Category Archives: Family

What Happened to Unity? – IC – 102920

After weeks of silence, I just had a call from “Alice.” A pleasant surprise. She lives deep in the pure-land boonies. In her neck of the woods, internet connection is – at best — intermittent.

We were cut off four times before giving up.

Though we don’t always see eye-to-eye, she’s one of my soul family:

Alice groused over the poor connection: “We pay much higher taxes out here. But we don’t get the same internet service you do in town. It’s not fair!”

What can I say? That it’s part of the UN plan? As a matter of fact, their 2030 goal is to drive people off the land. Everyone’s being crowded into densely packed cities where they can be tightly monitored and controlled by . . . .

I thought, but didn’t say, “Honey, there’s method to the madness of your high taxes and zero service. They’re meant to force your out of your home.” The big picture isn’t her subject. She resists what’s unfamiliar. So I let it pass.

The conversation turned to the election. She’s adamant it makes no difference who’s elected. Nothing will change, either way. There, I couldn’t disagree more.

She mistrusts the President because he’s uneducated. Huh? Street-smarts don’t count? Lack of higher degrees could well be an asset. On my part, much of what was learned at university later had to be unlearned.

Alice says she’ll depend on SCIENCE to decide. ARG!! The empirical science paradigm is exactly what’s blinding the world to the inner dynamics of what going on!!!

How can there be effective communication, internally much less between friends, when your operating paradigm rules out two-thirds of existence?

How can there be unity or comm-unity when the very paradigm that would support them is disallowed?

The biased, censored “news” that filters through shows us only what’s going on at surface level: political claims and counter-claims.

The incomplete, misleading paradigm of empirical science leaves us vulnerable to propaganda. Without wisdom tools to guide us — help us see through through the maze of misinformation — we’re easy prey.

God and the good angels are broadcasting loud and clear. But it’s hard to through. The message is being jammed, the signal blocked.

I asked what Alice meant by science. It boiled down to self-interest. What’s in it for me? Whose personality is relatable.

I urged her, before deciding, to pray. I meant, “Be still. Listen to your heart.” But she misunderstood. “The clergy are just as bad,” she countered. True, though sadly, not to the point.

But she doesn’t have time for my posts. Right now she’s too busy. Looks forward to reading later, when things quiet down.

Honey, your later isn’t going to happen.

Today’s reading speaks equally to me, to Alice, and the rest of us.

Two components of Back To What’s Basic reappear here. Today’s reading begins where that one ended, with FAMILY. DEVELOPMENT returns, again from a changing line.

It bears repeating:

Inside the FAMILY one learns to play out given roles. This makes later success in roles on the job and in the larger community possible. Clearly defined relationships make communication easy. Respectful cooperation with others earns trust and acceptance from the human family. Avoid roles not suited to your nature.

Without a complete, accurate paradigm, the family unit (along with its benefits) is collateral damage. No wonder BLM calls for its destruction. That would serve UN goals just fine. But it would end all hope of human survival — life on planet Earth as we know it.

With intriguing symmetry, the bottom and top lines of Family both change. The bottom line is associated with the root chakra, the foundation of physical form. The top line is associated with the crown chakra, the human link with divine guidance.

The bottom line advises, “Clear rules and guidelines should be established from the beginning.”

My take: The foundations of a positive future must be based on a complete and accurate paradigm where all levels are included, aligned, harmonized and prioritized. The family unit (the basic building block of society) depends on this bedrock.

With the foundation established, the line changes:

Completion is the result of gradual, step-by-step DEVELOPMENT. A calm attitude and gentle actions will bring steady progress leading to success. The only way to establish yourself now is to let things develop naturally. Giving in to strong feelings and acting on impulse would defeat your purpose. Avoid hesitation. Avoid haste.

Establishing a viable foundation is just the beginning. Thought requires action. Beliefs have to integrated into daily life and expressed consistently in all we do.

Next, we shift attention to the top line. It advises, “Rise above worldly concerns. Create good work of lasting value.” There’s more than immediate personal self-interest involved. The future is at stake.

