I do a lot of driving in my business as an insurance salesman, averaging about forty-five thousand miles per year. To pass the time and keep my mind occupied, I started listening to audio books.
My wife had started the practice when she drove home to Alabama. She would go to the local library and check out three to four good audio books, and if the tale was good, once absorbed in the story, the miles would fly by. I thought if it worked for her; it would surely work for me.
The selection of books at my local library was more or less limited to murder mysteries, a genre that I had never had a particular interest in.
I had been nurtured and raised on the Science Fiction novels of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Herbert and Anderson, writers who were way ahead of their time in concepts of the future developments of humankind and great storytellers.
So it was with some trepidation that I checked out my first murder mystery by James Lee Burke; and much to my delight, he turned out to be a master writer, who even today still resides in nearby Lafayette ,Louisiana.
The story was amazingly entertaining. The actor that read the unabridged version of his novel was superb and brought the story to life with his voiceovers, changing from male to female characters with the ease of a fine wine flowing down one’s throat.
I was hooked and every week I would “read” at least two of these murder stories. After about three years, I had pretty much exhausted the small library’s inventory. The days of being able to run into the library and pick up another novel written by a familiar author was long gone.
I had to slowly walk down each isle, pick up a cassette book, read the cover page to see if it would be of interest, replace it back on the shelf, select another, and repeat the process, time and time again. It became a tedious and time-consuming process; and worst of all, most of the time, I ended up with something that was not very good.
One day at the library, while performing my laborious task of book selection, I picked up an audio book by Marlo Morgan entitled Mutant Message Down Under (Harper Collins Publishers, 1994).
The book cover said that the story was about a white woman traveling from the States to rendezvous with her destiny in Australia. Not exactly my cup of tea. I placed the book back on the shelf and kept browsing.
After twenty minutes, I was back in that same isle, randomly picking up books, and found myself again holding Mutant Message. I thought, “I have already read the cover, not my kind of book.” I again placed it back on the shelf.
I kept moving from display rack to display rack, picking up books and putting them back. I looked down and here I was again holding the Mutant Message book. I thought, “Now this is strange; here I am again holding a book that I don’t want to be bothered with for the third time. Is somebody trying to tell me something?”
I checked the book out as an act of faith, trying not to offend the gods or whoever it was that had encouraged me to take the book home with me. When I got to my car, I immediately placed the first cassette into the tape player, and the story started.
It has been six years since I heard the story so I will make some mistakes in the retelling. I do not remember the names of the characters, the cities and villages involved; but my memory is clear on why I was directed to check out the book.
The story starts in the northeastern part of the United States with a white female, the author, who one day begins having an inner calling to travel to Australia.
She was a successful businesswoman, single and childless, quite content and happy with her life; and she had no previous urges to travel anywhere outside of the country, let alone Australia.
But the urge to go was incessant and increased day by day until finally she relented, informed her boss that she required a couple of weeks of vacation time and bought a ticket to Sidney. Little did she know that she would be gone for four months.
She arrived in Sidney, checked into a medium-priced but safe hotel; she was not wealthy but made a comfortable living at her job. She knew that she did not have the money or the need to take up five star accommodations; and besides, she had an intuitive feeling that she would not be in the city for long.
She meandered about the city for a couple of days, taking in the sights, feeling alone and somewhat confused about why she had traveled so far, without any plan or objective. On the third day, while having coffee at breakfast and reading the Sidney paper, she stumbled across an article about a small town on the edge of the Outback.
Instantly she knew that this was the place that she had been drawn to. She checked out of her hotel and boarded a train to that town and arrived there around dusk the same day. There were two hotels in the small hamlet and she picked out what appeared to be the nicer of the two, and walked up to the desk to register.
After signing in, the dark skinned man behind the desk commented to her, “I am glad that you have finally arrived. He has been waiting a long time for you.” He then gave her the key to her room.
She quickly asked, “Who has been waiting for me?” The desk clerk made no reply, but merely smiled and walked into his living quarters behind the front desk and closed the door.
The hotel was a one-story structure and her room was on the back of the property. The front door led into a one-room abode that had a clean bed, small bathroom, and a back screen door held closed with an old-fashioned latch hook that fit through an eye screw.
