Sunday, November 02, 2014
The trouble with hexagram forty eight
Actually, there is no real problem with hexagram forty eight, except in some contexts. As a secondary hexagram, or the hexagram derived from the changing of lines, hexagram forty eight could at times be telling us that we are "not getting it." The reason we don't get it is that we don't go far enough down into the well to find the real answer. We see spiritual things from a superficial angle only. The commentary in Wilhelm/Baynes on this hexagram says, "We must go down to the foundation of life. For any merely SUPERFICIAL ordering of life that leaves its deepest needs unsatisfied is as ineffectual as if no attempt at order has been made." (At this point, does anyone see why I use only the Wilhelm/Baynes version when using the I Ching for spiritual growth?) How often is our reading and understanding of the I Ching superficial or even misinformed? I would say 100% of the time. It is not enough to just get a simple answer to a simple question with the I Ching. For if it doesn't change us then it doesn't change the circumstances under which we asked the question either. And even if we get some good advice and follow it, it will leave us feeling as in our "deepest needs are still unsatisfied." We have not gotten the real answer, because our rope does not go far enough down.
There are other hexagrams that deal with this same problem although in a slightly different way. Until we get into the upper trigram we are viewing things in a very superficial way. In hexagram twenty it is often that we do not properly perceive the teachings of the teacher, or that we do not have a sufficient basis for understanding to really understand the true meaning. In several places in the I Ching it tells us that until we can truly calm our mind we cannot understand the laws of the universe. (See hexagram fifty two for one example.) The problem is discussed also in hexagram four, but here the emphasis is one the immaturity of the one attempting to perceive, and teaching alone is not enough, but life experience is what is really needed. It is one thing to have head knowledge of a subject, it is another to experience it and through "repetition of the material" make it a part of our inner being. When hexagram forty eight appears, it is possible to think we have gotten to the truth when we have not. In this case we need to take the advice of hexagram twenty one, and "bite through" til we get to the heart of the message. For when we think we understand, usually we do not.