Tag Archives: conflict

Don’t Be Fooled! – IC – 110920

In duality, every coin has two sides. If you haven’t learned how to harness this dynamic, it can get you into deep, dark trouble. Today’s I Ching reading shows how to change the conflict of this uncertain time into an opportunity.

As a Law of Nature, Whatever has a front has a back. An axiom of the Law is, The larger the front, the larger the back.

The scary tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde captures this simple fact. In duality, rarely if ever is anything on the surface actually what it seems to be.

This is why sages recommend the middle path of balance and moderation. This isn’t milk-toast timidity. It’s wisdom dressed up as street-smarts. They know that every extreme changes into its opposite – an unwelcome outcome best anticipated and avoided.

The two-sides rule explains how con artists get away with deception. Anyone who can’t see through appearances is easy prey. In fact, I recently heard a commentator say politicians depend on P.T. Barnum’s law: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

That’s why I’ve made it my life work to mainstream wisdom tools which help people think more clearly, see more deeply into the nature of things. We need to raise a generation that can’t be fooled. Human survival may well depend on it.

Proof is in the consequences of today’s wisdom-deficit. In 2020’s year of extremes, waves of backlash have swollen to tsunami proportions. When opposing factions are at each other’s throats, each undoing whatever the other proposes, it’s nearly impossible to steer a steady course.

The yo-yo effect of extremes is the stuff of Greek tragedy, where the hero’s greatest strength is the cause of his downfall. Flash forward. In 2020, President Trump’s outspoken, confident personality has a predictable downside.

It’s hard for folks like my friend Alice to identify with a winner’s outlook. She’s been trained by both church and state to be passive, polite, and (frankly) hypocritical. She’s been taught that wearing a mask (now, ironically, literally) is what it takes to be “good.” She’s been rewarded for owning the mask of conformity.

So, how dare anyone break the unspoken rules by being candid and upfront? Truthful. It’s “bad.” That makes the President a bad person.

Fortunately, many see deeper than surface appearances. President’s Trump’s faith in God and in himself strikes a resonant cord with “we the people.” We sense and return the towering, lion-hearted love which energizes and empowers him.

Deeper than economic policies and peace initiatives, what moves us is his unashamed devotion to purpose. In his presence, we feel energized and encouraged. Hopeful. He supports us in our love of God and country.

Here’s the secret sauce of his success. He’s speaks to the hunger Marisa Peer has so brilliant diagnosed. This world-famous therapist of the rich and famous has put her finger on (and quickly heals) the root of every addiction and ailment.

Every dysfunction starts with the painful feeling of being “not enough.” Church and state have hammered the lie of not-enoughness into our psyches. It keeps us in our place, submissive and easily controlled. (David Icke has a bit to say on the subject!)

The President has picked up that gauntlet and thrown it in the face of the ruling elite that would enslave us. He’s telling downtrodden deplorables we are OKAY. We are enough. In fact, we can and should be GREAT.

We love that message. And we love him for being its messenger.

On the flip side, how can the public possibly relate to a decrepit, deeply corrupted candidate? Do they, like Alice, feel sorry for him? Do they sympathize with having to live behind a mask? Do they identify with his resentment against “smart guys,” feel the pain of being the slowest – but nicest — kid in the class?

Revenge also plays a part. Remember the Eddie Murphy movie, Trading Places? It’s being playing out in politics. Those who choose to see themselves as disenfranchised salivate at the opportunity to symbolically own a failing, old white guy. Use him as a front for their agenda before replacing him entirely? It’s a BLM wet dream.

In this scenario, there’s no compassion. No forgiveness or unity. The oppressed are simply grasping at the opportunity to revere roles, become the oppressors.

N.B. For those who believe it’s too late, the game’s over, nothing and no one can change – that a drab, dark future lies ahead, cast in stone — think again. Here’s what Lao Tze has to say about pessimism:

All that being said, the following I Ching reading offers a way out of madness.

We’re not trained to come to the Book of Change for answers to our deepest questions. That’s why I’ve chosen to bring the book to you. Through the end of 2020, these bi-weekly blogs are intended to make what was unfamiliar now familiar.

CONFLICT was the initial answer to October 9th’s question, “What do we need to be aware of NOW?” It reads:

CONFLICT develops when one refuses to see the view-point of others. The way out is to be open to others and willing to meet them half-way. Pushing a disagreement to open conflict would result in separation. This would bring unfortunate results.

In the extreme, there’s potential for civil war. It’s not the wise option.

Advice of the bottom line reads, “Don’t let misunderstandings continue. Make peace with your friends quickly.”

It is a grave mistake for Americans who share much in common to divide as a result of closed-mindedness fueled by incendiary media hype. Better is to remember the love, return to what’s basic.

This advice being heeded, the line changes to:

In stressful situations, your CONDUCT will determine the outcome of your efforts. Do not let negative or unpleasant people affect your own balance. Respond to the demands of others according to the quality of their motives rather than acting impulsively. Play by the rules of the game. Avoid becoming emotional.

Look and think deep. Be part of the solution. Don’t act in ways that make the problem worse.

Advice of the second line reads, “Retreat and regroup. Your opponent is too strong for you.”

At this point, resolution of post-election conflict rests in the hands of political professionals, their lawyers, the courts and just maybe, a handful of honest journalists. In the short-term, it’s best for the rest of us to conserve our energy, preserve our sanity, and pray for the best.

This advice heeded, the second line changes to Standstill:

When opposing forces draw apart, activity comes to a STANDSTILL. Lack of understanding results in mistrust and refusal to cooperate. When weak leaders prevent necessary cooperation, it is best to withdraw from the situation and wait for the times to change. Direct your attention toward inward growth.