The sun’s failing light still allowed her to make out some of the features of the Outback that began just outside of the screened door. For the first time in her journey, she felt at home and at ease. Surprisingly, she had one of the best sleeps of her life in the lumpy bed.
At dawn, a rooster, loudly crowing outside of the back door, awoke her. She had slept all night with the heavy wooden back door opened and the screen door latched, which allowed for a cross breeze to pass through the rear door and out through the front that made up for the room’s lack of an air-conditioner.
She quickly rose, washed up in the small sink, brushed her teeth, combed her long blond hair back and tied it into a tight bun. Just as she started for the front door, looking for something to eat, she heard a light tapping at the rear door.
Through the screen, she could see a very tall and black Aborigine man. His eyes were bright; his long black velvet hair uncombed atop his head, and a broad infectious grin was spread across his flat-featured face.
He said, “I have waited so long for this moment; and, finally, I have you with me again. I can tell by the look on your face that you are still confused and don’t quite understand what is happening. If you will come through the door and out into the yard, I will explain everything to you.”
She looked dumbfounded, not quite knowing what to make of him; however, she did instinctively know that she had nothing to fear from him. For a moment, she thought that she knew him; despite his black complexion, he looked so familiar.
They sat on two large rocks about twenty feet from her room, and he started to talk, “I am going to tell you an amazing story, but every word of it is true. You see we, you and I, have known each other for eternities.
Before coming to earth, we each selected these bodies that we dwell within. My choice brought me to Australia as an Aborigine; your choice delivered you to the northeastern part of America.
We have been soul mates forever; and so we promised that during this incarnation, no matter what, we would be joined again even if it was just for a short while. It was time; and that is why I called you here from America. Do you understand?”
She said, “How is that possible? I don’t really understand.” He gently grasped her hand, and she felt a mild sensation of blissful understanding that affirmed her confidence.
Still holding her hand, he stood up from the stone seat and pulled her erect; and in a soft voice, he told her, “It is time for us to start our journey.” Hand in hand, he led her toward the Outback.
She had not noticed before, but he was not alone. About one hundred yards away, stood a small group of thirteen naked aborigines, young and old, tall and short, male and female, all smiling and patiently waiting for them.
She could not fully comprehend what was happening to her. Was she really going to follow these strange black people into that harsh desert? She thought, “I must be out of my mind!”
When the two had made it to the small troop, they instantly started laughing, stroking her hair, and telling her how much their tall black leader had told them about her. She was like the prodigal son that had finally returned home.
They started to remove her clothes but she pulled back. When she first met him, the tall leader had been wearing a pair of tattered shorts; but somewhere along the way, he had discarded them and was now also completely naked.
Their lack of clothing did not bother her, but she did not like the idea of her being naked. She had decided, why she could not fathom, to go along with them at least for a few days.
The leader told her, if at first she did not feel comfortable with being naked, to take off as much of her clothes that felt right to her. She took off her skirt, blouse, shoes, stockings, hairpin, and placed them neatly folded on a large flat rock along with her purse that had her passport and ID inside.
The leader raised her left arm, removed her wristwatch, and placed it also inside of her purse, saying, “You won’t need this where we are going.” They placed about a dozen medium-sized rocks on top of her belongings to conceal them from prying eyes and curious animals. She was left wearing just her bra and panties as the group set out on their Walkabout.
She was given a small kangaroo skinned leather pouch with a rawhide looking cord to hang around her neck in order to carry a few, very small, sundry items.
The leader gave her a small, marble-sized, round, white stone. He said, “Put this in your pouch.” Confused, she questioned, “What for?” He replied, “You will know when the time comes.”
At first, she struggled with the walking; without shoes, she was constantly stepping on sharp stones that lacerated her tender western feet. At night, the women would attend to her, wrapping her damaged feet in aromatic green leaves, which had some secret healing powers.
In the morning, when they removed the leaves, her feet looked to be almost healed. Her stumbling along, feet bleeding, held up the band from making any significant progress; but her people, for now they were her people, did not seem to mind. After all, it was a Walkabout, and you were never in a hurry to get anywhere.
