rooted in the principles of the sage

konstantin tronin

 

Lasting progress is won 

through quiet self-discipline.

 

This hexagram outlines the foundation of proper conduct within ourselves, with those with whom we may have conflicts, and within the larger society. It serves to remind us that no genuine gains can be made unless we are rooted firmly in the principles of the Sage.

An image often associated with this hexagram is that of treading on the tail of a tiger. The “tiger” may be some strong or malevolent force in your own personality, or it may be a particularly volatile individual or situation with which you have to deal. In either case the advice of the I Ching is the same: one avoids the bite of a tiger by treading carefully. To tread carefully means that we remain steadfastly innocent and conscientious in our thoughts and actions. 

It is inevitable that people will display varying levels of spiritual understanding. It is not our duty to condemn or correct others, but simply to go on developing ourselves. Do not imagine that you can hasten your progress through aggressive actions now. Power that is sought and wielded pridefully has a way of evaporating when you need it most, thus exacerbating your difficulties. The only lasting influence is that which arises naturally from a course of steady development.

In the end, it is our inner worth that determines the outer conditions of our lives. Those who resolve to persevere in humility, sincerity, and gentleness can tread anywhere – even on the tail of a tiger – and meet with success.

 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 10, Lü / Treading

 

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equanimity in all you say think and do

fefo bouvier

 

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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the search for happiness

grace

 

The search

for happiness is not

about looking at life through

rose-colored glasses or blinding oneself

to the pain and imperfections of the world.

Nor is happiness a state of exultation

to be perpetuated at all costs; it is

the purging of mental toxins,

such as hatred and

obsession.

 

Matthieu Ricard