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Finding Harmony and Utopia




by Egan Sanders - 

CHANGING YOUR OUTER REALITY:

It’s not uncommon to yearn for a far off utopia due to living in the current chaos of modern life. It seems that we are perpetually compelled to busy ourselves, succeed, acquire, get ahead, be fulfilled and buy luxury items. But does all of this bring happiness?

Have you ever dreamed of living in a paradise – a simpler place of peace, well being and abundance? Perhaps you have visualized yourself with infinite financial resources, living on a tropical island with happy, smiling people. 

What if there actually was an ideal place of harmony that would bring you peace? Are there people already living in paradise? 

Consider the Moken, a nomadic tribe of sea gypsies who live and travel along the coast and islands on the west coast of Thailand and up to Burma.

Although in recent years they have had to deal with tsunamis and governmental interference, they continue to live and thrive by following their traditions. The Moken have some unusual characteristics which seem to create an ideal way of life.


HARMONIOUS CHARACTERISTICS:

1. TIME

There is no word for “When” in the Moken language. They do not time events, measure time passing or focus on timing. Day to day they live in a flowing timelessness.

Things happen in the now which is all that exists for them. This can be liberating in many ways. Because the Moken do not constantly measure time, neither do they keep track of their age. They do not know how old they are and, in a sense, are ageless. 

Other words missing from the Moken language are, “Goodbye” and “Hello." There are no real endings or beginnings in social interactions.

Visitors show up and when they leave they are gone and that is it. Without the notion of time, it matters little when – no word for when - the last visit was or when – see how important that word can be? - the next one will be. 

There is a constant inflow and outflow of people and experiences that happen with spontaneity and synchronicity. They have no schedules or appointment books and yet they always seem to be where they need to be. 

Some questions to ask yourself about time: 

What would your life be like if you were not on a set time schedule? Would it be possible for you to get things done and honor your commitments? Is time real or do we create it? 

2. SIMPLICITY

Want is also missing from the Moken language. In their lifestyle they either give or take, but there is no want. How often do you find yourself saying, “I want this, I want that?”

The Moken attitude is that what is needed will be provided. Like the ocean providing fish or the sky giving rain, there are available resources to draw upon as needed. 

Excess Moken catches of fish are used to barter for other necessities at local markets. There is no lack or a need to store things up for long periods of time.

“Worry” is not in the Moken language either. Imagine going a week without worry – little or big – because there is no concept for the idea of “Worry”. 

The Moken have few desires. Because they are nomadic they prefer to live in a streamlined fashion without excess possessions.

They choose to be free and have no ambition to be wealthy. Many Moken travel about in Kabang, small hand-crafted wooden boats, that serve both as their transportation and living areas. 

Some questions to ask yourself about simplicity: 

How many things do you have? More importantly, do you use them or is your home more of a storage unit? How much time do you spend worrying or planning about finances and/or the future?

The Moken live in sync with the natural world. They live off the sea by using nets and spears to gather food. Moken Children spend a lot of time hunting for coral and shellfish and are able to see very well underwater.

You won’t see many overweight or unhealthy Moken children. Neither are they addicted to TV, video games or iPods - instead they stay in step with the rhythms of nature. 

3. NATURAL

The Moken live in sync with the natural world. They live off the sea by using nets and spears to gather food. Moken Children spend a lot of time hunting for coral and shellfish and are able to see very well underwater.

You won’t see many overweight or unhealthy Moken children. Neither are they addicted to TV, video games or iPods - instead they stay in step with the rhythms of nature. 

In the monsoon season the Moken occupy temporary huts on land. During the devastating 2004 Southeast Asia Tsunamis the Moken lost many houses and fishing boats. 

The devastation would have been worse, but because the Moken are highly attuned to changing sea conditions many knew in advance of the tsunamis and managed to protect themselves.

A large number were spared by taking cover in mangrove forests or setting out to sea away from the storms. It was as if they had a psychic sense that was guiding them.

Some questions to ask yourself about nature: 

How connected are you to your natural environment? Do you spend more time surrounded by technology and modern conveniences rather than nature? Do you trust your own inner senses – your intuitions and feelings? 

4. CHANGE

Change may be the only constant factor in life and it applies to all people. The physical landscape that the Moken inhabit was changed by the 2004 tsunamis.

After the physical tsunami there quickly followed a cultural tsunami. Waves of well-meaning people from the outside world and the media descended on the Moken people. Many wanted to help, some wanted to cover a news story, but all inadvertently brought with them modern distractions and technology. 

Now some of the Moken live on the mainland and have adapted a more Western lifestyle, leaving behind their sea gypsy life.

The tsunamis were too intimidating and now some seek out the security and protection of the mainland. The Burmese government is seeking to control the Moken more and more and tourists now come to the area regularly. Can the Moken maintain their ideal lifestyle? 

Some questions to ask yourself about change: 

Do you find yourself getting caught up in/or influenced by others?

Are you able to hold onto what you want when unexpected events occur? Is change good or bad? 

Perhaps the paradise or utopia we seek is a state of mind. Wherever we live, whatever we do, maybe letting go of worry, when and want will open doors to happier living. All we can ever control are our own attitudes.



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