Tag Archives: Book of Change

The I Ching Works Like a Cosmic Clock

Among other things, the I Ching works like a cosmic clock, telling us the time.

In the Old Testament, King Solomon expressed the natural, rhythmic alternations of time in poetic form:

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time build up . . . a time to love and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The Book of Change puts its users in touch with these pulsating, alternating rhythms of life. It connects us with inner knowing – call it intuition or conscience – that anticipates approaching changes, the better to prepare for what is to come.

It serves as a reminder that our lives change like the seasons of nature. Fall follows summer. Spring follows winter.

It lends perspective to the current times and what is likely to come next.

In I Ching context, faith is akin to trusting a highly refined sense of timing. It is an atunement with the same inner clock which guides migrating birds and informs heroic displays of virtue.

Some people experience this inner knowing as a sense of personal destiny or keen sensitivity to the zeitgeist direction of the times.

Faith guides our feet, not only towards good fortune, but away from danger. An example from the New Testament is Joseph, husband of Mary, protector of Jesus. He accepted Mary and her child on faith.

When a fearful King Herod was intent on killing new born males to thwart the prophecy of his downfall, Joseph “knew” it was time to escape from Jerusalem, thus saving the infant’s life. He also knew when danger had passed, and it was time to return the boy to his homeland.

Using the interactive Common Sense Book of Change (CSBOC) is a powerful way to get in touch with the native common sense we are all born with, but too often forget under the pressures of hectic daily life.

The text maps the natural patterns of change which trigger predictable passages from one stage to another in our lives.

Those who live close to nature are instinctively closer to their own natural rhythms, something city dwellers too often lose touch with. For those who long to remember who they truly are, but have forgotten, working the I Ching is especially rare and precious blessing.

 

Rethinking HOPE

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Paradoxically, the following Essay on Hope compliments the one on Death shared in The Phoenix Response. Tellingly, it reflects beliefs significantly different from those held by my grandparents, Ellie and Hubble West. It might explain, at least in part, their experience of old age.

Nor is the subject merely academic. As I currently face unanticipated health challenges, like many baby-boomers of my generation, I’m being challenged to face and rethink my personal survival expectations.

I’ll explain all this at length later. But for now, here are my earlier thoughts on Hope, for your thoughtful consideration.

Essay 63. HOPE

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you wisdom the spirit of and revelation in the knowledge of him:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. . .

— St. Paul, Ephesians

Here the people could stand it no longer and complained of the long voyage; but the Admiral cheered them as best he could, holding out the good hope of the advantages they would have. He added that it was useless to complain, he had come [to go] to the Indies, and so had to continue it until he found them, with the help of Our Lord.  — Christopher Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage

We live at a particularly perilous moment, one in which self-deception is a subject of increasing urgency. The planet itself faces a threat unknown in other times: its utter destruction. . . The splitting of the atom, said Einstein, has changed everything, save how we think. And thus, he observed, “we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” — Daniel Goleman, Vital Lies, Simple Truths

We are seeing a health care system in pain, people in pain, and a world in pain. I believe that something can be done to make it better. — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

THE FRONT

Webster’s defines hope as a feeling that what is wanted will happen. It’s a desire accompanied by expectation. It can mean that which one has a hope for. It can mean a reason for hope. A meaning listed as archaic is to trust or rely.

In I Ching context, hope transcends short-sighted wishing and emotional wanting. It is a trust that one has the wherewithal to respond appropriately to every change of fortune. It is not total self-sufficiency, but awareness that one’s efforts are met half way. When one does the best one can, the rest is supplied in the right way, at the right time.

Daniel Goleman emphasizes the direct relationship between honest self-awareness and survival. Like Einstein and like Strauss and Howe (authors of The Fourth Turning), Goleman is a messenger of awareness we’re often trained to block out.

His vision accords with The Book of Change philosophy in this: ignoring dangers, deceiving ourselves that all is well when it isn’t, doesn’t make problems go away. It only renders us powerless to recognize early warning signals in time to prepare and ameliorate the worst that might come.

In The Fourth Turning, Strauss and Howe emphasize that declining resources will necessitate major changes in healthcare delivery. Anticipating that the cost of health-care will continue to rise and become increasingly unaffordable, they recommend that cost-effective, affordable alternatives along the lines of Adams’ work be put in place now.

Forward-looking health practitioners are therefore now turning to inexpensive, preventive self-maintenance practices like Tai Chi, Qigong and yoga.

There are hidden benefits to timely austerities. Though it is unfortunate that people see fit to return back to self-responsible methods only as a last resort, if the prospect of hard times returns people back to their more simple and beneficial roots, it is a (however well disguised) blessing.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote of hope in the context of faith and charity. His hope isn’t Webster’s hope of wanting and expecting. Like I Ching hope, it is trust that human events which make no sense in the short-term fit into the larger pattern of life, and that God’s will inevitably in the long-term prevails.

THE BACK

The opposite of hope is despair. Seeing one’s situation as hopeless is a self-fulfilling prophecy. So long as one places hope in externals, one feeds the illusion of powerlessness. Turning the focus of hope inwards makes all the difference.

