Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Source of Great Power

Hexagram thirty four gives us insights into the meaning of power and where it comes from. When we attain it, we are all too often inclined to become egotistical and bully our way around in one form or another. This is true pretty much of all leaders of all nations. That doesn't mean they will necessarily go to war with another country, but that they will use their power to suppress all others who are opposed to their power, or trying to become more powerful themselves.

Many would argue that we all do this on our own level, and that we must do it in order to survive in the world. Indeed, it is the instinctive way. Even when we wish to break from the game we find ourselves engaging in these power struggles without really realizing it. If we don't, we may find ourselves the "dog that gets eaten." So, if we want to live moral lives, what do we do? Perhaps it is, as so many say, impossible to not play the power game at least at our own level. But the highest spiritual values and teachings, insist that we should not play this game. In fact they are so emphatic about it, that they insist you should not play this game even at the cost of our own lives. Jesus said that "a man must take up his/her cross daily, and follow him. Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher said that "daily he invests in loss." Why would anyone invest in loss? Perhaps because "metaphorically speaking, "The way of the cross leads home." To our true home.

At any rate, The hexagram speaks of great power and how to use it successfully. But early on in the Wilhelm/Baynes commentary it says, "...There is the danger that one may rely entirely on one's own power, and forget to ask what is right." What does it mean to not ask what is right? I would say this. If we think that our own power originates with us, without seeking the tao, or seeking heavenly guidance, we become arrogant and our own arrogance will eventually turn against us, as the dark shadow within us seeks its due. Not asking what is right means we ultimately think that our own conscious mind is so smart we can outsmart and outfox everyone, and in that way gained our power. But as the ancient Greeks used to point out so much in their mythology is that the gods hate arrogance above all else. We do not give them their due, we arrogantly take credit of ourselves, and hence eventually lose the power we had fought so hard to gain.

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