This heeded, the first word of the bottom line’s change, “Completion,” comes to fruition. The top line changes to:

Perfected actions reach COMPLETION. From this balance, however, new elements spring forth which create future imbalance. In this way, the cycles of nature are continued. This is not cause for sadness. Perfection lies in the whole life process, not in the beauty of a single peak moment. Avoid rigid attachment.

Just as the American revolution could not freeze the Founder’s values forever in our hearts, the faith and freedom they fought for cannot be taken for granted. They must be earned and redefined by each generation.

Accepting the responsibility to reinvent and revitalize our heritage, the combined outcome is:

Look within yourself for the cause of RESISTANCE from others. If you are closed, they will not cooperate. The situation will open up when your mind becomes open. Seek the company of people who can help you overcome mental blocks. Do not blame others for your problems.

Resistance occurs on every level of the Life Wheel. Physical tension. Political subversion. Emotional shut down. Mental denial. As a major 2020 theme, it appeared earlier. It comes back later.

Understandably, among us mere mortals, resistance to perceived threats is virtually universal. Sanctions against truth-bearers are horrific. (Ask Plato. Christ.) Though, on the other hand, it’s said that speaking and living truth has its rewards.

Collected posts will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon in January of 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the Common Sense Book of Change, or extras to give others, click here.

To order Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

Back to What’s Basic – IC – 102620

An unseasonal storm crashed through the area overnight. Violent thunder and lightening interrupted my plans to watch the final presidential debate. I had to turn off the computer.

Echoing a recent post on DISTURBANCE in the Force, the Universe was sending a message. What was it?

The crash bang storm was on the mark. But the reading on the drawing board for today begins with its opposite, GENTLENESS.

Then, preparing breakfast, I stopped in my tracks. “That’s it!”

Leaving food untouched, I turned the computer back on. Looked up Steve Bannon at Citizens of the American Republic and sent a direct Twitter message.

Now, why the interest in Bannon? Steve is attuned to the wisdom of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy-truer-than-fact. He’s shouldered the Hobbit role of faithful Sam, loyal friend of Frodo, the ring wearer – a/k/a President Trump.

They’re emerging as the heroes foreseen by the Tao Te Ching. Passage 18 describes the critical mass humanity has arrived at . . . yet again.

Without asking why, I did as I knew I should, writing:

STEVE: Pay attention. Harris & Biden are expendables; must ask “Who is using them, to what long-term end?” A multi-level chess game is in play. To succeed, look deeper, see whole picture. All best.

Since plans for this morning were shot, I checked out his website. The term “disruptor” caught my attention.

What’s that? The internet tells me disruptors bring innovations to technology or how service is delivered. Computers replaced typewriters, etc.

Trump defenders see themselves as disruptors of the entrenched swamp’s corruption. Back to the basics upon which our Republic was founded. Integrity. Decency. Faith.

My job? Emphasize that their disruptions go far deeper than political misconduct. They’re throwing a wrench in the UN’s goal of world-domination. Still deeper, they pose a threat to the dark forces driving 2030 plans to dehumanize the planet.

Point out the problem with their strategy. While their extreme-yang warrior approach is vitally necessary, it’s not sufficient. It exposes but cannot heal 2020 madness. The facts of systemic corruption are just that. Mere facts.

To a culturally conditioned public (politicians and media included), ugly acts simply don’t compute. Nor is it enough simply to get rid of ignorant puppets who know not what they do.

In the long-term, what needs replacing is the underlying, false paradigm that drives corruption. The operating system, if you will.

The significant change, shifting gears, is a return to the timeless basics represented in the Unified Field Theory, to the archetypal Life Wheel which embodies a paradigm equally consistent with enduring religions and quantum physics.

It maps the deeper levels of the chess game which underpin the war for human survival, the fight to which Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Sebastian Gorka et. al. have, in essence, pledged their fortunes and sacred honor. They know they’re fighting for more than just for a presidency, or even a way of life. Our very souls are on the line.

To win this war, defenders must focus on what ultimately matters. Remind the world not only of what’s wrong, but of what’s really at stake. Above all, urge followers to listen to their hearts. Remember the love on every level. Love of God, of family and of country.

Point to the proof. Huge crowds roar out their LOVE for President Trump, while Harris-Biden events are duds. We sense, deeper than deep, that he loves the U.S.. They don’t, and we the delorables, the Hobbits in the trenches, sense that too.

