An I Ching Meditation:
* The 31st hexagram is called "attraction," but it is also called "influence," or "wooing," or "conjoining," or "influencing to action," or "seeking union," or "persuasion," or even "courting response."
* The image shows a lake atop a mountain. The image is, therefore, one of joyful openness amidst unshakable firmness.
* The teaching of the hexagram has to do with the kind of action or initiative we take with others that will lead to union or harmony versus those we take that will lead to fragmentation.
* The hexagram shows a man placing himself below a woman in a courtship dynamic, showing his intention, not hiding his desire, but holding it with simple and non-advancing or aggressive affection.
* The hexagram teaches us that we cannot convince someone, cannot lead someone, cannot win someone, to us or our point of view or desires if the initiative doesn't coincide with the right timing, simple affection, cheerfulness, and non-aggression.
* We cannot manipulate, guilt, shame, or argue someone to our side and expect the fruit of that accomplishment to not turn sour and bitter over time.
* We should also recognize that reason cannot be used to talk someone out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place.
* Reason isn't the measure of everything, but "everything and anything," cannot be the measure of reason.
* Rather than thinking of the male subordinating himself to the female in this hexagram, we can think of male and female in terms of two energy dynamics that exist within all of us, regardless of sex or gender. There is one that seeks enjoyment, and there is one that provides enjoyment. The perfect union of the two occurs when the two are able to switch sides, gracefully, and to also learn as the dance continues that both the giving and the receiving are equally pleasurable. We learn to be held together in the love that is equally powerful whether we're giving it or receiving it. Hexagram 31 teaches us the need to put ourselves into the role of service or to become the one giving the pleasure to the object of our desire, rather than to aggressively pursue pleasure FROM the object of our desire. If we want a lasting union, then we have to learn to serve that which we desire, with cheerful, nonaggressive, affection. In time, the I Ching teaches us, this will lead to the object of our desire serving us, as well.
* The second line shows a man whose shaking knee gives away his desire. When he recognizes that his knee is shaking, he had better not follow the urge to rush after the object of his desire. He had better calm himself, find pleasure in his desire to serve, relax, and return to cheerful affection for what he desires.
* The changed hexagram is #48, the well. The city can be changed around, but the location of the well cannot.
* Two teachings here within the context of this sequence.
* One: whatever we desire in life, whatever we court or pursue, is generally a part of the changing web of our desires. These things will change, they will come to be and pass away, but the deeper well that feeds us, that we draw from, is inexhaustible. So in some sense, having to strategize at ALL, about how to pursue or court something, is shown here in contrast to the need we have for something inexhaustible and unmoveable.
* Two: whatever we may achieve in our relationships or worldly desires, whatever fruits we may enjoy, if we are following the teachings above then we will mirror in our relationships and in our pursuits of what we desire the deeper wellspring of what gives and sustains all desire and pleasure in the first place. In other words, real courtship involves ongoing service to the objects of our desire, and this isn't just a strategy for getting what you want, it's a secret about what perpetually sustains all giving and receiving, endlessly. The city may change and live and die again day after day, but the well cannot be moved.
* When it comes to the Mercury opposite Neptune transit, with Venus trine to Neptune, we are looking at desire, as well as how we communicate our desire. We are looking at differing or conflicting desires, ideas, beliefs, or feelings, and how to reconcile them when they disagree.
* Desires are often lonely when we forget how to serve what we desire rather than demanding what we desire to serve us.
* Desires can cloud our thinking and our communicating with others... when we see others as the object of our desire, or the means by which we may satiate our desires, or when we feel the need to convert people to enjoy what we enjoy.
* Affection and cheerfulness and service remind us that this thing that we want is temporary and therefore the spirit in which we go about pursuing anything we desire is always more important, more lasting, more firm, more enduring, more supportive, more nourishing, and more loving, than whatever temporary desire we satiate.
* It's not that we shouldn't have desires or that satiation of desires is bad...it's that we so often miss the opportunity to be in service to the object of our desire, which as it turns out is what makes anything both desirable and enjoyable in the first place.
* The object of our desire serves us when we serve it.
Prayer: Teach us to serve those things we desire, with cheerful, steadfast, devotion.