Dadirri

Isn’t it wonderful when someone gives you a perfect present – and one that you didn’t know existed?

My daughter knows I like books, and she knows I like words, and the book she gave me recently is perfect. For a start, it has a beautiful cover – in blue, turquoise and gold, the paper is smooth and a creamy white, and it’s a good size to fit in my handbag . It’s called “The Greeks had a Word for it” by Andrew Taylor and it’s full of words that “you never knew you can’t do without”.

This is a book to savour – no rushing through. Andrew Taylor enjoys these words, and enjoys giving us the background as well as the definition – and some evocation of how the word is used in its national context.

There’s one word which links well with Focusing. It is dadirri, a word from Australia’s Northern Territory Ngangikurungkurr language meaning “contemplation of one’s place in the world involving wonder and humility”.

“Dadirri is a “single word that draws together much of [people’s] affinity with the natural world. It is generally translated into English as ‘contemplation’, but it has a much richer and more spiritual meaning than that. Another translation is ‘deep listening’, which catches more of the sense of quiet, stillness and attention than the word suggests”. Dadirri “focuses attention on both the vastness of the external world of time and space, and on the inner thoughts and emotions of the individual as a part of that greater whole… How much better to be aware of oneself not just in the present moment but in the context of hundreds or thousands of years of history. Several Aboriginal writers and thinkers have suggested that dadirri could be the gift of their peoples to modern Australia – an idea and a word whose time has come”.