Religious Education Blog – Anne Armstrong (Religious Education Coordinator)

What does it mean to have moral courage, to live a good life? Who are our moral heroes? What values do we live by that really allow us and our communities to flourish? We need look no further than our Young Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Australian of the Year and our Local Hero. These wonderful people are great examples of how to live a good life – they each live out values of deep compassion, deep connectedness, and deep understanding of our own humanity. In the next few newsletters I will examine the contribution of each of these inspirational women. First, we will begin with Dr Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, 2021 Senior Australian of the Year.

Our Year 11 and 12 Religious Studies classes have been exploring the wisdom and positive contribution Miriam Rose has made to help communities flourish. For Miriam Rose, the Aboriginal concept of Dadirri is a central aspect of this flourishing. Dadirri is a practice of deep listening and engagement with our environment and our relationships with our Creator and all created beings.  This deep listening has at its core, teaching about:

  • human wellbeing,
  • understanding what it means to be human,
  • connectedness with others and the world,
  • a set of beliefs about the way we should live life,
  • understanding where, how and with whom we belong, and
  • understanding how we live a good life.

The practice of deep listening is crucial to human wellbeing and relationships. We can practice deep listening through:

  • setting aside time for meditation and self-reflection every day,
  • listening respectfully to others,
  • pausing before commenting,
  • being in the moment, and
  • exploring how awe and wonder can connect us to each other and the natural world.

If you would like to learn more about practising Dadirri, visit the Creative Spirits website.

A simple way to connect and be present:

  • Reserve a space regularly for about five minutes in the morning or evening – go outside if you can. Simply sit, look at and listen to the earth and environment that surrounds you.
  • Focus on something specific, such as a bird, a blade of grass, a clump of soil, cracked earth, a flower, bush or leaf, a cloud in the sky or a body of water – whatever you can see.
  • You can also let something find you, be it a leaf, the sound of a bird, the feel of the breeze, the light on a tree trunk.
  • Be still, silent and listen.
  • Following quiet time, consider expressing in some way your experience of this quiet, still listening. You may wish to talk about the experience, write in a journal, write poetry, draw, paint or sing. A reminder that this needs to be held in balance – the key to Dadirri is in simply being, rather than in outcomes and activity.

Dadirri is also about prayer. Jesus tells us that the way to be attentive and listen deeply to God’s word is through prayer. Before Jesus made the decision to go to the nearby villages to preach, He first went off to pray. It is through prayer that Jesus could hear what His Father was asking of Him. We, too, are called to spend time in daily prayer – we will then become aware of the opportunities to serve the Lord.

During this season of Lent may we live out the spirit of Dadirri, may we learn to listen more deeply to the Word of God, see his face in the face of all those we meet and walk softly on the sacred ground that holds us in God’s presence.

References and resources:

Information on Dadirri – https://www.miriamrosefoundation.org.au/about-dadirri

Information about Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann:

Meditation and reflection:

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