Which One Will Save Us?

I’m fond of the Lao Tzu quote: ‘An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.’ Lao Tzu knew that small things could make big differences and that big things could be a bit – well shall we say – prone to sitting comfortably. According to his text in the, Tao Te Ching, humans have no special place within the Dao. They are just part of the many things in existence. But the problem with us humans is the fact we have desire, free-will and the capability to alter our nature. This means we can upset the natural balance of things without too much effort. Let me give you an example. I was recently standing by the kitchen window. I was gazing out at the water-logged fields. As I stood there I entered a discussion with my partner, Jo, about what it would take to raise children who are complete in love, compassion, balance and understanding. And while the answer to that question is simple – show the child love, compassion, balance and understanding – the reality of doing that all day, everyday may seem a little trickier. Why? Well, I was asking this question because this week I was taken back to a time when I was eight year old. At that time in my life I had started to throw tantrums. I did this because my parents didn’t respond to my demands for attention. And how could they? When I was eight my mum caught hepatitis. She was close to death for eight months, while my dad was half way through building a house, while at the same time having to put his business into liquidation. Meantime my older brother was having trouble with a teacher at our new school and as a result having trouble settling in. Right now, I’m about the same age as my dad was. My daughter is about the age I was when I threw my tantrums. From the ripe old age of 39 I can see why my dad is an idol and a man I should look up too. He did everything he could to hold it all together when it could so easily have gone wrong. In the end he completed a beautiful house. My mum recovered, my brother settled into school. But even without the kind of pressures my dad had, I can see why my kids need all my love, compassion and understanding. My eight year old, is doing what all kids her age are doing, wrestles to understand the rest of the world. I can see why my role as a parent is to be love, compassion and understanding. If I can do these things, all the ripples that were not love, can be returned to love and all frustration will be returned to harmony and balance. A bad day at school can mean a bad mood at home. A child doesn’t need a demanding domineering ego driven parent. They don;t need telling off. They need space, nurture, a smile, a kindness. And it’s no different when we look at the rest of life. When we struggle with our health, wealth, relationships, etc, all that needs to happen is one thing. All we need to do is return our self to harmony – that perfect, natural state of being where we existed before desire, free-will and the capability to alter our nature came into play. Be the ant on the move, change what needs to be changed. With love and good wishes Neil