Tag Archives: danger

What Should We Be Aware of in the Year 2021? IC – 010421

I thought I was done with I Ching blogs. But the muse calls, so here I am, still yet.

I should have known. Sage astrologers with an overview of heavenly timing agree that, though very different from 2020, this new year promises to be its logical extension.

My query to the Book of Change confirms this view. I asked, “What should we be aware of in the year 2021?” Though placements are different, the readings are all familiar from 2020.

January looks to be an intensely volatile month. As I cautioned in the final post of 2020:

The year 2021 promises to be rough, though different from 2020. The process of exposing the corruption of the old order will continue. But the clash between paradigms will intensify, imposing new hardships. Positive change doesn’t come easy. As Kuhn wrote in his classic work on paradigm shifts, entrenched power-holders with vested interests in obsolete ways will fight change however they can.

In particular, January of 2021 promises to be fraught with geographical and political events of explosive intensity. A heads up: astrological markings of January 20th, inauguration day, are strikingly similar to the date of the catastrophic 1916 San Francisco earthquake.

In sum, the year-of-our-Lord 2021 promises to be a roller-coaster ride. So buckle up. There’s no turning back. The only way out is through.

As the American constitutional crisis intensifies, the contrast between opposing paradigms is becoming increasingly clear, deepening into the most basic of all conflicts: the war between good and evil. At the beginning of this “Waterloo week” in American history, Steve Bannon and Archbishop Vigano have spelled out for the world the ultimate choice of 2021. What’s at stake is the outcome of the war between children of light versus children of darkness.

Have you chosen sides yet? (Remember. Failing to choose is also a choice.)

Before continuing to today’s I Ching reading, let me first answer Steve Bannon’s reminder of Martin Luther King’s words: “Courage is the first of all the virtues, because it supports the all others.”

Sounds good.

But when I sat down with my notebook just now, this came through. “TRUST is the root and support of all the other virtues. With Faith, all things follow – courage included.”

I will confess, what I wrote in my notes was a warning. “Use it or lose it.” Don’t ignore the voice of conscience. Forget the powerful hunches and calls to action for too long, and adversity follows. The angelic hosts will lose interest in you. They’ll quit calling, stop guiding. Their protection will cease.

From ignorance and fear – compounded by lack of trust in Self and faith in the Creator – far too many of us earth-dwellers are forfeiting inborn Divine Connection. Which is why, when in doubt, working with the Book of Change is a life-saver.

Though subject to change, at the moment I have no schedule for posting future blogs. It was my intention to shift focus. I’m planning to complete and then publish The Lessons of 2020. Following that, The Phoenix Response and How To Create Positive Change are waiting in line.

Nevertheless, reinforcing the benefits of working with the Book of Change in meeting 2021’s challenges is my central contribution to the “interesting” year ahead.

In 2020, you saw each of today’s Common Sense Book of Change readings. So, as the constitutional crisis peaks, I once again to defer to The Laws of Change published by Jack Balkin, a Yale University Professor of Constitutional Law. His comments are powerful and wise, as well as extraordinarily prescient.

ORIGIN is the original answer to the immediate question, “What Should we be aware of in the Year 2021?” Keep in mind. The answer works as advice for the immediate moment on a personal level. At the same time, it also serves as an overview for the entire year. It works for each of us individually, but collectively as well.

Balkin calls ORIGIN The Well. Keywords include: Human potential; Human resources; Replenishing; Renewal; Nourishing others; and The unchanging.

He comments:

The well is an inexhaustible source of nourishment . . . Jing teaches that people replenish themselves through replenishing others. They grow strong and happy not by trying to keep everything for themselves, but through helping each other and growing together. The human need for love and mutual support is as basic as the drive for self-preservation.

* * *

Advice of Line 3 reads, “Let others know what you can do. Opportunities will develop.”

On a personal level, I’m being advised to let you know about future publications. Similarly, each of us is being advised to contribute what we can to serve the whole. Balkin suggests, “If you find a way to make a contribution, everyone would benefit.”

