Christmas last year I spent with a homeless man. He was an aboriginal man of about 40. He was not an alcoholic, he was not a drug user, he had simply lost his way in life. We spent the entire day together, talking about life, consciousness, music, love, hope and of course, homelessness.
The reality is, this man chose to be homeless. He detached himself so much from life, that he detached from needing the things society determines are the ingredients of success. This man thought deeper, felt deeper than most people I meet. He had a compassion and thoughtfulness that would challenge the most empathetic of us.
That was a weird day. I went there with what I thought was an altruistic intention but I realised at the end of it, I was the one that needed it. We spoke for hours about love, light, the phenomenon most would call God. And we spoke of him, in his little corner of the world, where he had stopped caring for himself, because he wore the wounds of the people around him too deeply.
We spoke at great length and agreed with one another on the divide which we are facing in our country. A divide which fuels hate and separation. It is the divide that we will see spark fury in the coming weeks. It is the divide of our brothers and sisters and it is the divide that we will never see an end to.
There was a genocide which occurred on this land. Not a land that is mine, not a land that is yours, but a land that gave permission for humans to inhabit. The humans that had inhabited this land the longest, had the greatest understandings of it’s pulses, it’s echos, it’s wisdom and essence. There was a beautiful relationship that existed via story telling, art, song and dance. Methods of great healing and ancient wisdom were passed down via these modalities. It was a rich land, it was rich in peacefulness, respect and love. It was rich in ancient tradition, beautiful languages, songs and stories.
There was a deeper meaning of life that people could not dream about, and the translations were in the sounds of the instruments they made, their feet stomping to rhythm on the land, the songs that they sang and the tones that reverberated from their mouths. This was something that would transcend logic or science. It was so deeply spiritual that it was as though there was no separation between them and God. It was a world of collaboration and community.
A world on the other side, on a completely different equator, people with different understandings of existence, were seeking something and they set off to find it. It was a world that was of conquering, of logic and of mind. They spotted this land from their limited understandings. They had been at sea for almost a year. Going mad with the smells, the conditions and their narrow view of anything outside their own suffering let alone humanity. Mostly they had been raised via their own form of survival. This survival was that of class, ownership and dictatorship.
They arrived on these monstrosities that would have seemed today like a space ship. They arrived with their limited, cruel lifestyles and belief systems.What they saw, was opportunity. They saw a land that they could own and conquer because that is what they had been told was the measurement of greatnness. This was the only way they knew how to survive. That is what they were taught would be their heaven, their saviour.
They saw the men that were already settled. They saw their spears and their lack of clothing. They saw their freedom and they wanted to conquer it. They thought if they conquered it they would feel that same sense of freedom that they craved, and they would, for a moment. They saw through their abandoned minds. They saw what they didn’t understand, and when all you know is to conquer, you are deeply afraid. You have a need to destroy what you don’t understand because you don’t have the capacity to think any other way. They didn’t seek to find out, because all they knew was fear and destruction.
And that they did.
Through all of this, it was not just the destruction of innocent people at that time. This didn’t just scar the hearts of the people for generations to come that has never been healed. But also the very thing that delivered their joy, their measurement of greatness, their existence, their freedom. It was the ancient wisdom and connection to all things, their connection of not knowing separation from God, that too was destroyed. They lost their babies, they lost their sacred partners, they lost their life givers, their precious elders. They lost their connection to that ancient wisdom that was only kept within the sounds, songs and voices of their lost loved ones, some of them lost forever.
And that they were.
We can’t ever imagine what this means, because we have never understood the connection the indigenous had with this land and the spiritual connection that is within each and everyone of them. We can never understand because we were never shown. We were never taught it to this level in our schools, we are not brought up being in consultation with the ancient wisdom of the land we live on.
We speak of pollution in our air because we understand the ramifications that air has on our body, on our systems. We spend so much money (energy) not only towards raising awareness, but on technology to try and eliminate this. Why then, do we not have that same understanding that the land we walk on is polluted as badly? It is polluted with the ghosts of unsettled torture, malicious and barbaric killings. We are every day having our bodies contaminated with the tears of that broken connection.
