harmony and renewal

Bernadett Becei

 
In ancient times, people lived holistic lives. They didn’t overemphasize the intellect, but integrated mind, body, and spirit in all things. This allowed them to become masters of knowledge rather than victims of concepts.

If a new invention appeared, they looked for the troubles it might cause as well as the shortcuts it offered. They valued old ways that had been proven effective, and they valued new ways if they could be proven effective.

If you want to stop being confused, then emulate these ancient folk: join your body, mind, and spirit in all you do. Choose food, clothing, and shelter that accords with nature. Rely on your own body for transportation. Allow your work and your recreation to be one and the same. Do exercise that develops your whole being and not just your body. Listen to music that bridges the three spheres of your being. Choose leaders for their virtue rather than their wealth or power. Serve others and cultivate yourself simultaneously.

Understand that true growth comes from meeting and solving the problems of life in a way that is harmonizing to yourself and to others. If you can follow these simple old ways, you will be continually renewed.
 

from Hua hu Ching, Chapter 43

 

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keep the people safe


 

The general

who advances without

coveting fame, who retreats without

being ashamed, whose concern is to keep the

people safe and honor the sovereign —

she will be the treasure

of the nation.

 

from The Art of War, Chapter X

 

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i ching hexagram 27 ☯️ providing nourishment


 

Give proper nourishment

to yourself and

others.

 

The image of this hexagram is that of an open mouth. It comes to remind us that the nourishment of our bodies and spirits is important and merits our conscientious attention.

The I Ching teaches us that if we wish to gauge someone’s character, we should notice what he nourishes in himself and in others. Those who cultivate inferior behaviors and relationships are inferior people; those who cultivate superior qualities in themselves and others are superior people. This is a test that we should apply to ourselves as well as to others.

What you put into your body is obviously important. Because it determines your fundamental physical well-being, it is wise to be moderate and thoughtful about the food you eat. What you put into your mind is even more significant, and regulating it is a more subtle art. This hexagram gives us three-part advice on that subject.

The first counsel is that we should not feed our minds on desire. When we forego our equanimity and begin to desire something or someone, a host of other inferior influences comes into play: we become ambitious about obtaining the object of our desire; we become fearful that we will not; if we do achieve it our ego is gratified and strengthened and it soon issues another demand for us to meet. A self-reinforcing cycle of negativity is thus created. Therefore it is wise to hold yourself free from desire.

The second counsel is that we begin and continue in a regular practice of meditation. Sitting quietly with our eyes closed for even as little as ten or fifteen minutes a day begins to “clear the waste” out of our hearts and minds, making room for the nourishment of peace and wisdom to enter in. To sit in meditation is tune your ear to the voice of the Sage, and it is the most powerful way of gaining his assistance.

The final counsel is that we observe tranquility in speech, thoughts, and actions. By cultivating calm and equanimity in all that you say, think, and do, you nourish your superior self and that of those around you. One who follows these three counsels now will meet with good fortune.
 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 27 / Providing Nourishment

 

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this is what you shall do


 

This

is what you

shall do: Love the earth

and sun and the animals, despise riches,

give alms to every one that asks, stand up for

the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor

to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have

patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat

to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men,

go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young

and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open

air every season of every year of your life, reexamine all you

have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss

whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall

be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only

in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and

face and between the lashes of your eyes

and in every motion and

joint of your

body.

 


Walt Whitman