October 12th is Columbus Day, an American holiday viewed by many with mixed emotions.
It marks the official date when, in 1492, the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas.
What he set out to do was open a trade route to Asia. Instead, he discovered a whole New World.
In Journal of the First Voyage, Columbus described the three-month journey prior to landing. Crossing the Atlantic in wooden ships, the Nina, La Pinta and Santa Maria, was a harrowing ordeal:
Here the people could stand it no longer and complained of the long voyage . . .
“The Admiral cheered them as best he could,” he wrote. He also told them “it was useless to complain.” His mind was made up. He was determined, with God’s help, to go forward.
Ironically, on Columbus Day 2020, people of the world are again at sea, in the midst of a frightening journey, facing an unknown future, hardly able to stand it.
Now, here’s today’s problem. Americans once identified with Columbus as a national hero. We loved his vision and courage. But as the shadow side of cruelty came to light, we started to doubt our heritage. . . and ourselves.
Indigenous people got the short-end of Spain’s invasion. Should we therefore reject Columbus . . . and our heritage . . . entirely?
Or with compassion, should we shake our heads, knowing that as a law of nature, “Whatever has a front has a back. The larger the front, the larger the back.” Throughout history, the greater the venture, the greater its shadow-side of tragedy.
In duality, there are two sides to every coin. (Let anyone, on any side, who believes they’re exempt from the rule think twice, and then twice again!)
The I Ching solution is to go deeper within the Life Wheel, where all sides dance together as players in a larger story. In truth, our identities don’t depend on historical events, but on the eternal life we share in common.
Last week’s reading, OVERCOMING, offers a way to transcend illusory differences. Inspired music, art, theater and poetry remind us of a deeper origin, beyond race, gender, or nationality:
The harmonizing arts are useful tools for OVERCOMING the forces which block and separate. Inspired music, drama and art express the common light which guides all.
One example of inspired poetry to illustrate the point is Intimations of Immortality. Written by the 19th century poet William Wordsworth, it resonates powerfully with Einstein’s words. The illusion of separateness is like a prison, from which we must get free:
Similarly, the Tao Te Ching gives poetic life to I Ching wisdom:
In 1492, his crew rebelled against the terrible crossing. Columbus however, full of faith in God, was determined to stay the course. In the end, he discovered a whole New World.
Today, 528 years later, at another crossroads, the immediate future is painfully uncertain. However, those who keep the faith and accept the challenge of shifting gears to a higher octave will prevail. Ahead unknown new worlds are waiting to be discovered. The final frontier is within.
The I Ching Reading
Because The Book of Change isn’t taught in schools, it remains unfamiliar. That’s why I’ve chosen to bring the book to you. The goal is to make what was once unfamiliar now familiar.
FLOW is the initial answer to the question, “What should we be aware of today?” It reads:
Follow the natural FLOW of daily events. Swimming against the tide would exhaust your energies and accomplish little. Be realistic about changes which have taken place. Adapt to the present situation. Let others take the lead now. Assist them if possible. Live a quiet and simple life. Avoid stress.
Here, Flow is the extension of BALANCE, the original Fall Equinox reading:
Life flows to establish BALANCE among the basic elements of nature. Opposites clash and find a middle ground. Any imbalance in life will attract the opposite which restores balance. Waste creates want. Selfishness brings bad luck. Therefore, to stay in harmony with nature, remain moderate in all ways. Avoid extremes.
End-stage 2020 is awash in the consequences of extreme imbalance. Extravagant waste of resources — natural, human, and economic — is off-set by increasing poverty. Intensely partisan politics is off-set by escalating murder rates, scary scandals, and illness on every level.
Nature mirrors human imbalance with hurricanes, floods, and raging forest fires.
But resisting hardship makes matters worse. Instead, the I Ching approach to 2020 madness is to accept and adjust.
For those who choose to go with the FLOW, avoiding undue stress, there’s a change. Line 3 warns, “Be firm in separating from weaker elements of the past.”
I take this to mean that the imperialist mentality Columbus brought with him to the New World did not serve anyone well. To move forward into a better future, the separatist illusion of superiority must be left in the past, along with the limited materialist paradigm of empirical science.
Its warning heeded, line three changes to DEPRESSION.
At times when it seems as if one’s resources are exhausted, care must be taken to soften the harmful effects of DEPRESSION. Whether the cause of depression is mental, emotional or economic, do not despair. The time will pass. Use hardship to develop inner strength and calm. Avoid negative thoughts.
I read this in the context of a year when the inevitable consequences of extreme imbalance have reached critical mass. They can’t be avoided. They can, however, be learned from.
For those able to hear, tough times are extending the opportunity to go deep within, discover quantum new worlds of inner strength and light.
Looking forward, DEPRESSION is part of a larger pattern weaving through the rest of 2020. So there’s practical wisdom in choosing to go with the FLOW. Decide right now to make the best of what’s available, turning it to long-term advantage.
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 CSBOC, or extras to give others, click here.
To orderTwo Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.