Self-deception is a perversion of hope. Lacking a concept of cyclical change, linear thinkers hope to control time. They defy the aging process or pretend change can’t or hasn’t happened rather than adjusting and benefiting from new opportunities that arise to replace the ones which pass away.

I’m Writing To . . .

 

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Like magic, hints about the baby steps to take next have been coming from all directions.

Today, I’m writing in answer to a comment made on Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough:

Hi Patricia, I enjoy your writing style. That said, one must write with a target audience in mind; at least commercially. Otherwise you are just writing for yourself.

For a split second, I went on the defensive.

What??!! Just mental masturbation? Focus on making money?

This particular LinkedIn connection has followed my posts from the beginning. He should know me better by now.

To state once more what I’ve repeatedly said, I write because — like so many men and women – my lonely, early years were haunted by unspeakable specters of suicide and abuses of power. If what helped save me could, paid forward, make a difference in even one life, it would, for me, be enough.

To save one life is to save the world entire.” This is the mantra that keeps me going late nights, after daily tasks are completed, even when my physical body urgently wants rest.

Though surely not intended, what “a target audience” conjures in my mind is the image of armed game hunters dressed in orange and camo garb, scouting for animals to snuff the life out of and eat for dinner.

Not that I haven’t given conventional writers’ wisdom – “know your audience” – some thought, thank you anyway. I have. A lot, in fact.

Here’s part of the problem. The Life Wheel is universal. It offers a scientific underpinning to support humanistic calls to live in peace. As written in Sages and Scientists Can Agree on This, it has the potential to restore awareness of the common humanity everyone everywhere shares in common.

On the opposite, shadow side, today’s lack of a universally accepted, complete and accurate paradigm answers the plaintive question, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Limiting, misleading paradigms are a root cause of widespread conflict and suffering in today’s dangerously volatile world.

Everyone is fascinated by both sides of change. On the one hand, we yearn for positive improvements. On the other, we dread the unknown. That’s because no one taught us the survival basics in school. We never learned how the dynamics of duality drive relationships in the world. We don’t know how to balance yin-yang opposites to maintain stability, first within, then without.

So we remain conflicted – on all levels. Ambivalent. Paralyzed. In fact, lack of survival basics has become our Achilles Heel – our fatal flaw.

Change is a word on the lips of CEOs, politicians, radicals, therapists, pastors everywhere. All use it. But very few have an in-depth understanding of what it’s about, much less have the methods and means to act as effective agents of positive change.

That’s one reason why I have a problem with niche thinking. The current trend of carving humanity into smaller and smaller, mutually exclusive either/or interest groups is a symptom of the fragmented, isolating thinking we desperately need to overcome. . . . which the Life Wheel has the potential to heal.

Fortunately, however, this coin has a flip side too. Being universal, the Life Wheel can be brought to life – animated and applied to illumine each and very tiny corner niche.

So, I’ve done my bestest to go with the flow of common wisdom.

For example, for a time I focused on MILLENNIALS. Being tech savvy, I thought, they are especially well qualified to resonate with the digital technology of the Book of Change — The I Ching. Further, they’re the ones most disillusioned of the “American dream.” Being less invested than their elders in prevailing, dysfunctional paradigms, I thought they would “get it.”

In When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call? I wrote what still reads to me like a wake-up tour de force.

I continued with Good News and Bad News for Millenials.

Did any one get it? What more can I say? (Perhaps, I sometimes think, someone else might say it differently and better.)

Nevertheless, I tried again, suggesting what could have been billion dollar game and app ideas in An Inner Compass App for Millennials

Response? Instant contact from a venture capitalist. He wanted to pick my brain; tried to coerce me into signing a non-competition agreement that would, in effect, block further blogging. So sorry. No can do. (Reminded me of Hannibal’s words, “When the lamb cries, the wolf comes. But not to help.”)

Next, in frustration over the foolishness of a self-proclaimed millennial leader who didn’t get it whatsoever, I wrote What the Generations Share in Common.

So, moving on to other audiences.

The I Ching has been the primary decision-making tool used by LEADERS in every walk of life – government, military, monastic, medical, mercantile . . you name it . . . for thousands of years.

So I applied the Life Wheel, as the next generation Book of Change, to address a host of leaderships issues. For example, in response to a direct question, I wrote How Bad People Become Leaders; and then Savvy Leaders Go with the Flow.

In True Leaders Trust Their Inner Compass to Over Come Confusion, I introduced the Life Wheel to Authentic Leaders who already accept the importance of following their North Star.

In The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change, I’ve shown how THERAPISTS and SELF-HEALERS can turn the Life Wheel into a diagnostic and a decision-making tool. I have a special fondness for Jungian analysts, and said so in Therapists as Positive Change Agents.

For those who chose to frame their truth in the language of PHILOSOPHY, I wrote Change the Rules of the Knowledge Game. Here I focused the Life Wheel on the field of epistemology – the (politically charged) study of who can know what, and how.

The list goes on.

