* The 63rd hexagram of the I Ching is called “After Completion,” which often strikes readers of the 64 hexagram sequence as odd considering it is the second to last hexagram of the 64, and the final hexagram is called “before completion.” So what is the wisdom of this seemingly reverse order of before and after telling us?
* After completion depicts a pot of boiling water over an open fire. The place of perfect balance between fire and water. Fire moves upward and water downward. The alchemical image here is that of a state of union or balance. So one has “arrived” somewhere, or one seeks to arrive somewhere. However, the reason the hexagram is called “After Completion” is because once we arrive wherever we think we’ve arrived, the situation becomes one of maintaining a very delicate balance. The water can quickly start bubbling over and put out the fire, or the fire can quickly start making the water evaporate. A couple of lessons arise from this image and its inner dynamic.
* One: we can desire things that we do not have the accompanying will, patience, or discipline to maintain.
* Two: there is no arriving, finally, in this material world we live in because movement and change are constant.
* As the Sun opposes Saturn we might be experiencing the crystallization or materialization of something. It might be an idea, a belief, a relationship, a new sense of authority, a new practice or discipline, a new responsibility….whatever it is hexagram 63 tells us that we cannot get lost in the newness of the moment or the water will either run over and break containment, or the fire of the moment will burn out the water. Resources will quickly dry up, or enthusiasm, motivation, and energy to maintain will be dampened by the laziness that comes as a bi-product of feeling like we’ve succeeded.
* This is a good time. But good times are just as seductive as bad. When I take the time to usher the good time into its next stage of change and development, rather than basking in it for too long, I become the steward of creation, and I bask, as though eternally, in its unchanging flow.
* The 4th line of the 63rd hexagram says, “Fine clothes turn into rags. Be careful all day long.”
* The 63rd hexagram changed in my morning meditation to hexagram 43, called “Breakthrough.”
* Breakthrough depicts an accumulation of energy and will such that an obstacle or barrier is finally overcome. With resoluteness and forthrightness, we are able to make progress through an impediment.
* However, the 43rd hexagram teaches us that how we conquer obstacles determines in some way the future of another cycle. If we are harsh, severe, egotistical, self-righteous, with furrowed brow and full of anger, then whatever we win will merely entangle us in the same obstacle within a greater and more complex cycle yet to come.
* The removal of obstacles, symbolized by the Sun and Saturn, therefore has to do with our ability to move through obstacles in the right spirit. Even when we’re in the right, there is still a way to face an enemy, win an argument, or gain favor from an authority, that is without attachment to its results, or that is free from selfishness. Speaking the truth, in power, isn’t the same as forcing our will because we know we’re right.
* Hexagram 43 is about the temptation to force something simply because we believe it’s the right thing to do. Patient persistence, with courage and determination, but without the stress and anxiety of our attachment to an outcome, is a difficult posture to take in this world, but when we do we are ensured that whatever obstacles are removed are not going to embroil us all over again in the future (and usually nearer than we’d like).
All in all, the Sun Saturn opposition amidst Jupiter’s turning direct depicts a time where we are working through a contraction during the beginning of an expansion. Things need to be carefully and patiently tended. We can’t rush through, we can’t relax and act like we’ve arrived, and we can’t lose our patience and become forceful just because we believe we’re in the right. Determination tends patiently to the details, and remains in peace during moments of breakthrough…as if there is no real difference between an obstacle and its removal.
Prayer: Teach us to find peace in everything, by seeing within everything, the impediments and accomplishments alike, the tranquility of your gaze.