Monday, October 06, 2014

Resistance is Futile

Everywhere throughout the "Book of Changes" we are confronted with the principle of non resistance. We can see it right away in the second hexagram called "The receptive." The judgment says, "If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead, He goes astray; but if he follows he finds guidance." Does this mean that we should never lead and always follow? Of course not, but even a leader must understand that he himself is to be guided by a higher power; otherwise it is like the blind leading the blind, and "they both fall in the ditch." As a slight diversion here, when we do an actual reading, to find the answer to a question or a problem we have, the text indicates the answer that applies in that particular situation. But if we do readings for personal guidance and deeper understanding, then the answer we get relates to a situation that is always true, within the context of what is being proffered by our Higher Self, or God. So it is always true that we should be guided, even though we lead.

Jesus also spoke of nonresistance. He said, "resist not evil, and turn the other cheek." Of course, we have to be careful to understand the context, just as we do in the I Ching. Non resistance of evil does not mean that we should never fight for what is right, but that we should have an attitude of non resistance nevertheless. It seems like a contradiction, and yet when we put everything in its proper perspective it is not. There are times when we absolutely have to resist evil. Yet we must be very careful of the time and the situation to know how and when. The principle works, but only if we have a deeper understanding of it, and not a simplistic viewpoint. So in hexagram forty line six we are told to "shoot the hawk on the high wall." Here we root out evil. In hexagram forty three however, it gives us a little different perspective on this matter." The commentary on the judgment says, "...and if we do it the favor of fighting it blow for blow, we lose in the end because thus we ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion." Therefore we must combat it in the right way.

Hexagram sixteen also gives us a little perspective on nonresistance, but in a different way. This gets into the concept of "excessive force" as depicted in hexagram thirty four, but in a different way. In order to "lead men, and to have power over them, we must find the way of nonresistance." If lines one two, and three change of hexagram sixteen, the resulting hexagram is hexagram thirty four, in which we are told not to go too far, not to go beyond the median line. For if we go too far, and push too hard in leadership, all we get in return is resistance from those we try to lead. Here the leader must be in sympathy and harmony with the needs of the people, and shows them how to meet their needs, and solve their problems. If he or she leads by force, he or she is not in harmony with the people, and is not creating unity and harmony within the social structure. We don't fight the current, we go with it. In the same way, here as well, we don't brandish weapons. We fight the evil through nonresistance, and find the path to the greatest prosperity for all. We must know when it is appropriate to fight, and when it is appropriate to use nonresistance. In the martial art of Tai Chi, the older Sages used to use the principle of yielding and neutralizing brute force without confronting it. And when done with skill and agility softness and yin can overcome hardness and yang force very easily. It has in more recent times especially in the western world been emphasized the use of rooting, which is rooting your energy so that you cannot be pushed. That works up to a point, until you come across someone that has a better and stronger root. The best way is nonresistance, letting an opponent go wherever he or she wants to go but then using their own strength against them. This becomes especially easy when an opponent has "gone beyond the median point," where the opponent is now too far forward and off balance. The same thing applies in our social life, if we can learn how to do it, to use softness against force, and allow a person to become "off balance" themselves, and easily toppled. Non resistance works, but only if we have a lot of skill in knowing how to use it, and have practiced for particularly long periods. If we go "blow for blow," as mentioned in hexagram forty three, the bigger and stronger person is probably going to win.

So then, this being said, why does it say in hexagram sixteen line two, that one must be "firm as a rock?" We are firm in our inner principles. We are firm in our determination of following the right way to solve our problems and our shortcomings. We are firm in following the principle of nonresistance and yet at the same time doing the right thing. How do we know what the right thing is? We learn by following the principles in sacred scripture,and studying to know the meaning of a given situation or predicament, and how through nonresistance we can turn it into a plus for us. Not using force, but at the same time being firm. Not giving into evil, but finding a way to fight it without going blow for blow. We "shoot the hawk on the high wall but we do it while understanding the principle of nonresistance. It is really tricky, and we have to understand the principle extremely well in order to use it successfully. The first key, is to, in the process of leading, find our inner guidance.

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