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Nauiyu, Northern Territory, Australia

August 2019

AUSTRALIAN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY POSTPONED ... We're sorry to report that extensive flooding in the area of Nauiyu, in the Northern Territory means that the community will not be ready to host our planned spiritual journey until 2019. A significant number of you expressed interest in this journey, which be focused on "Dadirri" or "deep calling to deep."...We ask you to be patient. The community of Nauiyu needs time to heal and rebuild. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

To know me is to breathe with me

To breathe with me is to listen deeply

To listen deeply is to connect

It’s the sound

The sound of deep calling to deep

Dadirri, the deep inner spring inside us

We call on it and it calls on us.

--Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr, Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu (Daly River)


This will be unlike any journey you have ever taken.


In Australia’s Northern Territory, you will stay among Aboriginal people in a fishing village on the Daly River, surrounded by “bush” (wild, open space). You’ll be just 13 degrees latitude south of the equator, well within the Tropic of Cancer. Surprises will abound. And we’re not talking about the crocodiles in the river.


This is a journey of awakening – body, heart and spirit. Prepare to grow through contemplation. Prepare to immerse yourself in a proud indigenous culture, with significant interwoven Christian elements. Prepare for a welcome that will last the duration of your stay, and beyond, and defy expectation. In fact, the best preparation for any participant is to expect the unexpected. These journeys are the first of their kind – designed specifically for spiritual companions. That makes you a pioneer as well as a traveler.


You will be led on this journey by one of the most respected Aboriginal elders in all of Australia, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr. An artist, she became the first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher in the Northern Territory in 1975. She has received an Order of Australia (the country’s top honor) for services to Aboriginal people (1998) and was awarded an Honorary PhD in Education from Charles Darwin University. She was also appointed to the Australian Federal Government’s advisory body, the National Indigenous Council, in 2004. Impressive.


But none of that is why she’ll be leading these spiritual journeys. You see, she is a mystic as well as a community leader. In 1988, she presented a paper at a conference called Dadirri - Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness. This beautifully concise explanation of the spiritual dimension of Aboriginal culture has since been utilized by people working in diverse settings and in private meditations all over the globe. Watch the video above to get a sense of this gentle, nature-based, contemplative approach.


Here’s what you will experience:


  • Our journeys will start in the capital city of Darwin. Participants will be welcomed to the land through a special ritual and an informal dinner will be procured from the food stands at the beach market.

  • Once you arrive at the fishing village, 250 KM (155 Miles) south of Darwin, there will be another ceremony of welcome – not only to this particular place and its people, but to the whole concept of “Dadirri” or “deep calling deep.”

  • In the ensuing days, everything will evolve in the present – including your daily itinerary. Discernment is not just a discipline for spiritual directors, it’s a way of life here as all things open to the possibility of the moment at hand.

  • There will be “yarning circles” – Aboriginal groups for reflection and discussion; a walking tour of the town; contemplative walks through the bush; a visit to the local Catholic Church where Miriam-Rose’s own paintings depict the stations of the Cross; and a special meal of fish and kangaroo on the last night.


Intuition. Spirit. Nature. Indigenous culture and spirituality.


“The sound of deep calling deep … We call to it and it calls to us.”  These are Miriam-Rose’s own words.


Is this not the very heart of spiritual direction? Stillness and listening leading us inward and onward towards discovery, new connection, and community.


That’s our invitation.


Please discern on it. Find a patch of stillness in your busy life. Listen. Can you hear the call?



We welcome everyone to consider joining us on one of these spiritual journeys. Yet, we think it only fair to warn you that due to fairly rugged conditions, this journey is not for the frail or infirm. Accommodations will not be in a hotel but rather spread out in practical huts suitable for this region and its climate.


Nauiyu is a remote Aboriginal community of about 500 people located approximately 250km south of Darwin (NT). The Malak Malak people who live both in Nauiyu and downstream at Woolianna are the traditional owners of the land.  Their main language is Ngan’gikurunggur. Nauiyu is set on the banks of the Daly River which snakes its way around the community. It is regarded as one of the best fishing places for catching Barramundi in Australia. The Jesuit order of the Roman Catholic Church established their first mission in Australia at Nauiyu in the 1880’s at the request of the community.  

Nauiyu faces many social challenges that are common to remote Indigenous communities including limited access to education, training and employment opportunities which often lead to welfare dependency, disengagement, lateral violence and self-harm.


Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr (AO) is an Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu (Daly River), where she served for many years as the principal of the local Catholic primary school. She is a renowned artist, activist, writer and public speaker. 

In 1988, Miriam presented a paper at a conference entitled Dadirri - Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness. This beautifully concise explanation of the spiritual dimension of Aboriginal culture has since been utilised by people working in diverse settings and in private meditations all over the globe. 

Rev. Genjo Marinello Osho is the current Abbot of Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji in Seattle, Washington, USA, a Rinzai Zen temple. Genjo Osho is a Zen priest, a Quaker, and a psychotherapist. He has served the greater Seattle community as an adjunct faculty member at Antioch University Seattle in Buddhist Studies, a member of the Religious Coalition for Equality, a volunteer Buddhist pastor for the Washington State Department of Corrections, a spiritual director associated with Anamchara--a Program of Multifaith Works, and has worked repeatedly with the Church Council of Greater Seattle in interfaith trauma response to tragedies.

Kristen Hobby, MASD, Singapore,  brings her bright spirit and passion for interfaith work to this journey. As a spiritual director, Hobby looks for opportunities to “engage people of all walks of life, faith, and cultural backgrounds to experience the significant, healing, and affirming role of spiritual direction.” Hobby, who holds a master of arts in spiritual direction, is currently working towards her PhD in the area of children’s spirituality and nature.

Anil Singh-Molares, is SDI's Executive Director and a veteran of numerous interfaith and interspiritual efforts over the years, including Seeds of Compassion, where he was one of the chairs, and as Executive Director of the Compassionate Action Network. He formerly served as Chief of Staff to the noted religious author Karen Armstrong, is a spiritual director/companion,  a motivational speaker and university lecturer, and was a Microsoft executive in a previous life.


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