Let’s be clear I am not an Aboriginal person. I’m not inducted into culture. I have received no training from any Elders. I don’t even know how common something like Dadirri is in Aboriginal culture in general. What I’m saying may be complete rubbish.

However, it still seems to be important to say it, even if you just take it as based on my experience alone. However if you think, or know, I’m wrong then you are welcome to say so in the comments, so we all can learn.

Fear of hostile others

It would seem plausible that it would be difficult to practice Dadirri with people who you fear deny your right to exist.

This probably happens for Aboriginal people much of the time.

You, and others, could feel threatened, even when the threat is low, because of your expectations of threat or of rejection.

It would happen if Democrats, Republicans and Trump supporters sat together. It could happen if people gathered around climate change, mining, or ecological destruction.

On many occasions, at least in my experience, although people may abuse each other in general as abstractions, or in particular online, or if they are showing loyalty to others, they are not that comfortable doing it in person. On the whole, if they don’t feel threatened, most (not all) people are happy to be peaceable. There will be those who panic at seeing this peacefulness and who will try and stop it, and there will be those whose power or wealth depends on mutual hatred, and they too will try and stop it, and there are those who get bored or frightened if there is no confrontation. But peace and listening could be possible. Even if you appear to achieve nothing, by being there you might have started a process of change.

Sitting with those you feel may be hostile, may not be the first thing you want to do. Try something easier.

Knowing what you will hear

Perhaps the greatest impediments to real listening is thinking you know what you will hear, or only wanting to hear a limited range of things.

You may only want to hear peace, when peace is not the only thing being felt. You might want calm when it is dangerous. You may want to hear appreciation of yourself, when there is suspicion. You may think you know the solutions and how to proceed, and only hear agreement or disagreement. You may interpret others as saying what they are not intending to say. You may only hear what you intend to say, without hearing how it might sound to others.

You may feel sensations, and run away from them, rather than accept them.

The point is welcoming acceptance of anything. Not rushing to comment, not rushing to interrupt, not rushing to praise or blame. Not rushing to solutions, or to getting the whole process over with. This does not mean acquiescing to suppression, to keep peace, but it may mean recognising what is happening. Dadirri takes as long as it takes. Nothing else is more important.

Respect for all beings, is a good start.

Demanding agreement

You may want agreement. Agreement is nice. It may not happen. While you are demanding or requesting agreement, or aiming for agreement, it can be difficult to hear others who disagree.

Disagreement may need to be heard. You may learn from it. Those disagreeing may perceive something you don’t perceive.

There is no need for agreement Now. Agreement may result when you stop needing it to be there.

If people disagree, they may do different things. That is their right. It is also part of the variety of life and existence. It is not unnatural. You may still be working together, in different ways.

Listen to nature

Whatever you might think, wherever you are there is nature. In a city there are insects, and bacteria and other humans, and probably weeds, trees and some birds. There will be noises. Even in solitary confinement, in a totally antiseptic room, there is yourself, and the sounds your body produces, and you are part of nature.

Start with listening. Again not assuming you know what you will hear. Listen without interpretation, or demands. If ‘nothing happens’ then that is what happens. Listen to your feelings, your body sensations, listen to the images and imaginings that arise, they may have something to say (although you do not have to agree with them, you can listen to them); be receptive to what is. Welcome what makes itself available. Do not push it, or try to make it change. It is to be welcomed, and accepted, despite discomfort. It will probably flow to some other feeling, if it is attended to and left alone, or not pushed or pushed away. If its too strong, then apologise and move on, if you can.

Whatever gets in the way of you accepting what is and how it flows, can also be accepted and listened to.

Dadirri could never stop. There is always more.

Even this may not be easy, but it might be where you start.

Very little that is worthwhile, does not seem hard at the beginning.