To carry one the conflict to the bitter end has evil effects even when one is the right, because the enmity is then perpetuated.
Hexagram 6, Conflict
I Ching, Richard Wilhelm’s Translation
Today, the Christmas season culminates with Epiphany, the feast that remembers the arrival of the three kings, led by a star, at the manger sheltering Jesus. The word epiphany has now come to mean having a realization, a recognition of something that was perhaps obvious but until now unseen. After twelve days of thinking about vocation, volition, knowledge, and faith, one thing stands out today, Hexagram 6, something I referred to on Day Five.
I asked, “What should I know as I prepare for 2021.”
The quote from the Hexagram teaches a hard lesson, especially for me. The lesson is to stop even when one is right. Being right and winning doesn’t mean an end to enmity. On the contrary, Wilhelm points out, continuing the conflict to conclusion can perpetuate enmity.
When I have talked about my sense of calling and that it feels not just inevitable but right, there is a sense that I am obligated to persevere in fulfilling that calling. All other things, people’s feelings, my well being, even decorum, can and should be sacrificed to achieve my goal – or at least holding on to the truth of it.
I won’t let go of my truth. But the admonishment to stop halfway is wise. I learned a while ago to ask three questions of conflict:
Do I have the power to make a change?
How much energy does the change require?
Will the change make a real difference?
Answering “No” to any of these questions has, in the past, allowed me to move on. Today, The Epiphany is the perfect day to reaffirm this awareness.
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