Every morning at sunrise, the small group would form a circle and give thanks to the Spirit Guide, who had in his wisdom, provided them with a new day. They thanked Him in advance for the food and water that He would provide for them to sustain them on their journey. She thought this most unusual.
Not being particularly religious, she at first refrained from this morning ritual. But she was surprised to find that as they traveled about, when mealtime approached, a large lizard or a couple of rabbits would always miraculously appear in their path to be the day’s meal.
After killing the food and before partaking of the animal’s flesh, they would first thank their Spirit Guide and finally thank the Spirit of the deceased animal for giving up its life so they might live.
After a couple of weeks, her feet started to toughen and the nightly wrappings were no longer necessary. The troop had started to make a lot of progress in their apparent trip to nowhere. She was now completely naked, and had long ago thrown away her torn and ripped bra and panties.
The sun had darken her white skin to the point that it was no longer necessary for them to anoint her with the strange smelling sun blocker. She had gotten so tanned and dark that from a distance, it was hard to discern her from the rest of her group.
Then one day, a strange thing happened. They had all gone through their morning prayers. By now, she prayed too but with little conviction; and the prayed for food and water had not been provided. That night, they made their beds hungry and thirsty.
The next morning at sunrise, they repeated their morning prayers; late into the afternoon, nothing had been provided. No food. No water. Nothing. She looked over at her celestial friend and asked, “Where is the food and water that we need?” He said nothing but met her eyes with his and smiled. That evening, they bedded down to another day without the sustenance to sustain life.
By the next morning, her mouth was dry and her lips had started to crack. All the other members of the group were in the same state of hunger and dehydration. When she asked everyone present what was happening, they just smiled and drifted away.
She was now having unbearable dehydration; she felt that she was on the verge of dying. That’s when her tall friend approached her and said, “Do you still have that small white stone that I gave you?” She reached into her small pouch and placed it in the palm of her hand.
He did not say a word, but she immediately understood its use. She placed it in her mouth and started to suck. After a few minutes, she started to salivate and got some relief from the parching thirst. Meanwhile, the rest of the band stood around her, staring and smiling.
As they walked along, everyone kept their eyes on her; they kept smiling and watching her every move. She fell in stride with her friend, “Why are they all smiling at me, and why won’t they take their eyes off of me?” He was also smiling when he said, “We are all waiting to see what you will do.” She said, “Do what?”
He spoke with a soft condescending voice, “Have you given any thought as to why I called for you over so many thousands of miles?” She really had not. He continued, “In this life, on this plane of existence, there are lessons that have to be learned in order to ascend to the next plane.
You were in a situation where it was impossible for you to learn these lessons. Here, in this place, you will be taught all of the lessons that you will need to know. We are all waiting for you to learn this first primary lesson.”
“Tell me what I need to know. At this rate, we will all be dead before I find out!”
He laughed and said, “You are so close, so very close.”
That night, she barely slept at all. She kept going over and over in her thoughts about what he had said. She was weak from dehydration and hunger. She felt that if something did not happen tomorrow, she would die. She started to softly cry, feeling sorry for herself for submitting to this ridiculous Walkabout. She knew for certain that tomorrow she would take her last breath and die.
She gave up; and through her tears, committed herself to accept her faith without any reservations. Her crying had not gone unnoticed by the rest of her troop. In the darkness of the desert, lit by a gorgeous full moon, the others could make out the knowing smiles of understanding on each other’s faces.
At the break of day the next morning, the small group formed their prayer circle. She stood alongside her tall friend, beaten and chastened by the harsh Outback land; and for the first time, in complete submission, gave her will over to the will of their Spirit Guide.
She gave a prayer of complete obedience, telling Him that if it was His will for her to die this day, then let His will be done. If it was His will that she survive until tomorrow, let His will be done. She prayed that she would live her life, one day at a time, in complete submission to His will.
After hearing her prayer, the small band broke into joyous dancing and laughter. One by one, they embraced her with hugs and kisses. She finally understood that she had learned her lesson.
They started their walk; and within twenty minutes, not one but two of the largest lizards she had ever seen waited patiently in their path. Off to the left, a small shrub grew.
