travel as a stranger in a strange land

saskia boelsums
 

We are all

wanderers in the Unknown. 

Those who travel beside the Sage 

are protected from

harm.

 

A person who travels as a stranger in a strange land is wise to display an attitude free of arrogance and belligerence. Otherwise he is liable to meet with trouble and find himself unable to survive it. With this hexagram the I Ching reminds us that we are all strangers in a strange land, wanderers in a vast and unknowable universe, obliged to act accordingly.

Think of how you would proceed if traveling alone in an unfamiliar country. You would be cautious and reserved, taking great care not to fall in with the wrong people or enter into dangerous places. You would be tolerant of others and generous toward them if a dispute arose, and you would be inclined to settle disagreements quickly to keep them from getting out of hand. You would rely on your attentiveness, your modest attitude, and your gentle manner to keep you out of harm’s way. The hexagram Lu comes to remind you that it is wise to travel through your entire life in this fashion.

Seek now to stay in quiet harmony with the Higher Power and to embody caution, modesty, and generosity in your actions. Do not drag out disagreements with others; conflict is a poison that grows more dangerous every minute you are in it. Do not depart from the path of humility and correct conduct; in doing so, you lose the protection of the Deity and risk misfortune. By continually seeking to serve the innocent and the good, you stay in step with the Sage and never wander alone in the world.
 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 56, Lü / The Wanderer

 

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stay, then quickly leave

 

The soul

must suffer secrets

that cannot be said — public

humiliation, people pointing

with contempt. While you

are a human being,

stay inside this

scorn.

 

Work

there, patiently, with

the others. When you’re

pure spirit, quickly

leave.

 

Rumi

 

look it in the eye


 

Buddhism

advises you not to implant

feelings that you don’t really have or avoid

feelings that you do have. If you are miserable you

are miserable; that is the reality, that is what is happening,

so confront that. Look it square in the eye without flinching.

When you are having a bad time, examine that experience,

observe it mindfully, study the phenomenon and learn

its mechanics. The way out of a trap is to study the

trap itself, learn how it is built. You do this by

taking the thing apart piece by piece.

The trap can’t trap you if it has

been taken to pieces.

The result is

freedom.

 

Henepola Gunaratana

 

what you should know to be a poet


yuko shimizu 

 

all you

can know about animals

as persons. the names of trees and flowers

and weeds. the names of stars and the movements

of planets and the moon. your own six senses,

with  a watchful elegant mind. at least

one kind of traditional magic:

divination, astrology, the

book of changes,

the tarot;

 

dreams.

the illusory demons

and the illusory shining gods.

kiss the ass of the devil and eat shit;

fuck his horny barbed cock, fuck

the hag, and all the celestial

angels and maidens

perfum’d and

golden– 

 

& then

love the human:

wives husbands and friends

children’s games, comic books, bubble-gum,

the weirdness of television and advertising.

work long, dry hours of dull work

swallowed and accepted and

lived with and finally

lovd. exhaustion, 

hunger,

rest.

 

the wild

freedom of the dance, extasy

silent solitary illumination, entasy

real danger. gambles and

the edge of

death.

 

Gary Snyder

 

fame & fortune are shallow & injurious


 

People yearn 

for fame and fortune, 

but this is like aching to taste the

point of a weapon. These are shallow, 

confusing, empty of virtue — yet 

people become fixed on them 

and lose their way 

forever. 

 

Look closely 

at things that shine 

without substance. Fame 

enflames one’s idea of self and 

separates one from humanity. Touched 

by it, people grasp desperately to 

get and keep it. What is the 

wisdom, though, 

in resisting 

change?

 

Fortune 

is a lover similarly 

impossible to satisfy. 

Constantly demanding energy 

and attention, fencing off people’s 

hearts, it returns less and less to 

the soul. Yet common people 

contort themselves 

into cripples 

chasing

it.

 

See 

the injury 

built into these, 

and let them 

go by.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 32

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