Saturday, May 24, 2008

Limitation

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Limitation doesn't always sound like good news.
But in the I Ching Book of Changes,
the world's oldest advice colummn,
Hexagram 60, Limitation, augurs success.

As a lake exists by containing only a limited amount of the infinite quantity of water, a person is defined by the choices they make based on integrity.

Without the structure provided by limits, creative choice would dissolve into boundless, formless mush. But too much limitation makes for the rigid control that provokes resistance and rebellion; so "it is necessary to set limits even upon limitation." (Wilheim/Baynes translation of I Ching Book of Changes).

Following the advice of this hexagram might mean trusting the integrity that tells you your project needs more work to meet your own standards. Or it might mean, don't persevere to the point of painful perfectionism: here's the deadline, it's as done as it's going to get.

Want to consult the oracle? Think of a life situation related to limitation. Take a moment to jot down a question: what would you really like to know about how you should proceed? Then pick a number 1-6 and write it down.

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OK, you have a question about a limitation, right?
And you picked a number between 1-6 ?

Bearing the question in mind, read the lines corresponding with your number.

Hold them lightly. Wait quietly until you hear your own Voice interpreting the prompt into sensible right-feeling advice for your situation.


1.You need to know when to stop. If you accept the limits set for you, great power will accumulate for decisive action when the time is right. For now, be scrupulous in minding only your own business, and don't say much.

2. It's time to move. No holding back now. Don't hesitate past the moment when the obstacles to action have been removed, or you will miss your opportunity.

3. Take full responsibility for the consequences of having resisted necessary limits in order to seek pleasure. Then you can regain your sense of integrity and learn from mistakes.

4. Go with the flow. The limitation is a natural one, like the fact that water moves only downhill. Success comes from saving energy that would be wasted in struggle and effort; that energy can now be wholly applied to the benefit of the matter at hand.

5. Walk the walk. Whatever limits you think would be good for someone else, try them yourself first, asking little from others. If they like what they see, they'll emulate your example.

6. Overly severe restrictions will always bring about rebellion. Renounce strict measures that attempt to externally control the situation, and show mercy to yourself as you remain uncompromising in adhering to your integrity.

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