CONFIDENCE WITHIN AND SMALL CROSSINGS by Deng Ming-Dao
"Usually, a pairing of hexagrams in the I Ching is seen as one being the “opposite” of the other. Or perhaps another way to think of it is that one is the “reverse” of the other. In this case, I believe these two particular hexagrams to be the inverse of one another.
What is confidence? It’s the knowledge that you can cope with change—and that only comes with experience. So a book of divination is referring to your own inner divination. Confidence means that you can “predict the future” in that you know you can do what you say you’ll do. When a person can control their destiny to that degree, that is good fortune indeed.
The inverse of that is when we cannot control where our lives go. Then only small crossings are possible. For the I Ching, a crossing, as in crossing a body of water, is the symbol of a great venture. Sometimes, we can only cross small streams rather than ford wide rivers or sail great seas. If you think about it, we can step across small streams because they fit our scale—but we are not always able to embark on great ventures. Then confidence doesn’t matter, because outer circumstance doesn’t favor us.
That leaves us with this dilemma: how do we keep our confidence when conditions are unfavorable? That takes faith, and the patience to wait for cycles to turn our way again."
I don't recall being taught that life would have ups and downs; that the upturns always lead to downturns, and v.v. I learned, through direct parental teaching or modeling or observation or cultural/social pressures, that "Life's a bitch and then you die" or everything in my life should always "be good" and I should always "be happy" or I have failed. Resultingly, I have always tried to be "on", and be "successful" and "up" in every area. If I wasn't happy, something was wrong. If I made a lot of money but didn't like my job, (which on one hand defined success, so unhappiness was okay), there was "something wrong" with me or my attitude. The "shoulds" continue: I should always have lots of energy, plenty of money, be a leader, have a large social circle, be very spiritual, meditate an hour per day, exercise daily, eat very little, be pretty, be thin, be happy whether I was broke (in heart, wallet, mind, or body) or prosperous ...
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...in other words, everything in life should always be working out. Downturns, depression, sadness, broken hearts, poverty, job loss, moodiness, injury, lack of energy, desire to draw inward, desire to be alone, lack of discipline, a messy house, not being perfect at everything, not earning enough, not having the "right" job, not being thin enough, not getting along with my family, not being married... it all signaled failure in life.
I have only recently begun to learn that life will have downturns whether I accept them or not, and struggling against that law makes the transition time or the hard times even harder. I have lived almost my entire adult life in the grasp of misguided concepts!
Now, I realize that easily riding the crest is temporary, just as crashing down to the trough is inevitable. With this knowledge, I can make the fall a bit softer. I can struggle less. I am hoping this gives me the confidence that Deng Laoshi ("Teacher Deng") references above. This past year I have started my climb back up to the crest from a two-year period of suffering and struggling in the undertow. Yes, not only did I crash down from the crest, but I also got sucked under this time-- nearly drowning! The wisdom I am gleaning from my studies of Tao is undermining all of those false concepts of time and balance, success and failure. I clearly see the crest of the wave (symbolizing a period of ease) coming toward me. Yet I can also see the next wave, with its trough (symbolic of harder times) that will take me down, followed by a high crest on which I will once again (wheeee!) surf with ease. This awareness (that I slowly embrace), will help my confidence grow. Confidence that I can overcome struggles that will most certainly come to me. If I acknowledge and accept that I will soon be flying high (I feel so close!) and hangin' ten for whatever period of time, that everything I desire is returning: Health, Security, Hygge, Creative Expression, Connection, and Passé Temps, then I can also accept that the inverse is bound to occur at some point and I will be just as prepared at that point.
I see the next wave, with its rise and fall. I accept that this next wave of life will inevitably come, and so I can prepare and dive down with purpose and ease and acceptance, easily surfacing for air. With this knowledge, I do not "expect the worst". Conversely, I am confident that good times will return. Therefore, I can deal with the challenge. I can cope with the change.
I don't know what the view will be from the peak, though I am beginning to glimpse what might be present: manifestation of all six aspects of contentment as defined by "moi", which include Health, Security, Hygge, Creative Expression, Connection, and Passé Temps. As my knee heals, as my energy increases, and as I return to my active lifestyle, my Health will once again grow radiant! As I continue to remain grounded in one physical locale; continue to ground myself emotionally, spiritually, and psychically; and build financial prosperity, I feel an increased sense of Security! The actions that I take become secure help me gain a warm sense of Hygge, as well as making my personal environment cozy and safe! I dedicate time to express myself creatively at home and school, and thus am fulfilled through Creative Expression! Since the darkness of the last two years has lifted, I am reaching out and once again feeling the desire to be expansive and connect with others at home, socially, and at work. I receive so much Love and Connection at school; I am continually astounded at the outpouring of love from my heart and to my heart from students, coworkers, and families! And finally, as I learn to manage my time and energy (once again!), balance my need for solitude with my need for connection, accept that I am in a transitional phase affecting my psychic and physical energy and desire for expansion vs. drawing inward, I am better equipped to enjoy the Passé Temps I normally enjoy.
The point is that the crest and trough are part of the wave, and if I want to surf, I must accept both or struggle.
Why don't I just enjoy surfing!
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진아 吉娜 진아
... is studying and practicing the philosophies Taoism, QiGong, Taiji, and Shaolin Kungfu.