of the Sacred Conference, Alice Springs, July 2016.
For some years when we’ve heard Father
Laurence speak about meditation he has mentioned dadirri…that inner deep
listening and quiet still awareness spoken of by Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann
(AO). Miriam-Rose is an aboriginal elder from Nauiyu in the Daly River region
of the Northern Territory, and in July a number of us (below with Miriam-Rose, Judi and Paul Taylor and Donna Mulhearn) were able to go to Alice
Springs to be with her at The Edge of the Sacred conference
It was a privilege to
hear Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann reflect on Dadirri at the recent Edge of the
Sacred conference in Alice Springs. She
described it as a gift that Aboriginal people have to offer their fellow Australians.
It is a quality of inner deep listening
and stillsilent awareness (www.miriamrosefoundation.org.au that we connect to by listening rather than by
always talking and asking questions. The time, she said,
is becoming right for non Indigenous people to start slowing down and hear the
Aboriginal message. As I type this from jottings in my
notebook I enter again the space she was able to create simply by being who she
is, ordinary, not rushing, telling the odd joke, comfortable with silence.She sat and spoke with us rather than to us.
When she said “the land is alive and
beautiful and we are part ofit, that
we are all sacred”, we felt the truth of what she said.
Aboriginal land has no fences. Boundaries are
formed by hills and trees. patterns run through the family and through the
country. The Spirit runs through us like telegraph lines from the person into
the ground. The bush is like a book – you can read the signs. The state may own
the top soil but we are still flesh underneath. The beautifulness in country is
is one place or everywhere. Connection is to your place of birth and then to
where you live now. Its how you feel about a place. Being appreciative of where
you are and who you are with. Listen to past, present and future and also to
your being. We come from the past. We have no choice but to carry what has not
been lost, to pick up and go forward with what has been left to us. The whole
of life draws us into a spirit of listening for the right time.
learn from listening rather than from asking. They don’t talk much but they
feel more. To be still brings peace. Listening to nature strengthens you to
listen to others. Waiting is not frustration, it is patience,
waiting for the right time, for things to fall into place, rather than trying
to rush. We can be with our children in
this way by walking alongside them in their life journey, being with them,
caring for them when they are grown, in good and bad. Walking with them in
their education so they learn Aboriginal culture, as well as going to school.
It makes them strong in who they are so they can say ‘I am Aboriginal’ and be
comfortable in two worlds.
In closing Miriam advised us that we will go away and grow the beauty we have
felt. It is a gift she is able to impart because she is connected to it
within herself, her family and others as well as in country.
People of Australia have a depth of spirituality
that can enrich our Non- Indigenous
spirits in so many ways. One
of these spiritual gifts is Dadirri.
Take a little timetoreflectivelyreadthefollowingarticleandmessagefromaremarkable,spirit-filled
a sense of this rich Indigenous gift, consider using, in
some way, the suggestions which follow thearticle.
Dadirri - A Reflection By
Miriam - Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann
ManyAustraliansunderstandthatAboriginalpeoplehaveaspecialrespectforNature. The identity we have with the land is
sacred and unique. Many people are beginning
to understand this more. Also there are many Australians who appreciate
that Aboriginal peoplehaveaverystrongsenseofcommunity.Allpersonsmatter.Allofusbelong.And there are many more Australians now, who understand
that we are a people who celebratetogether.
WhatIwanttotalkaboutisanotherspecialqualityofmypeople.Ibelieveitisthemost important. It is our most unique gift. It
is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to our
When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk throughthetrees;evenifsomeoneclosetomehaspassedaway,Icanfindmypeacein
Through the years,
we have listened to our stories. They are told and sung, over and
It makes us feel wholeagain…
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 peoplehavepassedonthiswayoflisteningforover40,000years…
are not threatened by silence. They are completely at home in
it. They have lived for
thousands of years with Nature's
quietness. My people today,
recognise and experienceinthisquietness,thegreatLife-GivingSpirit,theFatherofusall.Itiseasyfor me
to experience God's presence. When I
am out hunting, when I am in the bush, amongthetrees,onahillorbyabillabong;thesearethetimeswhenIcansimplybein God's presence. My people have been so aware of Nature.