But . . . I still ask myself, how does one “target” the diverse and widely scattered audience of readers who hide painful dark secrets under the facade of their ordinary lives as housewives, students, soldiers, athletes, priests, poets, politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs and on and on. . . ?

How does one “target” the hidden army of loved ones so poorly equipped to win the war to rescue sons, daughters and spouses from quiet desperation?

How does one effectively extend compassionate hope to the multitude of isolated, face-saving power abusers in high office — addicts driven by psychological forces outside their conscious awareness, rendered taboo by current dysfunctional paradigms.

How do I tell all of them, that like me, with the I Ching as a confidential best friend, they would find out that they are never, ever truly alone. And that everyone can choose to change for the better.

With its wisdom and support (explain its magic as you will), I have brought myself back from every temptation – from hated, the impulse to revenge, from self-pity and despair.

With its help, I’ve gleaned the benefit of lessons to be learned from adversity.

It has inspired me, instead reacting against abuse and succumbing to the danger of becoming an abuser myself, to live and to serve as a healing beacon to others.

What follows is a personal example of desperation and life-saving help excerpted from Rethinking Survival:

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The scriptures were inspiring. [the swami] cynically perverted them. A pundit disciple based in Minneapolis initiated gullible students in the rituals of guru worship. This aristocratic charmer held Western seekers in contempt and dummed the teachings down.

The powers of this smooth, flamboyant “holy man” were foreign to Western sensibilities. He flaunted a repertoire of magic tricks. He could change blood flow in his feet. He read minds and hypnotized students.

He reportedly bilked American students out of thousands of dollars for nonexistent hospitals in India.

By his own admission, disciples in India would have burned his ashram to the ground had they known he was habitually performing sexual tantra (rape) on unsuspecting American women. . . .

At his ashram in Rishikesh, India, three women he’d seduced got together and traded information. We realized none of us was a “special exception” to his vow of celibacy.

When we blew the whistle, he flipped out. Tantric teachings, he raged, were sacred teachings. Exposing them would damn us forever. We were terrified and backed down.

To the detriment of other relationships, I obeyed his command, “Keep still!!”

Covering his backside, the swami informed his psychologist henchmen that I was “mentally disturbed.” Protecting vested interests in their careers, they treated me as if I were crazy.

It took years to get over the pain, anger and confusion caused by their betrayals.

But I healed. I used yogic introspection to get over it mentally. To repair emotional damage, I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine. For solace and hope, I looked to the New Testament.

But my best friend and advisor throughout was The Book of Change. I didn’t dare talk with people who knew the swami. They would have turned against me, not helped.

His powers were outside the experience of university-trained therapists. There were no qualified professionals to turn to.

Confiding in family was out of the question. If I went to them with one problem, I’d end up with two.

But with the I Ching, I could be completely honest. It has no agendas. Opening my heart to ask my questions was like talking with my True Self. Its answers rang true. Instead of tearing myself apart by warring against abuse of power, I used it to turn inward to the higher authority I could trust: my own conscience.

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History Repeats Itself – Renaissance or Another Dark Ages?

A recent post described the unfortunate end of Abelard, the medieval philosopher best known for his tragic love of Heloise.

Out of synch with his times, this celebrated cleric taught that men gain knowledge – including faith – through reason. For this, he was convicted by his monastic superiors of heresy. Abelard’s books were banned and burned. He died shortly afterwards in prison.

St. Augustine’s exclusively faith-based Rules of the Knowledge Game were balanced with Abelard’s opposite approach only after St. Aquinas harmonized the two extremes. According to the new Rules, no matter where you start, each approach leads to and reinforces the other.

This broad-based approach to knowing as a two-way street set the foundation for the flowering of arts, sciences and commerce known as the 12th Century Renaissance.

But, I suspect you’re wondering by now, is medieval history relevant NOW?

It’s highly relevant, particularly when taken in the context of patterned, repeating cycles of human behavior. Learning the basic lessons of history is an important way of leveraging the future.

Back to the 12th Century Renaissance. It was during this time of creative balance that universities evolved to replace monasteries as centers of learning.

I’ve thought about this a lot. The Origin and Future of Universities was the dissertation topic of my choice. In my proposal, I drew a bell-shaped curve that cycled above and below a median-line that represented historical times of creative balance between extremes. It looked like this:

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In the late 1970’s, when I wrote my proposal, universities were at a critical point of intersection. There was still a window of time left during which to mitigate a predictably dangerous direction of change, before a narrow window of opportunity closed.

Humanistic psychology and holistic health movements were leading the way towards another reintegration of faith and logic — a reconciliation of intuitive and rational ways of knowing. On the one hand, I held hopes that another creative renaissance was on the horizon. On the other, I foresaw the possibility that the curve would cross the median balance point and continue its downward slope, plunging the world into another dark ages of fanaticism and intolerance.

Departmental politics prevented me from writing the dissertation of my choice. (That story and its implications, however, are a different subject.) What’s pertinent here is the outcome. The window of opportunity has closed. Proof abounds. For example, during the Arab Spring, disillusioned Muslims who at first had welcomed violence as an opportunity for positive change were horrified at the repressive results. One Egyptian commented to a reporter that his country had entered a new dark age. News here and abroad continues to confirm that downward trend.