When this advice is taken to heart and acted upon, the line changes to DANGER. Balkin calls it The Abyss. Keywords include: Water; Darkness; Danger; Despair; Courage and devotion; Maintaining faith; and Getting through to the other side.

He comments:

The world is testing you. Maintain your patience and your devotion. Take things one day at a time. Just make sure that you keep going and do not lose heart.

The enemy you confront is more than a set of forces in the outside world. The enemy is pessimism and lack of faith in yourself. This is the abyss that is the subject of the hexagram. It is not a physical abyss but a spiritual one. To give up and give in is the worst possible thing you could do.

Keep the faith.

* * *

Advice of the fourth line reads, “Withdraw from activities long enough to rest and re-energize yourself.” Balkin comments:

It is time to take stock and put your life in order. Rethink your strategies and reevaluate your priorities and pay attention to your self-development.

When this advice is heeded, the line changes to INNER STRENGTH. Balkin calls it Greatness in Excess. Keywords include: Too much; Overload; Critical mass; Taking a stand; setting priorities; and Making choices.

He comments:

The hexagram symbolizes a condition that cannot last. Something must be done, or else misfortune is likely to result.

One you have decided what the problem is, you must act quickly but with gentleness and composure. The time calls for extraordinary measures, but the transition to a new situation must be peaceful and nonviolent.

Recognize the need for change. Carry it out gently and swiftly, without fear or anxiety.

* * *

The composite final outcome is ADVERSITY. Balkin calls it Oppression. Keywords include: Exhaustion; Being restricted; Hardship; Adversity; Inner affliction; Dried up; and Impasse.

He comments:

Kun is indeed a difficult hexagram, but the law of change is always in operation. Periods of oppression and exhaustion contain the seeds of regeneration and renewal. At the very darkest moment the light is almost ready to shine again.

If you maintain your equanimity and your patience, you will endure, and become a stronger, better person in the process.

To defeat [negativity] maintain your faith, your emotional balance, and your self-confidence. If you can win this inner victory, no outside foe can stand against you.

The challenges of 2021 promise to be enormous. The rewards of overcoming them have the potential to be great in equal measure.

Look for The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future 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.

The Only Way Out Is Through – IC – 123120

On December 30th, year-of-our-Lord 2020, I listened to WarRoom Pandemic host Stephen K. Bannon and guest Roger Kimball opine on the late Andrew Breitbart’s words: “Culture is downstream from politics.”

WOW. I must differ.

They may be correct – as far as it goes. But, importantly, there’s more. Interacting culture and politics both vary with the flux and flow of events on the ephemeral surface of the Life Wheel. Together, they’re offshoots of something deeper – a fundamental paradigm.

Deeper still, archetypal ideas emanate from the Center of the Life Wheel. They depend on the silent Source from which ideas arise and civilizations then follow.

It’s a jigsaw puzzle of interlocking wheels-within-wheels, with a center piece that holds the entire picture together.

Steve introduced Roger as (among others things) President of Encounter Books, publisher of books on immanent threats throughout the world. Again, there’s more.

The greatest threat – the one which drives economic/political conflict – is the limited, fragmenting, nihilistic paradigm of empirical science. So long as the underlying paradigm is corrupt and corrupting, operating invisible and uncorrected, efforts to improve matters on the surface are futile.

Yes, in the case of America, restoring fidelity to the Constitution and rule of human law is NECESSARY. But it’s not sufficient. Deeper still, we have to restore a living, breathing understanding of Natural Law and, deeper still of Divine Law. After all, the Founders saw human law in the context of the laws of nature and nature’s God.

As an unfortunate fact of history, wisdom traditions, both East and West, are subject to entropy. Over time, the religious institutions of Judaeo-Christian culture – however noble at the core – have been infiltrated and egregiously abused to political ends.

