Tempted ... (Hexagram 44)
"... the first elements of corruption are just beginning to enter the picture, and one must be resolved to eliminate them before they have a change to grow large."
~ Jack Balkin, of Hexagram 44
Trouble sneaks into the mind
like frost infiltrates a pane
of glass. One gorgeous wisp
of ice at a time. "Look!"
we exclaim, reaching out --
we can't help ourselves --
to the freeze that's crawling
up the glass, up the stem
of the flower, the brain,
the eye. The I.
This photo, "Frost" by Tricia Louvar, caught my eye during my morning meander around the web. In the lower right corner, a jag of darkness enters the field, aiming upward toward what my eye perceives as a perfect blue sky. Troubling thoughts, tempting thoughts, aim at the field of mind like that. Stephen Karcher writes in The Lover's I Ching that "This is a time of brief, intense meetings that are linked with the primal powers. Great events are happening here, but they are beyond your immediate control."
Thoughts could be called "great events." Sometimes a thought is great ... innovative, original, firstborn. More often, thoughts are habitual, old-hat, grinding and repetitive. They're the ones to nip, to hold long enough for our wiser witness-mind to note, and then to release.
Note, especially, your morning thoughts. There's an instant after waking that's as clear as a balmy summer sky, an expanse of open consciousness, a spaciousness that tends to cloud over -- sometimes in less than a second instant. We're awake! -- We're thinking. You know the drill; it goes something like this: What time is it? Did I oversleep? Coffee. Need coffee. Gotta get up. What's happening outside? Oh...rain. Damn. Gotta go to work. Ugh. What am I gonna wear? Have to let the dog out, get the kids out of bed, make breakfast. Are we out of eggs? Cereal? Milk? Coffee...I need coffee...Where are my socks? I forgot to do a load of laundry last night. Idiot! -- Etc. Next thing you know, you hate your entire life.
How many mornings start like that?
What would it be like to gently grasp that first habit-thought, hold it like the rising sun touches a rime of frost on a window...and melt it before it clutches the mind's engine? What would it be like to have a mind like the sun, like a cloudless sky? To untempt and free ourselves of the small disasters that we make up before we've even sat up in bed?
Breath will soften
will ease the way.
and a soft eye,
and another breath.
"If you don't try to cling and hang on,
your encounter will be something special."
~ Stephen Karcher, of Hexagram 44