The Leadership I Ching
Base Structure of the I Ching
— 01 QIAN (Yang) — 02 KUN (Yin) — 03 TUN (Difficult Beginning) — 04 MENG (Immaturity) — 05 XU (Waiting Patiently) — 06 SONG (Dispute) — 07 SHI (The Army) — 08 BI (Fellowship) — 09 XIAO CHU (Small Accumulation) — 10 LI (Conduct) — 11 TAI (Peace) — 12 PI (Obstacle) — 13 TONG REN (Fellowship) — 14 DA YOU (Great Harvest) — 15 QIEN (Modesty) — 16 YU (Enthusiasm) — 17 SUI (Compliance) — 18 GU (Correcting the Corruption) — 19 LIN (Advancing) — 20 GUAN (Contemplation) — 21 SHI HO (Biting Through Hardship) — 22 BI (Adornment) — 23 BO (Erosion) — 24 FU (Return) — 25 WU WANG (Innocence) — 26 DA CHU (Great Potential) — 27 YI (Nourishment) — 28 DA GUO (Critical Mass) — 29 KAN (Watery Depths) — 30 LI (Fire) — 31 XIAN (Mutual Attraction) — 32 HENG (Constancy) — 33 DUN (Retreat) — 34 DA ZHUANG (Power of the Great) — 35 JIN (Success) — 36 MING YI (Time of Darkness) — 37 JIA REN (Family) — 38 KUI (Contradiction) — 39 JIAN (Obstruction) — 40 JIE (Dissolution of the Problem) — 41 SUN (Sacrifice) — 42 YI (Benefit) — 43 GUAI (Resolution) — 44 GOU (Contact) — 45 CUI (Congregation) — 46 SHENG (Rising) — 47 KUN (Adversity) — 48 JING (The Well) — 49 GE (Revolution) — 50 DING (The Cauldron) — 51 ZHEN (Force of Thunder) — 52 GEN (Keeping Still) — 53 JIAN (Gradual Progress) — 54 GUI MEI (The Maiden) — 55 FENG (Peak) — 56 LU (The Wanderer) — 57 XUN (Gentle Wind) — 58 DUI (Joyousness) — 59 HUAN (Scattered) — 60 JIE (Self-Restraint) — 61 ZHONG FU (Inner Truth) — 62 XIAO GUO (Predominance of the Small) — 63 JI JI (After Crossing the Water) — 64 WEI JI (Before Crossing the Water)
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The I Ching and HeartMath® Research
The I Ching may well be the oldest book on the planet. Like the Bible, the Book of Changes was a co-operative effort spanning many centuries.
R. L. Wing, in his I Ching interpretation, makes the assumption that the deepest ideas conveyed in the I Ching were handed down orally from the elders of nomadic Siberian tribes. These early sages were great observers of nature; they looked at the stars and tides, plants and animals, and the cycles of all natural events. They also made out the patterns of social life, government, warfare, and the rules pertaining to the welfare of the family.
Contrary to Western philosophers who thought of the cosmos as a static arrangement of atoms, ancient Chinese scholars put their focus on the organic and systemic nature of the universe; they looked at how things change in nature, and how structures organically emerge.
Their idea of nature was of a fluid, ever-evolving organism in which everything is connected: an interconnected system of relations, which is exactly what cutting-edge systems research now reveals to us, thereby falsifying hundreds of years of speculative, and largely superfluous, philosophy.
— See Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (2014).
They then condensed their insights into the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching. It is quite astonishing to see that those sages had an acute awareness of the hidden parallelism between agricultural cycles, social patterns, courtly manners, warfare strategies, cosmic events, and the practice of self-cultivation.
The authorship of the I Ching is attributed to the legendary Fu Hsi, who ruled China during the third millennium B.C. He is said to have created the arrangement of the initial eight trigrams that are at the basis of all the sixty-four hexagrams.
Another influential author and commentator of the I Ching was King Wen, the founder of the Chou Dynasty (1150–249 B.C.). He is said to have written his commentary on the I Ching during the time of his imprisonment under the tyrant Chou Hsin. The legend goes that a dream had revealed to him a hexagram displayed on the wall of his cell, upon which he began to describe his mental images in words.
After he was rescued from prison, King Wen took the throne, and his son, the Duke of Chou, completed his father’s work by writing complete commentaries on all the lines of each hexagram.
At that time, and even later in ancient China, all great scholars were devoting much time and energy to study the I Ching and write their own commentaries for it. Among them are Lao Tzu, Mencius, Mo Tzu, Chu Hsi, and Chuang Tzu. Confucius (551–479 B.C.) made the perhaps most important contribution, known as the Ten Wings, which is a collection of philosophical essays on the I Ching.
Confucius was among the first philosophers who considered the potential of the I Ching for self-development, and especially the development of leadership qualities.
The anecdote goes that he consulted the I Ching so often during his later years that he had worn out three times the leather thongs holding together the parchment upon which it was written.
Another important I Ching scholar was Carl Jung. He came across Richard Wilhelm’s celebrated translation for which he later wrote an important Foreword. Jung saw in the I Ching a brilliant mind map of human nature and cosmic order, and the cosmic memory of archetypal forces which he named as the ‘collective unconscious.’
R.L. Wing writes in The I Ching Workbook (1984) that the search for a solution to the mystery underlying the constant motion and change in the universe has spawned both the science of physics and the earlier science of metaphysics.
There is a line going through all the impending change in the cosmos; it could be called a developmental energy, or creational principle that the old Chinese called the Tao.
