On December 26, 2004, a bright and sunny morning the day after Christmas, the world experienced what can only be described as one of the most devastating natural disasters on record. Off of the coast of the Indonesian island Sumatra, an estimated 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck, subsequently creating a large tsunami that would end up taking the lives of over 200,000 people. Both the geographical devastation and the human toll were felt around the world.
In Thailand, a target of the tsunami, there is a nomadic, sea-faring tribe called the Moken. The Moken come ashore only to work on their boats, purchase goods, or fulfill anything that can’t be done on the water, but they are a strictly nomadic sea living tribe.
On that December day, when as the Moken refer to it, a “great wave” hit Indonesia, wiping out villages, killing thousands, the Moken people, were unharmed.
What was their secret?
When the wind shifted and the birds changed their flight pattern, and the animals headed up into the hills, the Moken people watched the tide change beneath them and listened to the language of the sea. As a people, the Moken are known for sharing their past, their wisdom, and their truths to each generation through the time-honored tradition of passing along oral wisdom. They had repeated their stories of great and terrible waves they had experienced in the past.
So when the great wave did come and it wreaked havoc on the land and on the people, the Moken were able to use their knowledge and wisdom to serve and protect the tribe.
The Moken listened to their bodies and to their environment that day, like they had done every day before that. They have such a connection to their intuitive life, to their history, and to their knowledge of the sea that when these – what many consider unnoticeable – changes began to reveal themselves in the ocean around them, they noticed. And, they took immediate action. Those Moken on the water headed further out and those ashore warned their fellow tribes people, joined the animals, and headed up land into the hills.
Their ability to observe and adapt to their changing environment is the key to their long-term survival.
In our own life, it is important to remember the message of the Moken in understanding our own environment. What do you notice? What are you sensing? There is a multiplicity of intelligence available, if we are curious, attentive and listen.
What are you sensing now?