This morning an I Ching meditation:
* The 4th hexagram of the I Ching is called “Inexperience,” or sometimes “Youthful folly” or “childhood.”
* The image of the fourth hexagram is that of a spring flowing forth from the foot of a mountain.
* As the water flows forth from within the mountain it is clear, clean, and young, hence the image of children, youth, innocence, beginners mind, students, and purity.
* As a stream flows on, away from its source, it gathers sediment and becomes cloudier, so hexagram four’s teaching has to do with the appropriate time and place for education. We are told to tend and educate that which needs educating when it is young, hopeful, fresh, and alive, and before it becomes spoiled.
* The fourth hexagram also mentions that teachers do not seek students and that teachers do not placate students who do not like the nature of the teachings.
* The wisdom of the text shows someone approaching a diviner, asking a question, receiving an important lesson, and then because they do not like the answer or instruction, they ask again. The I Ching tells us that teachers cannot support or indulge this in students or we will be helping them to foster bad habits and we will put ourselves in danger simultaneously.
* As a fresh stream flows on it eventually becomes broader, turning into a brook, and from there a small river, and from there a large river, etc.
* If we do not educate ourselves in the early stages, then the river of problems we face later is much more challenging to redirect.
* If teachers indulge students, or go looking for students, then we also lose our connection with the untouched, crystal clear source of wisdom. The mark of a real teacher is one who corrects something early and often, and the mark of a real student is one who seeks a teacher and who accepts the direction of a teacher (whatever form the teacher may take).
* The fourth hexagram also tells us that in the very beginning or early stages of something, it’s important to seek direction, clarity, and support. Hexagram four also tells us that we cannot offer or give advice without being asked for help.
All of these very simple teachings correspond to the Sun’s conjunction with Mars. Insofar as Mars being swallowed by the Sun is a moment of birth or renewal, we are seeing the potential for someone or something that is very willful, defiant, strong-minded, and possibly even selfish or ill-tempered, to be in a state of need or help. We are seeing the possibility for young, naive, innocent, or even arrogant people who are in need of correction, guidance, and support while at the outset of a new stage of life and growth. It is important that we foster this growth if we are called to support. It is important that we seek help if we recognize we are at the beginning, and more importantly, we have to be open to guidance and support if we recognize the need for it.
If we are being called to support someone right now, especially if that person is difficult, then we have to remember that our egos cannot be invested in the results of our efforts. We can simply do the best we can to serve, and if nothing else hope that our service plants a seed for the future if there is no receptivity to our guidance at the moment.
Prayer: Help us to imagine ourselves as children, and this life as the teacher you’ve sent to guide us. Open our hearts to the guidance of this life, so that we might persist in the rivers of your wisdom and joy.