“Holy crap!” (Excuse my language.) Puzzle pieces were coming together with rapid fire speed!
Early November 30th, the blue moon already in full affect, I sat up knowing I should check out Jack Balkin’s version of SACRIFICE, the final outcome of today’s reading.
When I wrote the Common Sense Book of Change, all the readings came easily. All except one. SACRIFICE. I rethought it for the second edition, and revised it again for the third.
And I’m not the only one who’s had trouble getting it right.
That’s why, when a media celebrity dared psychoanalyze the Bible, I questioned his skewed view of Abraham’s call to sacrifice. In Rethinking Sacrifice, I responded with a more comprehensive, Life Wheel understanding:
[Sacrifice] is the essence of the challenge offered in Exodus. “Return unto me and I return unto you.” It emphasizes travel on the inward path from surface to center of the Life Wheel, releasing attachments to ephemeral possessions, limited opinions/identities, and outgrown lifestyles.
I pointed out that definitions of sacrifice, like virtually every value word in the English language, span the continuum, black to white and everything in-between. The language has been adulterated. I’ve called it The Tower of Babel Effect. The following quote could not be more timely, given current events:
. . . even people with the best of intentions use the same words to mean very different things. They miss each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect. . . Instead of being used as a means for unifying human beings, language is often degraded into chaotic paralyzing noise – a weapon for stirring up animosities, division and confusion.
(NB. I’ve expanded on the limitations of good intentions elsewhere. Bottom line: lacking the underpinnings of a complete and accurate paradigm, they easily slide down the slippery slope that leads to the dark side. It’s worth your time to consider.)
To the point here: inverted definitions are used to excuse slave trafficking, pedophilia and worse:
Pagan sacrifice of children and animals is irrelevant to the meaning of Abraham’s test. At issue is the difference between transcending pain for the sake of higher love versus selfishly destroying life (whether with physical, verbal and/or psychological violence) to get what one wants here on earth.
Anyway. As I was saying. It was very early. . . 1:30 a.m. My brain synapses were firing at triple speed. I was remembering that at the time he published The Laws of Change, Jack Balkin was Knight Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School.
Balkin’s hefty, scholarly work is a wonderful resource, one which complements my small, easy-to-read version. No doubt his appreciation of Natural Law profoundly enriches his applications of the Constitution to current events.
In any case, my mind was busy connecting the dots that link Common Sense advocates over time – from Tom Paine’s book, Rudy Giuliani’s website and the Taoist approach to the Book of Change. In short time, I published a bonus blog, What Happened to Common Sense?
On a different note, President Trump spoke in Wisconsin (my home state) on November 2nd. An event within the event resonated with my post, What Happened to Unity, where I wrote:
God and the good angels are broadcasting loud and clear. But it’s hard to get through. The message is being jammed, the signal blocked.
What happened in Kenosha? The podium mike failed. People couldn’t hear. Trump improvised. He joked, turning it into a game. As technicians struggled to get the sound system working, the President shouted to the crowd. “Can you hear me?” “Can you hear me now?” They bantered back and forth til the problem was solved.
The following morning a Mike and the Mechanics tune Silent Running popped into mind. Great song. Prescient. I looked it up on Youtube and found I’m not the only one who thinks so. One comment asked, “Does anyone else feel this song has significance right now?” It got 407 likes and 55 replies. It’s worth a listen and a watch. Here are the lyrics:
Balkin’s perspective is Confucian, meaning he’s primarily interested in human behavior and social order as it manifests on the surface of the Life Wheel. In contrast, a very different version, The Taoist I Ching translated by Thomas Cleary, focuses on yogic practices associated with the middle, e=energy level.
So, for today, I though you’d find it interesting see three versions – just a taste — set side-by-side. With U.S. election results up for grabs, this is the reading for October 5, 2020.
TRAVEL is the initial answer to the question, “What should we be aware of NOW?” It appeared last time as a changing component of the November 2nd reading. In part, the CSBOC version reads:
In dealing with strangers exercise careful self-control. Talk little. Listen much. Learn from everyone who has information to share. Avoid dangerous exposure.
(Before sacrificing much of today’s original content, I initially had a paragraph here about the the famous saying, “Keep your powder dry.”)
In the Balkin version, TRAVEL is called The Wanderer. He comments:
You are in a period of transition. Things are not yet certain, and it is not yet clear how you fit into them or what your identity is supposed to be. The text compares your situation to that of a wanderer who is traveling through a strange land.
Cleary says of Travel:
You should not remain attached to the realm you pass through. If you are concerned with externals, you forget the inward; by pursuing ramifications you abandon the root.
The changing line in the second place advises, “Moderate careful behavior will win the respect of your leaders.” When advice is heeded, it changes to a second outcome, which in the CSBOC reads:
A balanced relationship between the individual and the whole is achieved through service in the spirit of SACRIFICE. Changing selfishness to compassion and acts of kindness builds bridges of mutual trust. Unselfish giving benefits everyone involved, helping the community to overcome obstacles and dangers. Avoid twin dangers: selfishness and self-denial.
The Balkin version calls it The Caldron, or Ding. Descriptive terms include:
A Ding is a sacred vessel, normally made of bronze, in which ritual foods were prepared and cooked during religious ceremonies.. . Through this ritual, people purified themselves and rededicated themselves to spiritual ends.. . Ding teaches that you can transform yourself and your world IF you do so not for selfish ends but in pursuit of something valuable.
The Cleary version calls it The Cauldron:
Producing illumination through following an initiatory process, the mind becomes daily more humble while illumination increases. . . When empty and illumined, that enlightenment illumines all, and the mind cannot be moved by the vagaries of wealth and status.
The classic Wilhelm/Baynes translation uses the word Ting. It hints of secret teachings:
There is in man likewise a fate that lends power to his life. And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to life and to fate, thus bringing the two into harmony, he puts his fate on a firm footing.These words contain hints about fostering of life as handed on by oral tradition in the secret teachings of Chinese yoga.
This image, suggestive of the “initiatory process,” supports hints of yogic meaning. It associates the material cooking vessel with the lower energetic center (dan tien), the place where basic materials are combined, transformed and then circulated throughout the system. Markings, front and back are changing I Ching hexagrams.
In sum, today seems to be a time of transition, best used to digest, assimilate and transform raw elements to a higher purpose.
Let this be food for thought to those with ears to hear.