Saturday, December 31, 2011

Will You Draw the Water?

At this stage in our journey, we can all be classified as the youthful person full of folly. The question is, do we do anything about it? Do we seek the master as in hexagram four? The master will not seek us, for it is not appropriate for him or her to do so. (The reason for this is explain in the text.) Then hexagram forty eight line five in effect asks us, Are we willing to seek the higher level wisdom?

The reason people look for texts such as the I Ching, or the Bible, or any number of sacred literatures is not because they decide one day they want to be more spiritual. It is not because they want to explore and learn, it is because their lives are not working. When our lives do not work, when all around us things are going wrong, we start to think that maybe, just maybe, there is something more to life than what we have been taught. At that point we start looking for answers. But where can we find the answers. When we don't know where to look we can succumb to many false teachings, and teachers who claim to be, and think they are masters but they are not. We must be wary, "like an old fox, who listens carefully to the possible cracking of the ice, and cautiously traverses the great waters." We must find a source that is right for us, and will give us the truth about ourselves. No matter what we do we are going to spend a lot of time misunderstanding and misinterpreting the words of the master. That is why there are so many religious points of view, and so many teachings that seem often to contradict one another. The words of the master are misinterpreted. But they are often misinterpreted because we ourselves are not ready for "prime time." That is, we can only absorb what our present maturity level allows us to absorb. Our understanding is limited. Therefore, it is not so much what you believe, but how you believe it. The words of a master can be taken on many different levels. We need to understand that, and not think that we have found the ultimate truth.

The book of Proverbs in the Bible says something to the effect, "In all thy ways, get understanding." Understanding is the principle thing. It is of more value than gold and silver, and more to be desired than material wealth and prosperity. Yet in so many ways we cannot understand. We can only absorb so much. Even the best teacher can only give a student tidbits that are in many ways wrong, and yet necessary as a first step.

Yet, even with this. It is essential that we be willing to reach down for "the water of the well." For if it is not drawn up, it is only a potentiality, and is of no use unless we partake of it. We understand though "As through a glass darkly," (St Paul) and only accept so much as seems to help us somewhat in the material world, never realizing there is a deeper message. We do not realize there is a deeper message because we have never been willing to as hexagram fifty seven line two says, "Penetrate under the bed." In other words, we have never really truly examined what we believe or why we believe it. We have never employed the "Priests and magicians" to find out what is within our deeper psyche and how that is affecting us.

We must draw up the water from our deeper psyche. We must pay attention to the signs around us, we must pay attention to ourselves and our own inner attitudes. Do our attitudes come from a perspective of separation? Or do they come from a perspective of oneness of all things? When we come from a perspective of separation, it is our ego that is controlling us. When we come from a perspective of unity we come from a moral standpoint of "loving our neighbor as ourselves," and when we have that moral compass, we very naturally seek out a deeper understanding of the I Ching.

Until we have had at least an initial spiritual crisis in our lives, we do not seek out spiritual material such as the I Ching, but when we have we utilize tools such as the I Ching to get answers to our daily struggles, and there is nothing wrong with that, But with the passage of time we begin to see a bigger picture, at least we do if we are growing spiritually. When we begin to see that bigger picture, we find the I Ching taking on a life of its own, and begin to realize that the divinations for daily live are only a small part of the picture. We begin to realize it as a "personal study guide," that by using the divinations we find a personal wisdom meant only for us, that the I Ching is giving the individual exactly what the individual needs, and is slowly progressing us into deeper and deeper understanding. We find that it is personalized and that it is giving us direction not just for a given situation but for daily life, and for all time.

The I Ching tells us in hexagram fifty nine line one, that it will bring to us, "help with the strength of a horse." The commentary says "It is important that disunion should be overcome at the outset. In other words, we have to be approaching life from the standpoint that all is one, not from the ego standpoint that we are separate from others. If we come from the standpoint that we are separate from others, there is also the subconscious illusion that we are separate from the universal subconscious mind as well. The ego wants to be king. It will not tolerate any usurper to its throne. Therefore, the King Herod of the times of the birth of Jesus seeks to kill the young child because it is claimed he will be "King of the Jews." The reigning patriarch will tolerate no challenges to its claim to the throne. When we come from the ego we in a sense, kill all the others, including the "baby Jesus," the Christ consciousness that can be born within us, or as the easterners might say, the Buddha consciousness. The ego kills the growth of the awareness of oneness.

The commentary goes on to say, "At such times when hidden divergences in temper make themselves felt and lead to mutual misunderstandings, we must take quick and vigorous action to dissolve the misunderstandings and mutual distrust." We cannot dissolve every misunderstanding. But often we can, and we must try when there is the possibility of bringing about union. In order to do so, we must "Draw the water," or the wisdom of the divine and make it our own. Ego cannot overcome ego, and it wouldn't if it could, for it always wants to be on top. It always wants to be in control. Therefore it is likely to reject the "help that comes with the strength of the horse." It is unwilling to "look into the secret recesses of the mind," for it is unwilling to recognize any power but its own.

We must learn to look to the I Ching for more than just help with our daily problems. We must recognize the living spirit which is the true I Ching. We must draw from its depths, and not maintain just a superficial overview of its depths. We must not be as the person in line two of hexagram twenty who "has only a limited outlook." We must see the bigger picture, and look for the bigger picture, that will allow us to see more as the Sage sees, and not from our own egoistic and limited perspective. The ego sees only "through the crack of the door," and is a frightened king, frightened because it sees itself as separate, and therefore subject to uncontrollable outer circumstances that could be a danger to it. As a frightened king, it seeks out to destroy anyone or anything that could be a threat to it. As Herod, the symbol of the ego, it seeks out to destroy all the"babies under two years old," because one might grow up to be a threat to him. This comes from fear and fear alone. It is only someone who feels very small that must make himself or herself very big. They make themselves a king because it is too fearful being one of the crowd, without any power, except in the collective sense. The ego cannot know God. Therefore it cries out, "There is no God." Having a God would indicate a higher power than itself, and this is not acceptable.

Let us draw up the water of the well, from ever more deep sources. Let us accept that help from the sage that "comes with the strength of the horse." Let us "Hurry to that which supports us," (hexagram fifty nine line two) When we 'hurry to that which supports us," which brings help with the strength of a horse, then as in line three we "dissolve our self." In other words we dissolve the ego that so wants to maintain control because it is fearful due to a belief in separation and lack. The Tao Teh Ching says of the superior man, that every day he invests in loss. He invests in the loss of the little self that is fearful of losing control, and lets the true, the higher self become more prevalent in his life. In that way, he "draws the water from the well."

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