In Ontario, my home province in Canada you must drive northward significantly away from the big cities before you can appreciate the immensity and beauty of the night sky. When you get far enough away from the city lights, the stars are palpable and intense. There are places I have had an opportunity to visit that are much more rural such as the mid wests big sky country in the US, the beauty of mountains and another time laying on my back in the New Mexico desert that are mesmerizing at night.
I can only imagine the ancient peoples connectedness with “the heavens”. The lights of the heavenly world must have been truly alive. In our modern times it is far too easy to brush aside the observations of sun and moon revolving in the sky overhead. Their influences in our daily lives are obvious and undeniable but taken for granted. Sun, moon, planets and constellations overhead while walking upon the earth no longer seem to fascinate. Interestingly though about 25-30 percent of people in various polls believe in astrological influences and check their horoscopes frequently. Given that people want to know their relationship with the bigger picture of life, possibly the poll data is not surprising. So what to do with our desire to know and experience deep connection to life?
Some of you who I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with know of my love and fascination with the classic work of the I-Ching; most often translated as the Book of Changes. This started for me almost forty years ago. While I used to do readings for people I stopped in the early nineties for ongoing therapeutic and coaching interactions instead. As everything moves in cycles I have returned to this stage because of the intrinsic beauty of the I-Ching and its potential to clarify my most recent focus upon Legacy Coaching. Legacy is indeed our connection with life.
A couple years back I completed a rough draft of a book tentatively called Shake Hands With Time: Connecting With Our Legacy. Now I want to get back to it with earnestness. As I begin writing about the I-Ching and legacy I want to share these thoughts and reflections as I go. For anyone who wants to provide feedback, insight or criticism of the ideas presented I would indeed be grateful. The only thing I want is emails of people and some of their personal information in terms of birth data and basic background. Nothing will be shared with anyone but the research data will be valuable. If you have an interest in the I Ching or you know of others who may possibly be I encourage you to follow the link at the end of the post. Thanks.
OPPOSITION AND COMPLEMENTARITY
As part of introducing some of the philosophy of the I Ching let’s begin with an essential understanding that is straightforward and undeniable. Simply stated, the oppositional element to all life energies is not just opposed but are importantly also complementary. Let’s use black and white photography as an example to clarify.
I have always appreciated photography, especially black and white because of the potential for strong contrasts and moodiness in the look. In today’s digital world, each numbered pixel falls between the extremes of darkness and light. If we are talking about a typical grayscale image there are 256 shades between all black and all white. When there are only two choices, if we take away the light the dark has no meaning and likewise without the dark the light is not seen. Contrast is an essential guide to discriminating perception.
In our day to day affairs, all that we witness and all of our life events and our daily decisions have light and dark. There is never the one without the other. Well almost never. During crises and expressions of emotional imbalance there is a strong tendency to go back to the primitive black and white thinking of childhood. Prior to the so-called age of reason, children learn with yes and no; this way or that way; mine and not yours. The age of reason could be called the beginning of grayscale.
With mental and emotional struggle, when the search for answers is more intense, people want to cling to an answer and therefore they go back to black and white. When faced with the anxiety of uncertainty, perceptions become about right and wrong, good and bad and who is to blame for struggle. Black and white is essentially primitive! In these days of world strife there are many seemingly simple questions. Who is to blame for terrorism? Who has the real god and the right religion? In order to feel belonging, to quell the existential anxiety we create false beliefs, boundaries, nations and cultures. The more black and white we become the greater the need to cling to something.
We forget our primitive being is rationally absurd because we are always fighting for some one thing over another but by doing so we are never fighting for truth. Love is seen because of anger; the relief of openness is experienced after feeling closed; the freedom of compassion is experienced following the burden of self indulgence. Truth by definition takes sides; wisdom never has sides. A wise person never searches for truth but instead seeks all means to experience life’s beauty and mystery.
In the I-Ching the forces of light and dark, hot and cold, the seasons, the firm and the yielding, the creative and the receptive, the father and mother, the yin and the yang do not fight each other. The interplay of these forces define the totality of momentary being and its cycle of change. These energies are the movement of change without judgment as to their value. A wise course of action can be decided to the extent that the whole picture is known.
Without question, it is necessary that everything must change whether that is by the moment or the lifetime. All change is equal across the expanse of time. Within the firm is the yielding; within stillness you will find movement and within the wood you find fire. A lifetime is a tapestry of memories of our many moments of attachment. What is each moment when considered unto itself but absolutely nothing. There is no itself. The current of electricity that lights your homes is made of positive and negative charges. Which is which no one knows. If two particles repel each other they are called negative. If they attract each other one is positive and one is negative. Which one who knows other than after naming one the other is the opposite. Our definitions are derived by the moment of change.
To be perceived there must be change and all change is movement. Time is not a something independent of movement and change. It is the pathway to experience. Within the movement of time there are patterns and we call them days and seasons.
With the above brief statement I introduce the I Ching because of its relevance to today. More than ever is the necessity of an all inclusive wisdom. A wisdom that doesn’t honour one group over another; a wisdom that values humility and compassion; a wisdom that unfolds greater connectedness to all humanity and the earth we walk upon; a wisdom that appreciates humanness as the conscious development between the earth and the heavens above.
To get involved in helping the unfolding of the book Shake Hands With Time: Connecting With Our Legacy I invite you to follow this link and provide whatever information you can. Thank You.