For example, Elsworth Carlson, a family friend and my professor of Asian history at Oberlin College, wrote about his experience as a missionary in Shansi, China. Stranded there during War II, he came to appreciate the nobility of their culture. The one-sided attitude of his peers appalled him. They assumed Western culture was the only correct one. They therefore had a duty to impose it on a distant land which they neither understood nor appreciated.

No wonder Westerners were hated by the ruling classes. They despised not so much the culture, mind you, but the heavy-handed, violent way in which it was superimposed on countries across the globe. Today, from some combination of pride and revenge, Asian political leaders are following historical example, intent on turning the tables.

Fortunately, political-cultural warfare is superficial. Deeper than deep, people worldwide are waking up to the values they share in common – freedom, love of life, of family, of God. And that is bringing the best of us together. A shared, complete and correct paradigm will speed the process of cooperative agreements.

In Rethinking Survival, I quoted comparative religion legend Joseph Campbell:

We don’t have a mythology for people recognizing the humanity of a person on the other side of the hemisphere. I’ve often wondered if some of the notions coming out of quantum physics, quantum interconnectedness, don’t express that.

The Quantum Paradigm answers that call. It is:

. . . an inclusive reality map, one people worldwide can easily comprehend and agree upon. It is equally compatible with scriptures and science, bridging the gap between them. It fulfills Einstein’s intuited search for the Unified Field Theory, picturing how all parts of creation are related, interwoven and interdependent.

Truth by definition is universal — eternally One and the same. All wisdom traditions are cultural expressions of the same, eternal Core, whether you call it Creator, Source, God, Great Father, Tao, Allah. . . or nothing at all.

Cultures are “great” to the extent they’re in alignment with the Center, the Source of greatness. Its expressions differ over time and by place. Their limitations are a function of (perhaps) inevitable corruption.

Fortunately, 2021 is offering humanity the opportunity to go deeper than surface differences. Today’s Fresh Start I Ching reading is perfectly timed for the New Year. It’s the beginning of the great Reset foreseen by those who watch the heavens (a term which the dark side can’t get away with co-opting in a futile attempt to bend the positive arc of history).

So. Yes, We’re in for a global Reset. It won’t happen overnight. Or in month. Or even year. A generation is more like it. But it starts NOW, with each of us, one person at a time, and from the inside out. The energies of the times are changing. We are becoming more aware. Not just of the political-cultural scene, but of the inner landscape which drives it.

The year 2021 promises to be rough, though different from 2020. The process of exposing the corruption of the old order will continue. But the clash between paradigms will intensify, imposing new hardships. Positive change doesn’t come easy. As Kuhn wrote in his classic work on paradigm shifts, entrenched power-holders with vested interests in obsolete ways will fight change however they can.

In particular, January of 2021 promises to be fraught with geographical and political events of explosive intensity. A heads up: astrological markings of January 20th, inauguration day, are strikingly similar to the date of the catastrophic 1916 San Francisco earthquake.

In sum, the year-of-our-Lord 2021 promises to be a roller-coaster ride. So buckle up. There’s no turning back. The only way out is through.

Take comfort in this. Come what may, those supported by wisdom traditions will meet our new set of challenges with the Phoenix Response, dying to be reborn better than before in the same lifetime.

We’re not taught to look to the Book of Change, the compendium of Natural Law, for answers. That’s why I’ve brought the book to you. Through the end of 2020, bi-weekly posts were intended make what was once unfamiliar now familiar.

TRAVEL is the initial answer to the question, “What should we be aware of on New Year’s Eve as we enter 2021?” It reads:

When you have outgrown a situation, it is time to TRAVEL on. Staying longer would prevent attainment of important goals. Commitments made now probably would not work out. In dealing with strangers exercise careful self-control. Talk little. Listen much. Learn from everyone who has information to share. Avoid dangerous exposure.

Most of us are glad to be done with a painfully challenging year. No looking back. However, it will be important to stay on high alert. More challenges lie ahead.

* * *

Advice of the fourth line reads, “Enjoy the process of growing day by day. Don’t rush.”

