22.10.2013 Spirituality

Aboriginal Spirituality

Learning from the first Australians enriches us all

I want to share with you my amazing discovery and experience. Being born in Melbourne in 1974 in to a typical white Australian family, I believe I had a common upbringing in relation to my exposure to Aboriginal culture. Throughout my childhood and teenage years I cannot recall meeting or seeing any Aboriginal people in my day to day life. Through the media, I knew who Cathy Freeman was, had heard the song "Treaty" and we had a didgeridoo in the house. I knew that white man who "discovered" this country had killed Aborigines and tried to wipe them all out. And in my reality in Melbourne, it appeared that was the case.

In truth, I didn't give much thought to Aborigines at all. That was until I travelled to Alice Springs five years ago. Walking down the main street, Todd Mall, I was taken aback. I felt I was in a different country. Aboriginal people were everywhere, dot paintings were everywhere and I could hear songs in native languages. I was fascinated, intrigued and overcome. That night in my hotel room I became overwhelmingly upset thinking about what white man had done to Aboriginals, enforcing their will and ways and almost breaking their spirit entirely. I was suddenly happy that they still survived, especially evident in the Northern Territory. I wanted to know more. A couple of days later I made a birthday wish to meet a special person. The next day, sitting at a cafe in Todd Mall, that special person asked to join me at my table. A fair skinned Aboriginal man, he was a traditional ngangkari or spiritual healer for his people and the wider community. I spent the next two days away from town in his country, seeing the true beauty of this region. I started to learn about the magic and wisdom that Aboriginal spirituality held and how it can really heal us in a simple way that is enjoyable.

Over the last five years. my special friend has taught me how incredibly valuable the Aboriginal culture is. I learnt how to connect to my spirit and the original spirituality of Australia. What I learnt was the truth, I could feel it. I started to question why I was taught about the tribes of Papua New Guinea in primary school. I feel that all schools would benefit from teaching the true cultural history of our country, learning to respect the first Australians. It's astounding to think that a little over 200 years ago, Australia was the home solely of a people deeply connected to the land, spiritual and grounded people who hold the keys to many of the problems in our society today. They were strong, happy, healthy and proud. Life was simple and good and their thoughts were clear and positive. As the oldest surviving culture in the world, I'm stunned that Aborigines only account for 2.5% of the Australian population. But thankfully, all is not lost. I encourage you to take a journey to central Australia where you may discover your wonderful potential too... in the wide open desert, in the giant rock formations, in the water holes, in the Aboriginal people you will be fortunate to meet. It's important to be educated about Aboriginal issues too. NITV, National Indigenous Television, is now available in most areas of Australia. Changes are happening. What a difference this would have made to my earlier Melbourne experience if I had been exposed to this channel. On a spiritual level, looking in my own backyard was the answer. Take a look at www.frankansell.com to hear the inspiring insights of my friend and Aboriginal healer. It doesn't help to dwell on the atrocities of the past. We can help Aboriginals and ourselves by rediscovering and revealing the positives in their culture. It is sacred and we need to hold it in high regard.

rose stowers