The Australian Aboriginal folk understand that the planet is a living organism; it is ingrained into their culture.This is not something that needs to be ‘proved’, nor does it need to be ‘believed’. One either experiences it, or doesn’t.
In January of this year, we took a road trip up the south coast of New South Wales. It was the first such trip in a very long time for me. In my younger years, I used to travel extensively, enjoying my time “on the land”. We spent the first night in a beachside camping spot just outside of Eden, an old whaling town. The night was strange, our camping spot was covered in moisture, like an eerie fog that rose from nowhere once the sun had set.
Inexplicably, I came down ill with ‘flu-like symptoms: chills, fever, generalised body aches, nausea and lack of appetite, and delirium. My night was sleepless; my consciousness raced from one episode to another, interspersed by moments of a lucid awareness of my present context. Thoughts and dreams intertwined chaotically, and even now my memory is of an indiscernible vividness. What was pronounced about it was how I felt, more than what I saw or envisioned. It was that I should not have been sleeping in that place.
I’ve experienced that before — when I camped in a ‘sacred place’ once in Tasmania. I had the same inexplicable and unexplainable ‘flu-like symptoms appear out of nowhere, and not affect anyone else I was with.
I was pretty much useless the following day, sleeping for most of it. My fever and malaise were such that we thought it safer to find respite in a motel to allow me to heal. I slept for 24 hours straight. I remained without food, only rehydrating myself.
The third day I awoke and felt much better, although still too woozy to drive. My partner continued driving, and we made our way to the secluded Aragunnu Beach campsite, further up the coast.
When we entered, it was like arriving in a pre-historic time. Strange gnarled old trees that were expressive in their unique twists of their limbs, bracken and palms littering the understory, and native animals and birds being very unafraid of the two-legged who shared the forest with them.
I was greeted by a Goanna at our campsite, and immediately I knew we were in a powerful Dreaming site. I knew I was in for another sleepless night.It was confirmed by an information board showing us we were camped along an ancient Songline of the local Yuin nation. Further up were ancient middens and burial sites, and there were birthing places along the shoreline further along.
That night was replete with more vivid dreams, but I slept well. It was during this night that I ‘heard’ the Dreaming of this place. I learned some marvellous things that night. Having had my usual ‘dreaming’ disrupted, and adapting to the new eco-system. I was now attuned to the singing of the earth in this place. I realised that my illness was a kind of shamanic initiation — a ‘welcoming to country’ so to speak. I’m used to the Dreaming of Wurundjeri country (Melbourne), and I am familiar with the nuances of its geography, flora, and fauna. But here I was entering new, different country. My sensitivity and awareness of the ecology was aligning itself to the different signals.
I also understand that dreaming is also deep processing of the Embodied-Unconscious Mind. The ‘song’ of the land was silenced from the noise of modern life. My usual daily routine was disrupted (holidays), and so my consciousness had the space to attend to matters I’d been meditating on for some weeks and months.
I feel I now have a deeper sense of clarity around my purpose, and how I am going to serve life.
My creativity is not for mere consumption by others. It’s for me; it serves a function for me. If others like it and pay for it, all is fine. But that is not the intention.
My medicine/dreaming is to reveal sacredness for anyone who is is looking. My medicine/dreaming is what it is; it cannot be ‘niched’ or changed to fit the needs of those who can afford it. Those who are drawn to it will come. Those who are not, will go elsewhere. There will be exchanges for it, but there is no ‘outcome’ or ‘objective’ attached to the sharing of it.
My personal needs and first layers of the ‘hierarchy of needs’ are met in other ways. My ‘survival’ is not dependent on my creativity, my medicine or my dreaming. They may contribute, but are not slave to those material needs.
My purpose is to be: to be even more precise, to be becoming — an ever-unfolding, continually-emerging beingness. The Taoists call this 自然 zì-rán, or ‘it-self-so-ing’.
Being becoming requires a certain level of Presence in a fluctuating moment. Life is constantly changing and shifting. Presence allows me to remain unattached to the moment that has past, and not anxious about what moment may arise in the future.
Longevity is quality of life, not quantity. It means it cannot be measured — especially against the standards of others. The alchemical pursuits are tools to help me attain the quality of life that is appropriate for me. Appropriateness — 宜 yí — is measured in the moment, the context of time and place.
There is nothing more important than quality time with my partner, my daughter, my community, family, and friends. The only other thing of importance is the expansion of my consciousness and understanding of myself and the world I inhabit. The emphasis in my life is to connect with everyone more, and to continue to learn.
I didn’t need herbs or drugs or external agents for this understanding. Just the humility to quieten my soul and allow myself to witness the song of the land, and her melodies, and harmonies, and counterpoints.
With this beautiful experience, and the joy and wonder that this gorgeous part of the world has gifted me, I move into the new (lunar) year with a different perspective.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Take care, y’all
Originally published by Petah Raven on .
Exported from Medium on August 1, 2018.