Sunday, January 03, 2010

Words for a Snowy Day

24. Fu / Return (The Turning Point)

The time of darkness is past, the winter solstice brings the victory of light... After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement but it is not brought about by force... the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time, therefore no harm results. Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish separatist tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made. Return is based on the course of nature ... and the course completes itself. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of Heaven and Earth.

In winter the life energy, symbolised by Thunder, the Arousing, is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning, therefore it must be strengthened by rest so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely. This principle, i.e. of allowing energy that is renewing itself to be reinforced by rest applies to all similar situations. The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering.

From the I Ching (Book of Changes)
Translation by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes

Returning refers to the time when the climate is at its coldest, yet the water in the wells is still warm... This is the thunder of the winter solstice that is stored within the earth. The power of returning yang energy to the earth is at its highest, yet it only moves in accord with time... young yang must be kept peaceful and calm to allow its growing - do not act to dissipate it.”

From the Yi Jing: Book of Change,
Translation by Gia Fu Feng, Sue Bailey and Bink Kun Young

The I Ching gifts us with lovely words for a day like this one, when the world beyond the windows is an endless flowing ocean of white, and the patient evergreens are bending under the weight of falling snow in a peaceful Zen-ish kind of way. As gray and hushed and still as it may be "out there" this morning, green realms lie sleeping underneath the whiteness - a lush and shaggy blooming lies within.


Tabor said...

This is kind of how I always thought of the power of my birthday. Nice reminder and I have copied it and tacked it to my desktop.

the wild magnolia said...

"Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially." Natural movement, I beleive, extends to every area of our life. That and the transformations you spoke of coming with ease. Therein are many possibilities for ease in the journy of life. Study of zen is bring light and peace to me.

Thank you Cate. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Sandi

anita said...

these were very thoughtful, and powerful words for me today. thank you for sharing.


Jaliya said...

The inevitable seasons and cycles give relief to me whenever I feel stagnant and stuck ... "Everything is changing all the time," I remind myself. The wisdom of Hexagram 24 is what I return to again and again ... Cate, thank you for this post :-)

Your blog is a serene presence, a delight to visit.

I've created a blog about the I Ching ... Here are some posts about Return ...