What remains are the mitigating possibilities open to I Ching users. The Chinese Book of Change keeps self-honest seekers in synch with the times, giving them survival insights and hints as to where to look for respite from the worst that might yet come. It keeps hope for the positive change we persist in holding dear to our hearts alive.

Here’s the key. Patterns codified in The Book of Change repeat on every scale of magnitude. That is to say, the same seasonal cycles repeat in an individual’s life. They also repeat in families, in the work place, in governments and even in the history of civilizations.

So even when the times are dangerously out of joint, individuals can still change for the better. So can intentional communities. So long as there’s this hope, it’s never to late. In the early dark ages, for example, monasteries were islands of hope, civility and sanity in a violent, barbaric world. Their equivalents might again serve the same purpose.

Further, personal, organizational and historical rhythms aren’t necessarily in synch. This explains why the same view is welcome at one place or time, but not in others. Abelard’s emphasis on reason, for example, would have been in synch in 17th century universities even though they were fatally out of harmony with beliefs held in the monastic circles of his day.

This information holds good or bad news, depending on whether it’s recognized and how it’s used. On one hand, acting as if personally preferred realities are fact, regardless of whether or not they’re in synch with the times, is unrealistic. For example, New-Agers who ardently believe the near future promises a widespread renaissance of human upliftment are quite probably mistaken. Worse, they may be misleading followers who will find themselves unfit and unprepared to survive in an increasingly intolerant, dark ages environment.

But on the other, positive side, it’s still possible, even as a dark age of fanaticism is gaining ground, to maintain personal balance. Personal renaissance – literally re-birth – is possible at any split second in time. Even when social trends are devolving into extremes, individuals aren’t required to forsake the ideal of personal integration just to fit in. In fact, personal and community survival may well depend on the capacity to maintain stable balance even in the most unbalanced of times.

Of a certainty, heightened, intentional balance will be essential to personal survival, even and especially as dark times cloud collective reason and threaten to extinguish faith.

Who Is Qualified to Know What – and How?

Have you ever thought about how the organizations you were born into – family, communities, governments – society in its many interdependent forms and interrelated facets – came into being? Or are you concerned about where they might now be headed?

I certainly do. Often.

Nor are we alone. Over history, serious thinkers have pondered the subject. A LinkedIn connection recently asked for my thoughts on the possible relationship between awareness and responsibility. He framed his question in the context of social contract theory.

Though initially the subject might seem academic, it’s the basic stuff of human survival. The quality of our lives – even, ultimately, our existence – depends on the level and quality of awareness leaders bring to their organizations.

In turn, their success as leaders depends on the trust, integrity and loyalty of their followers. For in fact, rights and responsibilities on both sides – leaders AND followers — are a two-way street. And when the delicate balance of expectations and obligations is violated, social fabric unravels.

contract

Yet the subject doesn’t get the serious attention it urgently deserves. The consequences of taking for granted what we have inherited, with too little awareness of dangers risked by squandering the fragile blessings we enjoy, need comprehensive rethinking NOW – before it’s too late.

I responded to the question with a LinkedIn article, “Natural Leadership or Authority – Where in the Wheel Do YOU Stand?” (See www.linkedin.com/pulse/natural-leadership-authority-where-wheel-do-you-stand-patricia-west.)

A comment on that post by Lloyd Amogan sparked this extension of the subject. With his permission, I’ll quote:

Yes, there is a relationship between social contract and awareness. The awareness has to involve both our physical levels and our Spiritual levels of Awareness/Consciousness, and not many are familiar with the Spiritual Levels, hence very few are qualified to teach.

I responded:

Your premise poses an interesting question, Lloyd. If the relationship “HAS to involve” full-spectrum awareness, yet many are NOT aware, how does lack of awareness impact of the status of the contract? Some theorize that the contract is “understood” or “implied.” Is this sufficient? What consequences follow from a lack of conscious, intentional involvement in the social contract?

An after thought, if Hobbes was unfamiliar, was he unqualified to write on the subject?

Hobbes, by the way, was famous for his view that, without the overseeing rule of a leviathan ruler, human life is necessarily “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Spiritual awareness, in his world view, was NOT a factor on either side of the leader-follower equation.

In contrast, trusted advisors to the rulers of long-lived Chinese dynasties depended on a high-level of awareness to maintain social-political stability. The Book of Change, the leadership manual upon which they depended, instills a comprehensive understanding of the human dynamics which drive social-political organizations.

