Today an I Ching Meditation on Mars Cazimi:
* Hexagram 32 is called "Duration," or "Durability"
* The 32nd hexagram depicts thunder over wind. Thunder is above and wind below. The nature of thunder is action, disturbance, or arousal. The nature of wind when it's below thunder is to be comparatively gentle, constant, and yielding in contrast to the dominance of the thunder above.
* Mars at the heart of the Sun is seated on the throne of the ruler. The ruler fills Mars up with power and grants authority to Mars. At its best, Mars is temporarily like an empowered emissary, or messenger, of the wise, temperate, authoritative, and virtuous Sun.
* In life, any spiritual progress we might hope to obtain is not come by easily because it is not easy to "will" ourselves to spiritual progress. Everything else we want or desire in the material world we achieve by means of the will (Mars), but by contrast, we have a very hard time when it comes to conceptualizing what the notion of spiritual progress looks like and how it relates to the will.
* The use of the will in any spiritual practice has to do with showing up and asking, showing up and thanking, showing up and sacrificing, showing up and following, showing up and surrendering....but what is the most consistent in each of those statements above? Showing up. The appropriate use of the will in spiritual practice is found in the will to show up.
* If by showing up we mean arriving at spiritual practice in our spiritual Pantera t-shirts, pitchfork tongue screaming forward, steel-toed boots ready to rock, and our can of new age whoop ass clutched in our throttling white knuckled fist, then we've got the wrong idea.
* Showing up is takes courage, it takes strength, it takes stamina, but the heart of its power lies in devotion. In the pure and total allegiance in the heart, bringing the heart and mind together as one, focused toward our love for the divine. It is not the will aimed toward the divine like a bullseye we are trying to perfectly strike, but rather the bullseye we are trying to become, trying to prepare, over and over, so that we may be struck and struck again by the power of grace and love.
* Thunder above gives the picture of great power, disturbances, the calamity of the world, the calamity of our mind, the calamity of our lives...we don't really find what we're looking for when we go looking for inner lasting happiness in material things. We don't find them there because they are fleeting, impermanent, transitory, and unstable. The more we get identified with them the more we end up bending our knee in fear to the world and its power over us, or the more we become identified with the world's temporary powers and lord them over others. "And the thunder rolls..."
* The real use of the will in hexagram 32, a hexagram whose message is about the appropriate devotional use of the will, is that we are to become gentle within rather than identified with the power that expresses itself externally. The wind below the thunder depicts a different kind of constancy. It is the constancy that remains adaptable, modest, quiet, and subtle, within the powerful external movements.
* If we show up in life, each day, no matter what comes of our particular spiritual efforts, we are slowly teaching our will the most important lesson, which is the lesson of being led. We cannot lead if we don't know how to be led. We can't be led if we don't recognize that grace is more powerful than the will to progress. We can't achieve if we don't know how to receive because we won't know what is worth achieving.
* Hexagram 32 is a hexagram about how to achieve a breakthrough, as well. Breakthroughs come through showing up and refusing to leave until we are blessed. In order to show up, we just have to show up, in order to be blessed we have to release all expectations that we should be, that we know what blessed looks like, and that we will be happy once blessed. From this, we learn how to open our hearts and the blessings overflow, endlessly.
When Mars is seated on the throne it's easy to say, "I have the power now." But what a gift, what a blessing, what a surprise! to receive that power, to feel it, and to say the number one thing I would like to do is give this directly back so that this loving exchange might continue.
The ultimate blessing is when the showing up becomes the blessing itself.
Prayer: Help us to show up so that we might see you in the showing up...build within us an unshakeable durability of love, peace, patience, tolerance, and true kindness.