Dadirri is a state of calmness one achieves by letting their mind realize their connectedness and dependence on nature itself, hence being a part of nature.
Learn how to achieve Dadirri
Modern man has become accustomed to the idea that we are, somehow, separate from the world around us, and we have lost the ability to stand and gaze with it, as an integrated part of it.
We have become engrossed in a world engineered in our own image, or even worse, in an image which we, ourselves, do not understand in our delve to increase our freedom through technology and engineered artifacts — all “for the sake of” better understanding or reading the Book Of Nature.
As a result, we have completely forgotten to listen to what the scribe of the book of nature itself had to say to us, through all these centuries.
The Scribe of Nature, the Eco-Psychologists, and the Aborigines
The scribe is Nature itself — ancient and patient, before whom all of human life has been but a fleeting glimpse in the vastness of the universe. And we have ignored it, and became cut off from the source of all healing.
We have never looked back and so, over the years, humans have slowly become ill. This illness has exhibited itself in many forms — ranging from physical sickness due to stress and longing for balance, to mental illness and existential crisis questioning the purpose of our existence.
Eco-psychologists are now speaking to us of this severed link with nature, and its dire consequences.
Working with people for over 20 years, Bill Plotkin, an eco-psychologist, wrote in Nature and The Human Soul:
“… Healthy human development requires a constant balancing of the influences and demands of both nature and culture … By suppressing the nature dimension of human development … industrial growth society engenders an immature citizenry unable to imagine a life beyond consumerism and soul-suppressing jobs.”
He does not, however, speak of how we should regain this balance and, once again, experience the healing power of nature.
Fortunately for us, aborigines, the survivors in the fringes of modern society, have been passing on a treasure of information on how to regain this balance.
They call it Dadirri.
What is Dadirri?
Dadirri is deep listening — a respectful silence where you allow yourself to become part of the environment around you, instead of being someone aloof and isolated from it.
This listening is not directed at something, it’s a journey, an awareness where you simply waiting to become attuned with nature.
Because when you do, nature speaks in innumerable ways— in silence, in hushed tones, in rising intonations of the winds, the chirping of the birds, the crackling of the leaves, the movement of the living things, the heat from the sun, the light from the moon, the many colors reflected from all things material in nature and shed upon us… and even more.
Dadirri speaks to us about what we routinely miss — an interaction with the world around us. It is a world that has been there long before us, generations past us, and one that does not need us.
Dadirri — How to Reconnect with Nature
The famous aborigine writer, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, said of Dadir:
“[Dadirri] is in everyone. It is not just an Aboriginal thing.”
It is more than a practice. It is a state of calmness one achieves by letting their mind realize their connectedness, and dependence on nature itself, and hence being a part of it for a few moments.
I use “being” instead of “seeing” yourself as part of nature because Dadirri is also a realization of the age old truth: humans have always been part of nature.
Hence, Dadirri is the practice of deep listening to the natural environment around you, cherishing its timeless existence.
Performing Dadirri is simple:
- Reserve a space in a natural environment (park, garden, backyard, etc.) where you will not be disturbed for 5-10 minutes each day.
- Take calm deep breaths, becoming slowly aware of the surrounding without focusing on anything.
- After the first few breaths, become aware of yourself in the environment. Feel the weight of the body and the points of contact where it is touching the ground.
- Slowly scan yourself from head to toe and gain a general mood of your body (tense, relaxed, happy, etc). Avoid letting your thought linger on it (if it does, calmly bringing it back to experiencing the mood).
- Now allow your mind to catch focus on something specific in nature, like a flower, a bird, the sky, the sunlight, or a blade of grass. You can even focus on the sounds of nature, like the whisper of the wind, leaves rustling , a bird’s song etc. Do not try, or think, nor guide your mind to become aware of something.
- Now be still and silent, and aware.
Dadirri will allow you to experience and appreciate nature and, in the process, sooth your worries, allowing you to reflect on the current state of your body — its health, its troubles, and hence allow you to gain clarity about yourself and your purpose.