Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences!
Earlier this week I threw the I Ching, which presented me with Hexagram #62 Preponderance of the Small. The I Ching chose the image of the skylark who, though a bird, stays close to the earth rather than soar beyond its limits. The gift of flight is acknowledged, but staying grounded where it needs to be is the sober requirement of the skylark. The danger with gifts is that we may become over-identified with them and push beyond the reality of where we truly need to be.
At one level, I think this archetype, Preponderance of the Small, is a fitting representation of the relationship between ego and spirit. We are given the gift of consciousness in all its smallness and must check its shield of hubris as we acknowledge our orphan status and find our way to the deep nurturance and wisdom of the spirit or collective unconscious. (See Message #542 Direct Experience.)
On a personal level, my encounter with this hexagram immediately generated both resonant awareness and the option of engaging Self-pity. Resonant awareness saw the truth in the hexagram and the appropriate response to its counsel. The ego self had a different reaction: the I Ching is suggesting an inadequacy. Suddenly, the door is opened to a lifetime of vignettes capturing hidden inadequacies and, deeper still, the judgement of core failure and the inability to change. Self-pity then rushes forth, offering to shroud the ego in an energetic cocoon, alienated and forsaken, yet bathed in a comfortable, self-contained protectorate.
And so, we are confronted with the classic blue pill/red pill choice. If we choose the blue pill, Maya, the spinner of illusion will step in and generate all kinds of “facts” to support our Self-pity. At the core of Self-pity is the secret belief that we are special, since, after all, on some level there is the belief of undeservedness for our predicament. With our specialness preserved we are not forced to change; we are safe to continue to wait, in entitlement, for the world to finally give us our royal recognition.
The red pill is simply the truth, and right action, which necessarily flows from it. With the truth we are challenged to stand in the field of our reality, inadequacies revealed, no specialness to cloud our clarity, no judgements, simply acceptance and responsibility for our continued evolution. (Sometimes, we swallow both pills at once!)
This morning, as I contemplated presenting this topic, I consulted The Wheel of Time by Carlos Castaneda, what I call “the shaman’s oracle,” as it depicts all the archetypes of the warrior’s way. Synchronistically, I opened to commentary on Self-pity. Carlos points out that Self-pity is inherent in our human condition, never to be eliminated. He counsels that the challenge is not to eliminate Self-pity, but, in fact, to rearrange its role in our lives. In effect, as I interpret it, he encourages us to use its energetic push to bring full focus to a truth attempting to reveal itself. How do we do this?
Steady the self and suspend judgment. Allow the self to get calm with its smallness and determine what actions flow from this place of truth. Thank Self-pity for being the foster parent that fosters evolution! Make it clear to Self-pity that we no longer need to be swaddled in blankets of illusion. With this action, we truly derive value from Self-pity, as we assign it the rightful place in our lives, by turning it into an evolutionary tool that serves truth over illusion.
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Until we meet again,