I have two incredible stories to share with you on this 1st day of February, in this leap year.
The first–published in the New York Times a few days ago, tells the story of a German forest ranger named Peter Wohllben who wrote a bestselling book called The Hidden Life of Trees:What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World.
Wohllben believes–and has scientific proof–that trees are social beings that can sense danger, talk to each other and even nurse ailing neighbor trees all while participating in a fungal network he calls the “wood-wide web.”
The ranger’s book is #1 in Germany (the English translation is scheduled for later this year) and he’s made the rounds of talk shows. Critics love it; the Times story writes that one “praised the humble narrative style and the book’s ability to awaken in readers an intense, childlike curiosity about the workings of the world.”
I love the idea of strolling through a canopy of trees in the forest and feeling embraced by a sense of peace, considering that the trees are transmitting peace on purpose. Talk about a deeper mindful practice!
The second story is even more unbelievable–unless you’re a believer, that is. It involves the 900-year-old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.
You read that number right. A study released three years ago by Italy’s National Research Council reveals that these trees are the oldest on earth AND have the same DNA fingerprinting of trees that witnessed Jesus’ final hours on earth.
For centuries, these trees have held the eternal peace of Jesus, cradled in the gnarled intertwining branches, making it the perfect spot for a peace pilgrimage today.
For my money, news from the Iowa Caucus rides in the back of the bus today.
If you’re a person who values mindfulness and changing the world with a positive collective consciousness, these two stories ought to make you feel a little tingly. This first day of February is a happy, celebratory day because all the ugliness out there–from Donald Trump and the merry band of political jesters, to gun violence across the streets of America and throughout the world and even the deadly heroin epidemic gripping every state in the nation–goes on hold for the briefest moment as peace overrides them all.
Please hear me–the horrific gun violence and the opioid crisis are massive issues that need big-time attention and big brains to fix. I’m not sure there is a fix for the political clown show.
For 10 minutes today, let’s focus on peace. Let’s be so mindful that we can feel it coursing through our DNA just as it does those olive trees. Let’s breathe peace out to our neighbors as the trees in Germany do.
The other stuff matters, yes it does. But peace matters more because without peace, the other stuff will eventually cease to matter.
Photo courtesy of Sanskrity Sinha