In the I Ching, a book of Chinese Philosophy, there is a hexagram called the “Cauldron”, it is fire above and wood below, so the image of boiling is evoked. The I Ching tries to bring before the reader the many ups and downs of life, the cycles so to speak that most of us go through in one way or another. There are three responses that are appropriate in any one circumstance. To go forward, stay still, or to pull back; each good when needed, destructive when not, it is in understanding how to react that is the main challenge.
I would think the above symbol would bring to mind too many people times in their lives when this experience was real and had to be dealt with on a daily basis. Perhaps patience is what I tend to think about when I think of this particular image from the I Ching. The ability to allow things to work themselves out, no matter how slowly it moves along without seeking to find some quick solution, for truth be told, many problems have to be waited out, there may not be an immediate solution, nor a long range one either. It is what I call a ‘human situation’.
There are times in life to be proactive and work things out, and then there are times when it is best to let things simmer their way to some sort of completion. In both cases, how things work out in the end, might not be what we wanted, desired and may even be hated. Such is life and how we respond is very important. We can respond in ways that are destructive, but then learn and seek to get some sort of balance and even insight if the situation warrants it. Or things can fall further apart. Life is hard for everyone and more often than not we may feel alone. Knowing that this is a common experience can actually help, it is just life…..rough yes, but we get through most of the time. Muddle through for me is the word.
Our perceptions about life are very important and make the difference between health and mental breakdown. Anyone of us is a candidate for this too happen and if it does there is nothing to be ashamed of, for again it is life. Family, community and yes whatever our faith is, can be the central core of our finding our way back and again taking up the journey. Though, the chaotic times in our lives, when we feel lost, are also a part of the journey, ending only of course in our deaths, our finale letting go.
People who face life, it ups and downs and develop a mature faith tend not to fear death as much as those who continually run away from life’s problems. Perhaps this is because when we walk through the valley and shadow of death, which much of life can seem to be like; we deal with death all the time. The death of dreams, of health, of loved ones, the list can go on and on…. it is one letting go after another. So when that finale letting go comes, it is just the last one after a long chain of ‘deaths’ to many dreams as well as to love….yet we continue in hope.
There are probably more good times than bad for most people. They can be taken for granted until they are gone. Bad times, well that is different, pain makes us search for answers, or if not that, for ways of just getting through life without running from it….we learn to simmer. I am still learning. It would be nice if I did not need to, but life is life.
This is my own take on the Hexagram (50), so what is in the books may be way different than what I get out of it. I am not a scholar of the I ching, but like to read it from time to time.