Saturday, November 12, 2011

Upright in Character

Hexagram forty six line two tells us that "even though we are brusque and pay too little attention to form, (we are unsophisticated and unaware of the true nature of reality, of the spirit) but since we are upright in character, we are accepted." The key here really is the heart. As it is said Biblically, "For man looketh upon the outward appearance but God looketh upon the heart." It is really the heart the matters in all our interactions, for non of us are totally polished, non of us are "highly" sophisticated, and non of us know proper procedure in every instance in life.

It is the same in our relationships. Being highly sophisticated is not necessarily going to attract the person we want because attraction is a matter of the heart, and logic will not change anything. We cannot be attracted to someone because it is logical to be so. If it were, we would all be in trouble because logic without the heart is only half the equation. But the heart accepts the person when they show a certain humility, in the right way, and when they are upright and fair with us, as long as all other aspects are right as well.

It is the same with the Sage, the I Ching, the higher universal subconscious, or what have you. It accepts us when we are upright in character. We are all unpolished, but we become polished when we daily consult the I Ching, and in this way practice chariot driving, and follow its guidance and direction. We become polished by following the Tao daily, by integrating the conscious mind with the subconscious in such a way that we grow spiritually and in maturity. (For spiritual growth and maturity are in essence one and the same thing.) But if we had to wait until we were polished to be accepted, we could never be accepted because we would have no way to learn how to improve ourselves.

It is the same with an employer employee relationship. When we apply for the job we need to be as sophisticated as we can, as able to do the job as possible, but it is only by working the job we gain real sophistication in correctly doing the job. An employer expects us to be capable, but knows that the real experience and sophistication will only come once we do the job.

Once we are accepted we begin the journey. After beginning the journey we may find that things progress with remarkable ease, at least at first. But we cannot count on things always being that way. The lessons we learn intellectually will sooner or later be placed on us in such a way that we will have to learn experientially as well. Line three however, tells us that we must not give into those misgivings but simply do the work now, the test will come when it is time. In the same way, in our relationships, we learn day by day, but when things go well, we still fortify ourselves for upcoming events, for no relationship is without difficulties and we must fortify ourselves for the future. (See hexagram five line five.) Nevertheless, we must not have misgivings about the future, but simply enjoy the day for the day, while at the same time practicing following the Tao daily. (Once again, chariot driving) If we want to be successful in relationships, we must work daily on that relationship. If we want to be successful career wise we must practice our career daily, never ceasing in attempting to improve and get better. If we wish to be successful in our spiritual life we must never forget to "seek what is right." (Hexagram thirty four, the commentary)

Finally, hexagram forty five line five tells us that "there are some who are not yet sincerely in the work." We are not sincerely in the work when we do not "push upward into an empty city, but let things slide. The key to not letting things slide is to be dedicated to set aside time daily for whatever spiritual work you wish to do. Life will throw obstacles in the path, as life goes on our daily tasks impinge on us to the extent that we forget the spiritual work that is to be done, or the work on our relationships or careers, and "fall back into the moat" (hexagram eleven line six) of doing no more than what we need to do in the moment. It is what some Christians call backsliding. We get used to a rut and literally forget to get out of it. That is what hexagram sixty four teaches us. That we are not there yet. If you think you have arrived you haven't. If you think you've finished all the steps you haven't. If you think your classes are completed, you are sadly mistaken, for even if we are "upright in character," we still lack the polish that only life experiences and the teaching of the Sage, of the I Ching can give us. And we would not complete our lessons in ten thousand life times.

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