Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Joyous

Commentary on the I Ching or Book of Changes

"The West's foremost translator of the I Ching, Richard Wilhelm thought deeply about how contemporary readers could benefit from this ancient work and its perennially valid insights into change and chance.  For him and his son, Hellmut Wilhelm, the Book of Changes represented not just a mysterious book of oracles or an important source of the Taoist and Confucian philosophies. In their hands, it emerges, as it did for C. G. Jung, as a vital key to humanity's age-old collective unconscious."   Understanding the I Ching 

The Joyous

In choosing a different approach to viewing art, I allowed the mind to unfold while concentrating on the visual aspects of the hexagram.  

The I Ching or Book of Changes is traditionally thought of as a metaphysical philosophy blending Taoism and Confucianism.  Within sixty-for hexagrams of the, I Ching there are sixty-four typical situations one encounters; each having a picture that corresponds to a condition, i.e. winding road lined with trees makes a sharp curve to the right, or like the picturesque image portrayed above that I will be using for my meditation. I will briefly give the commentary for the hexagram fifty-eight which was selected by tossing coins to pick the yin or yang sign for the lines.  (I Ching page 223)

Under “The Judgment,” is a commentary on the lines:

“The Joyous:  Success.

The joyous mood is infectious and therefore brings success.  But joy must be based on steadfastness if it is not to degenerate into uncontrolled mirth.  Truth and strength must dwell in the heart, while gentleness reveals itself in social intercourse.  In this way, one assumes the right attitude toward God and man and achieves something.  Under certain conditions, intimidation without gentleness may achieve something momentarily, but not for all time.  When, on the other hand, the hearts of men are won by friendliness, they are led to take all hardships upon themselves willingly, and if need be, will not shun death itself, so great the power of joy over men.

Under “The Image” is the commentary on the picture:

“Lakes resting one on the other:  The Image of The Joyous.”

“Thus the superior man joins with his friends for discussion and practice.  A lake evaporates upward and thus gradually dries up; but when two lakes are joined, they do not dry up so readily, for one replenishes the other.  It is the same in the field of knowledge.  Knowledge should be a refreshing and vitalizing force.  It becomes so only through stimulating intercourse with congenial friends with whom one holds discussion and practices applications of truths of life.  In this way, learning becomes many-sided and takes on a cheerful lightness, whereas, there is always something ponderous and one-sided about the learning of the self-taught.”  (pages 224-225)

In establishing the common and pertinent information on the background and symbolism, I use two art forms, the lines, and picture, because I have a familiarity with the hexagram and will envision both aspects even if only looking at one.

I will describe the process I will be using in the mediation. I am sitting in front of a coffee table, which is clear except for a candle holder and the picture.  There are three candles with no other light in the house. And there is no noise.  The image is centered in front of me.

After a few seconds of trying to focus my thoughts on the picture, a vivid image emerged from my past.  It is an image of me sitting on a knoll on a warm, breezy day looking down upon a creek.  I recall feeling joyous at that moment, however, lonely too.  I seemed to be in meditation upon the creek in front of me at that time.  Images flash in my mind of different aspects of my life and the theme of loneliness I held during that time.  The feelings were not of sorrow but longing.  I lived very much like a hermit at that time.  I was alone in every way; however, I enjoyed the peace and serenity of nature and felt joyous within.  My energy seemed to flow like the creek, and that was all right.  I smiled to the heavens and took a deep breath. 

Once I lost the feeling and image, I began to reflect upon what I had drawn from the past by meditating on the hexagram.  It appeared to be an overview of my life and the changes I had made.  First, by tossing coins, I choose the hexagram about joy and fellowship, and go back, through meditation to a joyous time in my life, but one without fellowship.  I firmly believed during that time in my past; I could gather knowledge from nature alone and lacked faith in humankind’s words.  I did not read books or exchange ideas with others.  However, change and chance moved me forward to a time of enjoying fellowship.  My experience of attending college and participating in various groups brought me joy.     

Today, I have the same enthusiasm and joyous feelings as I did when I had communion with nature, but in a very different way.  I interpret the creek as rapids running free and endless, and the lakes flowing into one another as a calm contained reserve.  This feeling shows me that I have learned limits and sharing within society. The fellowship is a way to connect with the collective unconscious. Truly, this brings joy.                      

3rd Dog

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