The Gentle (The Penetrating, Wind)
Consistent correctness turns every situation to your advantage.The image of this hexagram is that of a gentle wind dispersing storm clouds. A wind that changes direction often, even a very powerful one, will disperse nothing-it, only stirs up the sky. The wind that causes real change is the one that blows consistently in the same direction. There is an important lesson for us in this example. Very important reading for all of us. Have we learned, through trial and error, in work and play, how much more we can do when we take the time to complete one task before moving to the next one? What have we learned about the progress achieved through multi-tasking vs. focused, mindful effort on each task to completion before moving on to the next? Many of us, especially me, have so many interests it is very easy to get excited about new opportunities at every turn. Does this lead to success in the long run? A friend of mine is opening up a new retail space. So many new retail locations open up as soon as they receive their first shipment of inventory. This new business owner is taking a different approach. My friend first visualized how the new opportunity would manifest, then a business plan was established. Inventory was ordered with careful consideration, and relationships were cultivated with wholesalers. The carefully chosen inventory is now coming in slowly as the owner mindfully considers appropriate placement several months before the grand opening. This is a great, everyday example of the gentle, penetrating wind vs. winds changing direction often. Have you looked at a big problem with a partner and come to very different conclusions about the appropriate course of action to resolve this BIG problem? Have you ever attempted to bridge the gap in understanding with aggressive striking actions or words? How successful were you? Now consider the slow, consistent approach to resolving difficult problems. This reading often refers to a specific discipline like meditation practice. If one has taken on the work of regular spiritual practice (including daily meditation), it is much more than a temporary salve against anxiety and tension. The meditation work, if one practices the Way of the Bodhisattva, is anything but selfish self-improvement. Quite the contrary, if one takes on the Bodhisattva Way of Life, it is expressly for the ultimate benefit of all sentient beings. Here is a Youtube video teaching by Shantideva, as taught by Pema Chodron (below) For those who want to learn more about Shantideva’s teachings, I have recommendations below:
Giving Our Best: A Retreat with Pema Chödrön on Practicing the Way of the Bodhisattva
Compassion is a skill. It’s not a special trait we either have or don’t, but a practice we can all nurture in our daily lives. And the benefits are vast. It liberates our hearts from a narrow sense of self, expands our sense of well-being, and so much more. Of course, it’s not always easy. But when we learn to work with our adversities and fears, whatever it is that might be keeping us stuck, then we find that we gradually and naturally become more open, joyful, and free. And this very freedom enlivens us and allows us to become truly available to the people around us. In this recorded retreat, Pema Chödrön reveals all the essentials for practicing compassion in our everyday lives, using a text very close to her heart: the Buddhist classic The Way of the Bodhisattva. Here she focuses on its first chapter and primary subject, the enlightened heart and mind (bodhicitta), showing us how this awakened state is available to us here and now, right where we are.