The applications of the following Essay on Knowledge offer an approach to leadership awareness that might have a positive influence on the future directions of existing organizations:

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Essay 20. KNOWLEDGE

Lao Tzu believed that intuitive knowledge was the purest form of information. For that reason, he expressed his philosophy in the form of thought experiments — mental exercises designed to enhance and evolve the intuitive skills. In the Tao Te Ching, he compels us to use intuition as an equal partner with logic.” — R.L. Wing, The Tao of Power

There is a stream of transcendental, information power flowing into the DNA. . . The I CHING, which, by this hypothesis, is coincident with the DNA system, is perhaps the textbook for this cosmic force, the static tension and dynamic flux flowing into the matrix of the DNA.” — Martin Schönberger, The I Ching & The Genetic Code

Modern science tells us that the human organism is not just a physical structure made of molecules, but that, like everything else, we are also composed of energy fields. . . We, too, ebb and flow like the sea. We, too, are constantly changing. How do we, as human beings, deal with such information?” — Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light

THE FRONT

Roots of knowledge mean both acknowledgment or confession, as well as to play, give, or move about. Webster’s first definition is the act, fact, or state of knowing, specifically direct acquaintance or familiarity with a fact or place.

It can mean awareness or understanding. It can mean acquaintance with the facts, range of information grasped by the mind, or enlightenment. It can mean the body of facts, principles accumulated by mankind. An archaic meaning includes carnal knowledge.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy which defines the rules of knowledge at any given time/place, setting limits by its answers to these questions: What can be known, how, and by whom? Answers have political overtones, often assigning roles according to class, race, age or gender. They influence cultural decisions about the distribution of wealth, power, social status and access to legal protections.

Empirical science respects only information known through reason. Universities train students to dissect and analyze with quantitative and verbal skills. At its best, reason is a tool of constructive discernment, capable of articulating both tangible and intangible information.

With proper training, it can be used to harness the sub-rational, serve the super-rational and link the two, balancing their extremes. As such, reason is a harmonizing function.

Using reason to rule out, avoid or even demean awareness of sub- and super-rational experience is an abuse of the critical faculty.

One overlooked knowledge matrix is ingrained in our very DNA. Many striking resemblances between the structure of DNA and I Ching hexagrams suggest at least one fascinating explanation for how/why this information source resonates with inner knowing. For example, it can’t be accidental that both are both based upon a binary-quaternary code that generates a system of 64 possibilities.

The chakra system of energy transformers which traverse the spine is another knowledge matrix that affects how we process and transmit information. Each chakra filters perception. Each influences the way we interpret experience. Their existence explains how/why the inspired ideas of every religion or science change over time, being diluted and narrowed to fit the thinking of less evolved followers.

One proof of this process is the wide array of Western psychologies, each relevant to a specific chakra issue. Skinner’s is a first chakra psychology based on behavior. Freud focused on sex, a second chakra issue. Adler thought in terms of power, the third chakra. Fromm wrote about love, the fourth chakra focus. Jung was interested in literary symbols and self-actualization, which are fifth and sixth center interests.

Asian sciences, however, have recognized the interactive relationships amongst these concerns. They provide practical methods for integrating the chakras to pave an optimally functioning two-directional highway of continuous energy and information.

Chakra filters also explain why some users interpret the I Ching through the filters of the sub-rational, using it as an oracle of divination. Farmers rely on it to predict the weather and agricultural yield. Others reject such use, preferring to regard The Book of Change as a rational manual for personal improvement and professional advancement.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners refer to it as a psychological and/or medical diagnostic instrument. Still others view it as a super-rational code book, giving it spiritual interpretations. For example Taoist masters interpret it as a yogic manual detailing the alchemical process of inner transformation.

Because it encompass the whole of human experience, the I Ching actually accommodates all of these perspectives – and more.

THE BACK

Ignorance is the opposite of knowledge. It can be the innocence of an inexperienced child, or the result of being kept in the dark, deceived or misled. Some people know, but deny who they are and what they know. The social price of being different seems too high. Others fail to use love and creativity to bridge the gap between inner knowledge and outer experience, and succumb to madness.

Delusion is a perversion of knowledge. It’s a belief that things are as one wants or fears, not as they actually are; or thinking one knows everything there is to know, when one doesn’t. Untrained mediums are sometimes misguided either by their own fantasies or dark angels posing as benefactors.

Now Needed: An Army of Arjunas

Sometimes it seems the magic is gone forever from my life. All that remains is chores, living like an unwelcome fugitive, dodging the condescending cruelties of householders who bring in more money. Pretty grim.

But suddenly that changed. Today the magic is back, full force. Coming out of the blue, encouraging messages from strangers sparked me back into the writing mode.

It started this morning (Saturday, April 18. 2015) with an email notice. A recommendation had been voluntarily added to my [now cancelled] LinkedIn profile. “Insightful, ground breaking, immensely important.”

Shortly afterwards, a delightful, koan-like message (re: Humanity) appeared: “Very acknowledgeable am smiling please carry on.”

That me jolted out of my funk. After thanking these messengers of the Universe (no naming names, so as not to offend anyone), I continued, responding to overlooked messages I earlier hadn’t had the heart to answer. One simply said, “Hey Patricia, Thanks for the new post.”

Another wrote, “Patricia, Good morning, I trust you are doing well. Take good care.”

