Reluctantly departing the Red Centre, I skirted the edges of the great Simpson Desert, driving southward for 13 hours. Finally stopping at a dry salt lake, I fell asleep beside the saline expanse, ghostly-white under a fading moon. Leaving early the next morning, I drove another 12 hours to the wild Warrumbungles, in central New South Wales.
Rising high above savanna grasslands, this sacred National Park protects the most spectacular parts of the Warrumbungle (Crooked Mountains) Ranges – a spiritual resource for the Gamilaroi, Wiradjuri and Weilwan people. Extensive volcanic and geomorphological landforms provide an important transition area between arid inland, and damper coastal zones – a refugium for the plants and animals of central south-east Australia. Clear night skies, low humidity, and higher altitudes make the “Bungles” a sought after dark-sky region for worldwide astronomers.
Climbing up through eucalyptus forests, I arrived at the Grand High Tops, immediately refreshed in the soaring company of Crater Bluff, Belougery Spire, the Breadknife, and other outcrops. I then traversed adjoining ridges to the higher summit of Bluff Mountain, where I could overlook the entire realm of ancient giants. Wallaroos and kangaroos abounded, and in the trees were laughing kookaburras, cackling cockatoos, and other parrots.
The Warrumbungles was to be the final destination of my pilgrimage to some of Australia’s sacredly unique places. This was both an inward and an outward journey. All the places I encountered informed my being – meditations and natural participation in simple divine awareness deepened.
In a blog-post near the beginning of my journey, I referred to a Buddhist monk who once commented on the influx of tourists into the Himalayas, describing how so many of them remained unavailable to the rare qualities of those sacred mountains:
“Many people come, looking, looking. No good! Some people come – see! Good!”
While I did encounter several people engaged in a deepening “walkabout” of some kind, most were simply doing the usual touristy thing. As tourism increases, the risks to natural sacred places also increase! In some instances, the hoards of commercial tourists in remote areas are frightening to see – like packs of Orks invading Elfin domains. With modern technology and equipment, these fragile places are too easily subjugated and exploited by urbanized humanity.
All these places MUST be protected and cared for – approached gently, with respect and sensitivity.
During the five months I wandered from area to area, extensive floods inundated large parts of Australia, Russia began war against Ukraine… and countless struggles and conflicts embroiled a humanity caught within an increasing fear that is rapidly becoming a cultural addiction.
At Yarretyeke, a long-nosed dragon leapt from a tree branch and sat with me. High up on a cliff-face at Alherrkentye, two birds landed directly beside me, staying for a while, inquisitive and unafraid. Here and there, large perentie lizards and old kangaroos wandered across my path. Everywhere, great trees and plants stood powerfully, conscious and aware. All these beings live fully, and richly. They are complete, clear, and intelligent, with a profound awareness of life living them. As often as possible, they pause to meditate, even to the point of losing bodily awareness. They live, feed, breed, raise their young, and contemplate. Contemplation is one of their main “occupations”. They are not disturbed and distracted by the mind. The competition they experience does not gain them victory and power – but is only the further encounter of life with life.
Soon after leaving the Warrumbungles, circumstances drew me to the temperate rainforests of northern New South Wales. Due to heavy rains and local flooding, I sequestered in the Whian Whian forests for several days, where I practiced hours of meditation, conductivity, and pranayama. And this was the real ending of my journey, having come full circle to where I began, to be alone here again, and meditate uninterrupted within the greening, raining forests. Like the lizards, birds, kangaroos, and trees, we all arise within a Mystery that, sooner or later, draws all of us to surrender everything…
Well before undertaking this journey, meditation – in Mystery – had become my life’s intent. In the course of traveling, everything became richer and simpler. Inner and outer worlds blended readily with each other. I feel a little less differentiation, concern, and fear now. Awareness of mortality is more present, so life is fuller, and never dependent on a so-called “me”, or any “other”.
Meditation on – and in – Mystery is the foundation of a full human life. Trees do it. Kangaroos and echidnas do it. Lizards, frogs, and bees do it. But most humans do not do it. And so, we are mad, you see – because we are not feeling connected, surrendered.
If everyone meditated every day, everything would be a lot different. It really is essential for humans, and for human culture. If we are not meditating, we feel lonely, agitated, and separate. If we meditate deeply – in Mystery – then we no longer feel lonely, but connected, Life-sustained, trusting, grateful, and no longer seeking.
Real meditation informs everything we do. Only open-ended meditation – in Mystery – will deepen humanity’s experience, and bring living wisdom to our lives and varied cultures.
So, find a good course, and a good instructor, and begin. Try some different practices until you find something you connect with. And remember, the best meditation will be the one that leads you into the ever-deepening, wordless, Mystery of the Heart.
“People should get out of their houses and out of the cities and go screaming into the countryside and do whatever the hell they must do just to maintain their attention in discovering the real nature of their existence. If they did this for a few years, instead of just carrying on as everybody is, there would be much positive change…
“In our time you are not expected to find anything out. You are expected to believe life as it is given to you, you see. We were all naive in our childhood and willing to accept what parents told us, what everybody told us. But after a few years, you realize that life is rotten, that you are just an unhappy, confused son-of-a-bitch, and that everybody is suffering. The whole affair is insane!
“Rather than settling down to an adolescent life of complaint, you should kick your ass out of the house and submit yourself to the bare facts of existence. Wander until you find It. This was an obvious course to me. There was no way I was just going to take a profession or a job and settle down to a middle-class life. To do so was insane from my point of view. I did not see any happy people. I only saw people burdened with their lifetime occupation, their dumb ideas about existence, and their endless neurotic fretting. What is the purpose of organizing that into a career? What is the purpose of devoting yourself to a life of preserving that?” – Adi Da Samraj
View: Tjilpi (Uncle) Bob Randall, Yankuntjatjarra elder