Dadirri- Aboriginal Way- Listening to one another
by Miriam Rose Ungenmerr

Dadirri. A special quality, a unique gift of the Aboriginal people, is inner deep
listening and quiet still awareness.
Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is
inside us. It is something like what you call contemplation.

The contemplative way of Dadirri spreads over our whole life. It renews us
and brings us peace. It makes us feel whole again. In our Aboriginal way we
learnt to listen from our earliest times. We could not live good and useful lives
unless we listened.
We are not threatened by silence. We are completely at home in it. Our
Aboriginal way has taught us to be still and wait. We do not try to hurry things
up. We let them follow their natural course
- like the seasons.

We watch the
moon in each of its phases. We wait for the rain to fill our rivers and
water the thirsty earth. When twilight comes we prepare for the night. At dawn we rise
with the sun. We watch the bush foods and wait for them to open before we gather them. We wait for our young people as they grow; stage by stage, through their initiation ceremonies. When a relation dies we wait for a long time with the sorrow. We own our grief and allow it to heal slowly. We wait for the right time for our ceremonies and meetings. The right people must be present. Careful preparations must be made. We donít mind waiting because we want things to be done with care. Sometimes many hours will be spent on painting the body before an important ceremony.

We donít worry. We know that in time and in the spirit of Dadirri (that deep
listening and quite stillness) the way will be made clear.           

We are like the tree standing in the middle of a bushfire sweeping
the timber. The leaves are scorched and the tough bark is scarred and
burnt, but inside the tree the sap is still flowing  and under the ground the
roots are still strong. Like that tree we have endured the flames and we still
have the power to be re-born.

Our people are used to the struggle and the long waiting.
We still wait for the
 white people to understand us better. We ourselves have
spent many years learning about the white manís ways; we have learnt to speak
the white manís language; we have listened to what he had to say. This learning and listening should go both ways. We would like people to take time and listen
to us. We are hoping people will come closer. We keep on longing for the
things that we have always hoped for, respect and understanding.

We know that our white brothers and sisters carry their own particular burdens.
We believe that if they let us come to them, if they open up their minds and

hearts to us, we may lighten their burdens. There is a struggle for us, but we
have not lost our spirit of Dadirri.
There are deep springs within each of us. Within this deep spring, which is the
very spirit, is a sound. The sound of Deep calling to Deep. The time for rebirth
is now. If our culture is alive and strong and respected it will grow. It will not
die and our spirit will not die. I believe the spirit of Dadirri that we have to
offer will blossom and grow, not just within ourselves but in all.

          Edited version adapted from the writings of Miriam Rose Ungenmerr

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