The future promises to be full of surprising twists and turns. Rather than try to second guess, don’t get ahead of yourself. Make the best of each day as it comes. Remain flexible.

When this advice is heeded the line changes to Stillness:

Peace within and harmony without come from STILLNESS. When immediate answers to important questions cannot be found, sometimes keeping still is the best way out. Burning desires produce chaotic thinking. This only clouds the issue and makes life painful. Meditation is a valuable method for finding stillness. Avoid useless activity.

During times of conflict and tension, inner balance must be restored with periods of quiet self-care. Conserve energy. Maintain inner focus and mental clarity. Don’t be distracted from purpose.

* * *

Advice of line five reads, “In a new situation, find the right way to make introductions.”

As we continue to forward into unknown territory, it’s important to continuously assess the situation and adjust quickly. Remember General Flynn’s comments. The Founders knew this country was an experiment. Of necessity, it must evolve. So keep an open mind. Look for new ways to accomplish worthy goals.

When this advice is heeded, it changes to Retreat:

RETREAT from negative forces which will begin to arise. Withdraw gracefully if possible. By doing this you can avoid embarrassment and thus pave the way for a safe and easy return when the time is right. Make careful arrangements to protect yourself from harm. Avoid becoming caught in hopeless situations.

Again, explosive events and hardships lie ahead. To the extent possible, stay out of harms way. Don’t provoke danger unnecessarily. Don’t engage in losing battles.

* * *

Following the advice of the original reading (avoid dangerous exposure) along with the advice of both changing lines (avoid useless activity; don’t get caught in hopeless situations) leads to the final, composite result — a Fresh Start. It reads:

Even when it seems that all has been spoiled, it is possible to make a FRESH START. Be willing to face your faults. Find out how to correct them. The situation will gradually improve if you are sincere and work hard. Be sure you know what you want. Avoid delay.

This final reading of 2020 reinforces the earlier theme of correcting mistakes and at-one-ment. No one said it would be easy. But keep the faith. It’s worth it.

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. Take care, all.

Keep to the Core to Keep It Together – IC – 111620

My relationship with DANGER, today’s unchanging I Ching reading, goes way back. It’s close and familiar.

Here’s one example. Whenever I asked for advice about a former roommate (cruel “Kas”), the book was strangely consistent. Whatever the immediate situation, the lines changed to produce the same outcome: DANGER.

Yes. However physically attractive, she was, beyond a doubt, damaged, self-serving and deeply dangerous.

In Kas, life gifted me with a powerful teacher. To keep my sanity, I was forced to find words for the unspeakably crazy things she did. I had to admit that her cruelty got to me and find out why. In the process, I discovered how to protect myself, both inside and out.

An early article I found listed ways to recognize a narcissist. It said, If your person demonstrates eight or more of twelve listed behaviors, you’re in deep trouble. Kas demonstrated all twelve. Danger!

Making matters worse, her cohorts were narcissists too. One was overt – the abrasive, vulgar and bold-faced type. The other was covert — the sneaky, snake-in-the-grass, two-faced kind.

In combination, I learned from direct experience how energy vampires operate to paralyze and drain their intended victims.

But I also found out I’m not alone. In fact, a psychiatrist who specializes in this disorder warns that the plague of narcissism has grown to pandemic proportions. (An interesting parallel, don’t you think?)

Here’s what I learned about their communication style. The signature of rampant narcissism is COGNITIVE DISSONANCE. Narcissists present a false front to the world. But their Life Wheels are fractured. They’re frauds, and self-deceived ones at that.

Inside, they’re sniveling. insecure cowards driven by demon-spawned negative emotions: fear, anger, hatred, greed, and lust. The Bible-quoting jerks who made my life miserable operated absent any hint of connection with conscience.

From first-hand experience, I can tell you this:

And here are the survival lessons they taught me. At root, these decisions are simply common sense.

Now, why is it important for me to share this with you?

Because the dynamic of DANGER isn’t just about me.

It’s about you, as well as the rest of us.

