Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hexagram eight

There was a question asked me about hexagram 8, lines 1,2, and 5. It sounds like a reading. I will try to discuss it here, although I am not sure what the context is for the question. As a rule, I only do readings minimally except for situations of spiritual growth. However, there is a place for them. But to answer, I really need to know what the question is. Nevertheless, I will discuss the context in these lines just a little bit.

Hexagram 7 and 8 are both about unity and forming relationships. But in hexagram 7 the context is forming relationships at least partially through coercion, as the context requires for an enforced unity for the good of all. Hexagram 8 is about developing unity too, but only among those who have a common quest. In hexagram 7 unity is developed through coercion, in hexagram 8 it is developed by common interest. Both require a strong leader. But the leadership in seven is different than eight because the context and the requirements for unity are different. In hexagram 8, we join because we want to join. We see a commonality of interest in a time of peace, and a goal that can be reached through WILLFULLY working together.

Hexagram eight deals with multiple types of relationships, hexagram 7 more with relationships formed to overcome an obstacle, relationships that might well break about once the job is done.

With that in mind, the various lines develop the concept of relationship more fully. Both of these hexagrams show some elemental promise for individual relationships, but hexagram 8 has greater validity in this area. This is because, while in both hexagrams, the two central lines correspond, in hexagram 8 the central lines are correct.

Since, in hexagram 8, the first line is yin, we take as the cornerstone of our interpretation, the first line in hexagram 2. Hexagram two line one says that "When hoarfrost is underfoot, solid ice is not far off." This means that the situation is just beginning to develop, and line one in hexagram 8 tells us how to make it develop properly. Line 1 in hexagram 2, again, also tells us that we must pay particular attention to the signposts along the way, to see that we are following our course properly. In hexzgram 8 line one, as well, we must follow the signs within ourselves to make sure we are properly pursuing our relationship with the utmost fundamental sincerity. Sincerity is less important, although still valuable in enforced relationships such as in hexagram 7, but here, it is of the utmost importance. We must check ourselves daily, to find any trace of an ulterior motive, or any form of selfishness, for that motive will eventually wreak havoc on the best of relationships. It is that lack of selfishness, and coming together for the common good, that brings people together in an unenforced union. This is a natural thing, unlike the arbitrary and contrived unity in hexagram 7.

There is a principle here, an undying, eternal principle that is given to us in these verses of the I Ching so that we might come to a greater understanding, and a deeper appreciation of the role, and of our purpose in the universe. The universe is governed by principles, principles that some might say amounts to "God." I prefer to look at it as the natural laws that are not made by a creator, but are one and the same as that creator. All existence has life, and all existence has awareness, therefore, it is impossible in the long run, to get away with anything, for here we are compromising ourselves with universal law, which is both totally impersonal, and yet totally personal, at the same time. This principle, in the I Ching is called "The Sage," in the Bible it is called "God." Call it what you will it is law, and it is awareness. If we violate this law, we automatically pay a penalty for doing so. The Wilhelm Baynes commentary says of this principle that it has the power to attract good fortune to all those who abide by it.

Line two goes deeper into the meaning of principle, and which principles we should follow in the pursuit of developing relationships. (This hexagram should be read in context with hexagrams 61, 31, 32, 53, and 54 at the least.) It is important that we do not pursue relationships to the point that we lose our dignity. (See the image in hexagram 28 and 36.) We must not throw ourselves away. This is true in all forms of relationships, but in personal relationships, it is important that one does not, in order to please the other person, do things that one would not normally do, or feel comfortable with, or even with the motive of impressing unduly the other person.)

Finally, the fifth line, the upper central line, and the ruler of the hexagram, hint to us how to properly choose who belongs with us. Ultimately, in a free society, as opposed to the situation in hexagram 7, it is the other person's choice, whether they join you or not. It is like that old saying, "if you love someone, set them free, if they come back..." (See hexagram 38 line 1) We must choose those who choose us, and let the others go their own way.

When these three lines change, we have hexagram 19, which speaks of approach. When we follow the instructions given to us in the book of Changes, we are more readily willing and able to approach others in a spirit of harmony. When we prove ourselves worthy, the universal sage approaches us, assuming we have approach in the right spirit. Not only do we approach, but the text speaks of "joint approach," for those we have harmonized with are themselves capable of a deeper unity, a deeper understanding and a commonality of relationship. And together we approach the universal sage, and become one with the spirit of light, or the universal light. We are deeper, happier, and more mature individuals when we have developed the relationships that are proper for us. (See the Wilhelm/Baynes commentary on hexagram forty five, line 2.) "There are secret forces at work, bringing those together who belong together." This isn't mindless commentary, this is how the universe works, and this is how the Sage reaches us, and brings us into fellowship with him/her. There are always, always, secret forces bringing people together, and separating others who do not belong, (See hexagram 59.)