The Archer Community is an integral part of the Whole Earth Community that embraces all life, both human and other than human. The poem by David Whyte describes awakening to this understanding.That day I saw beneath dark cloudsthe passing light over the waterand I heard the voice of the world speak out,I knew then, as I had beforelife is no passing memory of what has beennor the remaining pages in a great bookwaiting to be read.It is the opening of eye long closed.It is the visions of far off thingsseen for the silence they hold.It is the heart after years of secret conversingSpeaking out loud in the clear air.It is Moses in the desert fallen to his knees before the lit bush.It is the one throwing away shoes as if to enter heavenand being astonished, opened at last,fallen in love with solid ground.
Our earth is 4.5 billion years old and the boracic igneous rocks of Mt Archer are 200 million years old. We, who gather at the foot of the mountain, have come into being through the natural processes of evolution from homo sapiens over the past 200 000 years. Thomas Berry saw the human-Earth relationship as the most significant to address at this time in history. Our own future is inseparable from the larger community that brought us into being and which sustains our quality of life. We know that what happens to the non-human, happens to the human; what happens to the outer world happens to the inner world. Without our soaring sulphur-crested cockatoos, the regal king parrots, the watchful shy wallabies, the dry vine rain forest, the still waters of the Somerset Dam, the sight of fiery clouds at sunset and the Milky Way’s myriad stars by night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human. We join together as an Archer Mountain community to bring forth a sustainable community of life founded on respect for nature, universal human and earth rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. We declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
Insights that shape our Earth Community
Insights that are the living heart of The Archer are The Unfolding Story, The Great Work, Inter-being and Attunement.
The Unfolding Story
Thomas Berry describes us as being 'in between stories'. The old story of how we came to be no longer makes sense and the new story is still evolving.
Another chapter of the unfolding story is beginning and we are invited to be part of it. We are inspired by the words of Meister Eckhart: And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust. The magic of new beginnings.
We are aware that our community is built on an unfolding story that began many years ago when the Christian Brothers first formed a community here in the early 90’s and which then evolved into an eco-spirituality community in 2004 in partnership with the Josephite sisters and since then has unfolded in many differing ways. Each chapter of our story has brought a freshness, a newness and in the worlds of Brian Swimme, “something more beautiful and complex” into our world, in particular, into the Stanley River Valley in which we live.
We attune ourselves to this Story by telling The Great Story over and over in creative ways and listening to our own stories and how they are one with this One Great Story of Cosmogenesis.
The Great Work
We are about the Great Work. As Thomas Berry describes:We all have our particular work – some of us teachers, some of us healers, some of us in variousprofessions, some of us farming. We have a variety of occupations.But beside the particular work we do and the particular lives we lead, we have a Great Work that everyone is involved in and no oneis exempt from.That is the work of moving on from a terminal Cenozoic to an emerging Ecozoic era in the story of planet Earth…which is THE GREAT WORK.
As an Earth Community we are inspired by Laudato Si' to respond to the Cry of the Earth in practical action. We seek to learn from the original custodians of this land how to live responsibly and interdependently.
We are invited to oneness with the whole earth community. As Thich Nhat Hanh describes:We have the word to be, but what I propose is that a word to Inter-be, inter-be. Because it’s not possible to be alone, by yourself.You need other people in order to be. You need other beings in order to be. Not only (do) you need father, mother, but also uncle, brother, sister, society, but you also need sunshine, river, air, trees, birds, elephants, and so on. So it is impossible to be by yourself, alone. You have to inter-be with everyone and everything else, and therefore, to be, means to inter-be.
As a community we are inspired by the above and commit to enabling the birth of the “new human” who will be stunned by beauty and committed to protecting beauty such as we experience in the Stanley River Valley.
We aren’t just made up of the human beings who reside here and come here. The whole Earth community here in this place is our community and we depend on one another for our existence and our nourishment. We are indeed inter-beings with everything else: the mountain that stands solid and faithful looking over us, the Stanley River flowing through our valley, the wallabies who come down to graze or drink from our dam, the birds that populate our trees, the bees and butterflies pollinating our flowering bushes, the trees standing tall – Grandfather and Grandmother Tree – the sky and clouds and rain. Working with and caring for Earth are integral to our way of living here in community.
The Archer invites us to deep listening and inner quiet. As Mary Oliver says:I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
And so we not only care for our whole community but we also commune with them through our respectful listening and our constant sense of awe and wonder at each individual’s beauty.
Attunement is listening attentively to our inner emotions and intuitions so as to connect more consciously with our innate and communal wisdom. Through meditative practice we find inner quiet in a variety of spaces, in the landscape and in sanctuaries, so as to enter into the heart of deep space and deep time. We seek inner guidance through discovering inner stillness that connects us more intimately with our deepest self. This art is learned by attuning ourselves to the ground of our being through periods of extended silence.
Through reverently sitting and walking in the land we gradually learn new sensitivities alive to beauty, fragility and wonder of our ancient landscape. Our awakening consciousness is nurtured through a morning period of ‘deep space’; a time of being silence and present to the heart’s murmurings and the spiritual energy of rock, hibiscus, honeyeater, mock orange and bottle brush. The evening time is a period for touching into ‘deep time’, of falling into the shadows of evening and communally sharing the emerging wisdom and life changing experiences of the day. We attune to the changing climate and weather and celebrate the spiral-rhythms of the seasons.