Sunday, 14 August 2011

Gudju Gudju - The Great Rainbow Serpent

Back in the dreaming when everything was dark and cold, lost dreaming spirits were wondering the land. Gudju-Gudju, the great rainbow serpent spirit roused from his sleep decided to create a world of beauty and purpose. The process of creation began.

He rubbed the coils of his body so hard fire was created for the first time. He called on the spirit of the Kookaburra to call the sun to rise and to create the first day.

All the spirits marvelled at what stood before them. With one great flash of light they came before the Rainbow Serpent and found him pulsating with magnificent colour. The spirits were told to go into the world and to create beautiful living things, animals, birds, trees and fish.

The earth rose into shapes of mountains and hills, rivers and creeks, then he blew on the sky and his breath formed feathery white clouds. The trees began to turn various shades of green, the mountains to violet and purple, and the birds began to display colours of the rainbow.

He told his people: What you are witnessing is part of you, and you are part of it, you must respect everything you see, hear and feel. Without this respect you will drag yourselves back into the freezing darkness for all eternity. I will now sleep forever but will guard the treasures which were created this day.

Story told by Paddy Jerome an elder of the Undami people North West of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Another Aboriginal dreamtime story which is part of the curriculum that we teach to the kids who attend Mt Druitt Learning Ground in Sydney.

"Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high, There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby"

Above mural photo of a serpent taken in Treagear, Western Sydney in August 2006.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Be Here Now

When I studied Practical Philosophy for 3 years the words BE HERE NOW were repeated over and over. There was a very simple reason why these three little words became my mantra.

In the chaos of the modern world, there is a beauty in simply doing.

We’re buffeted wildly by whatever emails, conversations, news, events, demands, that are going on around us.

Our minds become a constant deluge of thoughts dwelling in the past, worries of the future, distractions pulling us in every direction.

But all of that melts away when we focus on just doing.

It doesn’t matter what the doing is: sitting, walking, writing, reading, eating, washing, talking, snuggling, playing.

By focusing on the doing, we drop our worries and anxieties, jealousies and anger, grieving and distraction.

There is something profound in that simplicity. Something ultimately heart-rendingly breath-takingly gorgeous.

So when you are caught up in the sandstorm of thoughts, feelings, to-dos, meetings, readings and communications.

Pause. Breathe. Let all of that fade.

Now focus on doing one thing, right now. Just choose one thing, and clear away all other distractions.

Seriously, clear it all away. Turn off your Internet. Stop reading this article (OK, read a couple more sentences, then close your browser!).

Let all thoughts about anything other than the doing also fade away. They’ll come up, but gently make note of them, and then let them go. And return to the doing.

If you’re washing a dish, do it slowly, and feel every sensation. If you’re eating a fruit, taste it, feel the textures, be mindful of your hunger or lack of it. If you’re writing something, pour your heart into that writing, become the writing, inhabit the words.

Just do.

The rest of the world becomes meaningless distraction. It’s just you, and your doing.

And you realize: this is all that matters. In this, there is everything.

"Before enlightenment - chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment - chop wood, carry water".
~Zen Buddhist Proverb

This sign caught my eye when I was walking in Paddington, Sydney today - 7th August 2011.