Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inner discipline

Sometimes in our personal readings we might get hexagram thirty seven, with, let's say, lines one and three changing. The context here is such that we need to have firm discipline within the family. This does not necessarily mean what we might think it means in our western world. In the western world we tend to think of the Confucian model of the I Ching an outmoded model of superficial morality and ethics. Indeed some often cringe at the thought of the "Superior Man" in the I Ching as they think this leads to unfair biases of one man over another. This all has to do with what we in the west call "Political correctness", where we all try to use words that we think have the least amount of bias built into them. But this so called political correctness is stretched very thin and often distorts the true meaning of words and concepts. The I Ching is full of concepts of the actions of the superior man versus the inferior. Let's face it. Our football teams, baseball teams, and all other sports teams are filled with people of superior talent or they would not be playing professional ball. We must call a spade a spade and face life as it really is.

So, in effect the person who contributes to the well-being of his or her family can in some senses be called acting in a superior way in regards to the family over someone who squanders the families wealth on alcohol or beats the children or what have you. These are not the actions of the superior person. It would be best to quit becoming prejudiced by pretending to be getting rid of our prejudices and see things in their true light.

But it can be that we have no family in the literal sense, so we might be confused when we get these lines, or any lines in hexagram thirty seven. But we must remember that what happens above also happens below, and what happens without also happens with in. And within each of us there are a multitude of personalities calling out for expression. One moment one mood controls us, and the next another. Line one of hexagram thirty seven says, "Firm seclusion within the family. Remorse disappears."  Even if we are not a part of a literal family, we have a family within ourselves, and the best way to integrate that family is to be always focusing on the "superior", and letting the "inferior" go. We must develop ourselves in such a way that there is an "inner power" within us. Line three carries on the theme of discipline, and we must discipline ourselves. When these two lines change, we have hexagram twenty. Hexagram twenty speaks of a profound inner seriousness. (In life, paradoxes exist, so it is equally true that we cannot take life seriously and should have fun, and that we should take life very seriously.) Most people at some time in their life find something that inspires them with a great deal of awe, and they get caught up in it, and try to understand it. In hexagram twenty the person finds great awe in the spiritual and/or cosmological processes of life. It so inspires us that we are in awe of the greatness of it all, and begin to "comprehend" the laws of nature. Science does this as well as the philosopher. But in order to really understand the laws of the universe we must have that inner discipline that keeps us on track, not by force or intimidation but by fascination. We are so in awe of it that our minds become quiet and meditative, as in hexagram fifty two, (which has a similar structure) and it is through this quietness and this awe that we come to understand the spiritual laws of life, and not just have book knowledge of them, which is meaningless. Just reading the book of changes from cover to cover would never give us a profound understanding of the laws of life. It is only when we compare "line with line, precept with precept" that the material becomes part of us and binds us and unites us as an inner "family" and we become awed by the vastness and the profuseness of it all. It changes our inner being. Book learning, and intellectual learning does not do that.

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