It is natural that we will feel close to theCreator.
Dr Stanner, the
anthropologist who did much of his work among the Daly
River tribes, wrotethis:"Aboriginalreligionwasprobablyoneoftheleastmaterialminded,andmost life-mindedofanyofwhichwehaveknowledge"…
OurAboriginalculturehastaughtustobestillandtowait.Wedonottrytohurrythings up.Weletthemfollowtheirnaturalcourse-liketheseasons.Wewatchthemoonin each of its phases. We wait for the
rain to fill our rivers and water the
thirsty earth… Whentwilightcomes,weprepareforthenight.Atdawnwerisewiththesun.
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.Wedon'tmindwaiting,becausewewantthingstobedonewithcare.Sometimes
you stay closely united, you are like a tree, standing in the middle of a bushfire sweepingthroughthetimber.Theleavesarescorchedandthetoughbarkisscarred
andburnt;butinsidethetreethesapisstillflowing,andunderthegroundtherootsare stillstrong.Likethattree,youhaveenduredtheflames,andyoustillhavethepowerto bereborn".
are used to the struggle, and the long waiting. We still wait for
the white peopletounderstandusbetter.Weourselveshadtospendmanyyearslearningabout thewhiteman'sways.Someofthelearningwasforced;butinmanycasespeopletried
hard over a long time, to learn
learned to speak the white man's language. We have listened to what he had to say. This learning and listening should go both ways. We would like
people in Australiatotaketimetolistentous.Wearehopingpeoplewillcomecloser.Wekeepon longingforthethingsthatwehavealwayshopedfor-respectandunderstanding…
To be still
brings peace - and it brings
understanding. When we are really
still in the bush,weconcentrate.Weareawareoftheanthillsandtheturtlesandthewaterlilies. Ourcultureisdifferent.WeareaskingourfellowAustralianstotaketimetoknowus;to bestillandtolistentous…
Life is very
hard for many of my people. Good and bad things came with the years of contact - and with the years following. People often absorbed the bad things and not the
Miriam Rose Ungunmerr is to be the keynote presenter at this year’s "Edge of the Sacred" conference in Alice Springs, central Australia. Dates 21 July to 24 July inclusive.
For further Information about the above Conference and for the brochure email Keith Castle, in Alice firstname.lastname@example.org
OPINION 2, The Good Oil, March 15, 2016
Meditation a catalyst
for ecological conversion and action
In light of the
ecological crisis the world faces, meditation is generally not rated high on
the list of responses. But maybe it should be, writes Donna Mulhearn.
BY Donna Mulhearn*
light of the ecological crisis the world faces, meditation is generally not
rated high on the list of responses. But maybe it should be.
remember distinctly, and fondly, experiencing a kind of awakening in the first
days into my journey as a contemplative Christian. As a young backpacker,
somehow, wonderfully, I ended up living and working as a volunteer at a
Benedictine convent in a small town in the south of Ireland assisting eight
elderly nuns. Needing help maintaining beautiful gardens on large grounds, my
job was to tend to the flowers, cut the lavender, water, pull weeds. Free from having
to achieve certain productivity levels, I took my time.
silence I slowly handled each stalk of lavender, admired it, breathed its
fragrance, felt the softness of its body; basked in a sense of wonder of its
beauty and of the other flowers – each unique and exquisite. I did this for
hours each day and, in the evening, sat on the balcony, took in a view which
overlooked the harbour, watched the sun set into the ocean, and wept. It wasn’t
just a sunset; somehow it was a message of love for me. I felt part of it.
also felt as though, perhaps for the first time, I could see. As a busy Gen X-er
I had finally slowed down enough to notice things; to experience awe, to pay attention.
meditation is the work of paying attention, of presence. Also known as contemplative prayer,
it is the prayer of stillness and silence; the prayer of the heart.
