This post is #37 of 64 hexagrams in a series of posts about the I Ching, an ancient Taoist text that has many ties to the Tao Te Ching. For those of you new to this series, you may want to start by reading my post called “What is a Hexagram?” that helps to explain more about the general idea of the I Ching. If you are just starting this series, you may want to take a look at some of my other posts on the I Ching.
My dad left yesterday after a brief visit. He’s in his 80’s but he still makes an annual trip to visit three of his (four) daughters that live in the Midwest. It is always hard to see him go. It seems fitting that this hexagram is about family right now. (Isn’t the I Ching always fitting?) Not just because my dad was visiting, but because this topic is so relevant for me right now in a multitude of ways.
My last post was over six months ago, when our new president was elected. Since then, my family has been in turmoil. I have one sister who voted for Trump and the rest of our family did not. When my sister revealed this fact, it was like a thunderbolt came down and split up our family. No one could believe that she would do that, but there it was. She had her reasons. Here we are, eight months later and it still is a festering wound.
What is interesting to me about this situation is that my sister is the same person, but her vote made us question who we thought she was. We had an expectation of her to believe a certain way, but we all live in different cities so how much do we really know about what each other believes? Were we right to assume that we do? And is our not knowing a sign that we are not as close as we thought we were? It appears that we do not know each other as well as we thought we did. I am pretty sure that many families can relate to this. This election, more than any other, has divided our country – and our families.
I have often thought about the impact of globalization on the family unit. Our family moved around a lot when we were growing up, so we all ended up in different parts of the country. Some of us stayed where we graduated high school, and others of us have lived in multiple places. We each have a completely different set of experiences that makes up who we are and what we believe but, until recently, we’ve been able to stay connected and make it work. I know many families who haven’t. I haven’t maintained a connection with many of my cousins, even though they live closer to me than my sisters. In this age where we are able to move wherever we want in the country (and in the world), we are less likely to choose to maintain those relationships of people that believe differently or look different than we do. I think this is our current global crisis. This is why we have built up a fear of “the other” and want to build a giant wall. This is why some people have a hard time separating a Muslim from a terrorist, or an innocent black person from a criminal. Ironically, we are more connected because of social media and we are more divided at the same time. How can we bridge the gap? This hexagram is represented by Wind over Fire. In the case of my family, it feels like any discussions of politics is a lot like wind over fire. It only makes the flame grow hotter and larger. We are in the middle of a global hot windy flame.
The guidance of this hexagram is that there is stability in the family unit. Regardless of life experiences, there is a shared experience of being in a family. This can be also applied to the shared experience of being in a nation or of a certain faith. But the guidance of this hexagram refers to how we communicate to others, not just to our family but to “others”. How can we communicate in such a way that we learn about each other’s differences without alienating each other? I think that both sides of this political divide in our country could learn from that. As a person on the more liberal side of things, I can try to look past who someone voted for and see the positive things that they are trying to create in the world. I think that we definitely need to open up the lines of communication, because it is only when they are open that we will learn about each other and see a way past our differences. The future of our families, and our world, depend on it.
Let me know what you think in the comments!