First and foremost, we must restore a complete and accurate paradigm – one that gives us permission to know and be true to who we truly are. Were we to continue operating on a false paradigm that rules out inner levels of the Life Wheel, we’d remain at the mercy of the destructive, dark and hidden agents driving politics and human destiny.

And that cannot be.

The I CHING READING

GENTLENESS is the initial answer to today’s question, “What should we be aware of NOW?” We’ve already seen it twice as a final outcome. In essence, it confirms the importance of appealing to people’s hearts as the healing yin balance to combative, yang disruption.

The bottom line’s warning is, “Don’t act without a clear purpose. Make a decision. Stick to it.” With fidelity to purpose, the line changes to FRUSTRATION, another theme that repeats throughout 2020. It reads in part:

External factors you may not even be aware of will cause FRUSTRATION. New projects will not work out now. This cannot be avoided. Arguing will not influence those who could help.

This reflects the interference of invisible players lurking beneath the surface of the multi-level chess board.

Appropriately, the second line’s warning reads, “Examine your situation most carefully. Be aware of hidden motives.” Know that major players with destructive intentions – like the Evil Emperor in Star Wars — are manipulating behind the scenes, hidden from public view.

This line changes with another confirmation that the way out of 2020 madness is NOT by matching conflict with more of the same, but instead with calm, gentle action:

Completion is the result of gradual, step-by-step DEVELOPMENT. A calm attitude and gentle actions will bring steady progress leading to success. The only way to establish yourself now is to let things develop naturally. Giving in to strong feelings and acting on impulse would defeat your purpose. Avoid hesitation. Avoid haste.

The combined outcome is FAMILY, with its emphasis on respect and cooperation –yet another 2020 theme:

Inside the FAMILY one learns to play out given roles. This makes later success in roles on the job and in the larger community possible. Clearly defined relationships make communication easy. Respectful cooperation with others earns trust and acceptance from the human family. Avoid roles not suited to your nature.

The end goal is harmonious relationship with the entire human family. This reading is so value-rich that, to do it justice, I had to publish a self-standing bonus blog, Family, Community and Organization.

Bottom line: There’s intense pressure – coming from all levels – to destroy core unity. It starts with internal consciousness and extends outwards to breakdown the family unit and then social organization. What’s the consequence of this breakdown? Who wants it?

Do you? If not, what are you willing to do about it? When?

Collected posts will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon in January of 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the Common Sense Book of Change, or extras to give others, click here.

To order Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

Family, Community & Organization

Today’s bonus blog supports Back to What’s Basic, where the final outcome is FAMILY. The subject is both timely and vitally important.

According to The Common Sense Book of Change:

Inside the FAMILY one learns to play out given roles. This makes later success in roles on the job and in the larger community possible. Clearly defined relationships make communication easy. Respectful cooperation with others earns trust and acceptance from the human family. Avoid roles not suited to your nature.

Family is the fundamental unit of society – the building block of community. It’s key to success at every larger level, lacking which entire civilizations crumble.

To restore today’s decaying foundations, however, Sages tell us to first look within. Thus, the Basic blog concludes:

The end goal is harmonious relationship with the entire human family. This reading is so value-rich that, to do it justice, I had to publish a self-standing bonus blog, Family, Community and Organization.

Bottom line: There’s intense pressure – coming from all levels – to destroy core unity. It starts with internal consciousness and extend outwards to breakdown the family unit and then social organization. What’s the consequence of this breakdown? Who wants it?

Do you? If not, what are you willing to do about it? When?

To help in rethinking what we take for granted at great risk, here are three supporting essays. Though originally written in the year 2000, they’re key to overcoming 2020 madness.

There’s a lot here. But it deserves your careful attention. What could be more basic to building a better future?