After that, I checked an abandoned blog site to see how old friends are faring there. I was delighted to find a post from an earlier commenter whom I thought I’d offended beyond repair. Resonance with my work showed he’s following through in his own way. He wrote:

We tend to miss that our immediate environment is part of a much bigger ecosystem whose dynamics and ramifications extend far beyond our limited grasp of space and time.

Though delighted, I kept my response short: Well said. Agreed. : )

But I still had questions about writing. If I should I continue, in what in direction? I’ve been stuck on the topic of intentional communities, which has stalled on the drawing board for months. The content continues to elude me. Outlines only generate more questions.

Further, one LinkedIn connection who’s now occupied elsewhere rejected the topic, assuming communism is what I have in mind. (No way!) Another connection with enormous potential to do great good has taken a different direction, choosing to engage in a family-run start-up.

I considered listing my doubts and inviting comments. But that didn’t click either.

So now, in thinking about the “interesting” timing of encouraging emails, I remembered that today – April 18th – – is a new moon, traditionally associated with new beginnings. Before checking for a description of the day’s potential, I “knew” I should first consult my old, best friend, the Book of Change.

That’s when the magic kicked in big time.

Granted that the I Ching (especially useful as a vehicle for entering the fourth dimension of time-space where synchronicity comes into play) is outside the comfort zone of some professionals. Nevertheless, please stay with me. After all, it has also been the enduring, practical foundation of leadership training in Asian cultures for many thousands of years – with good reason.

Be that as it may, I queried for direction. The resulting hexagram COMMUNITY was directly to the point of my concern. The CSBOC reading for #13 is:

IC 13

A changing line in the second place reinforced the concluding warning against selfishness: Avoid special interest groups. Selfish and corrupt motives bring downfall.

The resultant change, were the warning heeded, is #1 – CREATIVE POWER, which further reinforces the text.

The changing line in the fourth place reads: If you have become isolated, understand why and correct yourself.

This warning line pin-points a major problem. If heeded, the resultant change would result in # 37 – FAMILY, the cornerstone of community. I take the concluding warning very personally: Avoid roles not suited to your nature.

This returns full circle to my immediate dilemma. As a writer, my topic – the uncertainty of human survival – puts me in the role of a Cassandra relative to the larger, defiantly oblivious society. Being the messenger of an unpopular warning, though it seems my calling, can be isolating, not to mention unrewarding. It results in lifestyle issues with no immediate solutions in sight.

Nevertheless, I persist in believing that as increasingly more people find themselves in desperate social and economic straits, readiness will increase and my time eventually will come. The funding needed to support the intentional communities I envision will eventually materialize.

The situation reminds me of the dilemma faced by the warrior-charioteer Arjuna in the Bhadavad Gita. Those who opposed him were corrupt relatives, which posed a great conflict. Was it morally right to take sides against family, even if they were in the wrong? Forced to make an apparently no-win choice was paralyzing. On the battlefield, overwhelmed, he put down his weapons and refused to fight.

But at this crisis and turning point, his chariot driver, Lord Krsna, revealed his true identity. With inspirational encouragement, he encouraged the warrior to take heart, stand firm and win the righteous battle against evil.

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Similarly, the communities which timeless scriptures encourage, of which Einstein wrote, and of which I am thinking, are not based on biological or even cultural kindred, but rather on resonance of heart and mind. Communities connecting kindred souls, if you will. And in this, the exceedingly dangerous times in which we live hold magical seeds of opportunity. From Two Sides of a Coin:

Whereas most rulers suffer the unanticipated consequences of ignorance, pride and greed as shock, humiliation and undoing, sages intentionally harness the forces of nature to positive ends. Thus it is, that throughout history, at the right time, in the necessary circumstances, leaders of ordinary and humble beginnings have catapulted to extraordinary levels of accomplishment, effecting broad political and social change.

By voicing the collective yearnings of the suffering masses, perennial sage-leaders shed the light of eternal hope on times of greatest darkness. By inspired words and living example, they recreate ever-new the Gita’s vision of opportunities hidden within the outward experience of hardship.

For as sages know, “when social degeneration reaches critical mass, regeneration follows.” From Passage 78 of the Tao Te Ching:

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Returning to this morning’s magical COMMUNITY reading: another next bend in the road occurred. Surprisingly, the changing lines combine to produce a most inauspicious outcome: # 9 – FRUSTRATION, which begins:

External factors you may not even be aware of will cause FRUSTRATION. New projects will not work out now. . . Your choice is either to wait patiently or to leave the situation.

It concludes by advising, Avoid major commitments.

So, turning to what I saved for last, I asked, What is the nature of the frustration in building intentional communities? The answer, when I checked the astrological description of today’s new moon was this. Timing. Major planets of communication and reform are currently going into hibernation, so to speak. Retrograde.

According to the calendar, the correct decision for me personally is to wait until the end September and into October. For the time being, continue to patiently endure unavoidable frustrations.

For others, for many other reasons, there will be other choices. What is consistent across the board is that building effective intentional communities will depend on an army of Arjunas, each of whom listens to the inner voice of conscience represented by Lord Krsna rather than to the dictates of their particular biological families or immediate social, political and religious prejudices.