As a Law of Nature, what I learned up close and personal, the painfully hard way, translates true to form on every increasingly larger scale of magnitude. Because I recognize the dynamics of danger operating on the micro level, I easily recognize them writ large on today’s political canvas.

The reason for detailing the dangers of narcissism is that the same remedies and protections that worked for me at the personal level will work, not only for anyone else in similar trouble, but also for business organizations, government agencies and even whole nations plagued by the worldwide pandemic of narcissism.

Put plain and simple, the solution is this. Let each one of us hold fast to the unifying central core of the Life Wheel, whether you choose to call it God, Source, Conscience, the Creator, Allah, or Nothing at all. It keeps all levels of the Unified Field together – the Light of intuition, Energy of action, and Mass of tangible, measurable results.

The slang advice, “Keep it together” sums the solution up perfectly. When things seem to be falling apart, it’s exactly the time when we most urgently need to keep it together.

  • When dark, painful emotions tear us apart, it’s the time to take a deep breath, stand back, and keep calm distance.
  • When friendships, families and organizations seem to be unraveling, it’s time to demonstrate the wisdom to keep them together.
  • When liars, cheaters and thugs seem to be tearing nations apart, let those with cool heads keep their states together by focusing on the core values humanity share in common, the ones which which transcend time, space. . . and even politics.

NB: For the record, narcissists of every stripe have tried to diminish President Trump by projecting onto him all their own faults. Again, the MAGA-millions who sense and return his love aren’t fooled. The rest of us shouldn’t be either. Though some find his style abrasive, he keeps his promises. His words and actions match. He’s consistent across the board. He’s not the one with a problem. It’s the feeble-minded, fork-tongued, zombie-like pretender along with his handlers and those they’ve fooled who are in deep dark trouble.

We’re not trained to look to the Book of Change for answers to our deepest questions. That’s why I’ve chosen to bring the book to you in this series of blogs. Through the end of 2020, they serve as an introduction, to make what was once unfamiliar now familiar.

DANGER is the single answer to today’s question, “What should we be aware of now?” The Common Sense Book of Change version reads:

DANGER is the true test of character. Be as careful of negative emotions which cloud inner clarity as you are of external dangers. Face all challenges with fearless grace. Hold fast to the goals and ideas which guide you. Act according to what you know to be right. Avoid cowardice.

It took me a while to recognize that the greatest danger is the risk of giving in to negative emotions. In the end, it doesn’t matter if other people’s negativity is infectious. Or if economic losses and/or political events are upsetting. Of if. . . you name it.

Ultimately, as Viktor Frankl demonstrated, even in a halocaust world, the option to respond wisely and responsibly remains open. Holding fast to core values — love of life and faith in God — is the enduring anchor which keeps us as individuals and as nations together.

Because the U.S. is in the constitutional crisis of its lifetime, I look to the version of the I Ching published by a Yale Professor of Constitutional Law. Jack Balkin lists these descriptors of DANGER.

He observes:

When faced with danger from without, one can escape unharmed if one maintains an attitude of devotion. To survive through a period of danger, one must preserve faith in one’s self and in the possibility that one will get through.

The Book of Change teaches that even in the times of greatest distress one must never lose hope the one can still turn circumstances to one’s advantage. One must have faith of ultimate success. It is only through having such faith the one can have a chance at ultimate success.

To despair is to fall into the abyss. . . . one must follow one’s heart to ride out a time of danger. To lose heart during such a time means that one does not hold one’s self together. This leads to danger.

In sum, Balkin’s advice confirms mine: Right now we must keep to core to keep it together.

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.

We Share This in Common – IC – 101520

Today, we’re already under the influence of a super New Moon that perfects tomorrow in Libra – the sign that rules relationships. This includes legal justice as well as relationships with ourselves, family, friends, community, and Source.

FYI, it’s called “super” because closeness to Earth intensifies its affect.

Be warned, we’re in for another rocky ride. One astrologer foresees “a lot of butting heads.”

