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Posts Tagged ‘Yi Jing’

Thunder over Wind. Constancy. 32.

In All, Books etc., Culture, Spirit on March 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

32.CONSTANCY

Constancy is to have strength of character in both giddy and weeping times. The Oracle extends this idea to relationships. A true relationship needs constancy. This hexagram symbolizes an enduring marriage, with the husband providing leadership (thunder) and the wife providing a gentle, all-permeating influence (wind). The two trigrams are united to form a single hexagram, just as a husband and wife must remain steadily united. If that happens, their marriage will have all the qualities of heng : it will be constant, regular, persevering, enduring, and continuous.

Marriage’s strength begins with a vow. There is a significant message for all who want to base “reality” in material things. Nothing about any material object or either person’s body changes with a marriage ceremony, and yet, from that moment on, two people agree to one of the clearest points of change possible. What happens? All that happens is that two people make a covenant with one another. They promise to love each other, no matter how much their lives change, no matter how much fortune or misfortune visits them. They promise to face life together, even if demands separate them temporarily. They promise to respect their differences, and to find strength in their similarities. By giving unselfishly to each other, each one is strengthened in a way that neither could ever accomplish on his or her own.

Marriage is not a melding of one person into another. It is the joining of one person with another—two people who remain individuals and yet are joined by a simple promise. It is the challenge, the honour, and the beauty of that one promise withstanding every adversity known to human life. It takes two people to make a vessel large enough and strong enough to hold all the joy and happiness that come to a marriage: the sharing, the communication, the delights, the pleasures. It is the thrill of working for a home and family, and the joy of seeing daughters and sons carry on in the ultimate expression of their constancy.

The constancy required is not stubborn clinging to one position. Rather, we must have a constancy of heart and spirit. It means we have to know ourselves, and remain steady. A boat may navigate both placid lake and twisting rapid, but it does not lose its shape or cease to float.

Constancy in change means grasping the truth about yourself and your situation. It means always being honest with yourself and your mate. Without that truth—measured solely by the standard of your commitment— there is no constancy, and thus, nothing enduring.

Commitment comes first in all essential things, and then only constant cleaving to truth will nurture our promise into duration. What does it mean to be constant if the world is in constant flux? The usual message of the Oracle is that we must be flexible and conform to the will of heaven. The idea of constancy, however, seems contrary to that. Yet t h e Changes urges us to find a constancy that can withstand the overpowering pressures of change.

The Statement reminds us to be steadfast and ethical, to have the will to pursue right even when surrounded by vile people, and to serve others. In these ways, you must be constant. In a world where opportunities come and go, and where there is both good fortune and misfortune, it is only the person of quiet determination who can persevere long enough to prevail. We cannot afford any flagging. The pursuit of a goal must be steady and unswerving. Only then can we continue, find gain through purity of character, and press toward our destinations.

The Image leaves us with a picture of the wise one standing firm, refusing to change direction no matter how forceful the thunder and wind might be. That is an intriguing counterpoint to the usual wisdom of yielding, and it is also a standard for everything that we do: can we choose a position that is worth standing firm for, no matter what comes?

Fleeing, huddling, even crawling may seem easier that standing firm. Yet those who understand change know that what is easiest may not be the correct choice. To stand in constancy, and what is more, to stand hand in hand with another, is a constancy of spiritual dimensions.

Deng Ming-Dao, The Living I Ching, Hexagram 32. 

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