These are commonly called teacher plants or master plants, that, instead of filling up our tummies to support our bodies with fibre, proteins, minerals and electrolytes, evoke a myriad of experiences that manifest physically in the body, mentally as thoughts and ideas and literally through all known senses, dissolving the boundaries of conscious and subconscious aspects of mind, almost as speaking to us. It wouldn’t be of much use to describe all the possible forms of master plant effect on human nor to describe the particular contents that come up for following reasons.
For the first, it varies from one individual to another. For the second, the master plant “communication” for its larger part is not relayed through language, rather through mental images (like closed or open eye visions), through curiously and unusually vivid perception, through immediate understanding (with or without the use of language) or insight. The object of this knowing can be something specific, practical, like clarifying a misunderstanding, taking a fresh look at a relationship with a friend or companion, or it can be a multidimensional (multi-layer, multi-perspective) view on our emotional habits, cravings, patterns, and how they condition not only our little personal reality, but also how they take part in co-creation of our world and its conditions for the species as a whole.
If we go back to the notion of plants as nutriment that supports survival and look at the survival concept as a process of interest to the larger eco-system, we can recognise that master plants’ apparent function, at least for humans, is to nurture and thus support us through communication. Even though it leads to limitless number of insights, nevertheless, they communicate similar patterns and qualities that represent harmony, balance, co-existence of polarities, Mind creating our reality, oneness, mystical union, freedom, perfection. When experienced individually, these most often literally blow our mind, as it is easily light years away from our daily experience, yet at the same time, we intimately embrace it’s naturalness and familiarity.
Off course, such kind of experiences are never long lasting. These insights (inner sight, wisdom, a direct look into make-up of phenomena) hold knowledge of what’s possible, like an intuitive or sometimes just straight-forward knowing of fundamental building blocks of mind, consciousness and Reality. Also, these experiences often come after a real physical suffering takes place through detox and/or emotional cleanse when reliving a trauma or facing the shadow aspect of Mind. What makes it a teaching experience is that what’s possible is pointed out, it may become a real “road sign” on an evolutionary map of human design, though it’s not a gift in a form a peace of land of real territory.
Teacher plants are often described as the means of healing, transformation, something that helps to make a shift in ourselves. The change of consciousness is not delivered by the teacher plant, but rather they can be assistants in this journey. Teacher plants’ use is a practice that nurtures and communicates what we need (not want) to know in order to move towards a different way of experiencing life, a different approach. Using the terminology of Ken Wilber’s work, the distinction between states and stages of consciousness here is most appropriate and crucial. Difference lies in states being the possibilities pointed out (communicated chemically, energetically by the plant) whereas the stage of consciousness is where we are at in this moment. State of Mind is like a memory, a travel note and a photo of the place we have visited, whereas the stage of Mind is the peace of land that we own and know so well that we can move around blindfold, knowing it as our second nature.
Teacher plant as a practice is an endeavour of navigating this territory of consciousness and learning how to build a bridge between places we have visited and the ground we firmly stand on. Although building is not the accurate way of saying, its more like growing, extending the root system that supports new layers of soil. This practice, inspired by the plants themselves, follow the same, natural, organic laws. For a harmonious development of us as a living system, it needs to be allowed and supported.