Another sees it as a day to “Expand your life!!” Yet another focuses on the higher octave, recommending in the midst of chaos and breakdown, to “BE OPEN To A Higher Love”

Then, of course, there’s Pam Gregory. Followers find her insights immensely helpful. “You are getting me through 2020, Pam. You are my #1 ‘news’ source and I’m infinitely grateful to you.”

She sees two major themes this month. First is “deconstruction of the old order,” establishment clashing with strident demands for equality. Second comes shocking, seismic events: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or political scandals.

Coinciding with this Libra New Moon, the U.S. Senate’s Supreme Court hearings have attracted unusual interest.

Now, I know some object. Astrology is pagan. It’s morally and/or scientifically wrong to pay attention to New Moons.

My answer: “It depends.” Natural Law is an integral (often overlooked) piece of the larger puzzle. Taken out of context, worshiped to the exclusion (or in defiance) of Source, Agreed. Not wise.

However, it’s useful to know about astral energy information for several reasons.

First, over thousands of years, sages have looked to the stars (not just planets) for information. Certainly, they were on to something important. They couldn’t all be wrong.

Second, whether consciously or unconsciously, no matter how immune we like to believe we are, planetary energies have a powerful affect on moods and behavior. It’s a primal thing we share in common, but have woefully forgotten. (Personally, I prefer be forewarned of “disturbances in the force,” the better to adjust and respond compassionately.)

Third, many follow astrology. Predictions shape expectations. Even when they’re silly, many believe them. So be aware of what people are thinking.

Fourth, again, knowledge of the middle, e=energy level of the Life Wheel is neutral. Its value, positive or negative, depends on the motives and skill of the user. Folks with Hitler-like motives are exploiting 2020’s dynamics to further their ends. They count on programmed, head-in-the-sand attitudes to get away with their schemes.

It behooves the spiritual warriors among us to be more skillful than they are, able to redirect and unify fragmented energies.

The I CHING READING

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.

ORIGIN is the first answer to today’s question, “What should we be aware of now?” It picks up where the last post, Where Do We Come From, left off and carries forward the theme of discovering inner worlds:

All people thirst to know the roots of their ORIGIN. At one level, learning about family and cultural traditions fills this need. At another level, this quest is satisfied by seeking for deeper knowledge. The vitality of all races flows from a single source which never runs dry. Avoid narrow-mindedness.

Family and tradition represent the outer rim of daily experience; vitality is the middle, energy level of the Life Wheel which links surface with Center.

In 2020, the chief complaint of “not-enoughness” comes from a powerful thirst for deeper knowledge. Relationship conflicts at every level reflect a programmed, socialized disconnect from Source.

For those who avoid narrow thinking, ORIGIN changes twice. On a hopeful note, line three advises, “Let others know what you can do. Opportunities will develop.”

When the advice is followed, the line changes to DANGER:

DANGER is the true test of character. Be as careful of negative emotions which cloud inner clarity as you are of external dangers. Face all challenges with fearless grace. Hold fast to the goals and ideas which guide you. Act according to what you know to be right. Avoid cowardice.

The Book of Change has warned me of Danger many, many times. I’ll have more to say about this a month from now, when it reappears as a stand-alone. Here, the key is to protect against negative emotions.

The advice of the 4th line supports the 3rd. It hints at the way to explore new worlds. “Withdraw from activities long enough to rest and re-energize yourself.” Meditation, however it’s practiced, is an important counterbalance to 2020 conflict.

Heeded, the 4th line changes to INNER STRENGTH:

When difficult situations come to a head, rely on INNER STRENGTH to endure. If it becomes necessary to retreat, do so with courage and self-confidence. Make sure your inner and outer resources are secure. If you must begin a new life, you will have to depend on them. Avoid helplessness.

This confirms what many of us sense. In 2020’s year of critical mass, situations are coming to a head.

Resources on the surface include family, friends and community. Deeper, they include emotional maturity, mental clarity and steadfast faith in Source.

