AMEC - May Reflection
Post date: Jun 02, 2019 6:38:26 PM
Holding the Message - Imaginal Cells meet Indigenous Insights
On Wednesday 22 May, 2019 at the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens, Peter Mulchay (Muraay Djeripi) shared with our LEAP group the ancient indigenous perspective of spiritual connection to country. Peter has the gift to make the ancient wisdom of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples, fresh and relevant. He did this by inviting us into his experience of reconnection with his cultural, social, ecological and ethical legacy. Throughout Peter’s story-telling and explanations of his original artworks we experienced deep listening and the emergence of new insights. He enabled us to take a step towards a new threshold that beckoned us to discern more creatively our collective (and personal) responses as members of the Archer Mountain Earth Community.
Following Peter’s sharing, our group spent time reflecting upon what had stirred within us as we were listening to the experiences that had shaped (and continues to shape) Peter’s Earth consciousness. As an outcome of our discussion we were lead to a re-affirmation of the insights being offered to us through our four imaginal cells and we renewed our commitment to explore the layers of inspiration embedded within them. We agreed to continue to process our insights for a further couple of days in order to see what stayed with us and then to write our individual reflections and collate them for further reference. These personal reflections form the basis of this document.
The Unfolding Story
The Archer Mountain Earth Community (AMEC) commits to the Unfolding Story by telling The Great Story in creative ways and by listening to our own stories and connecting them to the one Great Story of Cosmogenesis. Story is the methodology AMEC uses to help us develop earth consciousness and to experience the sacredness of our planet’s evolving wisdom. Also, we share our story in order to offer hospitality to those who are attracted to Bujura seeking spiritual nourishment.
Indigenous Insight - Essence is ‘of God’
All sacred stories, including the indigenous story, emerge from the essence of what is and are not ‘made-up’ to satisfy human curiosity. The space before the coming of light was wodja. This is the place of abundant silence, the essence of all. Then light is made of this Essence, which in turn gives birth to Story (the Mental) and which, in turn, becomes the Physical. Essence is everything: soil, snake and star are of Essence. The human learns the story of the snake so as to understand and appreciate its origin and its life-force. The Story carries the deep message of the DNA of everything. Like the snake we have to learn to shed our lives, enter the pain of loss, and in so doing, learn what we need in order to continue the journey of growth.
The Universe invites us to experience The Essence. The sky, the air, the water and the land are all living and vibrating with the Essence of Life. The only window into the Essence is through creation. The eternal circle in the nothingness, caused the flaring forth of the ‘big bang’. In indigenous imagery, the Rainbow Serpent (Crocodile) moves through the cosmos creating and shaping the story which is manifested in its physicality so that the Spirit can be known.
The Great Work
The Archer Mountain Earth Community commits to enabling the birth of the “new human” who will be stunned by beauty and inspired to work with and care for Earth. Part of this Great Work is to become aware of the bigger picture of what is occurring environmentally and to take action to alert others to the plight of our planet. Also, we work to maintain and nourish the natural resources we have, especially our most precious resource - water, the trees, the remnant of dry vine rain forest, the wallabies and bandicoots and the birds who populate our patch in the valley.
Indigenous Insight - It’s never right until it’s right
The Great Work, Thomas Berry explains, means to come to know and understand that each tree and rock has a unique place in the universe and the more we truly know this truth the deeper the respect we will have for our planet. Learning ‘the earth’ is a life-time’s work. In indigenous culture the gum tree, for example, reveals hundreds of insights about the cycle of the seasons, the behaviours of birds and insects as well as the gum tree’s interdependence with the soils and other microscopic life forms. The gum tree for those who are engaged in ‘the great work’ of learning the earth story, it is an ever-expanding galaxy of learnings and connections. This is the wisdom needed for elder hood.
Detailed knowledge of plant and animal life is vital to the existence of indigenous peoples who use it to identify what is food (nourishing), medicine (healing) and poison (debilitating). The passage into deep insight comes from Essence which then flows into the mental (imaginal) process, gives expression in story and is birthed into physicality. The Great Work calls us to integrate the three dimensions of the spiritual, the imaginal/story and the physical and to live in consciousness that the three are one.
The Archer Mountain Earth Community thrives on the principle of interdependence. 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. 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.
Indigenous Insight - Knowing begets caring, caring begets loving.
When we know the life of other living beings we care for them and love them. Species other than human are no longer thought of as resources but become relations. That which we do not know intimately we fear and as result we often destroy. The dictum ‘remember how great we were so that we can ignite the fires of the future’ reminds us that we originate in Essence. In Peter’s artwork he uses the halo, evolve into Story (the message stick of our DNA) and emerge into coolamon (the bowl of life and receptivity). We put the important learnings of life in the coolamon to sustain us on our future journey. To be conscious of our interconnectedness we must feel deeply the Essence in all of life, know the Story and live respectfully knowing how to act as custodians of Earth in our daily actions.
The practice of Inter-being preserves the Whole and challenges the notion of separation of the trinity of Essence, Story and Physicality. Inter-being, however, promotes a new way of making meaning and reveals who we are as humans in the Essence. Conversely, separation and alienation are poisonous to the human species and lead to the destruction of all that is, for what we are ignorant about, we will neglect, and what we fear most, we will destroy.
The Archer Mountain Earth Community listens attentively to inner vibrations and intuitions so as to connect more consciously with Earth’s 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.
Indigenous Insight - Those who say No!
The way to deep wisdom is to pay attention - to look and to know what we are looking at.
There is an infinite number of interconnections that creates the great web of life in which we live. Awe and wonder comes from truly knowing what we are immersed in. All is made ‘of’ God, not ‘from’ God, and in order to know ‘God’ we need to deeply attend to, explore and understand each part of creation and delight in uniqueness of each being. The indigenous instinct is to observe and read movement, colour, shape and intention and thus to become immersed in the essence of the Creator. To their eyes, the muscle of the carpet snake is revelatory of God’s energy in action.
Connected to the intimate experience of attunement, is the deep respect of the indigenous people for the boundaries of their sacred space and the sacred space of others. Bioregions of ecological diversity in South East Queensland are known to the indigenous people who respect limits by learning to say ‘No!’. That is, they are attuned to the sensitivities of entering another’s space and learning to ‘ask’ with respect as a way of acknowledging the freedom, dignity and rights of the other. This is the basis of living in peace and harmony with the whole earth community.
For further dialogue: How might we continue to promote these indigenous perspectives within the Archer Mountain Earth Community?
It is an historical and legally verifiable fact that the indigenous people of Australia had their lands stolen as a result of the European invasion 250 years ago. This is a cause of ‘deep darkness’ for indigenous peoples. Yet, there are sources of light emerging as the public perception and western law grow in awareness of indigenous culture. We were not the ones who destroyed the indigenous culture in the past but we still carry the responsibility and scars in our DNA, our history, our ‘coolamon'. We are the ones here and now who know better and therefore must act for reconciliation and restoration.
Living into the new reality of the Archer Mountain Earth Community requires meeting the challenge to move from ignorance and/or arrogance to a better knowledge and skill base in order to engage with indigenous perspectives. In this arena of indigenous perspectives, it is plausible that we may be standing in ignorance, not knowing our blind spots, our scotomas. The grace of being in such a space is that there are no answers to the unasked questions, so when we are challenged to a new way of seeing and being, we can ‘stutter’ and stumble in humility as we chart a way forward. This may lead to a fresh awareness that can spill over into action (changing the way we see, speak and act). ‘Good things happen in the dark!’ says Joanna Macy, but Peter adds, there must always be a small still light that shows the way out.
And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust
The magic of new beginnings.