Monday, November 14, 2011

The King Approaches his Temple

The judgment on hexagram forty five says, "The king approaches his temple. It furthers one to see the great man. This brings success." On a spiritual level the "king who approaches his temple" is the superior person who goes within to that deepest part of himself in order to seek answers from that divine part of us, or from the I Ching, or from the Tao. It is only when we correctly approach, with the proper decorum delineated in hexagram four and elsewhere, and reach the deepest strata within, that we find the true answers to life's questions. And only when we have reached that deepest strata, and found the true answers do we bring success.

We also approach the temple when we find that which matters to us most, and act in propriety and dignity to maintain the relationship supposed in a given situation. We approach the temple when we seek for answers about our relationships, and are willing to do whatever work is required to maintain them, and please our partners. We approach the temple when we go to a supervisor at work to get honest feedback, or information not readily available, or do whatever is necessary to maintain good communications within the company. We may also have a complaint, which needs a hearing, or a need to communicate some information of value to the company.

The judgment continues in saying, "To bring great offerings creates good fortune." When we present ourselves to our higher selves for review, and for wisdom, we must in most cases to be willing to give up something of our lower natures. We must be willing to sacrifice things that we are accustomed to and crave but are not part of our overall plan for spiritual unfoldment. We must "set aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us," because attachment to these things only brings suffering, and they interfere with our purpose and function on the higher levels.

In the same way, in order to make a relationship work we may have to give up the time used hanging out with our buddies, having a few drinks after work, or bowling night with our pals. Not necessarily everything, but anything that takes away prime time with the family, and is hurting members of the family. We may have to give up certain habits, spend more time talking and communicating with our spouses. We may have to give our partner more space, or less space, depending on the circumstances. At work we may have to give up a pet project, or get to bed a little earlier to be primed and ready to go the next morning. We may have to give up that late night extra drink, or a late night out. In order to make the primary matters of our life work, we often have to give up something that we like, but does not project us forward on our goal. When the king approaches his temple he realizes that "The place whereupon he standeth is holy ground." On holy ground we have to give up the profane. We have to be willing to follow the Tao, the way, consistently, daily, and permanently. That will almost certainly force us to give up some things. To offer the baser thing up for the finer. As Jesus said, "If any man would follow me, let him take up his cross daily." In other words, day by day we offer things up that are not conducive to our path. We die to the lower person, we renew our fellowship with the higher person. In this way, in approaching the temple, we see the great man.

Finally the judgment says, "It furthers one to undertake something." When we approach the temple, there is a requirement that we do something that leads to deeper spiritual involvement. We "take up our cross," or as the Tao Teh Ching says, we must invest in loss. Everyday, Lao Tzu says, he loses something. He gives us the things that are not useful, and takes up the things that are. "To bring great offerings creates good fortune." Our fortune arises because we give up something, something that is not beneficial to us anyway.

Often we must give up our activities, things we like to do, because they are not conducive to our spiritual growth. Excessive activity can lead to a mind that is very confused, and going ten thousand miles an hour. The lower trigram of hexagram forty five tells us that to have true happiness, we must learn to still the mind, to be calm within. Without that stillness, we cannot approach the temple, we cannot see the great man. When we calm the mind, when we let go of excessive activity, and limit ourselves (Hexagram sixty) to only those things that moves us along on the pathway, then "a light develops out of events that shows us the way." But we have to give up our desire to control. We have to give up our desire to be ceaselessly active in attempting to consciously create our world the way we want it. The key is to imagine the world as we would like it, then let it flow. A constant flow of activity from the conscious mind only will only lead to trouble and disaster in the long run. Stillness, and a willingness to let go of excessive activity is the only key to "seeing the great man, approaching the temple." And finally, it is necessary that as hexagram forty five, line five, the ruler, says, "If we are not yet sincerely in the work, Sublime and enduring perseverance is needed." We cannot accomplish everything all in one day. It is a matter of daily taking up our cross, dying to our lower selfish nature. We must follow the Tao daily as if "Practicing chariot driving," giving up, or bringing offerings to the higher self, in that way we "approach the temple."

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