As I lay in my bed this morning, during that dreamy time before rising (assuming that you have the luxury of being able to rise whenever you are ready, and not to the tune of some intrusive alarm), when thoughts tend to flow freely, I engaged my mind in some interesting thoughts. I will try to relate them here, as best I remember them.
“What do people who read my blogs and social media writings think of me?”, I wondered. Not with concern or from a place of ego, but purely from interest. “When they read something like what I posted yesterday, do they see me as someone who revels in his own inflated sense of importance?”. “Do I need to explain myself?”. “How can I do that?”.
Within myself, I know that the real picture is nothing like that. I have no sense of my own importance. I have no over-inflated or self-fed ego. I know that I am nobody, nothing. Well, a little more than that, but, viewed within the vast tide of humanity, I, like everyone else, am but a speck of dust. Not a worthless speck, but one that has all of the power and influence of a speck of dust, in a pile of dust, on a dirty floor.
Most people today, live their lives, self absorbed within their own fairly narrow sphere of influence, struggling on different levels and differing scales to get through as best and however they can, from day to day, while retaining some sense of dignity and self-worth but basically sleep-walking through life. Most attempt to cultivate their influence on their surroundings with whatever gifts, skills and values they may possess, to mold and shape those things to better fit their own views. To build their world to better match their own world-view, however large or small, light or dark, joyful or doleful that may be. Only a very few find the time or energy, any more frequently than taking the occasional glimpse, to lift their heads in order to take in the view of what is going on around and outside their own circle of life.
I used to be one of that ‘most people’ group, until recent years. Too busy with my own life problems to take notice of anything else much. Self-absorbed. Insular. Introspective. Perhaps it is something to do with age, retirement, or maybe even a form of enlightenment, but at some stage, and I can’t put a finger on a date and time, maybe it is a process that we all must go through, I ceased to be interested in the mundane things of existence, the everyday stuff that we are all wrapped up in to a greater or lesser degree. Those things no longer mattered or were of any importance to me. Oh, I still needed to do them. Still needed to brush my teeth and hair, wash occasionally, cook, do the dishes and generally clean up from time to time. I still needed to move around and shop and communicate with others. But none of those things bound me to a necessary routine any longer. I awoke to a realisation that there are far bigger issues to contemplate and consider. I began to see the world at large, its influences and drives, its current place in the vast panoply of cosmic, solar and human history …and I began to work out what was going on.
That doesn’t make me special. But it does make me different. There are a growing number of people who are prepared to step out of line, question what they see, and dig out the underlying truth behind what is being hidden from us by those who would prefer us to remain as sleep-walkers.
Photo: A detail from the Great Tapestry of Scotland
I realised that we, each of us, is part of that vast scheme. Each of us a single thread of life weaving stitches, moment by moment, with each thought and action, building into and creating just a small infinitessimal part in the makeup of the overall picture that is the vast tapestry of human history. We are engaged in a task that we can look back on to see the results of the endeavours of our predecessors while we continue to shape the present by everything that we do, and we can look forward from the pattern that we are laying down on the canvas towards that unpainted or as yet unstitched future that we or our descendants will create in time.
I realised further, that I am but one thread among almost 7.4 billion other threads all engaged in weaving this pattern. Taking in that picture, that view, can only serve to bring home to anyone their own insignificance, their own importance, and their own ability to influence how the picture shapes up and how beautiful or hideous it turns out to be.
It was not always so. Originally, back in the mists of time, there would have only been a few hundred weavers stitching their threads onto the canvas. Then a few thousand and a few million. Only in 1804 did the number of threads of life reach 1 billion. Now, only 200+ years after that, there are almost 7.4 billion of us. Can you see how the relevant importance that each one of us holds is relative to the total number at any time? It is no wonder that we tell tales and myths of the great people, heroes and heroines of history. Their influence must have been far greater than anything that we can hope to achieve today, among so many.
It will not always be that way.
Our planet, the canvas on which we weave our story has not grown. Only the number of threads being woven has grown and we are turning what was once a beautiful image into a grotesque distortion of what it should be by our discordant, inharmonious and misdirected stitching work. Our legacy on the tapestry of time will not be a pretty one. Not, at least, until we return to a level where we can recognise true heroes and great people once again. It is coming. Soon.