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Accidental Yijing commentaries

These are something I can’t write – I can’t help seeing the world through ‘hexagram glasses’ – but I love coming across them: articles about other things that just happen to be really excellent hexagram commentaries.

Havi Brooks has been writing some very nice inadvertent Yijing things lately, even to the point of accidentally writing about the connections between hexagrams – and then she’s had to put up with me bouncing around in her ‘comments’ section ranting on about hexagram sequence, trigrams and nuclear hexagrams on a blog that has nothing to do with the Yi at all. (You can find all those comments via the following links to Havi’s posts.)

Havi’s been writing specifically about being visible, or invisible, and that desire to hide the light under a bushel. She actually suggests ways for small business owners to be a little less visible, so they can feel safer… and of course I think of and comment about Hexagram 36 (wouldn’t you?) and how that inner light moves on into 37 (as Havi opens a real, physical ‘home’ for her work) where it can have its influence and start to make its presence felt through the outer trigram.

The nuclear hexagram – the hidden possibility – in Brightness Hiding is 40, Release. Of course if you hide your light, you are liberated from the need to be something for someone, and your path isn’t defined by anyone’s definition (including your own) of what you should be doing. Havi’s ‘invisibility hacks’ hint at this.

But the difficult thing to grasp – in the abstract, anyway – is how, if Hexagram 36 contains the possibility of Release, Hexagram 22 can do so as well. The two feel more or less like opposites: not that they’re structural opposites, but in experience. If a small business owner received Hexagram 36, it would be time for some of those invisibility hacks, keeping the sensitive insight hidden away, safe from destructive criticism. Whereas one who receives 22 – Beauty, Making Beautiful, the creation of images to express and communicate the essence – needs to concentrate on marketing, making herself visible and understood. (I’ve even seen 22 talking specifically about website design quite a few times.) Marketing. Ugh. Where’s the release in that?

And then Havi talks about when visibility leads to safety, and it all becomes clear.

8 responses to Accidental Yijing commentaries

  1. If one thinks of Hexagram 22 as signifying being diplomatic, we can see how it relates to keeping our true thoughts hidden. Tact releases us from the obligation to engage with and make explanations to those who will probably never agree with us.

    Also, if one thinks of Hexagram 22 as developing a more refined outer appearance, then that is not in any way incompatible with keeping oneself hidden. Cosmetics, an elaborate hairdo, and jewelry draw the viewer’s attention to themselves, not to us. Good-fitting clothes keep our bodily imperfections hidden from the sight — and criticism — of strangers.

  2. Hm – yes – if you could see 22 as a kind of disguise or mask, then certainly it wouldn’t look so different to 36, and there wouldn’t be a paradox to resolve. Thing is, I can’t see 22 that way; for me it’s what follows from 21: reach the essence, express the essence. The starting point is the character – the plain and simple plant, whose appearance expresses exactly what it is.

  3. The starting point may be character, but we weren’t all taught to communicate or express ourselves in an effective way, a refined way.

    I hear people walking down the streets of NYC barking into their cell phones at their supposed ‘loved ones’ using the most hateful language possible.

    School children are subject to bullying and reputedly hear hundreds of put downs a day.

    I hear mothers, who have so many demands upon them, actually yelling in public at their young children in abusive ways that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago.

    Nobody wants to listen to a woman who is angry or loud. Absolutely nobody, not even other angry women.

    We are living in times when people have been taught to ‘express their feelings’ — but many of the raw urges that are expressed can be quite hard to listen to. People shut their ears.

    I am a fan of the work of those engaged in teaching Nonviolent Communication (NVC). This movement is based on the work of Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. The website can be found by entering the words nonviolent communication into the search engine.

    It is said that without refinement, a person will never get anywhere with what he or she wishes to accomplish in this life. I think that is probably true.

    So, after we hit upon the truth of who we really are deep inside, our character, then we must set about the process of refining how we express that truth. And so 22 follows 21.

  4. Hilary, your way of presenting yourself is so refined, it leads me to think you must have been taught good manners at your mother’s knee. I imagine you were raised in a highly cultured family.

    But most people need help or coaching in good manners. In the play Pygmalion, the man instructs the bedraggled young woman in ways to dress and ways to speak properly, after which she becomes socially acceptable. Without instruction she would have been left selling flowers in the rain — and probably end up with pneumonia, like that poor Mimi in that tragic Puccini opera, La Boheme.

    These days the young women are walking around with tattoos all up and down their arms. It used to be that tattoos were the mark of sailors who had gotten drunk in foreign ports.

    And I don’t think showing up with a silver ring through one’s nose to work will ever be considered refined.

    When people mark themselves apart from other people in these ways, they do so because they feel disaffected. They think they are expressing their truth. But I don’t think they are expressing their truth. All they are expressing is their disappointment, alienation, and resentment.

    There are many layers of the onion to peel before any individual gets to their truth.

  5. Hi Hilary – I can relate to what you are saying in this blog. As a small business owner myself, visibility is something that has a direct bearning on my success – for interested people to buy my Journal Software, they first need to know it it is there. But in addition to this they also need to know something about who is selling it. As an individual selling online this involves making myself known around various corners of the internet. As you and Havi allude to in your blogs, this process of does put people such as myself in something of a vulnerable position.

  6. Here is one way to look at it.

    1. Business gurus define marketing as a “bridge between the seller and the customer”.

    2. Michael Porter says that the essense of strategy is “choosing what NOT to do”.

    3. The Release (diagram 40) could be seen as a “breakthrough” to the target market/customer.

    In this sense, Brightness Hiding (36) and Beauty (22) could relate to each other through the nuclear hexagram Release (40) as in “choosing what things not to do in order to express and communicate the essense of your business”.

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