Father John Main (1926-1982) recovered this ancient form of prayer from the
early Christian monks, the desert fathers and mothers, who in turn were
inspired by Jesus’ teachings on prayer in the Gospels. It is now practised by
people from all walks of life all over the world, including young people and
children in schools. Australia has a large and active Christian meditation
myself, and others who nourish a contemplative spirituality through a daily
practice of meditation, testify to a shift in consciousness over time. This new
consciousness includes a deeper awareness of who we really are and our
connection to the whole earth community.
this can flow a greater sensitivity to the needs of the other-than-human
community, a desire to live in communion with nature, not dominate it, to
lively more simply, more sustainably and to take action against policies and
practices that degrade the earth.
this sense of connection, and the work of paying attention, meditation can be
the catalyst for ecological conversion and provide energy for ongoing,
sustainable action for the environment.
Francis, writing in Laudato Si, repeatedly
makes the link between a contemplative consciousness and ecological conversion.
“Inner peace is
closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out
authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity
for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life. Nature is filled
with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise,
interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances?” (Laudato Si, 225)
Francis and others say the environmental crisis is part of a wider spiritual
crisis marked by over-consumption, waste, narcissism, disconnection from the
natural world and each other and that a contemplation spirituality would be a
than 30 years ago, John Main, who went on to found the World Community for Christian
Meditation, observed much the same: “I suppose none of us would meditate unless
it had occurred to us that there was more to life than just being producers and
consumers. All of us know that we cannot find any ultimate or enduring meaning
in just producing and consuming. So we seek that ultimate meaning”.
contemplative consciousness challenges the labels of ‘producer and consumer’
and leads to a deeper awareness of our true identity and inter-connection with
all things. I believe the practice of silence, stillness and simplicity
can transform the way we live as individuals and a whole society to a way that
is more attentive, loving and sustainable.
inspires my actions for the environment: a concerted effort to live more simply
and reduce consumption to the ‘hardly anything new’ stage, investing in
retro-fitting my house to ensure it’s more energy efficient, completing permaculture
training to repair degraded soil and grow food ‘working with nature, not
with reducing my own footprint, I believe investing my time and energy in action
and advocacy with others to challenge the big polluters, governments and
corporations, is essential.
recently found myself at a protest camp on the outskirts of the Leard State forest
in north-west NSW. Ordinary people had travelled far and wide to try to stop
Whitehaven Coal’s expansion into precious forest. Up against bulldozers ready
to clear, it might have felt futile, but somehow it felt hopeful. Harnessing various
non-violent strategies, people power all over the world has halted or minimised
destruction of the environment at the hands of industry and will continue to do
live as a contemplative activist in the Blue Mountains bush, and, just like admiring
the lavender at the convent in Ireland, slowing down to experience a sense of
wonder at the beauty here connects me, inspires me and sustains me to do more.
*Donna Mulhearn is an activist and meditator living in the Blue Mountains.
the weekend April 22-24, 2016, Donna will join many well-known speakers,
including Laurence Freeman OSB, Emeritus Professor David Tacey, Anglican Bishop
George Browning, Dr Susan Murphy, Associate Professor Mark Diesendorf and
Catholic Earthcare, at a seminar on Meditation and the
Environment in Sydney. Find out more here.
THE HUMAN VOCATION
AS KEEPERS OF THE SPACE means that we are meant to
live as part of the whole earth community in a way that secures spaces for both
human and other-than-human life to flourish. The Creation story of Genesis is a
story of God opening up these spaces for life.
All creatures are given habitat. The human being is born into this
Garden of life but we are now encroaching on the space of others and are
causing serious harm. The practice of meditation however is a way of hope. It
is a spiritual practice that opens up the space of cosmic consciousness such
that we might recognize our identity as creatures interdependent with all
creation and in need of balance.
Meditation enables a way of life that restores
harmony and balance; the balance necessary for life, for all to live. Much of our contemporary culture and
consciousness is about growing the ‘space’ of the economy. The Genesis narrative however tells us that
the oikos, the household of God, from which the word economy is derived, is
about the balancing of ecology and economy.
When our focus is heavily weighted on economy we become split and
unbalanced. We veer in the direction of
harm, rather than securing space for life to flourish.