ESSAY 13. FAMILY

One who wishes to have a well-organized family should first cultivate his personality. / One who wishes to cultivate his personality should first regulate his mind. / One who wishes to regulate his mind should first be honest with his consciousness. One who wishes to be honest with his consciousness should first attain true knowledge. — Confucius, Great Commentary

In the family we learn love, patience, respect, nurturing, affirmation, and health. The family also teaches us about competition, domination, selfishness, and deceit. The family is thus a relatively efficient learning system for the development of mind, spirit, and body. It involves the whole self. — Tom Chappell, The Soul of a Business

For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Jesus Christ, St. Matthew 12:50

THE FRONT

The Latin root of family means household establishment. An obsolete usage refers to all the people living in the same house, including servants and slaves. A later definition refers to all the relatives living in the same house, including extended family. Only recently has it come to mean a nuclear unit, the traditional set of parents (one husband, one wife) and their off-spring.

A family can mean a group of people related by ancestry or marriage, including relatives. It can be all those claiming descent from a common ancestor, tribe, or clan — a lineage. A crime syndicate under a single leader is also called a family.

Ideally, children learn the basics within the family. If we trained ourselves and our children in I Ching ways, there’d be no need for each generation to reinvent the wheel over by repeating the same mistakes. Sheltering them from the “real world” isn’t a kindness. A better way to protect them is to provide the wisdom tools to give them the practical edge, help them meet the challenges of adult life with intelligence and self-confidence.

As Chappell indicates, within the nuclear family as in the human family, everything, both positive and negative is possible. As we learn to articulate what we see and respond wisely to experiences in the family environment, we become increasingly able to apply these skills in school, business and extended political situations.

But as Confucius teaches, the goal of improving and sustaining family relationships isn’t achieved by extending ever outwards. It requires looking inward:

  • Efforts to improve personality lead to the need to know one’s mind.
  • This leads to exploring inner awareness.
  • Then, in due time, inward movement cycles outwards, incorporating benefits of the inward journey into personal and practical everyday life.

Within families of every size, whether communities, religions, corporations or governments, some live by the law. Others don’t.

Christ taught that those who love and choose truth are all members of his extended family.

Those who love life, who seek truth and understanding and do their best to help others as they can, have more in common with each other than with evildoers within their own groups.

THE BACK

Opposites of family include strangers in our community whom we’ve never gotten to know, foreigners raised abroad who speak languages and practice customs we don’t understand, as well as others we’ve been taught to mistrust and dislike.

The antithesis of family is foe, including competitive opponents and military enemies. Whereas families are ideally founded on common beliefs, goals and mutual support, those who threaten or sabotage others undermine healthy relationships. Gratitude and hope build communities. Mistrust, hostility and abuse break them down.

ESSAY 14. COMMUNITY

We can create communities and relationships based on love and intimacy rather than fear and hatred. We can learn from the suffering of others. Awareness is the first stage in healing. . . Dean Ornish, Love and Survival

As we accept the smallness of the world, the density of the population, and the myriad influences on individuals and families, someday we may recognize the community and even the whole society as the patient. Imagine, then, what a “doctor of society” might do, what kinds of diseases he or she might treat! — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole. – Pythagoras, quoted in The Healing Power of Sound

THE FRONT

Community stems from a root word meaning fellowship. In English, the word refers to all the people living in a particular district or city. It can also mean a group of people living together as a smaller social unity within a larger one, and having interests or work in common, such as a college community.

Alternatively, it can refer to a group of nations loosely or closely associated because of common traditions or for political and economic advantage. It also covers similarity of tastes and preferences. The last definition Webster’s gives is the condition of living with others in friendly association and fellowship. The last definition comes full circle back to the original meaning.

Communities are founded on a common cause. It can be as practical as survival or as idealistic as freedom. Often, community cohesion is artificially stimulated by fear and hatred of a common enemy.

For example, Hitler inflamed passions against Jews and foreign bankers to mobilize his war-weary country into a second world war more devastating than the first. Then Americans rallied behind the common goal of defeating enemies of democracy on two fronts, Asia and Europe.

In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote about the relationship of divine, natural and human law in a way that inspired readers at the time of the American Revolution to fight for freedom from tyranny.

Winning that war did not, however, automatically secure freedom for all times. Democracy isn’t a static achievement that can be passed on unchanged from one generation to the next. It must renewed and earned again, one individual at a time, each generation at a time, continuously redefined in the context of immediate circumstances.

The music of life that moves every organization, smallest to largest, is the basis of harmonious fellowship. Approaching natural law and social organizations from the deeper understanding of the ancients could inspire a new, more humane and effective approach to international relations now, one based on energy dynamics which the human community share in common.

