Friday, January 05, 2007

Hexagram thirty

Hexagram thirty gives us a lot of information on “how to keep going.” In other words, to stay focused, and not move away from our goals. The commentary tells us that “a luminous thing giving out light must have something that perseveres, otherwise it will in time burn itself out." Hexagram thirty is about remaining true to our inner heart and its purpose. The various lines in general describe situations that can, if we let them, make us lose heart, get discouraged, or just take our mind off our goals. The impetus of the world is to distract us, get our mind, our attention on other things of lesser worthiness. We go to work, we go to school, we do things that are necessary, yet if allowed, can get us off our spiritual path. The second and fifth lines, being central are less of a problem, but each line gives us some hint as to how to maintain our purpose and our goal amidst all the distractions and pulls of life. (Compare this hexagram with the Biblical story of the sower of the seeds.)

Line one tells us that if we are not dedicated to our purpose, the hustle and bustle of life will make us forget the path we are to take. We get distracted by day to day activities that cannot be totally avoided. They will divert our attention, so there is a need to constantly remind ourselves of our inner purpose.

Line two is not so much of a problem, but it does teach us to “hold to the mean.” In other words we must maintain mental and emotional balance in our day to day affairs. If we let daily problems and irritations detract us long term, then we lose sight of our inner purpose.

Line three warns us against inconsistency. Momentary whims and upsets can rip us away from our inner purpose, our spiritual goals and teaching. It is also easy to fall prey to various moods which can cause us to think that what we are attempting is futile or beyond our reach. Getting caught up in day to day emotions can create havoc in our long time spiritual practice, causing us to divert our attention, to be held captive by our emotions.

Line four warns us to pace ourselves, and stick to the course. It is not wise to start a long race at full speed, by attempting too much too quickly, our fire soon burns out and we are left exhausted.

Line five tells us to have a true change of heart. A momentary inclination to improve ourselves is not enough. The desire must be deep, deep enough to overcome the cares and distractions of the world. Otherwise, we will find ourselves right back in the same situation as when we started.

Line six tells us we must take ourselves in hand. We must provide discipline to stay the course. It is not necessary to worry about the little things in this context, but master the big things. When teaching Tai Chi, some teachers will try to teach the details first. This does not work. It only becomes confusing and disheartening. If the major overall movement is worked on daily, eventually the movement will be understood and the details will begin to take care of themselves. We must keep our mind on the overall course, as we walk it, talk it, work it, and practice it, we become more familiar with the inner workings of the small things, and they are important too, but take care of the big things first, then the rest will be relatively easy.

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