In Genesis, humanity is given the task of
'cultivating', tilling, keeping, the
garden of Eden. The Creation story is a primal poetic narrative of meaning
rather than fact. It is the meaning that matters for us at this stage of our
The understanding that the human vocation is to
‘keep the space’ derives from the earliest activity of the Creator in the
Genesis story, who opened up the various spaces for particular creatures to
enjoy their particular habitats. God
opened up the spaces of night and day, of the waters that would teem with living
things; the sky with every winged bird according to its kind, and the dry
ground; the space where vegetation could come forth. And God saw that all was
good and desired an abundance of the various life forms within their spaces.
And then the human being, the Adam, was formed from the same elements as the
earth, the Adamah. And God saw that it was all very good and on the seventh day
rested. Our vocation according to the creation story is to be keepers of the
spaces and the whole space of the earth community. And the direction of
creation is to come to the wholeness of God’s indwelling, to be a resting
place, to rest with God. This is peace. This is shalom.
This peace however is significantly challenged in
our current environment by the ecological crises we are now facing. As others have said the ecological crisis is
a spiritual crisis; a crisis of human identity. We have forgotten who we are.
And when we forget who we are we forget how to live. Yet in this age it may be
that we are waking up to that consciousness that re-members creation. We are
realizing our co-creative vocation perhaps just in time. Our original gifting
with the responsibility to be keepers of the space sees the need for us to
collaborate with the whole earth community through the vivifying activity of
the (w)Holy Spirit.
“The human task” says Rowan Williams, is “to draw
out potential treasures in the powers of nature and so to realise the
convergent process of humanity and nature discovering in collaboration what
they can become. The 'redemption' of people and material life in general
is not a matter of resigning from the business of labour and of transformation
– as if we could – but the search for a form
of action that will preserve and nourish an interconnected development of
humanity and its environment. In some contexts, this will be the
deliberate protection of the environment from harm: in a world
where exploitative and aggressive behaviour is commonplace, one of the
'providential' tasks of human beings must be to limit damage and to secure space for the natural order to
exist unharmed. “
Meditation is a form of action in and of itself and
provides the basis for action which is contemplative. Meditation, as contemplative practice,
reminds us of who we are and how to live in a way that may preserve the
interconnected community of creation. It heals our aggression and exploitative
tendencies. The contemplative practice of meditation is an action of deep
listening and it bears the fruit of real humility.
The convergent process of human and other-than-human
nature, discovering in collaboration
what we can become, requires of us deep listening and true humility. The truth
of humility is that we are humus; we are earthlings, grounded and embodied
beings whose habitat is within the
sheltering space of the earth. We do not live on the earth but rather we are
part of earth. Humility is the knowledge and experience of who we are and where
we fit in the order, or relatedness, of things. The depth of our listening will
be according to the extent of our relationship with the other with whom we
exist in community. The Australian Aboriginal woman Miriam Rose Ungemerr from
the Daly River in the Northern Territory describes such relational listening as
Dadirri which she says is like our understanding of contemplation. Dadirri is‘inner, deep listening and
quiet, still awareness. When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again.’
The original people of Australia know, or knew,
their identity as intimately connected with the other–than-human
environment. Djambawa Marawili, a Yolgnu
man of Arnhem land, says that he sees himself as the ‘tongue of the land.’ The
land has everything it needs but it cannot speak’ he says. ‘We exist to paint
and sing and dance and express its true identity.’
“When I am in my homeland”, says Marawili “I know
that my spiritual reality is here. I can see what is happening in our tribal
country, in our land. We have significant ngarra (governance). Living in our
country we can see what is happening in the future in a spiritual way.” Here
are people who realize in the most profound and authentic sense their vocation
as keepers of the space. This culture of his, the oldest living culture on
earth, recognises the relationship
between the space of country and the spiritual reality of the human being –
indeed their very reason for existing, their human vocation. These people know who they are in relation to the
‘country’ (place) they belong to.
The practice of meditation is a path of self
knowledge. Through it we understand ourselves as spiritual beings in need of more
than material wealth to live fully. As spiritual beings we need space to simply
be. In Christian meditation we begin by saying the mantra and eventually we
listen to it. Our practice becomes one of listening in the space that the
mantra keeps us in. We keep the space of consciousness through our practice and
it keeps us, grounded in reality and rooted in the Love that keeps all space.