Sometimes I wish I could win the largest lottery in history, as if that would end current frustrations. Yet I know bringing in money that way cannot solve the deeper problems. It would not influence hearts or minds, persuade the public of the wisdom needed to ensure human survival. For this, patience is required. So it is no accident that first three letters of PATIENCE are also the first letters of my name.

Today’s magic provided the immediate encouragement now needed to keep writing . . . balanced with acceptance of long-term timing. May my telling of it encourage fellow Arjunas-in-waiting, those who also will, when the time is right, God-willing, be ready to build on common ground.

Overcoming Limitations

In writing an invited article for the international journal Prabuddha Bhrata, I was so bold as to speculate about the prophecized End of Times. In retrospect, I’m having second, third and fourth thoughts.

Here’s what I wrote:

. . . wherein is consolation to be found during the present difficult times? For Hindu sages foresaw them. We are now enduring the decline described as the Kali Yuga. Christ similarly foretold the End of Times. It lies in this. Time does not exist for accomplished sages who dwell in the eternal center of the Life Wheel. To enlightened beings, it is but an illusion. They experience themselves as eternal, at one with the Creator. For them, life will go on whether or not the world as we now know it continues. If even for this reason alone, seeking inner enlightenment is an urgent priority.

How can one really know about such things? Such opinions are necessarily based on hearsay, albeit the testimony of sages is consistent on such matters.

To the point is a description of time as a fourth dimension in the marvelously articulate and entertaining book The Tao of Meditation:Way to Enlightenment by Tsung Hwa Jou. He writes:

Like the shadow, which cannot perceive something above or below its plane, we live in a three-dimensional world, able only to experience reality in segments of time.

According to Mr. Jou, Man’s epistemologies and methodologies are all right from a three-dimensional point of view, and since this is our only possible viewpoint, they constitute the best means to the truth about our reality. Every religion, philosophy, or science is right in three dimension. . . with this caveat: these partial approaches to truth are like different windows in a large building. Each affords us a different view of the outdoors. A unified perspective, however, is gained only by leaving the building.

He continues:

What is the shape of life from a four-dimensional point of view? . . . Suppose there are sentient beings who have a natural capacity to see the four-dimensional shape of things. They could tell us what the shape of our life is; that is, they could see all at once what to us is separated as past, present and future.

Likewise, he assures us that in the fourth dimension, birth and death are not separate, discrete experiences, but rather part of an ongoing, continuous whole. Our birth and death are just another transformation of one form to another.

In sum, he agrees with other accomplished meditators who regard time as we experience it as but an illusion. The perception of beginnings and endings is the result of human limitations – being capable of seeing in only three dimensions.

Why does this matter to us NOW? Look at it this way. Mr. Jou’s Motive, his WHY appears to be a kindhearted desire to share wisdom received from direct experience, for which he is infinitely grateful. His Purpose, the HOW is to detail in a book the methods and benefits of meditation along with the supporting science which explains its effectiveness. His Intended end result, the WHAT, is to give readers a time-tested way to improve the quality of daily life for both individuals and their social combinations:

If people began to think past the limitation of three-dimensions, there would be more respect between men in the business of living together for the common good. Three-dimensional tensions would dissolve, and a spirit of cooperation and mutual generosity would spring up in human affairs.

But he also admits that describing direct experience of the fourth dimension is like describing the taste of an apple to someone who has never eaten one. Similarly, he describes a mother frog who answers her babies’ questions about sunlight, trees and land by telling them they’ll have to wait until they mature, shed their tails and swim to the surface of the pond to experience what’s beyond for themselves:

We who philosophize about time, we who are limited to three dimensions are like a school of tadpoles wondering about another world. Until we too are able to “drop our tails” and step into that dimension, time must remain a subject of speculation to us, as a drinking glass is to a shadow. Until we can experience time as a dimensional context, it must remain a flat reflection to us as the upper world is to the water-bound tadpole.

The question/challenge for us as tadpole-like humans is HOW do we get from here (three-dimensional, conflict-driven either-or thinking) to there (fourth-dimensional awareness within and beneficial, harmonious relationships with others in the world).

Training the mind to expand awareness has been the systematic task of monastic Asian traditions throughout the ages. At the current “time,” the benefits of meditation – significantly improved awareness and effectiveness – may well be a matter of both individual and collective survival.

To that end, I’ve been looking through an assortment of books, each of which opens a different window on the subject of Spiritual Intelligence. In the PB article, I placed this term in the larger context of the two-directional, multi-layered Life Wheel:

In terms of clinical psychology, intelligence at the outermost level is described as IQ, at the middle level as EQ (emotional intelligence) and at the third as SQ (spiritual intelligence)..The levels, which actually flow along continuum, neither separate nor totally distinct, are linked in an infinite loop. The one who succeeds in joining them, living here and yet there, in the world but not of it, enjoys the experience of enlightenment – Christ Consciousness.