Sages say that freedom from tyranny begins with dispelling ignorance and overcoming negative emotions. True freedom and stable communities begin with the self-awareness and self-mastery which can be gained by diligent use of wisdom tools like the Book of Change. First remembering the core of compassion and caring within, we can then extend and expand this good-will into healing society as well.

Put another way, it’s useless to fight for a democratic world before first cleaning out the inner swamp of negative emotions. Inner life conditions attract corresponding external experience. Fighting in anger and hatred reaps results in kind.

Working to establish positive community relationships before personal attitudes of good-will and willing self-discipline are established is futile. As Covey reminds us, first things must come first.

THE BACK

Street gangs, terrorist groups, religious cults and secret societies are subgroups within the larger community. To the extent that their goals oppose and even endanger the community at large, these organizations are antithetical to the general good.

Pariahs, nomads and outcasts are individuals excluded from society, either voluntarily or by edict. Whether justified or not, their attitudes and behavior are out of harmony with accepted norms. If enough of them find common cause to band together, they form alternative groups which become the foundation of new communities.

ESSAY 59. ORGANIZATION

Because it is a structure of structures, the design of the I Ching can generate analytic systems of potentially infinite complexity and variety, and can be applied to any conceivable realm or situation. . .The I Ching analyzes the interplay of relations as functions of qualities, roles, and relative standing. It can be applied internally to any system of human organization, regardless of scale or configuration. — Cheng Yi, The Tao of Organization: The I Ching for Group Dynamics

THE FRONT

Roots of organization start with organ, originally referring to a tool or implement in the context of music, such as a church organ.

Organic means made up of systematically interrelated parts. Organize means to provide with an organic structure, or to arrange in an orderly way.

There are two basic approaches to social organization:

  • One builds from the smallest unit, organizing from the nucleus and extending outwards.
  • The other starts from the outside peripheral rim, incorporating smaller units, often swallowing them up by force.

I Ching thinkers focus on the smallest unit, making self-mastery their primary goal. World-domination seekers, from Alexander the Great to Napoleon and Hitler, represent the opposite extreme.

Natural Law reveals bad-faith motives of would-be conquerors. Pay attention to the rule, “The larger the front, the larger the back.” Those with the most to hide are exactly the ones most eager to seduce with promises of peace and acts of extravagant generosity.

Hitler, for example, didn’t bring war-weary Germans into WWII by announcing war plans. He promised just what his people wanted to hear — peace and prosperity, but then delivered a holocaust. For this reason the UN, for all its rhetoric, is suspect. Its “peace keeping” powers mask ominous potential for another push to world-domination.

An I Ching martial arts precept observes, “To push a man right, first push him left.” Chaos of natural disasters, famine and economic collapse play into the hands of empire builders. In extremes of social disorder, desperate people impulsively accept any strong man who promises to impose “order,” no matter how drastic the form, ruthless the “how” or self-serving the “why.”

After the immediate crisis passes, however, they wake up to find they’ve been maneuvered into a state of martial law where human rights no longer receive even token gestures of respect.

I Ching thinkers understand that unity and peace refer primarily to states of internal awareness and experience. When leaders use such words in the context of imposing organizational control, especially on an international scale, it’s time to proceed with great caution.

THE BACK

Disorganization is the opposite of organization. Since roots of the word imply natural order and coherent structure, the opposite implies a departure from the natural order. Disorganized lives reflect a lack of rhythm and harmony in outlook and lifestyle.

Perversions of organization include routinization and mindless, mechanical consistency. When attention isn’t focused on the immediate situation, there’s no appropriate adjustment to accommodate changing circumstances. An inflexible approach is likely to be wrong as often as right.

. . . Tell Them How the World Works

teach-sized

In writing this post, I surprised myself and took a different direction. I intended to pick up where the last left off, completing Dr. Phil’s sentence: “If you love your children, tell them how the world works.”

There, I quoted an exchange between Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and a radical student on the subject of identity.

Student: My question isn’t about [the article], but more about identity. . . . Maybe nature lends itself to creation of arbitrary structures within society. But then people self-identify with these categories. . . . How do people reckon with the parts of their identity that may or may not contribute to environments where people feel more estranged, more alone?

