Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Marrying Maiden as a Slave

Hexagram fifty four line three can teach us a lot about ourselves, if we are willing to look at it a little more deeply. The text says, "The marrying maiden as a slave. She marries as a concubine. Doesn't sound too appealing, does it? And yet we all do this in one form or another all the time. There are many ways we do this, (and we do it often without consciously knowing it), yet let us discuss just three of them right now.

First, we become a slave when we give our power over to others. We don't really know we do this, but we do it all the time. In relationships we do it in order to keep the relationship alive. Often we find ourselves with very controlling partners, but out of fear we hang on because we want the relationship. Even, however, if our partner is not controlling we do it. We give into our partners wishes and desires even if it hurts us because we want to hang on to something when it is untenable. Now there are times when this is necessary, but we must ask ourselves, how much of our own self esteem are we willing to squash in order to keep this relationship alive. We think we are powerless, but we are not. We become powerless when we give into fear, when we let ourselves be overridden and overruled in order to gain some temporary advantage.

Second, we become a slave to our passions when we let them overcome us. "The commentary says, "This pictures the situation of a person who longs too much for joys that cannot be obtained in the usual way." This is another form of "giving our power over to others." If our passions become too strong, if temptation becomes unbearable, and we give into them, we become a slave to them. We desire something badly enough that we are willing to sacrifice something of ourselves in order to get it. The commentary goes on to say, "He enters upon a situation not altogether compatible with self esteem." Now self esteem is not the be all end all of every situation. But we must take note of the price. Is the price a form of slavery? Even to ourselves? This is the context of this line, and when we look at our relationships, our joint business ventures, our lives in general, we must ask, "What is the tradeoff here?" Am I really willing to be a slave to this situation, to this person, to this relationship? The commentary goes on to say, "Neither judgment nor warning is added to this line; it merely lays bare the actual situation, so that everyone may draw a lesson from it." It is up to us to decide whether this situation is tenable or not, and just how much of our power we are willing to give away and at what price.

Third, we become a slave when we allow ourselves to be deceived. We believe because we want to believe. We believe because the truth would be too horrible to bear. We believe because we want it to be that way. We trade freedom for security, and end up realizing we get neither. We trade our dignity for a relationship we think is tenable but really is not.

There is always a tradeoff. We give up ourselves in order to secure our person in some way we think is tenable, but it is really a trap. The commentary in book three says, "Moreover it stands in the highest point of pleasure, hence it throws itself away as the lowest type of slave, merely in order to achieve marriage at any cost." How often we do this and don't even realize it. We want something so bad we are willing to give anything for it and find out ultimately that it was a trap of our own making. We deceived ourselves, willingly, though unconsciously. A wise man once said, "Before you can break out of jail you must realize you are in one." Most of us have no clue of the trap we have set for ourselves. This planet is a prison planet, and it is such because it offers us the pleasures of a material body. So we stay, we incarnate over and over again, trying to satisfy our lusts and desires, and do not realize we are magnetically trapped in our souls to this place, and cannot escape, until we realize we are in prison.

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