We moved to a remote part of the Dorrigo plateau in North Eastern NSW Australia in September 2012, after some years of coming and going, realising a long held dream to live in intimate contact with our environment, in tune with the seasons of the earth and the qi of nature. To live our dream of making our spiritual practices central in our life and slowing down the pace of our days to allow an integration of mindfulness into all corners of the day. No longer content to have a separation of principles from practice, we wanted to live our spiritual practices in a real way, each and every day. The building of this way of life, here in this place, began with the first stone laid at the hearth…
Here the heart of Ningendo began to beat: a place to share the warmth of the fire, to cook our meals, brew our tea and somewhere to sit quietly in contemplation of ordinary things. The natural simplicity of the fire gives rise to moments where awareness of a deeper quality of being can surface. Our hearth is central in our kitchen and in our lives; it is the anchor around which the rest of the buildings are being placed and around which daily life revolves. Inspired by the traditional Japanese aesthetic, it was built from stones gathered close-by into a form that carries the energy of warmth & stability. The hearth imparts a feeling of belonging, as with ever constant whispers of welcome she warms and nourishes us beyond the physical body to the spirit within.
This place where we now find ourselves is the result of a long unfolding of events, some apparently insignificant, most not determined by us, which leads me to wonder at times on who or what actually directs this life I live. Certainly I do not know all the consequences of actions taken but somehow results are unfolding that reflect a direction of attention. All we can do is to trust this great sacred mystery, this unfolding, & enjoy the journey. From the hearth there has been an outward growth, buildings erected, gardens planted, but as ever, the inner journey has been the most rewarding & it is this that we wish most to share here.
One day – as all things do – the hearth stones will disperse back into the earth. When they do they will carry with them many stories and the imbued warmth of the fires they have held…Until then I am ever grateful for the constant sense of belonging & comfort they offer.
Our daily practise of shiatsu, aikido, yoga & meditation coupled with maintaining gardens and buildings forms a daily rhythm. We share this rhythm with occasional ‘uchi deshi’ who are seeking a way of learning that calls from ancient times. A way where learning is infused rather than timetabled. Contact us for more information.