Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, an Aboriginal elder from Daly River talks of spirituality as a basis for listening.
“What I want to talk about is a 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 out fellow Australians. In our language it is called Dadirri.
Dadirri is an 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.
In our Aboriginal way, we learned to listen from our earliest days. We could not live good or 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 the way of listening for over 40,000 years. My people are not threatened by silence. They are completely at home with it.
They have lived for thousands of years with Nature’s quietness. My people today recognise and experience this quietness in the great Life-giving Spirit, the Father of us all. We all have to try to listen to the God within us, to our own country and to one another. Our culture is different. We are asking our fellow Australians to take time to know us; be still and listen to us.”