Over time we re-member who we are as our fragmented self becomes integrated in
the Self who holds us in being.
The ‘household of God’, the created reality, is one
space consisting of a diversity of life. The contemporary over-emphasis on the
economy, measured in material wealth, denies the space of the various ecologies
that make up the whole earth system. Meditation can be a bridge between economy
and ecology. Through the regular
practice of meditation our consciousness becomes healed of the split. We come
to realize that economy and ecology must exist together in harmony derived as
they are from the one Source. Meditation reminds us that our prosperity is to
be found in the spiritual capital of knowing who we really are and how we might
live in balance for the whole earth community. As we become more conscious so
we live out our human vocation as keepers of the space; the space of creation
that also keeps us. Ultimately we become that space in which God finds rest as
we, more and more, rest in God who sees all creation as ‘very good’.
Linda Chapman (speaker, Sydney Meditatio
be no renewal of our relationship with nature, without a renewal of humanity
itself (cf. Laudato Si’, 118).
The COP21 conference,
while historic, and hopeful, in having all leaders expressing a common goal to
protect our common home, seems unlikely to bring about the profound changes so
urgently needed for long term sustainability without a radical “ecological
conversion”. Rather, optimism is being
focused on technological approaches to the multi-faceted environmental
challenges we face.
return to their respective countries, facing their immediate short term
pressures - national interests, stagnant economies, security threats and
thinking within the current paradigms of politics and the economy, short term
goals are likely to take precedence.
As the symptoms of the
multi-faceted crisis continue to grow, it becomes clearer that the crisis needs
to be met at a deeper level. As Einstein said “no problem can be solved at the
level at which it was created”.
There was no
acknowledgement of the need to fundamentally change ourselves, our
relationships with each other and with the earth. The future will be determined
by our capacity for connection. Only with
a real change in consciousness of our interconnectivity will fundamental change
come about and a crisis can become an opportunity for a new humanity.
Looking more deeply, we
face a spiritual crisis. As John Main has said “our
personal problems and the problems we face as a society are basically spiritual
problems. Transformation begins with us.“It will require a radical awakening to the sacred
interconnected dimensions of nature and our place in that web of relationships.
Just as a healthy body depends on the health and harmony of individual cells,
so does the collective body of life on earth. Already three
of the biosphere’s vital elements that are necessary for life to flourish on
this planet– air, soil and water, are seriously threatened.
We are in the driver’s seat of evolution for many species, including
our own and are challenged to a new way of seeing and being which acknowledge
our dependence on a healthy planet for a
healthy economy and healthy community of
In meditation we have a pathway to an inner transformation of
our sense of who we are, and collectively to offer a force for creating change
from the inside out; one connected with the heart as well as the head. Laurence Freeman expresses
this challenge “great shifts in consciousness need to be worked out at the
individual as well as the communal level.”
Attentiveness and ecology
It would be hard these days for anyone to be unaware of growing
concern over ecological issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity,
deforestation, energy use, and so on. Many people now think that we are living
in a potentially catastrophic situation. One of the most striking things about
what might be called a ‘crisis of ecology’ is that it does not exist on its own
but seems to be profoundly connected to a wider spiritual or existential crisis
which underpins Western culture. The ecological and spiritual crises, together,
reflect a sense of profound dislocation or alienation: from other people, from
the Earth, from God, and from ourselves. The theologian Jürgen Moltmann
expresses it well: ‘What we call the environmental crisis is not merely a crisis
in the natural environment of human beings. It is nothing less than a crisis in
human beings themselves.’ Typically, ecological questions are difficult and
complex, requiring input from many areas of life, including technology,
economics and politics. But because they are connected with a broader crisis of
existence and meaning, ecological questions also call for input from
philosophy, theology and spirituality.
It is perhaps obvious that a crisis of spirituality or meaning
might have something to learn from contemplative practice and understanding.
