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Direct Experiential Knowledge

The greatest loss for the West was the access to direct experiential knowledge. The DVD Amazon: Healng With Sacred Plants points out that you can gain real knowledge of who you are only through your own experience -- not by reading or any other way.

Spencer Martin, Native American healer, was interviewed by Moon magazine in the January 2013 article In this universe, all things are connected. He points out a major difference between the Native American and Western perspectives: "Our people learn through an experience; understanding occurs later. Whites typically want to have everything explained to them first, and then perhaps they’ll consent to have an experience."

Many Westerners are going to the Amazon to study with shamans each year now to begin to retrieve that experiential knowledge that changes lives -- both empowering and humbling people so that they are free to give more to others​.


The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature  by Stephen Harrod Buhner


All ancient and indigenous peoples insist their knowledge of plant medicines comes from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation. Less well known is that many Western peoples made this same assertion.


There are two modes of cognition: brain-based linear and the heart-based holistic. Indigenous peoples say that the heart-centered mode of perception can be exceptionally accurate and detailed in its information-gathering capacities if the heart’s ability as an organ of perception is developed.

Buhner explores the second mode of perception through the work of several remarkable Westerners. Luther Burbank cultivated the majority of food plants we take for granted. Goethe, the great German poet and scientist, studied the metamorphosis of plants. Buhner shows the commonalities in their approaches and outlines the steps involved in their learning from the plant world.


Buhner reveals the use of direct perception in understanding Nature, medicinal plants, and the healing of human disease. He explores the techniques used by indigenous and Western peoples to learn directly from the plants themselves. The book presents leading-edge information on the heart as an organ of perception.

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