Thursday, May 12, 2011

First steps

In a way, hexagram fifty three is a mirror or a microcosmic view of the message of the I Ching overall. The I Ching is a guidebook on how to make our lives work, and is a teacher to help us through life. In that way hexagram fifty three and hexagram four and hexagram twenty nine have a lot in common. In hexagram four the young person has a teacher. There is someone there to guide him. In our cases that is the I Ching itself. It is a guide post to help us through life. In hexagram twenty nine, life itself is the teacher and in hexagram fifty three line one, experience is the teacher. For an actual teacher outside of ourselves can only take us so far. He or she can give us a framework to go on, but it is experience that teaches us how to apply the lessons learned. So, in hexagram fifty three line one it says, "The young son is in danger. There is talk. No blame." The young son is in danger because he does not yet know how to apply the principles taught him by the sage in hexagram four. Since others more experienced do not remember the stumbles they took in applying the teaching, they tend to be critical of the mistakes of youth. The sage him or her self, however, is not so critical, except as a teaching tool.

Since hexagrams one and two are the prototype for all that follow, the first line of hexagram one says, "Hidden dragon, do not act." This fits in well with the principles of hexagram fifty three, twenty five, and all other hexagrams as well, since it is never wise to act in a contrived manner. Attempts at manipulation will always come back to bite us sooner or later. When we are inexperienced we cannot apply the lessons of the teacher in the right way. We have misunderstood the context in which the sage presents each lesson. Therefore, upon going out alone, as is spoken of in hexagram fifty three line one, it is necessary that we be cautious in the beginning, like the little fox in hexagram sixty four, who cautiously checks the ice on the stream he is trying to cross. (Life itself is a stream as if of flowing water.) We must learn to pay attention to the promptings of the sage, (our own higher selves) in order to rehear the messages and begin to apply them in the right way. As it says in hexagram four, line four, "Often the teacher... has no other course, but to leave the young person to himself for a time..." For life itself makes it necessary that we eventually step out on our own, and make our own way, hesitantly following the course as best we can in the way that is presented to us.

The commentary on hexagram fifty three, line one says, "Since no one comes to help him, his first steps are slow and hesitant..." This teaching is presented over and over in the I Ching, that everything begins with the first step, but it is nearly impossible to originally apply the principles of life correctly in the early stages of our life. Therefore we receive criticism, but by "practicing chariot driving and armed defense daily," (hexagram twenty six line three) we begin to understand how to properly apply the principles that the teacher has taught us, and though at first the progress is very slow, after years of studying we start making gains in our life faster and faster. Finally, hexagram fifty three line one commentary says, "but these very difficulties keep him from being too hasty, and his progress is successful." Life is the true teacher. Any other teacher can only take us so far, then it is up to us. No one comes out to help us because it would only be counterproductive anyway. We must make life's teachings our own in our own individual way. In this way the sage teaches us in a personal manner, and our life's lessons are not the same as someone else's.



Courtney (AnsweredQuestions) said...

Hi I'm from Clarity. I am still following your posts. Thank you.

gener202 said...

Thanks Courtney

Glad you like it. I hope to make it much better soon. Best wishes for everyone in Clarity.