But a contemplative ethos can also contribute significantly to the task of
raising ecological consciousness. There are a number of ways it can do this,
and the focus here is specifically on the cultivation of attentiveness.
Meditators know that attentiveness is the backbone of our daily
practice. It is the act of paying attention which brings our minds to stillness
and firmly roots us in the reality of the present time and place. Every time we
still our body and start to say our prayer word we begin anew the journey of
becoming truly present to ourselves, to the world, and to God. Attention is a
vital spiritual practice because it integrates us. To the extent that
disintegration and dislocation characterise our frenetic and distracting world,
it is the practice of paying of attention which puts us back together again and
makes us whole.
Being attentive is also an important part of ecological
consciousness because the deterioration of our biophysical world is a sign that
human beings have not attended carefully enough to how the Earth works and how
it needs to be treated. On the whole, we fail to really notice the planet’s
awesome power or its fragile vulnerability, and we tend to forget that air,
water and soil comprise the lifeline on which all living beings depend for
their physical survival. We have failed to notice, and comprehend, the impact
of our actions on animals and plants whose habitat and lives are sometimes
easily, and thoughtlessly, compromised or destroyed by enterprises such as
mining, urban expansion and logging, and on which our society has become
In Western society we tend to be rather good at emphasising what is
general, universal, or abstract. To some extent, this is what has got us where
we are now – in both helpful and unhelpful ways. What we are sometimes less
good at – and it is likely this has contributed to our ecological neglect − is attending to
what is specific and tangible. Freya Mathews, a Melbourne ecophilosopher, says
that to understand the nature of the cosmos one must engage with the particular
because that is how the world communicates—in particular, rather than universal
Engaging with the particular involves cultivating the habit of
attending, focusing, being truly and personally present to the other members of
the Earth community. Instead of admiring landscape from a distance, it involves
more consciously connecting and empathising with a particular forest, stretch
of river, animal or group of animals, being receptive to its spontaneity, truth
and reality. By closely attending to the other parts of the Earth community in
their tangibility, immediacy and particularity, it may be possible to truly
hear the voice of the other, to make an empathic and spiritual connection, and
in so doing expand our own level of ecological awareness and sensitivity.
It is the very practice of paying attention, the same practice that
lies at the heart of meditation, which is employed in the ecological step of
turning to the other, of attending to the other in its particularity. In both
ecology and meditation, the act of paying attention takes us beyond ourselves
and beyond distractions to make physical and spiritual connection with ultimate
reality. The act of paying attention is a rich contemplative practice that can
provide the foundation for both spiritual and ecological transformation.
Deborah Guess, ACMC Victoria
MEDITATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
SPEAKERS and PROGRAMME
Outline of Programme and Speakers
FRIDAY: THE HUMAN VOCATION: KEEPERS OF THE SPACE
Fr. Laurence Freeman
Bishop George Browning
Rev. Linda Chapman
SATURDAY: A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS
Fr. Laurence Freeman
Dr. Susan Murphy
Prof. Mark Diesendorf
Q&A : Speakers with Geraldine Doogue
SUNDAY: MEDITATION AND ACTION
Fr. Laurence Freeman
LAURENCE FREEMAN OSB
Fr Laurence Freeman is a Benedictine monk and the spiritual guide and Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation and travels widely as an international speaker and retreat leader.
Through The World Community for Christian Meditation, an ecumenical contemplative community, Fr Laurence continues the work of teaching Christian Meditation and restoring the contemplative as the essential and central dimension of Christian spirituality.
He is the author of many books and articles including Light Within, Selfless Self, Web of Silence, Common Ground, A Short Span of Days, and Beauty's Field: Seeing the World. He writes a quarterly spiritual letter for the World Community and publishes Daily Wisdom, a popular daily email of one of his photographs with a short text .He is also the editor of John Main’s works.
