Keeping Still

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Keeping Still

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Gua 52     Keeping Still


The Mountain

over

The Mountain


I invite you to read and consider the words that follow which are taken from the sacred text, The I Ching.   There is much wisdom here for personal peace.   From Gua 52:  Keeping Still:

"Keeping still is not keeping merely the body still but the mind and spirit as well, and is called 'sitting in stillness" or 'nourishing the spirit'.  While sitting still in a lotus posture, you are shaped like a mountain.  Sitting in stillness, or in meditation . . . is a self-disciplinary training.  While doing this, you are able to control the mind and the breath, to be introspective about your shortcomings and to cultivate inner strength and virtue." 

Within the Gua are six lines, reflecting situations of "Keeping Still" projected through images of the body:

Line 1:

Keeping Still at the Toes.  "Keeping still at the toes maintains the whole body in stillness.  Before you take action, if you know where to stop before going too far, there is no impropriety, and therefore there is no fault. . . ."

Line 2:

Keeping Still at the Calves.  Here, "you know when to take action and when to keep still.  However, you are in a subordinate position . . . another person is self willed, refusing to accept any advice, and tending to go to extremes.  This is a time when you are not able to help because of your position with the other.  Therefore, in such a situation you need to remain still, and it makes you sad."

Line 3:

Here we are at the middle line.

Keeping Still at The Waist.  "It represents a situation when one who is too self-willed and intransigent keeps still in the extreme (stubborn, uncompromising).  There are others around him with whom one cannot deal harmoniously.  The situation gives one trouble, as if one has injured the spinal muscles, and this brings anger to one's heart.  

How can one have peace?"

Line 4:

Here we are at the trunk of the body, where the heart lies.

Keeping Still in the Heart.  "One in this place is able to keep free from taking reckless action.  You know how to remain still in your heart. . . "

Line 5:

Keeping Still at the Jaws.  "When you speak, the jaws open and close. . . .  This person is walking the central path.  'Keeping still at your jaws' does not mean to stop talking, but instead refers to knowing when and where to talk and when and where to stop talking.  . . . {Often} there is regret. But if you are able to choose your words correctly, regret vanishes.  This line gives warning that each of us is responsible for our words -- for what we do and do not say."

Line 6:

The Final Stage of Keeping Still.

The Great Learning

Confuscious says,

The way of the Great Learning is to illustrate brilliant virtueto love people, and to rest in conduct that is perfectly good.

By knowing how to keep stillone is able to determine what objects he should pursue.

By knowing what objects he should pursue, one is able to attain calmness of mind.

By knowing how to attain calmness of mindone is able to succeed in tranquil repose.

By knowing how to succeed in tranquil reposeone is able to obtain careful deliberation.

By knowing how to obtain careful deliberationone is able to harvest what he really wants to pursue.


"In the final stage of one's life, if one can manifest one's brilliant virtue, love people, and maintain one's goodness till the end, it is a true blessing, and there will be good fortune.

The above is taken from and based upon the text from:

Taoist Master Alfred Huang, The Complete I Ching:  The Definitive Translation 

Originally Published April 3, 2018