Spirit of place: What lies beneath

Most of Uluru lies beneath the surface of the desert. Human cognition is like that too: Probably 95 percent of embodied thought lies below our everyday awareness.

Uluru sunset. Copyright AH

Our cognition is like an iceberg; the familiar self is just the tip that emerges from the sea, while the vast bulk of cognitive processing lies out of sight. But we can access that deeper level through ‘gut feelings’, those physically sensed intuitions that hint at other ways of knowing.

When anthropologists and adventurers write of how indigenous peoples can sense the spirit of a place, there’s an implication that no-one else can. But I’d hazard that we’ve all felt it; a soundless hum, an invisible haze, something about a specific place that hovers just outside comprehension.

We can all sense the spirit of place if we’re attentive enough. Just as the Aboriginal Dreaming lies hidden in the land, so does spiritual connection lie deep in what I call bodymind place.

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