Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Stages of Growth

The commentary on hexagram one in book three Wilhelm/Baynes version says, "The stages of growth can occur in a clear sequence." We see this when a child is born and the child is first a baby, then an adolescent, then a pre-teen, then a teenager, then a young person, etc. But we don't really understand it in our spiritual growth. We don't see clear stages, and yet they are there. But a definitive study of the I Ching will teach them to us in a personalized way. When you cast a hexagram you are not going to receive the same one someone else does. It will be personal to you. Then you will discover, as you continue to do this, (don't overdo it) the stages that are right for you. In a way hexagram fifty three carries this same message. Each line represents the next stage in one's completion in becoming a sage. In fact, all the hexagrams delineate this same progression in a way that is consistent with the meaning of the hexagram. In this way, first lines can be compared with other first lines and information can be garnered in doing so. The same with second lines to second, third to third, and so on.

For example, the first line in hexagram three says, "It furthers one to remain persevering." Remember hexagram one line one says, "Hidden dragon, do not act." The time is not right, but that does not mean that one does not prepare. Since it is not the right time he must not act and yet he/she should still not be put off course. If it is not time to act, we can still prepare. The commentary says, "he must not try to force advance but must first take thought." It is always necessary in any undertaking to prepare first before laying the ground work. If not we become like the story Jesus tells of the man who builds his house on the sand, or the story of the person who starts a project but then is not able to finish it, and people laughed at him. Not acting does not necessarily mean we walk away from the situation. Hexagram five line one says, "It furthers one to abide in what endures." When the time is not right to act yet, we refresh ourselves in that which is close to us and nourishes us. As we nourish ourselves, we grow. As we grow, we become better able to tackle the tasks ahead. But we must wait until the right time. If we do not nourish ourselves first the "hidden dragon" is sure to sink its teeth into us. (hexagram twenty one) Hexagram seven line one says, "The army must set forth in proper order." Before we can accomplish any task we must have developed a sense of discipline and inner control. Without that, the task cannot be accomplished. We can see this principle in first lines everywhere. The lines must be absorbed and meditated upon though, else we only receive the "dried grisly meat" (hexagram twenty one line four) and not the tender meat of line two.

The commentary on hexagram one in book three also says, "The way of the creative works through change and transformation." It is natural law that everything left to itself changes. Summer changes to winter, day turns to night, peace turns to war and back to peace again. This is a universal law and cannot be changed. It must be accepted and our lives must come to be in harmony with that universal principle. The judgments and the lines tell us the level, degree, and nature of change we are going through in a given situation. They tell us when the situation is ripe for action, when we are at a standstill, when corruption sets in, and when conditions are ripe for improving the situation. But we must be keenly aware of our relationship to the entire process, and how our own attitudes and behaviors affect the changes. This is extremely scientific. For anyone who has studied quantum physics much at all they would see that live presents itself to us in the way we expect it to. When we grow spiritually, our mind calms, and we are more willing to accept the process of change as being something not controlled by the conscious mind, but a result of our own inner beliefs and attitudes. If we feel that life is against us, if that is the inner, subconscious attitude, we will find multiple examples of that being the case. If we feel that life is an amazing opportunity, we will find our beliefs affecting the changes around us. Let it be said, it is another thing to change that which millions of people are believing, though the masters can sometimes do it, we can only change our own personal world, and that is through changing our inner attitudes and beliefs and growing spiritually.

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