Monday, Jan 14th, 2013
Innocence flows from a natural harmlessness, openness and pure intentions, unsullied by ulterior motives. The state of innocence has less to do with age than attitude; innocence springs from a heart that remains open to joy and wonder. Innocence, when guided by a firm faith in what is right, brings supreme success. Naiveté unanchored by an ability to discern right from wrong, on the other hand, brings misfortune.
The hallmark of innocence is a willingness to treat others with compassion and respect in a natural way. Those who possess a pure heart are best guided by their instincts and intuition. Thinking too much makes it difficult to hear the guidance of the heart, the suggestions of a clear intuition. Stay simple and be wary of cleverness.
36: Darkening of the Light
Sunday, Jan 13th, 2013
When light becomes dim, it may be wise to become invisible. The image is of fresh darkness, the period after the sun has gone down or the fire has gone out. There is still much activity left over from the light of day, while movements in the outer world become more dangerous. Even the smallest sound, the faintest glow of light, can attract unwanted attention.
When the darkness of stupidity reigns, it is best that your own brilliance stay ‘hidden under a bushel basket.’ That is, your thoughts and efforts should be quiet and self-contained, and protected, as much as possible, from disruptive influences.
Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be swept along on the current of conventional wisdom when dangerous uncertainties exist. Try not to become too depressed or anxious; this period will pass. Just endure it for now and inwardly preserve your self-confidence, while outwardly remaining cooperative and flexible. The time to assert yourself will come. Avoid looking too far ahead if you have not yet achieved your goals. That only feeds regret and longing, which can eat away at your inner resources.
Be cautious and reserved. Control yourself. Do not needlessly awaken dormant forces of opposition. During dark, unsettled periods, it is best to step gingerly around the sleeping dogs.
22: Grace and Beauty
Saturday, Jan 12th, 2013
A splashy sunset bathes the mountains in a soft radiance; the light of a full moon dances on the surface of a rippling river. Grace and beauty adorn the natural world. Grace is not an all-powerful force, nor is it the essential or fundamental thing. By itself, it is form without content. Grace is moonlight on water, not the sunlight at noon. Yet grace brings artistic expression into the world, and enhances the quality of our lives.
In the arts, grace arises out of adherence to form: the dancer becoming the form of the dance, the musician giving life to the form of a musical score, the painter becoming one with the brush and canvas. In human affairs, grace is also aligned with form — with mastery of aesthetic and cultural patterns honed by time and honored by tradition. Through appreciation of graceful customs in human relationships we apprehend the pure beauty of the ideal, of life raised above the mere struggle for survival.
Possession of grace, like the bearing of a beautiful gift to a wedding, can add stature to those in humble positions. Take care to lend grace and dignity even to small happenings, while giving the weight of deep and careful consideration to matters of greater consequence. Though it should not be confused with true substance, an artistic flair can take one far in this world.
Thursday, Jan 10th, 2013
A community or extended family that works is one where healthy interdependence is appreciated and supported. Good direction is essential, but strong kinship is dependent upon every member of the community. Trust, shared responsibilities and good communication are essential. Each member must be encouraged to find his or her appropriate expression, and contribution.
The functional family is a team that symbolizes the ideal of human interdependence, and has long provided a firm foundation for society. The healthy family is a microcosm of society and the native soil in which ethical values take root and grow. Fertilize this soil, and the whole of society benefits.
The power that bonds a tribe is the yin or feminine principle — gentleness and receptivity. Relationships are improved through cultivation of these. Learn to accept both advice and aid from others, and be willing to assume an appropriate role in any group that supports good relating. A good team player is always valuable to others. Increase your value!
55: Great Abundance
Wednesday, Jan 9th, 2013
A time of abundance comes into full flower when the powers of leadership and teamwork are at their peak. The situation is like that of the sun at midday — a high noon of clarity, insight and progress. Such peak periods can be brief. Whether this refers to a national cycle, a business boom or a period of abundance, it is important to bale your hay while the sun is shining.
