Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hexagram forty seven teaches us something about handling adversity. The commentary says, "When a strong man meets with adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger." This is how we overcome it, by remaining cheerful. The first line speaks of one who "Sits oppressed under a bare tree, and strays into a gloomy valley." The bare tree is allegorical of situations in life when it seems there is nothing available to us. Our life seems empty, and it seems like we are losing our energy, we are depressed, our mood goes down, and therefore, so does our life force; or as the Chinese would say, our Ch'i. This may be a temporary thing, or we might be passing through "the dark night of the soul." Pretty much everyone goes through these trying times sometime in their life when it seems that life seems purposeless, and without hope. Modern science will often try to tell us that life truly is purposeless, and that we are just here by accident, but even a scientist, whether he knows it or not feels a purpose in his heart that keeps him going on. Purpose, nevertheless, seems to go out the window when nothing seems to be happening in our lives, when our relationships aren't working, when we don't seem to be able to make money, or nothing gives us satisfaction. We have lost the "loadstar" of hexagram seventeen line five and have nothing to follow, or we have lost the enthusiasm of hexagram sixteen. We need to find that "loadstar" again; that which inspires us. The way to find it is to find enthusiasm, joy, even when it seems there is nothing to be joyful about.

The commentary goes on to say, "It is true that for the time being outward influence is denied him, because his words have no effect." It is often true that the people around us, the people closest to us, seem to not hear our real message, our real needs, or understand our manner of showing love. Then it is important that we continue being joyful, and work through the time period, for everything changes eventually. If we are not understood, we must strive to understand. If we are not heard, we must strive to hear. If our talents and ambitions are overlooked, we must recognize them in others. When we stray into a gloomy valley, we see nothing of the needs of others. We only hear our own inner longing. The text says, "for three years one sees nothing." That is because he is totally engrossed in himself and his own problems. The commentary says, "such an attitude comes from an inner delusion that he must by all means overcome." The delusion is that we think the outward world is affecting us, when in reality we affect the outer world.

The trigrams show a situation in which the water has dried from the lake. The water is a symbol for our reservoir of ch'i, or life force, within the body. Sometimes this life force dissipates within us and we need to find ways to amass this life force, building it up and causing it to rise (hexagram forty five and forty six). We build life force by acting correctly in a given situation, by being connected to the universal source of intelligence, and by exercise systems such as yoga, tai chi, or kung fu. We must drink from the well, for once again water is a symbol of the life force within us, and if our bucket breaks, or we do not get all the way down to the well, we suffer, and our live force diminishes, which eventually leads to death, and prior to that leads to depression, melancholy, and bloody tears (hexagram three line six). Or perhaps our sources of nourishment are overturned, as the cauldron is hexagram fifty line one. Our food has stagnated. (Food can be a symbol for our spiritual nourishment, which may be neglected, or damaged in some way.) In this case "one takes a concubine for the sake of her son," the concubine here being a symbol of something of lesser value that we take because we seem to be lacking the power to get what we really want.

Sometimes we get depressed because it seems no one recognizes us or our talents and they go to waste, but hexagram fifty line three says, "One is impeded in his way of life. The fat of the pheasant is not eaten. Once rain falls, remorse is spent." The fat of the pheasant can refer to the more pleasant things we long for in our life. It seems they are just not available to us. It is frustrating and seemingly hopeless. But there is a way out. The commentary says, "But if he will only see to it that he is possessed of something spiritual, the time is bound to come, sooner or later, when the difficulties will be resolved, (see hexagram forty) and all will go well." The key is that inner peace, security, and assurance, that keeps us connected to the source, (to the intelligence of the cosmos), which does not fail us in the end. We need have no anxiety, we need have no stress, no tension in our lives, if we only stay true to the spiritual principle and stay connected to the ultimate source of all good. Adversity is there to teach us. It teaches us of our own mental stability or instability, and what we are like on the inside. Thus the commentary on hexagram forty seven says, "But if adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in time to manifest itself." That time comes when the dragon in line one of hexagram one shows itself in line two of hexagram one. All things happen in their appointed time. Those who are truly connected to the source have no need of depression, anxiety, or remorse. They are simply connected.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Thank you