These days – and just as this last question on the list below reached me – I have been thinking about the process of selfactualization. Our self, what-we-are, is a dynamic process that constantly evolves, progresses, “actualizes”, bringing our goals, our desires and intentions into harmony with the realities of life.
But let us first make it concrete. Here are various questions that reached me regarding 07 – The Army.
Scope of Questions
So far three comments were sent in regarding hexagram 07 – The Army:
- A user asks the I Ching the following question: “What thought, what kind of attitude will help me in my current situation?”
The user recently has separated from her husband, she wants to grow, to evolve, professionally and personally. She finds it enlightening that Kan (lower trigram) must not necessarily be seen a negative; she already has a good connection to her body and intuition. However, calming down at Kun (upper trigram) irritates her: she is a “doer” and always quite active. Just to listen / see / feel / be is a completely different approach. But it might be a program to enable her to draw even more from her fullest potential in the long run. Maybe she’ll give it a try.
- One user is currently setting up a second professional career. She asks the I Ching what there is to do. Hexagram 07 – The Army encourages her to persistently follow her path, not to back down, not even in moments of grief.
- One user asks: “How do I get out of my current, long-time situation? I live alone and in a financially tense situation. I like being alone, I spend a lot of time in nature, I am just present – but still, I lack an enriching relationship. Sometimes I perceive my way of living as if I was just vegetating, as if the flow of life passes me by. And so I am undecided: Sometimes I agree and say „Yes, it is good the way it is.“ But sometimes my desire for abundance and wealth on all levels, for love, friends, money takes over.”
Our self, what-we-are, is a dynamic process. Our self isn‘t anything “static”, it isn‘t anything that remains the same forever. To the contrary: our self is constantly evolving, progressing, “actualizing” itself. And during this process it is important to harmonize our goals, our desires and intentions with life‘s realities.
This process of selfactualization – a concept originally developed by Kurt Goldstein and later taken up by Carl Rogers – is the basic characteristic of every living organism. I imagine this process of selfactualization like a small seed, for example: the seed of a oak tree. This seed already knows where its journey will lead to while still at seed stage. It knows its plan, its destination, and even if its is just germinating, just unfolding the first cotyledons, it already knows its path is towards the mighty oak. Whether it will ever reach this goal, and if so, at what speed, depends on many factors. But the direction is clear. And if the conditions are favorable, the seed will reach its goal.
Such a vision of goals exists in all living organisms – including ourselves, human beings. We are all constantly moving forward.
Now one can grasp this goal vision and/or the degree of goal achievement in material things: Job, house, car, travel, children, etc. However, I find it really interesting to take personality development as a guideline: How much, to what degree, has a person become the person he or she really is?
If we again look at the small seed, the oak seed, which has just germinated: It does not embark on its journey with empty hands. No, not at all: It embarks on its journey with a whole lot of energy! The same is true for people. Children come into the world with a lot of energy. And the question now is: is the environment friendly and can they use this energy to develop themselves on a personal level, become who they really are? Or is their environment difficult and they have to use a lot of their energy to protect and defend themselves?
From this point of view it is very well possible that people grow up without ever having unfolded their full potential – simply because the circumstances of their growing up were not conducive, perhaps even oppressive, distressing, so that they had to use a lot of their energy to live (or survive) reasonably undamaged in the small niche they were born in.
But as I said: life is a process, times, circumstances change. So what happens to trees that germinated but never grew vigorously, because their surroundings pressed them, shaded them from light? The little trees are settling in. They duck. They vegetate. And they wait for their moment.
But when this moment arrives: they grow.
I like Carl Rogers. He has described the process of personality development and its individual aspects very precisely. To the question, “What do people strive for when they can decide in freedom,” he answers the following:
- away from the facades (i.e. away from what one is not)
- away from „oughts“ (i.e. away from actually-should-be-me)
- away from meeting expectations
- away from pleasing others
- towards self-direction (towards the free choice of own goals and to the assumption of responsibility for oneself and these goals)
- towards being Pprocess (towards trust in the process, in the flow, even towards enjoyment of being a flowing, unpredictable process, a constantly born being)
- towards being complexity (towards the awareness of the complexity, the complexity of one’s own sensations)
- towards an openness to experience (towards the perception of one’s own feelings, even if they may have been painful and repressed)
- towards acceptance of others
- towards trust of self (towards the trust that the continuation of one’s own authentic path will lead to a good destination)
- towards the decision to be oneself – instead of following a seemingly promising path that others have exemplified
- towards self-confidence: towards the courage to be oneself, so truly and deeply as one can be, towards expressing oneself in one way only.
cf. Rogers 2016, 164-182
The current interpretation can be found here: http://www.no2do.com/hexagramme_en/878888.htm