This divide that happened all of these years ago is still continuing. Sure not as extreme as it was in the past but it is still happening. We are divided on something so seemingly pathetic that most would make the conclusion we are Neanderthals. The problem is, the divide is not a divide at all. We are just misdirected. We are trying to heal all of this by using a word! One word……
Sorry is never going to happen. Not only is it never going to happen, it should NEVER happen. It is critical that it does not happen because we will only create further divide. If instead of asking and arguing why we shouldn’t say sorry, we should focus on asking the question, what does sorry mean to you. This might seem unrelated however it is the most fundamental reasoning why people will either embrace sorry or reject sorry.
Fact: Sorry has two meanings in the English language. These two meanings are PRECISELY why there will never be a sorry.
1. Feeling sad or distressed through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune.
2. Feeling regret or penitence.
One directly takes responsibility, and one takes no responsibility. It doesn’t matter which one you believe is the right one, the reality is, it means two different things. I have been battling with my friend for as long as I can remember over the sorry debate. We would get into such angry exchanges because we just couldn’t agree. When I finally realised the etymology of the word, I asked her instead, what is your understanding of the word sorry. She believed it was 1 and my belief is it is 2. I will only ever apologise for something that I have personally done to another person because I believe it means penitence. My friends belief is that sorry does not mean she is at fault. She doesn’t even have to agree with what the person is saying, she is simply acknowledging that they feel bad. Once we eliminated this misunderstanding and took sorry out of the equation we realised that we actually believe the same thing.
The etymology of the word sorry is sore. We are firstly, trying to compensate what has happened by using a word that is not even native to indigenous Australians. It is a word that they have only been hearing (or haven’t at all), for 200 odd years. But we are also using a word that is focusing on trauma versus resolve. We are focused on a word that is in conflict of itself and is not even close to the communication that is deep within aboriginal makeup. So how do we begin to resolve? Because we need to! It is time and it is beyond what is owed to not only the aboriginal people but for all people who live in this country and don’t want to continue with such pointless divide. The resolve is not hard.
Socrates said the secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. He was killed for his thoughts because sadly, that kind of thinking over 2000 years ago got you killed (Remember Jesus). He was a more progressive thinker than the current American President and he was killed. But imagine this, he framed the minds and a lot of the culture of the European world. He stimulated thought and understanding and writings that we still reference today. A lot of our world is so rich with the wisdom of men like Socrates, Jesus, Buddha, DaVinci and Mozart. Imagine if that was lost to us. Imagine for a second the loss of wisdom that some of our greatest have contributed to our salvation. And here it is. If this level of wisdom existed in various parts of the world, wisdom which is still powerful enough to heal today despite time and translation. Imagine what we could learn from our Aboriginal heritage. Imagine the minds that existed who’s message is still being carried through their song, their sounds and their language. Wouldn’t that be worth uncovering and holding sacred? Wouldn’t that be worth scrapping sorry and going for a full blown peace-making treaty?
We need to build an elected group of respected people in various fields. We need a collaboration of alternative thinkers, creators, cultures, philosophers, educators, elders, children, spirit workers, socialists, farmers, dancers, singers, mothers, fathers, peacemakers, change behaviour specialists, psychologists, therapists and we need them to create a new way. A new way where each and everyone of us has an education through experience of the aboriginal culture. Taught in a way that is truest to it’s ancient roots. Dance, song, sound, art and story. We need to have a deep love and respect for the ancient wisdom through consult of the indigenous people.
We need to open our minds to now receive the wisdom that is so precious, so vital for the survival of mankind. We could be a country of peace, collaboration, progression and unity. We could start to deliver a message that inspires the rest of the world. We could purify our land to deliver the most ultimate healing for mankind. I mean, let’s not dismiss this. We have a whole area in the north of this land, Uluru that has unspeakable healing properties. We just have to open our minds. Expand our thinking just a little further. What’s the worst that could happen? We might be at peace and heal the wounds of our brothers and sisters. Imagine that.