea and headaches. On the other hand, oscillations of 7.8, 8.0, and 9.0 Hz produce anxiety-relieving and stress-reducing effects that mimic some meditative states.
More recently, magnetic fields have been used in successful clinical practices for eliminating depression and bipolar disorder, with over 1300 medical research papers published to date. The non-invasive treatment, known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, uses a wand-shaped gadget to zap away the effects of depression.
While all of this is interesting, and can pave the way for new therapies and treatments, a group of researchers at Canada’s Laurentian University are exploring the role of electromagnetic forces in more extreme cognitive functions. Dr. Michael Persinger is a neuroscientist who has argued that all phenomena, including consciousness, spiritual experiences, and even “paranormal events,” can be explained by physical mechanisms, and can be verified using the scientific method.
Since 1971, he has been researching electromagnetic field effects upon biological organisms, and some of his recent studies sound straight out of a sci-fi movie: Dr. Persinger has shown in the laboratory that magnetic brain stimulation can create metal states conducive to human telepathy. A recent experiment placed two people at a distance in different rooms, each surrounded by an identical, computer-controlled magnetic field. When a light was flashed in one subject’s eye, the person in the other room showed responses in their brain as if they saw the flash of light.
As Dr. Persinger stated:
“We think that’s tremendous because it may be the first macro demonstration of a quantum connection, or so-called quantum entanglement. If true, then there’s another way of potential communication that may have physical applications, for example, in space travel.”
On a much larger scale, correlation has been shown between the geomagnetic forces of the planet and a variety of effects spanning large populations. A 2003 study found “strong empirical support in favor of a geomagnetic-storm effect in stock returns” and “evidence of substantially higher returns around the world during periods of quiet geomagnetic activity.”
Other research has linked geomagnetic activity to suicide, heart-disease, and even birth rates. A particularly curious global effect is related to a standing electromagnetic wave that exists between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere. Known as “The Schumann Resonance,” this wave has a frequency of 7.8 Hz, and is frequently referenced in alternative theories of consciousness. Measurements by Dr. Persinger have shown that the fundamental and harmonics of the Schumann Resonance were discernible in normal human brain activity, and in fact they correspond to Dr. Beck’s anxiety-reducing ELF fields.
Stranger still was Persinger’s study of the remote viewer Ingo Swann. “Remote viewing” refers to a technique used by “psychic spies” working for the CIA; they were able to see far off locations as if they were there; and they could even move through time. Ingo Swann was one of the first, and most accurate, viewers in this program. When Dr. Persinger measured his brain’s electromagnetic activity during viewing sessions, he found a spike in activity at 7 Hz which correlated with the most accurate viewings. Is it possible that Swann was able to project his consciousness by tuning into the standing geomagnetic waves of the Earth?
All of this adds up to a fascinating connection between our brains and the shared magnetic field not only of our planet, but potentially of the entire universe. It’s undeniable that the brain responds to magnetic forces on a local and a global scale. While no one has been able to prove the involvement of magnetite, it seems a likely suspect. If we learn to harness the power of these tiny antennas in our brain, who knows what kind of psychic superpowers we might unlock?