Friday, January 13, 2012

Not Striving for Advantage

The I Ching informs us in many different ways of the same subject, over and over again, so that if we are persistent we get it. One of those very important subjects, we have been contemplating consistently is that of unity. Hexagram forty five continues the subject of unity. The commentary in line four says, "Since he is not striving for any special advantages for himself but is working unselfishly to bring about general unity, his work is crowned with success, and everything becomes as it should be." Selfishness obstructs unity, selflessness embellishes it. The key here is that the subject is not working for himself alone, but is working for a higher power, in this case the king in line five; but the king so often is a symbol for the "higher self" or that part of us that is bigger than the individual self. It is only when we give up self aggrandizement, only when we give up seeking control and taking for ourselves only out of fear that there is only so much and we need to control everything to survive, that we have any real chance at self improvement. In striving for others we ultimately help ourselves as well as others because we bring about unity.

There was a time when the absolute one consciousness of the universe decided that in order to experience itself fully, it would have to splinter itself into many different parts, then forget that all those parts were all its own consciousness. So the big bang began, and each part of the universe that came to be came to believe it was separate from every other part. In order to experience itself in this way, it had to forget that all was one. But for us that leaves disaster, for in thinking we are separate, we tend to be fearful of that which is outside of us and therefore, feel the need to control everything and every one. But there was still deep within the unconscious the memory that all was one, and wise men of the ages discovered this by one means or another, and as they did, in that sense they became like the prodigal son and began their journey home. There were many pitfalls along the way, for the sense of separation does not die easily, and even when we know intellectually that we are all one, we still operate in many ways from the deeply seated belief that we are separate from everyone and everything else, so our journey is a tenuous one where, every day we must "invest in loss," in order to gain the truly deep wisdom that all is one. There is no end to this journey back home, but ironically, in many ways "The road is better than the inn," and eventually we do for all practical purposes, find our way back home.

The key though, is the unselfish aspect of the line, for unselfishness is very selfish ultimately, but only in the good sense of the word, for the key to truly helping ourselves is to help others. And we especially must help others when we can to find their way out of the darkness into the light of "unity." For there is ultimately only one sin, the sin of ignorance." Even then the sin is somewhat meaningless in terms of punishment except as we, when given the light, refuse to come to that light. Oh, that we might have that light, and have it more abundantly.

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