- Religion and Philosophy
Rising Above Destabilizing Circumstances
Definition from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, paraphrased:
Balance: A means of judging or deciding; stability produced by even distribution of weight; physical equilibrium; the ability to retain one's balance; mental and emotional steadiness.
To achieve balance in the current of one's life is to achieve a correct proportion of all elements thereof. Feeling off-balance, I am not at peace with myself. Currently I am faced with multiple negative choices and I am unsure how to proceed.
When I am faced with seemingly impossible situations, sometimes I consult the I Ching, or Book of Changes.
I asked the I Ching how I might achieve balance and it told me to hold tight, something very good lies beyond my current emotional maelstrom if I can embrace the chaos and not try to escape or avoid my responsibilities. The Book of Changes further advised that I seek wisdom and told me that currently my view is distorted. I should avoid the use of force and go slowly and methodically, 'with quiet balance.' I should seek also the help of those who can help me without judgment or self-interest.
The Book is accurate in its assessment of my condition. I will apply its advice and hope for good results.
I asked the I Ching how I could both help myself and one close to my heart. The Book of Changes said that I should wait with humility for the influence of God without struggling. My integrity is being tried and I am in a dangerous situation. I must be strong to avoid losing what I have. I should withdraw into myself to reaffirm emotional stability and reconnect with my core values. Through acceptance of my situation and by working to improve myself I will weather the current chaos and emerge from it to a better time.
Here the I Ching gives me advice that is painful to hear, but sensible. Since I have no better ideas, I will try its advice.
I will become more engaged with the chaos of my situation. I will take only those actions necessary to maintain my current station and do only those deeds I know are good deeds. Using self reflection, I will come to terms with my emotions. I will use Kung Fu and exercise to bring my body into greater harmony and thereby foster inner peace. I will try to improve my writing and my music. I will pray and meditate. I will seek wisdom. I will seek counsel from one whose heart is true.
Here are the actual passages that were presented to me by the Book of Changes in response to my questions:
"Difficulty At the Beginning - If we persevere a great success is at hand.
Beyond the difficulties and and pressures that surround you, a success lies waiting. In order to bring it fully into the light, you must be patient and persevere in non-action.
No matter how fervently one desires to resolve a situation, to intervene impatiently now will only hinder the progress of good fortune. Accept and bear with the discomfort of chaos without attempting to push it away. Allowing it to clear of its own accord, in its own time, is the only way of insuring a subsequent blossoming of success.
Hold to proper principles. In your actions, seek and respect the counsel of the Sage. Allow those whose hearts are true to assist you wherever possible; be tolerant of all others. In this way the blessing that now lies hidden will come into the open.
Darkness distorts your light. Avoid attempting to force a completion. Go slowly, methodically, and with quiet balance."
"Preponderance of the Small - In a great storm the wise bird returns to her nest and waits patiently.
This is a time of difficult and dangerous conditions. You should not be seduced into struggling, striving, or seeking solutions through aggressive action. Success is met only by waiting modestly for the guidance of the Creative.
Trying times are a test of our integrity and commitment to proper principles. The ordinary person reacts to challenges with fear, anger, mistrust of fate, and a stubborn desire to strike out and eliminate difficulty once and for all. While the temptation to act in this way can be great, to do so can only lead to misfortune and the loss of hard-won ground.
The way of the superior person faced with difficulty is that of non-action rather than action. She does not strive after recognition or resolution or attempt to gain a higher position by conquering others. Instead she retreats into her center and cultivates humility, patience, and conscientiousness. On the path of acceptance, self-inquiry, and self-improvement we obtain the aid of the Creative and meet with success after the storm has passed.
The temptation to act harshly wells up. Do not give in to your inferiors. By yielding the matter to the Sage you meet with good fortune."