Twisting Along the Way

Hi [Redacted],

I felt badly the other day engaging you publicly about the trick to doing what you love, as I know that’s your business. Not too terribly guilty, because in taking that on as a business you of necessity open yourself to such responses. In fact, I think they’re necessary. But the kind of guilt you might feel when being cruel to be kind.

I guess my point is that I wasn’t entirely comfortable about responding critically in that public forum, as you prepare to launch further work.

But, I find it a critical issue and I want to understand it as well as possible. Speaking of which, I just consulted the I Ching about pursuing Hamlet Among the Pirates and received an interesting and I think relevant reply.

The general hexagram was #28, which is called Preponderance of the Great. This hexagram presents the image of a beam bearing a heavy weight. We might think of this beam that has acquired such a great weight of meaning that it is in imminent danger of breaking. Think of a person convinced, for example, that only by electing Bernie Sanders could we save the world. The weight of that conviction presents a profound peril. Thus, the Image given by Kin Wen reads like so:

We see a beam that is weak. Under these conditions, there will be advantage in moving in any direction at all. There will be success.

Moving in a direction means dissipating, or providing an outlet for, this accumulated energy.

The beam in this condition is like the person who has found that place where their love and the world’s deep needs meet. The world could be bettered by the realization of their passion, but that doesn’t at all mean that such is a simple thing.

I received in addition two moving lines:

The first (bottommost) line, divided, shows one placing mats of the white mao grass under things set on the ground. There will be no error.

The fourth line, undivided, shows a beam curving upwards. There will be good fortune. If the subject of it looks for other help but that of line one, there will be cause for regret.

I want to focus on the second line, which warns against looking for help from any other but the first line. The way I interpret that is that yes, Hamlet Among the Pirates offers me a way forward, as a channel of the energy, but primarily insofar as I can focus on it, rather than reaching out for the support of other projects.

And this is a real danger, because I have so many ideas that seem important and good to me. To just focus on this one project, to do this one thing, is a deep challenge.

I mention this because it provides an example of what I think of as the necessary third element to doing what you love: that being the capacity to focus correctly in the moment. It is, I think, a necessary counterpart to the deconstruction and transcendence of limiting beliefs and feelings.

In fact, I think it’s way easier for lots of people to just forget what they love, to cover it up with limiting beliefs and other shades of amnesia, rather than to face the trial of putting the dream into action.

To paraphrase Confucius, or some such person of that tradition: The Way of the Superior Person is twisted; sometimes it is supported by others, and sometimes not.

Or to put it another way: withholding can be a form, the essence even, of divine providence; in that it forces the necessary development of character required by one’s future – deeply desired, morally imperative – state.

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