There’s a whole underground world in forests. It turns out the trees really do talk to each other! Underneath and around their root systems there is this fungus system. This fungi grows around the roots of the trees and develops something that foresters call the “wood wide world”. Like the Internet connects all of us, this root system and the fungus system that grows around the root system connects all of the trees. So if one tree isn’t getting enough nutrients the trees around it can send the nutrients it needs, through the wood wide world. And not only do the trees send each other nutrients but they also send each other messages. Some of these are warnings about Plant eating beetles and other harmful things. But I think the most Beautiful concept in this idea of the wood wide world is what they call mother trees. The mother trees are the oldest trees in the forest. They are the ones with the roots that spread all throughout the forest. They literally spread their wisdom to all of the little saplings that are within their reach, and the reach is much bigger than you could ever imagine. Because of the fungus system that links all of the routes together these mother trees are able to spread their knowledge far and wide. And even in their death these mother trees continue to give the younger trees knowledge about how to survive.
I love this concept for many reasons. I think about all of the mother trees that I have had in my life. The people that have passed on their knowledge and wisdom to me. I think mother trees come in a lot of different forms. Some mother trees came in the form of a book, a concept in a class I learned, A sermon I heard and of course an actual person I have learned from and wanted to become like. And even in death some of these mother trees have taught me so much. I have a grandma that died when I was eight years old, at a time that I thought I hardly knew her because I was so young. And yet I have felt her each time I gave birth and all throughout raising my family. Even though she was with me on this earth for just a short time I continue to gain wisdom from her example. I have such a desire to be a mother tree one day.
There’s also another concept in the wood wide world, that of the villain. The black walnut tree and certain orchids suck the nutrients for the younger trees plants and horde them for themselves. They also send out false messages that actually can kill the plants and trees around them. I can think of people that are like black walnut trees, vampires that suck energy, happiness and vitality from others. It’s important to know who these are in our own world also.
Self compassion is made up of three elements, the second one is common humanity. Common humanity is the opposite of isolation. Everyone shares in the human aspect of suffering. We all suffer and because of this we are all connected. We may not have had the exact same experiences of suffering but we all know what it feels like to have the emotions that come with suffering. I understand as a 50-year-old how a 14-year-old feels when they are rejected by their friends or bullied by people at school. And in return that 14-year-old understands how it feels to be tired, worn out from the days events and people. We have our own root systems and fungi running through our lives that link us to one another. Subconsciously we learn from each other. But so often we forget about this, we see ourselves as separate, we see ourselves as alone, without support. But this is not true. We are linked and if we dig a little bit into the ground we will see the intricate root systems that intertwine all of us and we will recognize and see ourselves in each other.