Moment 3: Casuarina Tree


fear of dying

For many who inhabit ‘white-fella’ Lands, which are completely different to Ninija’s Lands, there is only one chance at life before they die. To make it worse, they are terrified of dying! So most of them spend their time regretting the past, or worrying about the future, and are in fact rarely fully in the moment.

No wonder lumaluma needs to soothe away the stress of having only one chance at life with drugs, with alcohol and nicotine, and worse pleasures. And no wonder he wants everyone to be like him. There’s perhaps certain safety in numbers. I can see that now.

casuarina tree

As I look through the mesh of the Fly screen, it seems that I have looked out at the vast blue Desert Sky and the red Ochre of the Land below it for eternity. The two are held together by the dark outline of the huge Casuarina Tree. This Tree was so cherished that ninija insisted on white-fella making her settlement around it. I can still see the whole tribe staring in wonderment up into its muscular Branches, especially so at the meetings of the elders convened at the base of its massive Trunk.

star in a tree‘Back then,’ as I looked out, I remember that at certain times of the day something high in the Tree would shine, dazzling me so I had to look away. It was like a bright star. When I asked what it was, ninija told me that by the end of her story I would understand what it was.

Then, somewhere in this rectangular frame of the mesh that I stare into, there is me. My pale eyes. White skin reddened by the colossal heat. My unkempt hair and fuzzy beard strained through the thousands of minute wire cells to become part of everything outside. Then, everything outside is filtered back to become part of me. One moment I become strong Tree and Sky, the stunning blue and red, and the next the Sky and Earth somehow take on my pale strangeness. There is no separation at all, and there is no beginning to my gazing, and no end to it. ‘Right Now.’ ‘Right Here.’ ‘Now.’ ‘Here.’ On and on. I would try to explain it to you intellectually as ‘integration.’ ninija taught me how to do it.

becoming the tree

Wisdom Tip: In the desert, because there are no distractions such as thoughts, inner dialogues, media, etc., everything is integrated. Humans are integrated into nature so that there is no separation. They are not separate with separate opinions and their own view of the world dominating everything. They are an important component of a great tapestry of all life. Under Ninija’s guidance, the caretaker has learned how to become integrated, so he can be the Casuarina tree, the Sky, the ochre Earth, his desert-dust covered self, etc. This ability to integrate is a skill we modern urbanists have temporarily lost, but we can recover it through meditation and spiritual practice.


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