When I was a kid, I would name the trees in my backyard. They all had distinct personalities and dynamic qualities including the ability to talk. I would spend inordinate amounts of time collecting their branches and sticks, talking with them about my life and theirs. My imagination was fascinated with their solid presence coupled with a mysterious aliveness that defied their seemingly fixed nature. They knew something and I wanted to know what that was.
Over two decades later, I find myself in the Amazon jungle and I’m still talking to trees. And they still have personalities and qualities and they do indeed talk back. Some are funny, some more reserved and laid back, others more serious, and they are all loving and willing teachers. I’m grateful to them for providing a sweeping range of extraordinary experiences on this journey. They’ve become among the most stable and reliable relationships in my life. My Maestro always mentions how important the trees are; our ayahuasca would not be the same without them.
Even now as I write this, I can feel them, like perpetual seeds bursting at the seam of each moment, reaching for a willing recipient of their roots and a source of light shining upon them – an attentive awareness – with which to aid in their expansion, and our bonded growth.
I now walk into the forest and feel enmeshed in a web of plant-ness, an ongoing conversation that never once left any of us out. We’ve only the task of listening.
Photo: Offering mapacho smoke to Remo Caspi.
Matt Toussaint has immersed himself in shamanic practice and exploration for the past 10 years. He currently resides in Peru where he serves as an apprentice shaman and facilitator at a plant medicine retreat center. Read more.