Every tree, every plant, has a spirit. People may say that a plant has no mind. I tell them that a plant is alive and conscious. A plant may not talk, but there is a spirit in it that is conscious, that sees everything, which is the soul of the plant, its essence, what makes it alive.—Pablo Amaringo, Peruvian ayahuasqueroWhile I was in Peru I was aware that the above quote is absolutely true. The plants are very much alive and conscious. Not conscious as you and I are, but conscious just the same. Something else I realized in Peru on this last trip is that Peruvians treat their natural spaces with deep reverence and respect. The outside world is their church, their sanctuary. They do not retreat within 4 walls as we do in the west. They live amongst nature...inside of it. And it is inside of them.Here we have many beautiful natural places and we may make time to enjoy nature, but many of us do not respect, revere it or worship it as a wise source of council or even attempt to really understand it.In Peru nature is often consulted for the solution to a problem. It is considered the wisest of teachers. For every illness and imbalance in the body, there is a corresponding plant remedy to heal this. The jungle is the pharmacy. The visionary plants will often let the curanderos (healers) know which plant is required to heal the illness or imbalance. There are no such thing as doctors in the jungle.Being in nature-as they are there-you slow down. Your heartbeat slows it's rhythm. It stops beating to the beat of all of our electrical devices that it is entrained too and moves back into sync with the earth mother..the heartbeat of the earth.That in itself can provide miraculous healing.My first day in the jungle after I unpacked and settled in, I noticed this right away. I found myself looking for something to do. I asked Marta(the cook) if I could help. She said no. I hauled water for her instead. I offered to work on building a hut the men were working on. I reluctantly retired to my hammock. I had trouble with the ultra slow pace of the jungle. By the second day I noticed, I was walking slower, breathing slower, I was becoming the land.As I was in the jungle they were preparing things for a group that would be coming after me. They had created a schedule of activities to satisfy their needs of knowing & doing. They were creating an 'experience' for them because in their eyes they knew North Americans needed to be 'entertained.'It was interesting, and ironic to be from North America, to recognize the need for this, while having become so much the jungle at that point I found myself wondering if the group really needed all of that. Wouldn't it be better to just let them acclimatize and become the jungle....to just Be?I knew I had appreciated that experience. I am by definition North American , and yet by this time I was so in sync with the place I felt I was more the jungle than anything else. As though to confirm this, near the end of my stay, 2 outside visitors thought I lived there. I laughed, as my Spanish was terrible. I did not understand how they could be so mistaken. But on another level they were absolutely right. The jungle had become my home. I was in harmony with that space. I had become it. It had become me.I think this is why I had a difficult time returning here and reacclimatizing to the busy-ness of north America. I could feel the energy of it when I got off the plane. The buzz of activity, with an almost underlying panic to it.Is it any wonder why so many people are on anti depressants and anti anxiety medications here?Peruvians tend to be slower, more methodical. I also found them to be honest. What you see is what you get. Here people spend so much time and energy and money on the illusion of image they are needing to create. It can be exhausting to watch.Many South Americans believe in North America that we have a sickness. One that is fueled by our need to consume...and all of our 'stuff'. In Peru many people have next to nothing and yet they are happy. They are content.Most do not want our wealth (although they recognize money and resources bring convenience)They prefer a simple life. They do not want our life because they do not want our 'sickness'I love North America. This is my home. Yet I think we can learn a lot from these beautiful people. We have the benefit of financial resources here. Most of us do not live in poverty. Not financially. But there is a real poverty of spirit. We need to reclaim our natural spaces in our world and within ourselves. Spend some time outside. When was the last time you laid on the ground andfelt the heartbeat of the earth? When was the last time you went for a walk in the woods by yourself and it was so silent you could feel everything around you? When was the last time you sat still without a feeling of a need to be somewhere or do something? Nature is talking to us and communicating to us all the time. We need to remember how to listen. She offers us medicine, wisdom, and harmony of spirit. She is always there. Welcoming and waiting for us to take the first step into her embrace.