And of the ten …

red bird2And of the ten thousand things, none can be worked on by you. Lao Tzu.

We human beings have come a long way in a few thousand years. We have been a world unconscious of itself, divided into many tribes, existing simply, mostly unaware of our fellow beings. We have been explorers, expanding our boundaries, and seeking out new shores. We have been conquerors and idealists, forging our way, defining culture, and language and politics. We have been Ancient Aboriginals in many lands. We have been Ancient Tibetans, Ancient Romans, Greeks, Africans, Indians, and Ancient Chinese. We have been farmers, war mongers and slaves. We have developed Religions, trying to make sense of ourselves in the Universe, and we’ve developed Science to do the same. We’ve built pyramids, obelisks, cathedrals, huts and houses. All the while, we have been becoming aware.

Now here we are. We have mastered our world; and connected ourselves to all places of the globe. We’ve fast moved from fixed-dial telephones, radios and analogue television; to internet, mobile phones and twitter. Now, we communicate worldwide regularly and we do business worldwide, regularly. All of a sudden we are a global community. All of us sudden, after thousands of years, we have an awareness of ourselves as part of this wider community. We are a world consciousness. This is huge, and new. A few thousand years ago we had no idea that this would be our reality. A few hundred ago, we still had no idea. Now, we are beginning to see a wider world perspective, a human community. As we travel, relocate, and communicate we are beginning to adapt to this new paradigm. It is a big leap in awareness.

We are becoming a World Nation. We entertain on a daily level international ideas, international people. We are always connected, we are always tuned in. Within this, we are seeing how all things are connected. We are beginning to understand how our actions affect the whole. We see that trees felled in one place, coal burned, over-fishing – can have an impact world-wide. We are seeing that our consumerism can positively or negatively affect the lives of others. We see the effects of floods and famine on our fellow beings and feel charged to respond. This all comes with a great load of responsibility. Never before have we had to be so involved in the lives of others, and so accountable. Never before have we had to entertain the whole world in a single day.

Within this, we are still as we were. We are still living and loving, creating children, creating our days, watching the sunsets and feeling the breeze on our skin. We are the people living our lives within the frame of history; we are the individual reality that makes up the whole. It is a giddying stretch. We oscillate between the all-consuming world that we live in now and the responsibility of being a world citizen; with the finer points of our personal existence. It is as if the micro and the macro have combusted and we are smack bang in the middle of it. It is dizzying.

The more we grow in awareness, the more we are expected to encompass this duality with aplomb. More and more we are expected to grapple with the duality of our individual life, with the world at large. At no time in history have we been expected to be responsible for so much. Lao Tzu said ‘of the Ten Thousand Things; none can be worked on by you’, yet this seems now not to be true. Now we feel personal responsibility for the people, for the trees, for the fires and floods, worldwide. We often feel powerless, and guilty.

It’s time to take a pause.

We have accelerated; we are now somewhere quite new in evolution. We need time to catch up, to catch our breath. We need to take some time to allow new thought processes to unfold, a new reality to accompany our new world; and we need to be patient with ourselves. We have come a long way in a relatively short time. There is no point in berating ourselves for where we have taken this world – it has taken us as much as anything. Yes we are becoming aware in a global sense, yes we are in a world crisis and we do have to think about what to do next. But if you can’t solve a problem with the thinking that caused it, then isn’t it time to slow down and let something else come into play?

Creative thinking is about letting something new unfold. It is about letting things be as they are and opening a space for something better to arrive. You cannot think when you are relentlessly thinking. Lao Tzu was right; you cannot be in control of the Ten Thousand Things, even if you can be aware of them. If you can accept that you cannot control everything you are aware of, then – as you set them aside – you leave room for something more.  To wait for something new to arrive is a lesson in trust and growth.


The symbol Oplus is the astrological and astronomical symbol for the Earth. In abstract algebra the Oplus is the direct sum: a creation which combines several modules into a newer, larger module. The World is becoming a newer, larger module and we make up its parts. We are the products of this evolutionary process, as much as we are its guardians; and we are just starting to learn what it means to be, a unified whole.

by Holly Bridges.


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