One of the women dug down about a foot around its base, inserted a hollow straw-looking reed, and started to suck. Within thirty seconds, cool clear water started to bubble up from the ground. Now she knew that these were not miracles; but like the rest of her clan, she understood that it was just His will being done.
I do not think that it is necessary to expand on this lesson. It is so apparently obvious what our heroine had to learn. The story goes on from here to give even more insight to this woman’s remarkable journey.
I recommend Ms. Morgan’s book to everyone that reads these pages. It is a delightful, insightful analysis of the human condition. This piece is just a tidbit of this remarkable story. Is it a true story? Some say it is fiction; some say it is non-fiction. I suggest you read it and decide for yourself.
But this episode is not the reason that I chose to introduce you to this story. The Creator One led me to this book; and I think that you have to agree that I was led because I need to tell you about another poignant incident that occurred in her travels, which has an even more profound effect on the human condition.
One day, months into their journey, the tall leader gathered the group together, and said that tomorrow they were going to have a foot race. Everyone immediately got excited. They all understood that, walking about as they did, there was very little to do to provide entertainment.
The anticipation was high for the next day’s event, and some of them had a hard time sleeping. Around midmorning the next day, they all gathered, marking the course off, and making preparations for the big race.
Our American friend set about gathering some wild flowers. The tall leader said, “What are you doing, my dear?” She said, “I am making a bouquet to give the winner. We don’t have anything to honor the champion.”
He laughed and pointed out to her, “Look, we already know who is going to win,” and he mentioned the name of one of the younger men. “He always wins. I don’t think there is a rabbit in the Outback that can outrun him. We are not racing to see who can win; we are racing just for the fun and sheer joy of running. Put the flowers down and go get ready for the fun of the race.”
They had their race, and the fast young man won as usual, but everybody had a grand time. The faster runners, after they crossed the finish line, went back to help the older women finish.
They would rest for about half an hour, then start the race all over again. The fast young man continued to win and go back and help one of the older ladies. The only thing that would change was the finishing order of the slower runners.
That night, around the evening fire, they all congratulated each other for races well ran, and thanked their Guiding Spirit for such a wonderful fun-filled day.
For those readers, who are old enough to remember the times before PlayStations and Xboxes, we boys, would go out to a grass-covered field or vacant city lot, lay out a makeshift baseball diamond, and then with two, three or four to a side, play from sun up to sun down every single day.
We never kept score; we played three outs and now it’s my turn to bat. There were no winners or losers, just a bunch of kids having fun playing ball all day long. There was no competition between teams or individuals.
Let me repeat what I said, there was no COMPETITION! Why would this be so important? Competition is one of the most destructive forces in human civilization.
Now I speak to you as the Creator One’s messenger, in order to reveal to you a different way of life, a new paradigm of living free from the evils of competition. Some of the concepts offered will offend some but that cannot be helped. If mankind does not embrace these concepts, we will slip into the abyss of self-destruction and be no more. Our time is short.
In our lives, the first competition is between siblings for the affections of their parents. Parents should be taught to never show preferences for one child over another.
Some children are master manipulators, craving attention as if it were some kind of strong drug. Some children do not require as much; but you should never give the excess affection to the manipulative child.
When my six children were born, my wife and I understood that they did not come with an operator’s manual. We did have the best-selling book by Dr. Spock on how to raise a baby, and that was it.
All potential parents should attend child-raising classes on how to properly raise their children with mandated refresher courses, until the child is eighteen.
If I am forced by the state to pass a difficult insurance licenses exam and have continuing education classes to maintain my licenses, why would it be so difficult to require parents to do the same?
We have all seen mothers at the grocery store with a newborn on her hip, a one-year old in a stroller, and a toddler grabbing everything that he can get his little hands on, shouting and slapping at her two-year old.
Under no circumstances, should there be single-parent households. It takes a mother and father to properly raise a child.
The school system should be completely restructured. There should be no competition between the brightest, fastest learners and the slower learners.
My youngest son attended Evergreen College in Washington State. It is a progressive liberal arts institution; 93 percent of their students graduate and go on to advanced degrees; and every university in the world accepts their college credits.
However, they have a unique feature, they have no grading system; no A, B, C, D, or Es are given; no one is forced to compete for the hallowed A. Instead, each student receives an evaluation at the end of the course, listing their strong and weak points and that they have successful completed their course of study. No one fails.