JBP: That’s why you educate . . to separate the wheat from the chaff. Because you’re a historical creature. And it’s outside of you and inside of you.

Well. He’s right . . . but only partially so. For we are more than mere “historical creatures.”

What I would add to the mix is a deeper, more comprehensive component of identity. For that, I rely on the gravely misunderstood and underrated I Ching, the Chinese Book of Change, along with its more accessible and familiar spin-offs: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Sun Tzu’s classic Art of War. Together, they represent a blind spot in Western thinking, a glaring deficit in our knowledge banks responsible for dangerous deficits in every aspect of today’s civilization.

The I Ching and both spin-offs detail how the world works. They are especially useful when dealing with conflict.This is the gift of love I’ve labored long to restore to common knowledge.

To the extent we applied this knowledge to questions of identity and social structure, we’d have a hope of restoring common sense and sanity to our lives.

Earlier, I spend hours putting together pictures of shallow circumstance and the biblical answer to suffering. However, instead, what I decided to do here is share three related essays. Each applies ancient wisdom to current confusions.

Essay 15 on Roles offers a broader view of gender and social identity. Essay 13 addresses how roles are learned in the Family. This in turn builds into rethinking the structure of Community, Essay 14. This is a lot to take in, I know. But please stay with me. It’s well worth taking the time to give these tried and tested truths your careful consideration.They could well make your New Year go much better.

Also, by the way . . . Dr. Peterson repeatedly states his respect for Taoist philosophy. Everything below is in harmony with and supports his view of how the world works.

Namaste2

Essay 52. ROLES

Traditional business concepts of organizational structure and management technique often condition managers to classify and measure everything and everyone they are responsible for. Organizational charts assign names to little boxes in hierarchal order. . . Not that there is no value in all these charts and systems; on the contrary, they offer a worthwhile way of understanding the fundamental structure. But the structure should serve, as chords do in jazz, as a basis for innovation and improvisation. — Autry & Mitchell, Real Power: Business Lessons from the Tao Te Ching

Leaders must be people who will not fight change but who will anticipate it, and can be challenged enough by it to enjoy it. . . We need a new kind of human being who can divorce himself from his past, who feels strong and courageous and trusting enough to trust himself in the present situation. — Abraham H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature

THE FRONT

“Role” refers to a part or character that an actor plays in a performance. By extension, it refers to a function or office assumed by someone for limited duration to fulfill a particular purpose. We wear roles like clothing put on by day, shed by night.

Success in the world depends on the ability to choose a suitable part and play it with sincerity and skill, aware of how that role fits into the larger pattern of family and business organization. When studied, practiced and performed to perfection, a well-defined role provides a structure from which to relate to others and serve a useful function within the whole.

Knowing one’s particular place in the universe at any given time, in specific contexts, is an important part of self-knowledge. It’s possible to wear an array of “hats,” suitable to many complimentary roles, even during the course of a day.

In Shakespeare’s tragedy, MacBeth laments, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.”

When we live unconsciously, we identify not with our essential true selves, but only the roles arbitrarily assigned by accidents of birth and later, by chance.

Though there are exceptions to the rule, and many variations on the theme, gender is a primary dictator of roles. In the West, girl children are traditionally dressed in pink and trained for reproductive and housekeeper roles with no preparation for transition to a productive middle or old age. Boys are dressed in blue and expected to participate in contact sports, fight wars, earn a living and support a family, also with little thought for what else life may have in store.

For the most part, one’s wealth, business and social opportunities are largely determined by whom one’s parents happen to be. Likewise, religious beliefs and nationality traits are mind-sets usually fixed by place and time of birth. In The Taoist I Ching, the sum of these factors is called cultural conditioning.

A life thus lived on automatic pilot, running on programming that has never been examined, is barely human. One cannot say such a life measures up to God’s gift of free will. There’s no conscious choice involved in the way it’s lived.

The goal of I Ching-based, Taoist training is to release us from bondage to arbitrary, unnatural conditioning, so that the mind is freed to return to its universal, pristine nature.

