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Meditation at Tasmania

Steven Guth

Well, not really at Tasmania. We were at Collins Park a large open area in Forrest. Situated at the end of Hobart Ave - one of the city avenues (all named after state capitals) that radiate out from the central flag pole of Parliament house. These point towards the cities of their name.

Again, I picked the location by dowsing, and again it was unexpected.

Collins park is surrounded by Tasmania crescent, and flattened at its northern end by Empire circuit. The overall effect results in a shape a bit like the map of Tasmania. We gathered on the northwestern corner. Roughly where the Cradle Mountain National Park is on the map of Tasmania. Seeing this similarly with the real thing I gave a Philip, a friend living in Hobart, a ring. I asked if he would like to join in at our mediation time. He agreed, and in turn asked three others to join in with us. Joy, asked another absent friend Scott, to join us in the mediation as well ... this joining is done by thinking about and so 'linking' to the people who at a site.

Eleven of us gathered at about 11.30 and wondered off to a group of cottonwoods and sat in rough circle on the crisp dry autumn leaf fall. It was a warm sunny day.

I quickly sank into mediation. I first recalled may last visit to the Park about four years ago with poetess Ann Fairburn (when we discussed my potential attitudes to work in the Arab world. (But that's another story, perhaps to be told later.)

After that my mediation quickly went to the occupation of Federation Square by two aboriginal people and about a dozen feral looking students late on Monday - an event I happened to be at.

Well, to digress. Why was I there and what happened?

As to the why, I was taking ... Dara, the Theosophical speaker for the month around the sights of Canberra. While we were visiting the Aboriginal Embassy and I was pointing out the Aboriginal travel hole in the middle of the painted mosaic we noticed activity down on the lake shore. We drove down to see about 5 acres enclosed by a high wire fence. Inside were piles of scaped dirt, ATCO sheds and parked earth moving equipment - plus a group of people around a fire and an Aboriginal flag. I drove to the gate, parked and walked into the site. I was quickly confronted by a pleasant white Australian - perhaps the site foreman. I asked him what was going on. He told me he had given permission to the group to take down a segment of the fence so that they could stand on site of the new reconciliation monument (which rally was some where else). The group had given him a promise that they would only be there for only half an hour. Now almost an hour later, with the fire burning and a raised flag they were still on the site.

An animated discussion was in progress. I wondered over, sat down and faded into the scene. Are we going to stay here? Why not? This is our place. There was uncertainty in the air. A mobile phone was taken out to ring up someone. It refused to work. One of the feral students said, "Lets stay. Lets get six people to sleep here tonight." And so it was, agreement was reached (or at least disagreement was quiet) and someone wondered off to organise the people for the night. I knew I had witnessed an important event.

And surprisingly, no one I spoke to - not even the site foreman - recognised the potential importance of the event.

The next day the site foreman was at the site talking with a couple of men who had responsibility for the earthmoving machinery. They had given up and were wondering who would pay for the down time. The site camp was set up with fire, a flag, a few igloo tents and slogans on the fence. A handful of people wondered around the fire. Up at the tent Embassy buses were unloading people. Some sort of statement had been underlined.

But to return to the meditation.

My focus kept being drawn to Federation Square. It occurred to me that this had the makings of a karmic possibility that would lead to the eventual downfall of the Howard government in the next election.

The Howard government has repeatedly shown its insensitivity to Aboriginal and unemployment issues as a way to make political capital. If Howard handles the Federation Square issue badly, he may over step itself ... and he has been placed in a no win situation. Call in the police and media reports could reverberate around the world. Do nothing and face a stalemate situation that in time would be a powerful aboriginal statement engraved onto the landscape of Canberra. A monument to Howard's 'reticent' handling of the Aboriginal reconciliation drama.

Why is it all so important? Because it is one of few times that Aboriginals have dared to put on the ground a statement showing their dissatisfaction at being forced to 'play the game' according to rules of Federation, Commonwealth and white fellers. Putting this on the ground in what was to be the 'show and tell' site for Commonwealth's strength, integrity and fairness in handling the reconciliation issue was a stroke of genius.

All this became clearer through the time of my mediation and in the days that followed. But to continue.

Now, the Aboriginal people I had seen on Monday afternoon were no geniuses, their actions were more in confusion than in focus. And what about the stomach ache that had bothered me all night and was still with me? Yes, there were elders behind this ... the stomach ache I had got from speaking to the site foreman and the plant operators the previous day. It was the typical of the 'chase you away vibes' that I have on occasion met when I have entered, unwelcomed, isolated Aboriginal Missions. With that recognition my solar plexus pain started to dissolve and some sort of apology was in the air. Yes, the annexation of Federation Square was an event that had roots deep into the spiritual world. The British Federation tradition was being challenged by what the Theosophical tradition would call "The Masters" - soul forces, incarnate or disincarnate, who where not on the scene. The fact that the Establishment had let itself be placed into a no win situation when some forethought or a few decisive moves, early in the drama, could have stopped the developing situation was another sign of overshadowing. Not only is the site protected but whole layers of bureaucracy have been enspelled. Well, if it's was war the Aboriginals may at last have found an effective weapon.

I visited the annexation site again yesterday with Kathrine, approaching the site we were greeted by a smiling woman, who looked at Kathrine and said, "Come in sister, there is an elder here you can talk to at the fire." I walked through the two missing segments of fence and struggled through a guardian force that extended for four or five metres. Four people were there. A table with food. A huge stack of fruit and vegetables. Three tents, fire and flag. We were asked to sit by the fire on one of the chairs that stood nearby. Chub, the elder from Queanbeyan spoke to us, "Where are you from?"


"Do you know...??" the ritual of place and people was on.

A common connection meant the establishment of a brotherly, Masonic like trust. Still as time went on we were accepted, a calm relaxed manner and a Chinese face always help.

"Cup of Tea?"

I went and got an apple and a mandarin. The apple tasted organic. Kathrine had the mandarin and an orange juice in a disposable cup. The role of host had been fulfilled. I asked, "What are you going to do here?"

Chub replied, "Plant trees."

My comment, "Great!"

But I have left my mind and body mediating under the cottonwood in virtual Tasmania. What was happening there?

I leant back against the tree and sensed the immediate area. The sun had moved and in front of me, around the tree central to our mediation spot was pillar of light, sort of a flame to reached upward. It was silver coloured, a bit like the underside of cottonwood leaves. Coming out of meditation I noticed that others were stirring. A dalmatian ran up and went over to get a hug from Eva. It was a nice feeling. A warm sunny spot good and refreshing. As was said later. It was a "clean" mediation. Perhaps even cleaning. There were comments about the change of colour in the air from dark to the silver I experienced. The comment that I felt, for the first time, "Wind in the air and fire in front."

I shared my insights into the Aboriginal situation with Kauro, he was the first to agree with me. "Yes, I feel that important piece has been moved across the chessboard of Australian scene. Now its time for everyone to consider the implications of the move."

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Beyond ANZAC Day | Meeting a Deva | Meditation at the Royal military college, Duntroon | Meditation at Parliament House | Gundagai, Earth Connection weekend. May 19th and 20th | Background to the Theosophical Meditations at Canberra's Sacred Sites

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