Each of the books on SQ (or SI) has its own point of reference, for example quantum physics, Christianity, etc. Interestingly, there’s also a forthcoming book on SI by and for Muslims based on teachings from the Koran. While a detailed summary is beyond the parameters of the current discussion, suffice it to say that although each author defines spiritual intelligence differently, they share a common intent.

Unfortunately, another thing Spiritual Intelligence books share in common is than none have gotten much traction. A quick tour through Amazon books shows that very few have been reviewed or purchased. Spiritual intelligence as a concept isn’t sexy. It is as if the concept is outside the “hearing” range of the general public. Why this remains so and what might be done to change this is yet another subject worthy of investigation and ACTION.

I do know, as do the authors of SI books who repeatedly call for “change,” that the future depends on such a reawakening. In the context of End of Time concerns, I’m reminded of Hexagram 49 of the Book of Change:

Day and night replace each other in endless cycles of CHANGE.

The same natural law generates flux in human events.

The unprepared see change as a threat,

but the well-prepared face the unknown calmly.

They know that after degeneration reaches critical mass,

regeneration follows.

In other words, one way or the other, preparation on every scale of magnitude will definitely make a great difference in the outcomes of as yet unforeseen futures waiting to be born. Overcoming the limitations of our current either/or way of thinking is an important first step. For, to repeat, as Einstein warned us, “We shall require a substantially different manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

For starters, thinking about this admittedly limited linear Essay on limitations may be helpful.

globeEssay 10. LIMITATIONS

The Chinese concept of change, which gives the I Ching its validity, has found its echo in chaos theory. The concepts presented by this theory give us vital information about how the I Ching functions. Understanding this may help us cross the bridge between determinist rationality and chance, and go further toward our comprehension of this age-old system, which could have a profound influence on the rest of our lives”. — Cyrille Javary, Understanding the I Ching

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds

Or bends with the remover to remove.

Oh no! It is an ever fixèd mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken.

— William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

The Bible encodes all the possibilities, and what we do determines the actual outcome. . .The only thing that can be predicted is the probability of different events. Yet quantum physics is a highly successful branch of science. It works. Perhaps because it recognizes uncertainty as a part of reality. In the same way, the Bible code works . . . because it recognizes uncertainty as part of reality.” — Michael Drosnin, The Bible Code

THE FRONT

A limit is a point, line or edge where something ends or must end, a boundary or border beyond which something ceases to be or to be possible. A limitation is something that limits, as some factor in make-up which restricts the scope of a person’s qualifications, activity, or accomplishment. In law, it’s a period of time, fixed by statute, during which legal action can be brought, as for settling a claim.

On the positive side, we limit ourselves consciously by choosing how to allocate our attention, time and effort. This is called discipline and commitment. On the negative side, we unconsciously diminish our potentials, tying them up in knots of insecurity and doubt. Attitude limitations are as debilitating as physical handicaps. Often they’re unconsciously acquired, internalized by cultural conditioning and negative suggestions. Identifying and correcting these attitudes, overcoming unnecessary limitations, is essential to personal growth and fulfillment.

Rules of empirical science limit the field of knowledge to tangible things. Yet when we exclude the data of extra-sensory experience, we impoverish our lives. Instinct is a survival mechanism built into animals and humans alike. Dogs and horses, however, are sometimes more savvy about people than we are; they’re not fooled by false appearances. Intuition, however, is a gift exclusive to humans. It flashes on inventive thinkers when they see new possibilities or dream of futures not yet born.

The I Ching supplies a method for revitalizing instinct and intuition gone numb through suppression or lack of attention. It helps us link the middle octave of reason with the lower and higher octaves of experience, expanding our range of hearing and awareness.

People raised exclusively on empirical science limit their concept of love and joy to tangibles — physical beauty and sex appeal. When youth fades, marriage partners who lack wisdom are tempted to break their vows. Using the I Ching, however, helps fine-tune awareness of what changes, as well as that which remains constant. Using the I Ching as the foundation of realistic relationships, we build the inner consistency necessary to sustain commitments and complete long-term goals.

But just as an individual’s time on Earth is limited, civilizations and even planets pass in due course. At each stage in history, wisdom appropriate to the times is revealed to those who seek. Drosnin speculates that Newton’s intuited but evasive Bible code was purposefully hidden until the time that computers were invented to unlock it. Similarly, Einstein’s Unified Theory eluded him because he lacked yogic I Ching wisdom. In turn, it may well be that the extraordinary value of this text has been hidden for centuries, waiting for public understanding of binary-digital computer code, energy chakras and DNA genome theory to revolutionize our approach to the Book of Change.

THE BACK

The opposite of limitations is the unlimited. We call this infinity or the unknowable unknown. We are told we have unlimited potentials, but on the material plane they are framed by choice and the structure of whatever language we speak. Only the unfathomable, unnameable essence referred to as the timeless Tao or God — the alpha-omega source of creation — is truly without limitation.

When humans defy natural limitations of time, space and form, they are said to be delusional. When they behave in reckless, unrestrained ways, in defiance of their mortality, acting as if they were invincible and above the law, this is arrogance and sheer ignorance. Knowing one’s place in the universe is wisdom; resisting it is futile.

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