The purpose of overcoming cultural conditioning is not to withdraw from life, but rather to live it consciously and intentionally, to the full. Those who truly know how to act, do so with heart and soul. Rather than merely going through the mechanical gestures of scripted parts spoken without understanding, they play out a changing succession of roles over a lifetime with full awareness and conviction.

Taking on and letting go of roles is either growth-productive or traumatic, depending on one’s philosophy of life. In I Ching context, ephemeral change is natural, not subject to moral judgment as good or bad.

But, to the extent we live unconsciously, we’re but tragic shadows of our true potential. We’re poor players because we know not what we do. The more we become conscious, the more we are able to bring vitality, depth and meaning to the roles we choose, and the more radiant our lives become.

Those in leadership roles with I Ching awareness carefully prepare followers for change, equipping them to meet challenges and survive adversity. People who depend on leaders stuck in the past, unwilling or unable to change, are in deep trouble. Their survival depends on listening to the warnings of conscience in combination with gut instincts, finding positive ways to work around and overcome the dangerous consequences of mismanagement.

THE BACK

The opposite of roles is to be without a part to play. Jobless and/or homeless people are excluded from the give and take of productive daily life, as are incarcerated criminals and those institutionalized with mental or physical health problems. So are slum dwellers whose extreme poverty results in lack of education, skills and access to the work world.

The value of roles is perverted when they’re frozen into masks and performed without authentic involvement. When people identify with roles (or hide behind them) to such an extreme that they forget their true identity, they become disconnected from life. People who think of others only in terms of their roles stereotype them, disrespecting their essential humanity.

11th hour

Essay 13. FAMILY

Confucius

The nature of the chakra cords that you build in your first family will be repeated in all the following relationships that you create later. . . As an adult, you will most likely grow dependent child/mother cords between you and your mate. As you move through life and mature, you gradually transform the child/mother cords into adult/adult ones. Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light

In the family we learn love, patience, respect, nurturing, affirmation, and health. The family also teaches us about competition, domination, selfishness, and deceit. The family is thus a relatively efficient learning system for the development of mind, spirit, and body. It involves the whole self. — Tom Chappell, The Soul of a Business

For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. – Jesus Christ, St. Matthew 12:50

THE FRONT

The Latin root of “family” means household establishment. An obsolete usage refers to all the people living in the same house, including servants and slaves. A later definition refers to all the relatives living in the same house, including extended family. Only recently has it come to mean a nuclear unit, the traditional set of parents (one husband, one wife) and their off-spring.

A family can mean a group of people related by ancestry or marriage, including relatives. It can be all those claiming descent from a common ancestor, tribe, or clan — a lineage. A crime syndicate under a single leader is also called a family.

The extended Kennedy clan is a shining example of family cohesiveness. Yet, in an interview with Larry King, Maria Shriver described lessons her family never taught her. The “real world” lessons in her book, intended to spare others from learning the hard way, are strikingly similar to I Ching basics. For example, she observes, “Behavior has consequences.” This, of course, is the Law of Karma.

Ideally, children should learn the basics within the family. If we trained ourselves and our children in I Ching ways, there would be no need for each generation to reinvent the Wheel over by repeating the same mistakes. Sheltering them from the “real world” isn’t a kindness.

A better way to protect them is to provide the wisdom tools to give them the practical edge, help them meet the challenges of adult life with intelligence and self-confidence.

As Brennan indicates, first family bonds are instinctual. As we extend outwards, we unconsciously tend to replicate parent/child dynamics in later relationships. However, if we succeed in maturing and evolving over time, we can put childish ways behind and succeed in forming adult relationships based on conscious choice and commitment.

As Chappell indicates, within the nuclear family as in the family of man, everything, both positive and negative is possible. As we learn to articulate what we see and respond wisely to experiences in the family environment, we become increasingly able to apply these skills in school, business and extended political situations.

In I Ching context, however, as Confucius indicates, the goal of improving and sustaining family relationships isn’t achieved by extending ever outwards. It requires looking inward.

Efforts to improve personality lead to the necessity to know one’s mind. This in turn leads still deeper into exploring one’s innermost awareness. Then, in due time, inward movement cycles outwards once again, incorporating the benefits of inward journey into one’s personal and practical everyday life.

Within families of every size, whether communities, religions, corporations and governments, some live the law while others do not. As Christ taught, those who love and choose truth form the nucleus of his ultimate extended family.

