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Mutant Message Down Under

It is quite a humbling experience to imagine the advice of the dead. To imagine, for example, a spirit’s urging to live an authentic, meaningful life--a life he had not lived and now regrets.  Marlo Morgan, author of Mutant Messge Down Under, experienced such a heeding--only, instead of ghostly, sorrowful wisps, she received hers first-hand from a group who not only had no regrets, but lived each day with full hearts.

For a society who spends millions of dollars on therapy, clanking ozone-depleting machines, overpriced shoes made by underpaid children, and “happy pills,” a society like the Australian aborigines seems like a fairy tale. No shoes? No cars? No drugs? No regrets? Even further-- complete honesty and trust? Such notions must surely be straight from the books of Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks, and Ruplestilskin.

They are not. They are very real, and to prove it, the people who live this way are indeed called “Real people.” In fact, they do live in the real, here, and now, with the real things that they have been born with. While difficult to imagine how these people exist in our century confounds the majority of us, they are probably the most real, authentic people alive.

Morgan’s journey shared with the tribe, resulting in her footless journey, relinquishing of material items and comfort, and her glimpse into this natural, wonderful world, gives us all just a peek--a smattering glance, really--into what real life would really be like. Whether her journey is completely true or not is of no importance; the lessons therein are what matter.

The lessons she learned can certainly be applied to our world, and some certainly are. Living each day to its fullest, trying to function as a successful member of society, and overcoming obstacles are things most people try to do. Practicing ecological awareness, being honest and trustworthy, and accepting things as they are--people as they are--without trying to change them are lesser-practiced, but are still here.

Deeper, more authentic, more raw practices--allowing bugs to clear out physical systems, giving up gluttony for simple daily nourishment, barely treading upon the Earth as our ancestors did, and even swapping our sacred “We wish it was are birthday, so we could party, toos,” at Applebees are things that our society isn’t going to adopt soon.

The very idea of giving up “gravy” and “frosting” might seem to make meat or cake tasteless; to these people, it is the taste of the larger part that matters, and by using these toppings, that taste is hidden or altered. Our culture does seem to have a fixation with altering its state with self-help, drugs, liquer, and changing itself to fit the status quo. Instead of accepting bodies the way they are, they are changed, covered, “iced,” to be more appealing to the masses--and less authentic in the process.

Instead of using factory farms, antibiotics, drugs and pesticides to alter crops, force hens to lay, pigs and cows to breed, and unnaturally cram the animals into tight stalls for the complete duration of their miserable lives, the Real people wait for animals to “give” themselves as  food--after living a life outside a cage. This process results in no odor or excessive dirt or fat, as there are no preservatives, pesticides, and chemicals in their food.

Instead of hoarding material possessions like they are good friends, the Real people have only a cave-like “museum” to house artifacts about the world. Indeed, their own sacred places, such as Ayers Rock, have been taken and used as tourist attractions.

The merits of the choices we’ve made seem slim in comparison. While we have the “freedom” to travel, we are paradoxically limiting that freedom by depleting the ozone and the air we breathe with the vehicles we use to travel. While we have the “comfort” of shoes, we usurp others’ comfort to make them. While we have longevity from modern medicines and drugs, we contradict that by developing immunities to antibiotics, poisoning ourselves with pesticides and genetically engineered food, and plowing down sources of cancer research for cattle grazing.

The spiritual wellness of the tribe stood out like an illuminated sculpture in an Indiana Jones flick, and the physical wellness was always in the background, quiet but steady in its constance, occasionally highlighted, such as during the womens’ menstrual cycles. Either way, the wellness of this tribe, their ability to heal quickly, and their connection with nature and animals were remarkable, distant but vivid reminders of how we ourselves must have been many centuries ago.

These teachings are not completely lost. Many groups, especially religious ones like pagans, native traditions, and others still practice a reverence for nature. Vegetarians, concsious consumers, co-op growers, and traditional farmers also base some of their lives on these. However, the majority of consumer-driven people in this country are almost unaffected by authentic spirituality and nature. In fact, at least half of Americans follow spoon-fed beliefs and care nothing about the planet, as evident in the past election and its supposed “moral values.”

While on the surface this tribe may seem “primitive” to our culture. Looking more deeply at their practices--spiritual growth, sustainability, family planning, environmentalism--it is easy to see that they are, in fact, more progressive than our own.

Their way of life is much more authentic, more real, more moving, meaningful, extraordinary, and enlightening. The lessons gained from their simple living applied to life reinforce our progressive ideals. They also give us a lump in the throat for the things we take for granted, a pang in the chest for the destruction we’re doing to our children, and stomach full of butterflies at the possibilites; they give us hope.

If the masses continue to use and waste and rape this planet, oppress its people, and exploit it to their hearts’ content, like the Aborigines have warned-- we are doomed. But maybe our efforts are not in vain. Maybe we can make a difference. If people across the globe live like this, there must be something to our labors to improve the world.