Another I Ching meditation today:
* Hexagram #26 is called “Controlled Power,” and it depicts heaven kept safely, invisibly, powerfully, within the stoic, solid image of a mountain.
* Because Mars is dying right now, falling into the Sun, there is a sense of having reached the finish line with something. Saying, “I’m done with this,” or “I’m over it,” or “I’m exhausted by this pattern,” though painful is often the external sign that a new internal seed is being planted. However, we have to be incredibly careful that feeling the fatigue of an old pattern or the ending of something that we don’t rush too quickly to remedy things. Feeling pain, sorrow, exhaustion, and the ending, without rushing past it, is necessary. In fact, it is an opportunity to deepen our faith and trust in the moment by moment flow of life, which is a more faithful partner and companion than anything that comes in and out of that flow. If we skip past the exhaustion, or the bitter end, if we skip past the stagnation or the slow burnout, then we aren’t truly allowing the purification or the burning of the seeds of karma to take place. We have to commit to failure, we have to commit to disappointment, we have to commit to stagnation, we have to commit to boredom or waiting or being frustrated for the moment.
* Hexagram #26 is a lesson about learning how to hold, rather than constantly disbursing, our vital force. Learning how to hold heaven within the mountain there is always money in the bank to rely on during times of frustration, during endings, during times of decline or exhaustion. Because we have put money into the stock of inner peace and happiness, we have deep resources to draw on when we aren’t getting our way or we aren’t exactly happy with the way something is working out.
* Hexagram #26 is also about the way that lasting things are passed on from one generation to the next. The good things, the good teachings, those things that we store up and draw nourishment from during outer times of frustration, are passed on because those who hold them know the value of preservation. Spiritual force can be like currency. We can spend it on cheap things that don’t last, or we can recognize that its real worth cannot be spent and so the only natural thing left to do is to store it up in a place that is unmovable within us.
* Hexagram #26 suggests that when we’ve learned to store up the power, peace, and tranquility of heaven within us that we are also much less prone to concentrating on what we get or don’t get in the world. We are put into a natural state of contentment, which in general yields better results anyway!
* The second line of #26 says, “The axles have been removed from your wagon. Best to remain in place for now.”
* The Mars/Uranus square signifies a time where we might be waiting for a breakthrough, or we might be feeling rather on edge, pushy or edgy, and desiring for something whose time has not come or that we simply don’t yet have the full energy, capacity, or resources to make happen. Things can happen that suddenly slow us down, stop the wheels from moving forward, and hinder our sense of progress. The important thing to remember from this particular line is that progress is relative. Here line 2 says that progress is going to be made but oddly it will involve having our wheels stopped, through no fault of our own, and so we are told to just hang tight rather than freaking out about the fact that the wheels can’t move much for the moment.
* When line 2 changes Hexagram #26 becomes hexagram 22, grace. A picture of adorning, decorating, or using loving attention to details and small things, recognizing the difference between the small and the big.
* Hexagram #22 depicts a small fire at the foot of a tall mountain. When we can’t move forward, one way that we put ourselves back in touch with that inexhaustible sense of faith, confidence, patience, and peace, is to focus on bringing beauty to the small things.
* For example, if you’re stuck, then try going outside and gathering a handful of flowers. Gather them slowly, peacefully, and really take them in. Then bring them inside and arrange them gently in a vase. Then place them on your home altar or your office desk, or a kitchen table, maybe light a stick of incense and take five minutes to just….make an offering and remember the beautiful and small things.
* This may sound silly, but when we’re frustrated and we take the time to adorn, decorate, and offer something small but beautiful to the divine, we are instantly brought back to the perfect memory of the towering mountain that stands behind or within times of frustration. The frustration wants to eat away at us, little by little, and so we counter that by adorning and beautifying, little by little in response. From this loving devotion in the small things, we find our way back into heaven inside the mountain.
* We are endlessly tempted to rush to fix what isn’t ever broken. The simplest way we say, “nothing is broken,” is by taking a small moment to offer beauty, love, and tenderness back to the source that supports us and all moments of failure and victory alike.
Mars/Uranus will move things, and maybe the most radical idea of the day is that it truly doesn’t need our frustration or willful angst to do so. There is another way…it’s not magical thinking, it’s not lazy or passive, it’s fierceness is found in the flowers…the ones we gather at just these moments.
Prayer: Teach us to reach for the flowers, teach us to find your fragrance all around us.