Friday, July 27, 2012

Game Changer?

This article was taken from

 The word from a friend in the UK is that the entrenched wet weather pattern finally shifted to the longed for and prayed for drier, sunny weather conditions – and just in time. People are elated and hopeful that the opening Olympic Games ceremonies and the next few weeks of games in London will carry on without the constant need for umbrellas.
Meanwhile on this side of the ocean the Midwest continues to profoundly suffer from extreme heat and drought – with no hoped for, longed for, and prayed for game-changer in the offing. Last night and today, however, there is a strong front of extra-large Thunderbeings stomping around and handing out deluges here and there.
To borrow from the wisdom of people in another part of the world, the Australian Aborigines, original humans of their realm, with a residency of at least 40,000 years – and who are no strangers to drought conditions:
These are a people who have deeply rooted spiritual relationships with their homeland, and an understanding of its workings that challenge our consensual view of the world. Much like the traditional peoples of the Americas, Europe, Siberia, Asia, Africa…  These indigenous Australians recognize the existence of the “subtle worlds” (see David Spangler’s book The Subtle Worlds, and the non-human beings that essentially share the planet with us – many of whom are responsible for the co-creation of the Earth and its continued viability.
One of the primary spiritual beings is the Rainbow Serpent – a powerful serpentine spirit and cultural creator deity of the sacred Dreamtime and who, along with his “lesser regional manifestations” is in charge of the balance of water and weather for the country. For thousands of years this great being has been an integral part of Australian rain-making rites.
Interestingly, Rainbow Serpents appear in the cosmologies of original peoples of the Southeast and Southwest regions of our country as well.
In China, where the serpentine spirit shows up as Dragon, there are Water Dragons who are associated with waters and weathers.  And both the Water Dragons and Rainbow Serpents are capable of unleashing storms, droughts, and general havoc when “interfered” with or crossed. (info from essay, Rain Magic by Alanna Moore, 2004 – see
Can we suppose this means that when we humans mistreat the land –  and waters of the land – we provoke the ire of those Nature spirits who also live there? Traditional knowledge warns us that all of these beings require proper and caring treatment of those realms where we all live. In other words we humans and our wants are but a part of the whole story.
There’s a worthy baseball metaphor out there reminding us that “Nature bats last.”
Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr writes in a paper entitled “Dadirri” that,
“Many Australians understand that Aboriginal people have a special respect for Nature. The identity we have with the land is sacred and unique… All persons matter. All of us belong…
What I want to talk about is another special quality of my people. I believe it is the most important.  It is our most unique gift. It is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to our fellow Australians. In our language this quality is called Dadirri.
It is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us. This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for.  It is something like what you call ‘contemplation.’
… A big part of dadirri is listening… 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 learn to listen from our earliest days. We could not live good and useful lives unless we listened. This was the normal way for us to learn – not by asking questions. We learnt by watching and listening, waiting and then acting. Our people have passed on this way of listening for over 40,000 years…
Quiet listening and stillness – dadirri – renews us and makes us whole.  There is no need to reflect too much and to do a lot of thinking. It is just being aware…
Our Aboriginal culture has taught us to be still and to 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…”
What would happen, could happen – to us, to our lives and doings in the world, to our realms – if we practiced this ancient wisdom?
Perhaps the real game-changer that we seek in our struggles with drought is already here – and staring us in the face – the drought itself.
What is this Game-Changer-Drought calling for? The Dust Bowl era was unforgettable in its severity and transformation of lands and people’s lives – displacing and impoverishing many families as well as stripping vast areas in the Great Plains of their formerly rich soils. The dust storms of that time were legendary.
We did learn from this horrific experience. We learned to not take the bounty of the land and the weather for granted, we learned more about wasteful farming practices – but did we remember what we learned?
Perhaps like the Aboriginal way of contemplation we can quiet ourselves – as best we can – putting our concerns, worries, even issues of financial survival aside – at least momentarily – and wait, get quiet, listen to whatever there is to hear, to understand about this time. (Even the act of writing this brings up the urge to squirm with fearful thoughts…!)
(Gratitude to Kim and Shaun Leyland, Foundation for Shamanic Studies Faculty in Australia for sharing their research)
Keeping Quiet (Pablo Neruda)
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth
Let’s not speak in any language.
Let’s stop for a second
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment, without rush, without engines;
we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea would not harm the whales.
and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers and sisters in the shade,
doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused with total inactivity:
Life is what it is about.
If we were not so single minded about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
Perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter,
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quite
and I’ll go.

Friendly Winds at your Back!

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