“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…
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 ripen 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 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 our meetings. The right people must be present. Everything must be done in the proper way. Careful preparations must be made. We don’t 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 don’t like to hurry. There is nothing more important than what we are attending to. There is nothing more urgent that we must hurry away for.
We wait on God, too. His time is the right time. We wait for him to make his word clear to us. We don’t worry. We know that in time and in the spirit of dadirri (that deep listening and quiet stillness) his way will be clear.
We are River people. We cannot hurry the river. We have to move with its current and understand its ways.
We hope that the people of Australia will wait. Not so much waiting for us – to catch up – but waiting with us, as we find our pace in this world…Our culture is different. We are asking our fellow Australians to take time to know us; to be still and to listen to us…”
A beautiful reflection by Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, Aboriginal activist, educator, artist and 2021 Senior Australian of the Year.
This excerpt is from a longer reflection by Miriam-Rose on dadirri, a spiritual practice of the Ngan’gikurunggurr and Ngen’giwumirri languages of the Aboriginal peoples of the Daly River region, focused on inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness.
Read the full version: https://www.miriamrosefoundation.org.au/dadirri/.
Reproduced with permission from Miriam Rose Foundation