National Sorry Day. What does it really mean, and why is it relevant to us all? Not just here in Australia, but the world.
Although our government has raised the platform to establish a different relationship with Indigenous Australia, we are yet to achieve a unified vision or outcome. Even for those who are strongly opposed to the apology and compensation, there is reason for us all to find deeper respect and appreciation for our First Nations people.
The first base, a shared apology and acknowledgement, is only part of a much bigger picture. And it is an essential process for the possibility of healing to occur at all levels.
This is all of particular interest for me as, being of Aboriginal and Anglo-Saxon descent, I am deeply aware of the necessity for reconciliation. Not only this, it reflects the journey we all must take, from division to wholeness. Recognising and acknowledging our shared past is imperative for us to move forward with honesty, integrity and more conscious awareness. That is a noble start. What follows is of deeper significance.
Why National Sorry Day matters
The act of apologising (by the persecutors) and forgiving (by the persecuted) has a profound effect on the energy field of our country as a whole. It allows a raised level of consciousness and an opening for the “stain on our nation” to be washed clean. Importantly, it will take many repeat washes before it feels clean. For many, this will never be the case. It will remain as a scar and a reminder.
On each occasion we acknowledge our history with First Nations people, we deepen the healing. It closes the gap. It creates a unified field. A place we can stand together, to embrace the value we each bring. More than ‘closure’, it is a beginning. Not just for healing, but for deep listening. It is our opportunity to redress the way we are living – our relationship to each other, this country and the environment.
It invites us to reconsider as individuals and a collective mind, what our values are. And, to ask ourselves: what values will create well-being for all, and how do we enact these?
These are deeply human questions – yet ones that, in our current world, are largely directed by politics and corrupt agendas. Revisiting our values is a significant thing. Because it underpins our ability to reframe the way we have been living and managing our relationship with each other and our environment. It requires deep wisdom and sage leadership, something we are sorely lacking. Our Indigenous people are perhaps the most qualified.
Ancient wisdom for a better future
This is why National Sorry Day is so significant. It is more than a reflection of the past. It is a rebuilding of our present and a revisioning for the future. Reconciliation is a spiritual crucible for our nation, in fact, for the world. It is the doorway to a cultural depth we desperately need to embrace and elevate. Through reconciliation, we open the way for our Indigenous People to provide us with much needed agency during these times. It is an opportunity for us to welcome our Wisdom Keepers to the stage. For us to listen, to learn and to grow together.
Here, in Australia, we are standing on the ground of ancient wisdom – 60,000 years’ worth. We have the most ancient culture in the world. Yet in just 200 years a thriving, holistic relationship between people and nature has been almost completely decimated. But not entirely.
Our Indigenous people are a repository of complex and comprehensive wisdom. They are keepers of knowledge in holistic systems and sustainable, regenerative living. Just as these systems enabled sustainable living for tens of thousands of years, they are the very thing that can guide us forward – to make the shift from degeneration to regeneration; from fractured thinking and degenerative living back to integrated understanding and thriving. More than just knowledge, our ancient culture can provide spiritual depth and meaning to ourselves, each other and existence. Without this, we may remain shallow and lacking at best, and devastated at worst.
Why Sorry Day matters for the world
With the recent tragedy of widespread bushfires, it became strikingly evident that the models we manage and live by are unsustainable, in fact… dangerous. This is true, not just in Australia, but globally.
Never before in our known history has the critical need for our shared will and cooperation been so evident. It is incumbent upon us, as citizens of earth and the one planet we share, to seek out the judicious answers and solutions we need. The future of our species and well-being of all on earth depends on this.
Now more than ever, it would serve us all well, to turn to the very people who hold the answers to restore well-being to our lands. In turning to our Indigenous people, we may begin to recognise the very roots of our humanity, of our existence; that at the heart of our life, we are all of Earth. And it is Earth that nourishes and provides for all.
Each of us holds the most ancient wisdom of earth-living in our cells. We all have Indigenous ancestry, albeit for many, buried in the recesses of our long-forgotten past. It is this we desperately need to salvage. In doing so we may recognise the cause of the chronic malaise pervading our world. We are overwhelmed. Depression, anxiety, conflict, corruption, inequity, disease, poverty, war, climate change… Indeed, all the crises we face, have their roots in our disconnection from our essential self, from nature, from the natural laws and from sacred kinship with all life.
The onset of our steady decline and trajectory into rapid environmental and societal collapse corresponds precisely with our dispossession. And, along with it, the dismantling of what all Indigenous people know to be the four pillars of lore: the holistic relationship between country, all beings, spirit and the creation laws. This lies behind the erosion of our values, of true meaning and right living. It is the very cause of our demise. It just so happens that this is starkly obvious to Indigenous people, because the wounds are so fresh, so recent and current.
In juxtaposition, the knowledge of the opposite – sacred balance – is still very present. When we bring our attention back to the one central and tenet of all Indigenous People around the world – that all things are interconnected and interdependent – we will realise that only when we restore the bonds between our self and nature can we begin to hope to mend our wounded hearts and our broken world.
National Sorry Day is the evidence that there is hope. It shines a light on the truth of our shared dilemma, yet more importantly, our shared opportunity. Herein lies our greatest hope for the future. As we mend the rift, we pave the way for true relations and for Indigenous people to hold their rightful place as custodians and guides of a regenerated world.
Copyright 2020 Isira Sananda – Living Awareness