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Monday, December 7, 2009

Meet the Natives

I just recently watched a show on the Travel Channel called "Meet the Natives" where five indigenous tribesman from the little island of Tanna in the South Pacific visit cities in the United States. In this episode, they were in middle America, Illinois, where they stayed with a family during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The beauty of this show is that it reveals the primitive innocence that these tribesman have as a result of living lives of simplicity on an island where modern civilization appears to be far away. They exhibit behavior of children in the sense that everything in modern society is new to them and in that respect display acts of presence, or "being in the moment" and "living in the Now". Now this is not my recommendation to give away all your material possessions and move to the island of Tanna so that you can live a life of Presence (unless that's what you intuit is right for you). But there are plenty of things we can learn from them:
- in one scene, a "native" was helping the wife prepare some Thanksgiving food by opening a can of yams and the chief of the group commented to the other tribesman "Doesn't she know that that food is lifeless?" And further accepted it as the way these people eat and left it at that without any judgment or condemnation.
- in another scene with the same family, the wife was preparing the turkey by cooking it in a plastic bag; the chief expressed his hesitation and concern about eating the turkey because he thought it might be poisonous from the toxins leached from the bag and with humility said he would eat it because he trusted the family's traditions.
- in another episode when they visited New York City and couldn't believe that there were homeless people living on the streets when there were so many "great" buildings around.
- also while in New York a gay couple asked the chief if same sex marriages existed in their culture and the chief explained that because their population is so small, marriages were of the opposite sex so as to produce babies as a matter of tribal survival and he acknowledged and understood that in modern society all the basic needs for survival are met and as long as two individuals have love for each other he didn't see anything "odd" or "wrong" with same sex relationships.

The show is full of these types of examples which remind us of how easily we can become distracted by our busy, modern lives. We are distracted from what it is to be Human and to be connected with this planet and with others. And rather than looking within ourselves first when we experience suffering or struggles or conflict, we seek everything from the outside in the forms of quick-fixes, results, answers, gurus, addictions, obessions, etc where we always chase after what feels good and run away from all that we are afraid of and cling to the past and worry about the future. One doesn't have to join a small tribe in the South Pacific or become a monk and live in a monastery to be Present and understand that we are all Co-Creators of this world and yes, you, reading this blog, can make a difference, as an individual. It all starts with awareness. Awareness of the body leads to awareness of the mind, which leads to awareness of the soul. Body, mind, and soul - watch "Meeting the Natives" and you'll see living examples of individuals who are living in alignment with these three aspects of our Human nature.

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