During a period of abundance, it benefits one to show benevolence, to share the fruit of one’s good fortune. Think of good deeds now as a hedge against times of scarcity in the future. This reading bodes well for expansion in love, the raising of children and the nurturing of a healthy family or any close-knit group.
49: Revolutionary Change
Monday, Jan 7th, 2013
According to Chinese symbolism, the juxtaposed elements of this hexagram are fire under water. Fire evaporates water, and water puts out fire. Change can cause conflict; conflict brings about change. This hexagram refers to that time in the cycle of human affairs when things need stirring up, and when the hint of dramatic change is in the air.
In order to succeed, revolutionary change must be in alignment with certain unchanging laws. The process must begin at the right moment, gather support from a broad base of people, be guided by sincere and capable leadership and — most important of all — must address a real need. The strength of the forces of change will always be in proportion to the urgency of the need being championed. This is true whether the revolution is in government, in business, in education or in one’s personal affairs.
Revolutionary change points to a time when chaos arises from order. It is important to realize that not all order is good, not all chaos bad. Chaos, in fact, is an integral part of the way of things — as any parent (and modern science) will confirm. Have the courage to radically change and renew the way you present yourself. In this way, you can summon chaos to your cause, and you will unleash a new power on your behalf. If engaging in a negotiation, change the rules; if composing a piece of music, add the unexpected; if courting a lover, dare to be unconventional.
In periods of drought, even wild storms are preferable to yet another sunny day.
Friday, Jan 4th, 2013
Increase and decrease are part of the natural cycle of life. As spiritual author long ago put it, ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.’ Like a reservoir that is being used to irrigate the fields, learning to accept a decrease in position or material possessions is part of preparing for increase in the future.
We may live in materialistic times, but there is no disgrace in material decrease, particularly if it represents an investment in future gain — even if that gain be in the form of one’s education or the development of personal character. Likewise, the inner strength that comes from bearing loss can be balanced by a corresponding increase in inner strength and insight — as in the expression ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ When letting go of attachment and personal demands leads to a greater simplicity in daily life, good fortune often comes calling.
In nature, the lake evaporates to form the clouds that drop the rain that nurtures the surrounding forest. As the forest grows thick, more rain is captured for the lake. Similarly, an ‘evaporation’ or decrease in one area of your life, may give rise to an eventual increase in another. A loss of responsibility at work can mean more free time; more free time may generate more career options. A period of decrease is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can free the spirit and fill the soul.
Be mindful of the lesson of young lovers: even with a minimum of possessions, feelings of the heart can bring an unsurpassed richness to life. The smallest of actions, if sincere, have value. So remain confident, for a time of decrease may actually bode good fortune, especially if you remain open to that possibility.
Let go of frustration, resistance and regret over whatever may be going down at this time. Accept the cycle, and remember what goes down must come up.
61: Centering in Truth
Wednesday, Jan 2nd, 2013
Truth involves establishing an aware relationship between your inner core and the circumstances in your life. Centering in truth involves the ability to perceive a fundamental wisdom, reflected within yourself and the people you know.
Truth is transformed into power when you dissolve prejudice and make yourself receptive to the world as it really is. Truth’s power can be a remarkable force indeed — yet is rarer than generally imagined. It can be maintained only by cultivating a genuine openness to things as they are — a willingness to see, rather than merely look.
Whenever your inner life is clouded, your influence in the world is under a shadow. If you are fearful, you will be attacked; if you cloak genuine mysteries in dogma, opportunities for new insight will be lost. If you vacillate in upholding your principles, you will be tested. Yet, when you are firm and strong, the power of truth can break through even the most stubborn minds.
In any debate, the power to perceive the truth in the other side’s argument is essential to achieving success. It is possible to influence even the most difficult people, or improve the most difficult circumstance, through the power of universal truth — for unvarnished truth is something to which all things naturally respond. Get in touch with the part of yourself that is aware of this universal force. Cultivate this inner resource, and you will become adept at using it to bond with others to support a common purpose.
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