NOW. When heeded, the changing lines combine to form a familiar outcome. Arrived at in a different way, it’s the same as last time: 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.

Here there are two keys. First is Inner Strength, which repeats and reinforces the 4th changing line. Second is avoiding negative thoughts, the way to overcome Danger.

Depression too occurs on all levels of the Life Wheel. On the outer rim, it takes economic forms. In the middle, e=energy realm, it manifests as negative emotions. Deeper still, it registers as attachment to false beliefs.

Today’s take-away: rest assured, Depression will pass. In the meantime, benefit from its hidden blessings by exploring inner worlds, the better to return stronger, wiser and prepared to meet whatever may come next.

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.

Fate or Free-Will?

Our life is such a curious mix of givens and decisions.

St. Francis of Assisi captured the eternal give-and-take dance between what we can and cannot change:

Now. Let’s take these three God-given variables – SERENITY (peace, calm composure), COURAGE and WISDOM – and put them in I Ching perspective.

For it has been my experience that using The Book of Change as a wisdom-fulcrum tips the balance in favor of what can be changed.

I’ll give you a dynamic example from recent experience.

In an unsettled state of mind, I queried the book asking, as I often do, “What should I be aware of NOW?” The result was Hexagram 47 with a changing line in the 4th place.

The description was right on, matching my mood exactly. It was a chicken-and-egg-like situation. Which came first, the economic or mental stress, I do not know.

But reassurance that “the time will pass” was what I needed right then. It gave distance to seemingly endless difficulties. The advice, “use hardship to develop inner strength” reinforced St.  Francis’ SERENITY option.

The critically important insight, however, was embedded in the dynamic changing line:

Line 4: Placing trust in unreliable people puts your goals in danger.

Aha! I was letting difficult people and their on-going circus dramas distract me from my goals. I let them push and pull me down, forgetting my True Self. A host of spiraling problems all stemmed from that single basic mistake. Correcting that fault had the potential to turn many things on many levels back in a positive direction.

The first step was to take this important hint to heart and have the courage to act on it. The key point of interception was to refocus on my values, on whom I love and whom I serve. Put first things first.

Coincidentally,” identifying the root cause of “danger” indicated in Line 4 resulted in Hexagram 29, DANGER, which offers further advice on the right way to proceed.

I was especially impressed by the resonance between the two readings. Both highlight the importance of holding fast to goals and avoiding negative thoughts/emotions.

 The I Ching WISDOM-fulcrum changed emphasis from SERENITY to the COURAGE option of the St. Francis prayer, tipping the balance away from passive acceptance of what cannot be changed towards that which can.

So it is that magical transformations on many levels begin with changing negatives to positives. Again, almost sage-like, espousing the way of spiritual alchemy, St. Frances gave us a key to positive change:

Please. Do take a minute or so of your precious time to think about this. Let it resonate with you. Ask, Where is your focus? Are you able to tip the balances in your life, giving weight to the positive side of the seesaw?

Maybe, just maybe, if you’re not already friends with the I Ching, it would be well worth your while to try something new. Working with The Common Sense Book of Change might just give you a new way to leverage the balance between fate and free-will in a positive direction.

Do Circumstances Influence Leader Selection?

Continuing our conversation about the leadership selection process, Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors forwarded another set of questions:

.

The Premise

When I look at events, I see four major forces: circumstances, flow, people and leader. From my perspective, you wrote about the last two. [See “Scientists and Sages Can Agree on This.” wp.me/p46Y5Z-8W and “How Bad People Become Leaders,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9B.]

I’m asking about the first two.

Mike’s Comments about Circumstances

In regard to the conditionality of leadership, I welcome your thoughts on the influences circumstances have on leadership.

For example, just as terrain influences the type of battle to wage, there are market forces, technological influences and timing issues at play. All of these influence the selection of leaders.

For example, I often ask folks this question: Which dog would you prefer, a collie or a pit bull? Most usually indicate a collie. However, when I add the qualification that you now live in a very dangerous, crime-ridden neighborhood, they tend to revert to the pit bull.

