In the post on hexagram #7, “Armies“, we talked about how leadership requires discipline. People often have to do things that they don’t want to do to move a cause forward. This hexagram is about a different kind of leadership – a leadership where people join by choice. This type of leadership is about community and people working together, willingly and happily.
According to Deng Ming-Dao, the character, Bi, which names this hexagram, originally meant a grouping of five families (during Ancient China). Throughout history, neighbors have gathered to share news and to help each other through tough times. In modern times, groups are often self-selected based on religious, sports or special interest groups. Even choices in where you live are more open now, thanks to easy air travel! I can even rent a room in someone’s home through the Internet in any part of the globe. I saw a service this week online called MealSharing.com that lets you cook a meal up and serve it to complete strangers, maybe travelers from other countries even… we have lots of new and fun ways to get connected.
Fellowship suggests that we look for clues as to whether or not a community is a good fit. I read two posts this week about this very topic: one was my dear friend, Michele Bergh, writing about some challenging choices she had in letting a community go. Another, was a blogger friend of mine, Deborah Weber, talking of letting go of practices that no longer serve her. Both of these woman were right on queue with this hexagram to listen carefully to the signs in front of them. Bravo! I think sometimes we believe that we have to keep going with our involvement with communities way past what is energetically correct. Like the young person who learns to clean their plates regardless of whatever else is going on, we sometimes hang on to communities just because. We let the rules determine our participation instead of testing and measuring our continued involvement against our heart’s litmus.
Sometimes our communities are global in nature. As I read the commentaries for these hexagrams (see resources at the bottom of this post), it occurred to me that leadership in our governments today have an even greater responsibility than ever before. We still have countries, states and nations, but the Internet has given us the ability to see each other more clearly. We can see when a government is not treating people fairly and it becomes public international debate. Mean people just can’t hide anymore. This sort of transparency has never occurred like this before. The world has become smaller and more intimate and we are learning that caring for ourselves (our own nation) is just not enough. The decisions that we make as a nation affect people all over the globe.We need to care for each other and for our planet too. Like in the Armies hexagram, our militaries have taken much of this responsibility but much of it falls on the individual in the end. It ends up that our everyday choices determine a great deal about how things turn out.
We are powerful.
Everyone is responsible for their own choices. Who you follow and how you lead are both very important choices, even though they may seem insignificant. Even choices about which kind of cereal to buy or about how you talk to the woman at the grocery store matters a great deal. What are you voting for with your actions? With your words?
This hexagram suggests that you take a stand but also consider things carefully. It cautions us not to wait too long to decide which side of the fence you are on because in not deciding, you ultimately will lose. The reason for this is because we need strength in our convictions. When we waffle, we dilute that strength. If we are just one person, what causes do we want to put our energy into? Choose carefully, because you only have so much energy and in order to be effective, you need to be strong. Your strength comes from focusing that energy.
So I am curious what you think? If you have an I Ching book laying around, read hexagram #8 and let us know your thoughts! I would love to hear from you! If you don’t have a copy, click on one of the links below and check out a copy online.
Here are the resources that I have used in my I Ching studies so far:
The Living I Ching / Deng Ming-Dao
The Book of Changes & The Unchanging Truth / Hua Ching Ni
The I Ching or Book of Changes / Richard Wilhelm & Cary Baynes