Students are counseled at the beginning of each semester as to what they hope to achieve by participating in a certain course. Most of the time, a single class on a specific topic is selected.
For example: English Literature is the only class that the student takes for the entire semester. Two instructors conduct the class, a list of required reading is given out, and the students write papers on what they have read.
The Socratic method of study is also implemented. The student discusses his paper and position with other students, often not in a classroom setting, but under an ancient cedar tree on the campus mall.
At this fine institution, the objective is to make the student think, instead of parroting back some rote response on a test. I would like to mention that no tests are given.
If a student does not initially grasp the course material, he continues to work with his instructors, even into the next semester, until he and his instructors are finally satisfied the course materials have been adequately covered.
I can already hear the pundits, loudly proclaiming that this just can’t work. To which I reply, “Mr. Pundit, it already is working.”
Evergreen graduates are some of the brightest and most intelligent people in the country. I would challenge any of the Ivy Leaguers to match the Evergreen student’s broad base of intellectual understanding and achievement.”
Back to the children, the Creator One has given you a perfect working model of how they should be educated. All students are given the basic courses of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
No one is blindly advanced to a higher grade, ill-prepared for the next course of study because there is no grade to be advanced to.
No student loses his self-esteem; no student lacks confidence. All students learn because there is no such thing as a child that cannot learn.
The advanced student is allowed to progress as fast as they desire and not left bored to tears looking out of some classroom window. Teachers should be trained to not discriminate between the brightest and the slowest.
Teachers are the most important people in any civilized society, and they should be adequately compensated for their efforts. In general, they are the lowest paid college graduates when they should be the highest paid.
Pay them for what they are worth! Remember, they hold in the palm of their hands, eight hours a day, our most precious asset, our children.
As the child advances, alternative courses should be offered. I have never been able to figure out why I have taken so many math courses, and never had a practical use for the knowledge.
Why learn Spanish when everybody in the world is striving to speak English? Would it not be better to spend that time gaining expertise in another field of study?
If a student is inclined to go into medicine, then take the courses that will promote excellence in that vocation. A student, who is mechanically inclined and upon graduation plans to join his father in the family automobile repair business, does not need endless courses in Literature, Chemistry, Biology and Civics.
Everybody should be exposed to these disciplines, but detail study is not necessary to make you a chemist when you want to be a mechanic. If your car breaks down, all of the chemistry in the world is not going to get it started again.
The reason for eliminating academic competition is to instill in every student that they have a valuable and worthwhile role to play in our society. No one is more valuable than any other one.
That is why all competitive sports should be eliminated between high schools and colleges. Let us look at high school football. The coaches will tell you playing football builds character. I would like to see some of these student athletes whose characters they have built.
How are you building character by cussing out the player, slapping him on his head, and teaching him how to hurt and maim an opposing player? They constantly scream at their players. “Kill the s-o-b! Tear his head off! Kick his teeth in!”
And the fans, parents and non-playing students are not much better. They rant and rave, along the sidelines, the same epithets as their half-crazed football coach. For your consideration, I submit to you that this type of behavior does not build character, but destroys it.
They are always saying, play as a team. Have you ever given any thought as for what reason? I am in the insurance business. I am a commission-only salesman, which means if I don’t sell, I don’t eat.
We have a weekly sales meeting, where the manager is always saying that our team needs more sales; that our team is ahead of the other teams for sales this month; that we are on the way to being the number one team in the country.
Figure it out. What is he talking about? If my teammate, Jennifer, receives a large commission on a sale, do I get any part of it? NO! There is no sharing of commissions in the office, so pray tell me how are we a team?
The manager may have a team because he receives overrides on all of our production so I guess he does have a team. I know that all I have is a job. I am not on a team.
I have a grandson whose high school football team won the state championship. He was an extremely good player, making All State as a free safety; and in Texas, that is quite an accomplishment.
Their win was truly a team effort, but only two people got the credit—his coach and their All American running back. They were both widely written up in newspapers across the state.
The coach was named “Coach of the Year,” and every college in America sought the services of their running back. Please explain to me how this win built character of the other players? And if the “team” won it, why did they not receive the same accolades?
