Today, Chuck offers his blog, in alignment with the energy of the world around us. Jan’s weekly blog, A Day in a Life, will appear later in the week.
Over the past few weeks I have tracked the energy permeating our world in consultation with the I Ching. Two weeks ago, I was advised that restoration of order—the Tao—required acquiescing to the respective needs of the day, afternoon, and evening. Last week, I asked how this can be accomplished when one part of the self tries to infringe on the needs of the overall self. The I Ching advised that the adult self follow the guidance of the sage, leaving behind the demands of the child self. This week, the child self has rebelled with a fury, seizing control by shutting down the US Government and the world economy as it tries desperately to subvert the implementation of a law it dislikes.
Today, I pose to the I Ching the question of how to deal with such an absurd and obvious coup. The I Ching responds with hexagram #21, Biting Through, with a moving line in the second place.
Biting Through depicts an open mouth with an obstruction stuck in the middle of its teeth as it bites down. “Incorrigible people and situations must not be allowed to impede progressive development,” says the I Ching.* A firm adult stance must be taken here. Furthermore, the moving line in the second place depicts a piece of tender meat in the mouth. Here the discrimination between right and wrong is as easy as biting through tender meat. In fact, the wrongness of the behavior displayed is so obvious that it might lead one to overreact with retaliating anger. This is not advisable.
The antidote prescribed for this opposition is indeed hexagram #38, Opposition. “When people live in opposition and estrangement they cannot carry out a great undertaking in common; their points of view diverge too widely. In such circumstances one should above all not proceed brusquely, for that would only increase the existing opposition; instead, one should limit oneself to producing gradual effects in small matters. Here success can still be expected, because the situation is such that the opposition does not preclude all agreement.”
“…So the cultured man is never led into baseness or vulgarity through intercourse or community of interests with persons of another sort; regardless of all commingling, he will always preserve his individuality.” **
The guidance is clear, stay grounded, stay firm but avoid losing oneself or spending one’s energy in futile battle. What is needed is firmness of conviction with compassion for the folly. Ultimately the child self is dominated by fear of change. The root of its act of sabotage is to find safety in the familiar and unchanging. With firm perseverance the adult takes charge and calmly enacts needed change.
The value of the coup played out before us is the obviousness of its tactics. Mature adults are catering to the power demands of a child self to the detriment of all. When this condition emerges within the personality decisions are impulsive and dangerous. The outcome is generally one of stagnancy, defeat, and depression. This condition comes about when the adult self knowingly or inadvertently accedes its power to the child self.
The antidote to such an inner coup is to suspend negative judgments about the self, but with clarity energetically face the truth of what has occurred and restore order and control as soon as possible. It’s not about self-ridicule or blame, there needs to be total acceptance of self, with firmness in realigning with the guidance and truth of the sage self, always present to clarify and guide.
Assuming adult responsibility for self and outer world requires the clarity and firmness of Biting Through coupled with the steadiness of Opposition, as conditions will gradually return to order.
Let’s see what happens,
* Excerpt from The I Ching Taoist Book of Days, 1983; p.152
** Excerpt from The I Ching or Book of Changes Richard Wilhelm translation, pp.147-8