Fr Laurence has conducted dialogues and peace initiatives such as the historic “Way of Peace” with the Dalai Lama, and is active in inter-religious dialogue with leaders of other faiths. He encourages the teaching of Christian meditation to children and students, and the recovery of the contemplative wisdom in the Church and in society at large. He is the Director of Meditatio, the outreach of the community to the wider world and secular institutions. For recent Meditatio events see www.wccmmeditatio.org
FRIDAY; THE HUMAN VOCATION: KEEPERS OF THE SPACE
BISHOP GEORGE BROWNING
While Anglican Bishop in Canberra from 1993 – 2008, in partnership with the then Governor General Sir William Deane and Doctor Lowitcha O'Donohue he founded the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra, an ecumenical centre for reconciliation and hope across the boundaries that have traditionally divided. The Centre’s theme is Wisdom working for the Common Good. With a lifelong commitment to social justice as a core descriptor of Christian faith, this phase of his retirement is spent pursuing justice for Palestinians and arguing that the environmental crisis is essentially a 21st century crisis of the human vocation.In retirement George has completed a PhD: Sabbath and the Common Good: Prospects for a new humanity. This thesis will provide the background for his contribution to the Meditatio Seminar.
Rev. LINDA CHAPMAN
Linda established Open Sanctuary on the NSW South Coast at Tilba Tilba. Open Sanctuary, a place of contemplative ecumenical gathering and creation spirituality, offers a space for intentional and inclusive friendship.
Linda is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of Moruya, an Oblate of the World Christian Meditation Community and a Spiritual Director following her time at the Mary McKillop Centre, Sydney.
Linda has given expression to her passion for nature through her involvement in the Diocesan Commission for the Environment, teaching eco-theology and as a committed campaigner and speaker.
She nurtures the Christian contemplative way, leads retreats and dialogues with other faith traditions
SATURDAY: A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS
Prof. DAVID TACEY
David Tacey is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and Research Professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra. He is an interdisciplinary scholar and public intellectual who has written extensively on spirituality, religion, mental health and eco-psychology. He is the author of fourteen books, including Edge of the Sacred; Re-Enchantment and The Spirituality Revolution.
David grew up in central Australia alongside Aboriginal cultures, and has a life-long interest in indigenous issues. David speaks regularly to religious conferences and seminars and his books have been widely published internationally and some have been translated into Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese and French.
Dr. SUSAN MURPHY
Susan Murphy is a former academic,writer, screenwriter, film maker, radio documentary features producer and widely published scholar in the fields of film and social ecology.
She is a Zen Roshi, the founding teacher of Zen Open Circle in Sydney Australia with a special interest in the way Zen and the indigenous Australian sense of 'care for country' come together. Author of “ Minding the Earth Mending the World:The Offer We Can No Longer Refuse”, a Zen response to our slow-burning planetary emergency which offers a profoundly hopeful second chance to engage with what it means to deeply mind the earth once more.
Assoc. Professor MARK DIESENDORF
Mark Diesendorf is an Australian academic and environmentalist, known for his work in sustainable development and renewable energy.He was Founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS 1996-2001 and is currently Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at UNSW. He teaches, researches and consults in the interdisciplinary fields of sustainable energy, energy policy, sustainable urban transport, theory of sustainability, ecological economics, and practical processes by which government, business and other organisations can achieve ecologically sustainable and socially just development.
Author of many research papers, articles, and books. his most recent book is 'Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change' proposing ecologically sustainable and socially just futures for Australia and the world, creating visions of those futures and developing feasible strategies for the transition process.
Catholic Earthcare Australia, Speaker
Dr Vicki Grieves -- Honorary ARC Indigenous Research Fellow
Sociology and Social Policy Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney
Dr Grieves is Warraimay from the mid north coast of NSW and an historian.Her research interests are to do with gender and race in settler colonial societies, the development of Indigenous knowledges in the academy, well being and cultural heritage management. The first Aboriginal BA (Hons) graduate in Australia, she has had a varied career as a manager in policy and program development contexts within the Commonwealth public service, universities and as CEO of Biripi Aboriginal Medical Service. See https://www.lowitja.org.au/sites/default/.../DP9-Aboriginal-Spirituality.pd...
Vicki Grieves, Aboriginal Spirituality: Aboriginal Philosophy: The Basis of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing. Discussion Paper No. 9.
SUNDAY: TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: MEDITATION and ACTION