In 1992 as part of a Phd proposal in Western Australia I asked the question : ’What can be learnt from the Indigenous peoples of the world in regards to the development of sustainable communities of the future ?’
The contemporary consumer has been given access to many wondrous, previously undreamed of things in terms of quality of living e.g. health and education. But, of course, there has been a cost. We have been turned into consumers of material consumption and while we revel in our intellectual, scientific and technological brilliance we have also become disconnected to who and what we are as human beings.
We dissociate ourselves from our ground in nature.
Each night in front of our televisions, we become passive participants in the human lusts and violence perpetrated on the screen. At the end of the evening, we go to bed, empty and dissatisfied by the life we lead.
The discomfort we feel is indicative of a disconnection from our intrinsic selves, a self that arises from nature.
As a response to this, in part, we have co-opted the meditative practices of many Indigenous peoples from around the world to manage the record levels of stress, anxiety and depression associated with this discomfort and disconnection.
In an endeavour to reconcile both the discomfort and the co-opting Jai Cheswick (Landscape Architect) designs and develop gardens and landscapes with members of the indigenous community using deep listening practices. Landscapes and gardens, their design and management, provide a readily available medium within and through which ‘Dadirri’ can take place. Dadirri is the foundation of the landscape design process to create landscapes in which Dadirri can take place.
In Australia Indigenous peoples continue to practice what is known as ’Dadirri’, that 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'.
"When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening.”
Now, in 2019 I find myself asking :
‘What can be learnt from the Indigenous peoples of the world to sustainably ground communities in the present ?’
Because, it seems, only when individuals within communities are grounded in nature can they begin to live sustainably in the present.