Those who love life, who seek truth and understanding and do their best to help others as they can wherever they may be, have more in common with each other than with evil-doers within their own groups.

THE BACK

Opposites of family include strangers in our community whom we’ve never gotten to know, foreigners raised abroad who speak languages and practice customs we don’t understand, as well as others we’ve been taught to mistrust and dislike.

The antithesis of family is foe, including competitive opponents and military enemies. Whereas families are ideally founded on common beliefs, goals and mutual support, those who threaten or sabotage others undermine healthy relationships. Gratitude and hope build communities. Mistrust, hostility and abuse break them down.

book header bird

Essay 14. COMMUNITY

We can create communities and relationships that are based on love and intimacy rather than fear and hatred. We can learn from the suffering of others. Awareness is the first stage in healing. . . Likewise, we can create a new model of medicine as we move into the next century that is more competent and cost-effective as well as being more caring and compassionate. — Dean Ornish, Love and Survival

As we accept the smallness of the world, the density of the population, and the myriad influences on individuals and families, someday we may recognize the community and even the whole society as the patient. Imagine, then, what a “doctor of society” might do, what kinds of diseases he or she might treat! — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole. – Pythagoras, quoted in The Healing Power of Sound

THE FRONT

“Community” stems from a root word meaning fellowship. In English, the word refers to all the people living in a particular district or city. It can also mean a group of people living together as a smaller social unity within a larger one, and having interests or work in common, such as a college community.

Alternatively, it can refer to a group of nations loosely or closely associated because of common traditions or for political and economic advantage. It also covers similarity of tastes and preferences. The last definition Webster’s gives is the condition of living with others in friendly association and fellowship. The last definition has come full circle back to original meaning.

Communities are founded on a common cause. It can be as practical as survival or as idealistic as freedom. Often, community cohesion is artificially stimulated by fear and hatred of a common enemy.

Hitler inflamed passions against Jews and foreign bankers to mobilize his war-weary country into a second world war even more devastating than the first. Then Americans rallied behind the common goal of defeating enemies of democracy on two fronts, Asia and Europe.

In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote about the relationship of divine, natural and human law in a way that inspired readers at the time of the American Revolution to fight for freedom from tyranny. Winning that war did not, however, automatically secure freedom for all times.

Democracy isn’t a static achievement that can be passed on unchanged from one generation to the next. It must renewed and earned again, one individual at a time, each generation at a time, continuously redefined in the context of immediate circumstances.

Nor can the structures of American-style democracy be imposed by force, whole, from the outside, on peoples whose beliefs are shaped by vastly different cultural influences. It is the common respect of life and liberty, not external forms, which is universally translatable.

The music of life that moves every organization, smallest to largest, is the basis of harmonious fellowship. Approaching Natural Law and social organizations from the deeper understanding of the ancients could inspire a new, more humane and effective approach to international relations now, one based on energy dynamics which the human community share in common.

Sages say that freedom from tyranny begins with dispelling ignorance and overcoming negative emotions.

True freedom and stable communities begin with the self-awareness and self-mastery gained by diligent use of wisdom tools like the I Ching. First remembering the core of compassion and caring within, we can then extend and expand this good-will into healing society as well.

Put another way, it’s useless to fight for a democratic world before first cleaning out the inner swamp of negative emotions. Since inner life conditions attract corresponding external experience, fighting in anger and hatred reaps results in kind.

Working to establish positive community relationships before personal attitudes of good-will and willing self-discipline are established is futile. As Covey reminds us, first things must come first.

Put the other way around, the more individuals free themselves from personal problems, the more they become open to the calling of conscience. They then become increasingly fit to participate as members of a viable community, able to fulfill their part in the harmony of the natural whole.

THE BACK

Street gangs, terrorist groups, religious cults and secret societies are subgroups within the larger community. To the extent that their goals oppose and even endanger the community at large, these organizations are antithetical to the general good.

Pariahs, nomads and outcasts are individuals excluded from society, either voluntarily or by edict. Whether justified or not, their attitudes and behavior are out of harmony with accepted norms.

If enough of them find common cause to band together, they form alternative groups which become the foundation of new communities.

Angel Calling