As the sun sinks gradually westward, the heat lessens ever so slightly. Within minutes, all the tourists speed away to barbecues and other evening activities. And finally, I’m alone with the red rock. Time stills. Night and silence pervade with a great calm, expanding inside and all around me.
Called “Uluru” by most everyone, the monolith has no specific traditional name. Uluru is actually a large area of desert that includes the rock. Many of its features are named, but the Anangu people never perceived the rock as distinct from the surrounding “cultural landscape”.
The evening before, when I first laid eyes upon Uluru, I felt it to be consciously alive and intelligent.
From above, the rock resembles the shape of a human heart. Upon one of the taller walls, a natural formation looks like a cross-section of the human brain. All of the buttresses, caves, overhangs, water-springs, and associated extensions into the desert, are acknowledged by the Anangu to contain all the lore and instructions from Tjukurpa time – for every aspect of human sacred culture. Of course, one must be sufficiently trained and initiated to read the information held within the rock. Some parts communicate women’s lore in complete detail, while others are about men’s “business”, and yet others describe how to live rightly in the world. The Anangu never “owned” the rock, saying that the landscape has always owned them!
Interestingly, the ancient indigenous nomadic cultures of India, which eventually produced the holy Rig Veda, made reference within those texts to the great southern land with a large red rock near its centre. This, and other evidence, shows that there were significant prehistoric connections between the people of Australia and southern Asia, extending back through millenniums.
I have encountered greatness in the company of some trees, animals, and places, and also in some human beings. And this massive rock, floating over the desert, is remarkable among all those eminences. It has also been continuously sacredly served, and related to, for over 60,000 years! There is no other sacred site like this in the world. Its constant empowerment, through ongoing ceremonies over multiple myrioi*, is palpable. And regardless, Uluru stands steady as great force, pressure, and presence.
Ambulating slowly around the rock, among the thronging, selfie-snapping tourists, I pause and sit in many locations, to feel, and to contemplate. Sight-seeing helicopters chop-chop through the sky above. Segway and bicycle groups, along with tour-bus mobs, zip and straggle around the 10-kilometre pathway. And in the midst of all this, the nameless red colossus rears silently, communicating a depth of existence that almost every visitor clearly struggles to comprehend and receive. I think everyone feels challenged by the singular, silent presence, the very appearance of which provokes the questions, “Who am I?”, and “What am I always doing?”
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“Sitting with a bunch of people, around with me, in front of a large stone, an irregular, natural-shaped, no particular symbolism about it, just a massive stone… And if we would sit there together and just enter into consideration, everything would be revealed that would be sufficient. Now, why is it sufficient? It’s a structure that is associated with inherent reality in form. It suggests it, and therefore, allows a contemplation that ultimately leads to the discovery of its nature.” – Adi Da Samraj, 1996
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The rock’s presence is similar to the deep and wordless “feeling of being” that I received in the company of the human spiritual teacher, Adi Da. And their qualities of immensity are also not much different.
Adi Da never visited Australia, but when three Aboriginal men met him in Fiji in 2003, referencing their primordial legends, he described himself as the “thunder-man”, and the one who “stands between the two trees”. In response, the men said that he knew their culture better than they did! Because of his respect for all Aboriginal cultures, Adi Da said he would never set foot upon Australian soil unless invited by authentic elders. He spoke of their cultures as profoundly deep and original, and also having suffered far too many dreadful intrusions in recent times.
Since connecting with Uluru – the rock and its surroundings – the quality and power has not left me for a moment.
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50 kilometres from Uluru is Kata Tjuta, another archaic sacred presence comprising 36 monoliths, gorges, ravines, water holes, and small valleys. After watching the sun rise upon the “many heads” and faces of Kata Tjuta, I spent the day in shady ravines, and great natural amphitheatres, alongside thousands of flocking desert birds, shy wallabies, graceful ghost-gum trees, and some fat lizards.
The next day, feeling the end of my journey nearing, I rose early and left Uluru Kata Tjuta Sacred National Park, and drove several hours north to Watarrka, or Kings Canyon…
Also CLICK here for: Sacred Parks of Australia Page
* “Myrioi” – Greek word for 10,000 (years in this case)