Relating this to business, a firm in high-growth mode is a different situation than one in trouble or growing incrementally. Market forces and competition are also circumstantial influences.

My Response

The leadership selection process depends largely upon who the selectors are. The formal process in small business and corporate sectors varies, depending upon ownership, mission, size and by-laws. Similarly, who many participate in the selection of political leaders differs by location across the globe.

What all have in common, however, is the principle of natural selection. As Mike suggests, people instinctively gravitate towards those best suited to protect the flock and ensure group survival. For example, during war times, women prefer mates with mechanical, farming and martial arts skills over impractical, unskilled intellectuals. Conversely, during prosperous peace times when basic survival items like food, clothing, and shelter are widely available, intellectuals with the high earning power to purchase them are favored.

Here, observations made by a mentor at the Wisconsin School Board Association serve as a useful example. He told me that the selection of a school district administrator starts with the search for a harsh disciplinarian to force teacher unions and unruly students to “toe the line.” This works for a while. But then heavy-handed administration gets old. Abuses of authority are resented. So opponents mobilize to “throw the bum out.” They search for a mild-mannered replacement who is who is teacher-friendly and soft on discipline.

However, in due time, this lax approach starts to rub other factions in the community the wrong way. Yet another selection process is initiated to bring in a tougher new leader who will restore “law and order.” Opposite and equal challenges continue to generate an ongoing succession of new faces in the administrator role.

The senior School Board Association officer had witnessed this process long enough to recognize a repeating pattern. Elected, short-term school board members in local communities probably didn’t.

These pendulum swings between extremes are natural, but not optimal. Instead of repeated, disruptive shifts between between contrasting leadership styles, it’s possible to sustain cultural continuity by harmonizing contrasting opposites. An alternative, I Ching-savvy approach balances the demands of different groups within the community.

In this worldview, the sought-after leader is keenly attuned to fluctuating economic / political as well as technological changes in the environment. Such a leader isn’t driven by circumstances, but rather has an overview of the directions in which they continuously change. With an understanding of natural law, this leader has the ability to steer followers safely through every stage of the organization’s life.

Thus, in the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze advises leaders to adjust with the times to maintain long-term tenure as well as organizational stability in all circumstances:

Adhere to principle / while adjusting to circumstance.

Goals are secured / by remaining flexible and open.

Caveat: When working with the I Ching, it is essential to keep its place within the larger scheme of things firmly in mind. Otherwise, it is subject to dangerous abuses. The abode of Natural Law in the Positive Paradigm Context is the middle level of the Unified Wheel. It stands as the gatekeeper between Human Law (legislation and custom) on the surface and Divine Law at the center. Its powerful applications are equally effective regardless of whether the user’s motives be for good or evil.

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While good (meaning responsible, competent and compassionate) leaders are sometimes wary of working with the I Ching because of its potential for abuse, bad (meaning irresponsible, selfish and cruel) leaders who have no respect for either Human or Divine Law feel free to use their understanding of human dynamics to manipulate others for antisocial purposes. [See “Know When to Mistrust Inner Voices,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-aR.]

For example, I have warned repeatedly about the disaster looming ahead in the next U.S. election cycle. Extraordinarily extreme abuses by the political left may have been deliberately orchestrated by behind-the-scenes puppet masters, as if to precipitate an opposite and equally extreme reaction. [See “To Push a Man Right, First Push Him Left,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9K.]

I’ve also hinted at the urgently necessary antidote to this potentially deadly outcome. [See “What’s More Important–-Nature, Nurture, OR . . ,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-8k.]  In that blog, I conclude:

Leaders who intentionally live true their conscience and succeed in linking the levels of life are key to a viable future. The rest of us will depend on them to out-think, out-maneuver and succeed long after pretenders with no substantial connection to the center of life have been blown away like dust in the wind.

To Be Continued:

The next installment will include responses to Mike’s comments about the fourth factor, “flow,” as well as what he calls “non-cultural” issues.

 

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