Monday, September 26, 2011

It Always Cycles Around

The whole key to understanding the I Ching ultimately is to understand cycles. The I Ching is replete with warnings that one must wait for the right timing to attempt anything. It's way of saying it is to "cross the great water." Secondly, one must understand the principle of balance. One must ultimately balance the principles of yin and yang and incorporate them into one's way of life. Hexagram five is a great example of the first principle in that the message comes through loud and clear that we must wait for the right time. The commentary on the Image says, "Fate comes when it will, and thus we are ready." But the second principle is incorporated into the hexagram as well. While it is important to understand that we can only wait for the rain, we must also work while waiting for the rain. In this way we use action in conformity with the principle of non action, as describe by Lao Tzu. The principle of non action does not mean that we do nothing, we must prepare, but we do not presume upon the actions that we perform to create the rain, it comes in its own time. In this way we balance yin and yang naturally and harmoniously.

And here is a third principle. While it is true that all things are performed through non action, (although we prepare the ground) it is our own inner attitude that ensures success when we apply these principles. Man cannot make it rain, he can only prepare the ground so that when the rain does fall he receives its harvest. But he cannot presume upon the results. He can only make sure his inner attitude is correct. "The commentary says, "It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized." It is only when we have this light that we can perform "actions" which are in accord with the principles of the universe, and that when the cycle peaks we will be ready and be "fortified" (line five). When we produce the right kind of actions, based on inner truth, (hexagram sixty one) when the cycle comes around we will be ready to receive (hexagram two and non action) the fruits of our labors. Actions are merely in harmony with the inner light of understanding that is only given us when our inner attitude is correct. We cannot tempt fate, we must "go out resolutely to meet it."

The commentary on the image says, "We should not worry and seek to shape the future by interfering in things before the time is ripe." Worrying and actions contrary to the signs of the time (Hexagram two line one) would result in failure. We must understand the cycles and properly balance yin (non action) with yang (action) Hexagram one speaks of the great man climbing the stairway to heaven by doing the right thing during the right cycle of time, and thereby becoming a "Chuang Tzu" or a "self realized" person. Non action does not simply mean doing nothing, but doing the right thing at the right time in accord with the cycles of heaven. One reaches success in this way. One cannot fight the flow but merely go with the flow. By going with the flow he or she is doing actions that are in conformity with the principle of non action.

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