Also, understand in any competitive sport, there has to be a winner and someone has to be the loser. The losing team went home depressed and in tears. They had worked so hard and still came up second best. Did their loss build their character? I don’t think so.
Nearly all of those students graduated and never played competitive football again. We are trained as a people to remember the winners for only one year, and forget about the losers.
In the Aborigine foot race, who won the race? Everyone! Who lost the race? Nobody! Now think for a moment, which sport builds character?
The Aborigine race builds character because the first person across the finish line went back to help the weaker racers finish. Have you ever seen that happen at any competitive track and field event? Of course not!
Now, listen very carefully, because this statement comes from the Creator One. For hundreds of years, western civilization has thought of the Aborigines as savages. The One asks you to look in the mirror and decide for yourself. Who is the real savage?
You are falsely taught that competition is good; it is the lifeblood of business. I was in business for thirty years and owned the companies that I ran. Most people don’t realize that out of five new business start-ups, at the end of the first year, only one is left.
Out of those that survived into the second year, at the end of the year, only one is left. Of those remaining in business, only one in five survive into the third year; and this progression continues year after year. Until in the tenth year, only one out of the original fifty start-up businesses is still around.
These are not very good odds. So, what happened? Big businesses don’t compete. Take the oil industry. They all sell gasoline within a penny of each other on the same street corner.
Airlines sell their tickets within a couple of dollars of each other. Automobile manufacturers sell their cars within a few hundred dollars of each other. Grocery chains sell their food within a few cents of each other. I could go on and on.
The little guys go under because they price their goods and services so low that they price themselves right out of business. Most of the time, they do this servicing the corporate giants. When I was making parts for the auto companies, I would lose bids because I was .001 cents higher than my competition.
The giant auto companies did not care whether I went under; their only concern was to save that one thousandth of a penny. Save it here; save it there; and pretty soon, it adds up to a couple of dollars. Now we need to ask, is competition in the marketplace all that it is pumped up to be? What do you think?
You are falsely taught that competition in the capitalist free enterprise system created the middle class. I would argue that the union movement, along with some government programs after World Was II, like the GI Bill, which allowed the returning soldiers to obtain a college education, and the FHA, which allowed the average worker to own a home, did more for the middle class than any corporate program.
Without the unions, all of us, including the white-collar workers, would still be working twelve-hour shifts for a few dollars a day.
Why is competition such an integral part of the American psychic? The answer is quite simple. The competition keeps the nation in readiness for the ultimate competition, war.
The media and our political leaders constantly remind us that America is number one, and we are the best and greatest country in the world. However, out of the nineteen industrialized nations of the world, when you measure every category of care and concern for its citizens, we rank a pitiful dead last.
I am sixty-five years old. During those years, let me list the wars that we, as a nation, have participated in: World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, The Cold War, Granada, Panama, Bay of Pigs, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Desert Storm, Iraq Wars I and II, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and finally, the greatest war without end, The War on Terrorism.
And why? So that we, through this ultimate form of competition, can proclaim to mankind that we and we alone are number one in the world. No one can compete with us financially, economically, educationally, scientifically or militarily.
Our allies, the western Europeans, found out after WWII, that warring among each other was just too high a price to pay. They had waged war against each other for over a thousand years so they formed the European Union; and, as the Bible teaches “beat their swords into plow shares,” and now they are prospering.
They allow the crazy Americans to spend 60 percent of their disposable budget on war and implements of war. They must be laughing all the way to the bank. While we spend all of our resources, defending them and ourselves from real and imagined enemies, they are enjoying the good life.
Let us review the progression of competition. Children compete for the parents’ affections; they then compete for the teachers’ accolades in the classroom; competition in sports on the high school level enforces a “them against us” mind set; people compete against one another for jobs or for promotions; small businesses compete themselves right out of business; and as a nation, we compete ourselves into world domination and into bankruptcy.
The Creator One has offered you a solution to this insanity: You start with the parents, progress through the schools and then you will be amazed to see what will happen.
Some will say easier said than done. I would have to agree; but I also ask, what is the alternative? I have found that people always do what they want to do; we just need to raise their consciousness to the level of this new paradigm.