When confusion and misunderstandings prevail, don’t react emotionally. Bide your time. Keep your powder dry.

Combining the changing lines results in this final outcome:

Cultivate CLARITY. Listen to the pure and childlike voice of your inner being. Even if this results in new and unexpected experiences, you will benefit. Take joy in being true to your Self. Modified by consideration for others, this will give you creative abilities. Avoid fearful attachment to the familiar.

This says in another way what I concluded in Listen To Your Heart:

The year 2020 has been harsh. Tough. Painful. No doubt. The possibility of emerging stronger and more peaceful than before is its hidden gift.

Add inspired creativity to the list of 2020’s hidden blessings.

Also include the clarity of knowing you are already, inherently enough. You were born that way. Never, ever allow anyone to fool you into believing otherwise.

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.

To order You Are Already ENOUGH! How Would Your Life CHANGE If You Really Believed It?, click here.

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


Unity Within, Diversity Without

Here’s a note to acknowledge ongoing conversations with Mike Lehr and Steven Z. The first illustration (it dates back to 1982) shows what I mean when I say “Unity Within, Diversity Without.” By extension, it also shows that enduing stability rests within the eternal center. Growth takes place in the middle level. The diversity of unique personalities is associated with the surface level of ongoing change.

062514 Balanced World View

In contrast, the second, companion illustration shows the divisive either/or worldview that is currently causing so much confusion, pain and suffering.

062514 Evil

Additional pictures contrast two opposite and equal mistakes. The first shows the hollow shell of the exclusively materialistic, empirical science model.


The second shows the dangerous, anti-life orientation of religious extremists.



The Positive Paradigm of Change translates the old-new I Ching world view into the yoga-compatible Unified Theory. Based on Einstein’s theory of relativity, it offers the hope of a positive future for generations to come.


Rethinking PEACE

Given the extraordinary amount of pain suffered in many parts of the world today — not the least of which being the very real fear of nuclear annihilation — I’ve chosen a message of PEACE from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide.

 Essay 61. PEACE

When the forces of nature unite in profound harmony,

heavenly PEACE fills the earth.

Lives blossom. Prosperity increases.

Easy communication makes it possible

for people to understand one another.

This leads to cooperative efforts that will be fruitful.

Tranquility follows fulfillment of life goals.  

— Patricia West, The Common Sense Book of Change

Conflict is woven into the fundamental fabric of nature. The sea and land meet in violent conflict and make waves together. The plow turns the meadow and wheat springs forth. . . Conflict is evidence that human beings are engaged in something interesting. . . [It] plays a key role in the growth of character and the development of stable relationships. Conflict makes us into who we really are. — Brian Muldoon, The Heart of Conflict

The principle of economy in movement arises from a state of internal harmony. A mind that is at peace is not easily swayed or disturbed. This principle also plays a vital role in daily life, whether in business or in combat. If one over-reacts and responds with excessive or unnecessary action, one is at a disadvantage.-Mantak Chia & Juan Li, The Inner Structure of Tai Chi


Webster’s defines peace as freedom from war or a stopping of war. It can refer to a treaty or agreement to end war or the threat of war. It’s defined as freedom from public disturbance or disorder, public security, law and order. It refers to freedom from disagreement or quarrels.

Peace also means harmony or concord. It’s used to describe an undisturbed state of mind, absence of mental conflict, serenity, or tranquility. To keep one’s peace means to be silent, keep quiet.

The timid are satisfied with peace defined by predictable routine, without conflict or challenge. The aggressive prefer peace defined as defeat of enemies or absolute control over subordinates. The peace of the grave is cessation of life. I Ching philosophy guides careful thinkers away from these extremes.

In I Ching context, peace is an inward state of calm that manifests as outward poise. Where timid and aggressive definitions both depend on external circumstances, the experience of tranquility depends only on oneself. External conditions will always be in flux. Therefore, looking for peace in the world is an exercise in futility. Internal states, however, are subject to self-governance.

In Asian traditions, peace is akin to the yogic concept of contentment — an attitude of grateful acceptance of all seasons and quiet openness to the rhythms of life. In biblical context, the lyrical stanzas of Ecclesiastes capture the wisdom of natural law:

 To every thing there is a season, and a time to 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 has been planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal.

The sage takes responsibility for attaining inner peace as the first step towards world peace. Inner quiet begets the attitude of confidence, which in turn generates acts of compassion, courage and generosity. World organizations which would impose military peace upon warring nations comprised of individuals each at war internally have no hope of success.

Conflict, like peace, starts from the inside and projects outwards. Therefore, no matter what military force is applied, so long as people are educated into internal conflict, external wars will continue to break out.

St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians takes on significant new meaning in the light of I Ching wisdom. Peace seekers would do well to consider it carefully:

2.14.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one

and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

2.15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity,

even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;

for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.

Meditative practices which intentionally focus on the corpus callosum as the middle wall which separates and/or unifies right and left brain (yin/yang, male/female) functions give practical means for implementing biblical insight.


Conflict and war are opposites of peace. Only the context of motive, purpose and intent determines whether they are necessary and to long-term benefit, or unwarranted and uselessly destructive. Shunning either out of fear invites danger.

Enforced silence is a perversion of peace. A totalitarian state can outlaw free expression. It may compel rigid conformance and suppress dissent. However, it cannot contain the vitality of the creative life force, which always prevails.


Patricia West, The Common Sense Book of Change. (+A Positive Action Press: WI, 2000.) No. 11.

Brian Muldoon, The Heart of Conflict. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: New York, 1996.) p. 9.

Mantak Chia & Juan Li, The Inner Structure of Tai Chi. (Healing Tao Books: Huntington,

NY, 1996.) p. 35.