Modern science has revealed it through quantum mechanics and calls it the Quantum Field or Quantum Vacuum. While this technical expression suggests that within this field, there is nothingness, the exact contrary is true.
As Ervin Laszlo put it in his book Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything (2004), it’s actually a plenum. What the old Chinese called ch’i and in the West used to be called pneuma or ether, is now considered as obsolete by modern physics in the sense of a secondary mover.
As Einstein put it, the field nature explains sufficiently why electrons are entangled even over huge distances and why there can be ‘spooky motion at a distance,‘ as a result.
But the very core of the I Ching is the principle of polarity which is an underlying reality in all of nature. The old Chinese called it the dualism of ying and yang.
All the hexagrams in the I Ching are reflections of these polar yet complementary energies. Carl Jung, known to have studied and worked with the I Ching for many years, actually explained its working with synchronicity or meaningful coincidence.
When you throw the coins, the way they fall has meaning; it’s not a random event.
The resulting hexagram reflects the content of your subconscious mind which knows what the outcome of the situation will be, so the I Ching, as any other divination device, actually projects the content of your subconscious mind. As we often today are afraid of change, we can learn to become more change-friendly if we often consult the I Ching and follow its advice. The good news is that the I Ching will always counsel you to change in a non-hurtful, smooth and predictable manner, so that the change is intelligent and harmonious.
Following the I Ching you thereby become more flexible in your overall approach to life and to problem-solving.
In this sense, the I Ching is not just a manual for fortune telling, nor a substitute for your intuition!
Now, let me explain how the recent, quite revolutionary HeartMath® Research both confirms and explains how our heart’s intuitive wisdom impact upon life and creates reality. Honestly, I did not expect that once scientific research would prove all my intuitive insights to be true. But this has well been the case.
Stephen Covey reports in his book The 8th Habit (2004) that controlled double-blind scientific laboratory studies ‘are producing increasing evidence of the close relationship between body (physical), mind (thinking) and heart (feeling).’
— Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, London: Simon & Schuster, 2004, 51.
Before I go more into detail using the original research report, let me outline here the quite far-reaching conclusions that Dr. Covey drew from it, calling it our four intelligences:
- Our Physical intelligence (PQ);
- Our Mental Intelligence (IQ);
- Our Emotional Intelligence (EQ);
- Our Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).
The IQ is our classical intelligence concept as affirmed by psychology and early brain research. It was widened in the 1970s by the understanding of ‘emotional intelligence’ or EQ.
— See for example Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, New York, Bantam Books, 1995.
Goleman writes in one of his later books, summarizing his many years of research on emotional intelligence that ‘for star performance in all jobs, in every field, emotional competence is twice as important as purely cognitive abilities.’
— Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence, New York: Bantam Books, 1998, 31.
The intelligence of our body, namely our gut, and our spiritual intelligence have been discovered only recently. Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer write in their research report:
The human body is an incredible system — roughly 7 trillion cells with a mind-boggling level of physical and biochemical coordination necessary just to turn a page, cough, or drive a car. When you consider how little of it you have to think about, it becomes even more amazing. When was the last time you reminded your heart to beat, your lungs to expand and contract, or your digestive organs to secrete just the right chemicals at just the right time? These and a myriad of other processes are handled unconsciously for us every moment we live. Intelligence manages the whole system, much of it unconscious.
The notion that intelligence is a purely cerebral, aloof activity uncontaminated and unaffected by emotions has been shown in this and much other recent research to be an outdated and misguided myth.
— Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence: The Power to Change Performance, Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publishing, 2004, 27–28, and 33.
What I was trying to point out in my own words, that is, that self-regulation is built in our body and mind system, and that peak performance is a result of inner peace is now confirmed by HeartMath® research.
These scientists have termed the inner state that is conducive to success ‘inner coherence.’ Based on this insight, they are talking about the need for inner leadership and internal self-management as the starting point of all highly effective leadership.
HeartMath® research confirms what ancient mystics knew, namely that the world is an ‘internally created phenomenon.’ We all live in a different world as we process the sensory date we receive according to our mental setup, our beliefs and our emotions to create what each of us experiences as ‘the world out there.’ The authors write in their report:
Creativity, decision-making, health and well-being all improve when mind and emotions are coherent and relatively noise-free.
— Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence: The Power to Change Performance, Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publishing, 2004, 3.
From my several years of work experience as a corporate trainer in South-East Asia, I know that today organizations not just in Asia but everywhere in the world are challenged at a very high level. The mechanistic management solutions most executives have learnt and believed in are not working any longer because they disregarded the human element, which means the human being that has also an irrational side, and is emotional, rather than always rational.
Under the old leadership paradigm and before globalization, this was still quite workable, but with the networked world economy and the relocation of producing markets to virtually everywhere on the globe, the old model proves to be increasingly insufficient.
It is not surprising, then, that the authors summarize their research in these alarming terms:
In an age of chaos, emotional management or mismanagement is more important in determining the long-term success of an organization than product success or process improvements. This is as true of start-up firms that experience rapid success but are unprepared for its operational realities as it is for the massive older organization or institution affected by large-scale emotional turmoil and malaise of its workforce. It is also true that 80% of the Fortune 500 companies of 1970 have disappeared off the list.
— Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 34.
This is why the individual learning experience assumes such importance. When executives and workers in a company are left alone to self-manage their emotions and learn new knowledge, they will fall back on old memories, those namely they had in school or even earlier.
Without conscious thought or choice, a person often avoids learning environments and challenges because of unpleasant feelings imbedded in neural tracks in our brains during earlier learning experiences.
— Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 34–35.
What this research also revealed is that the cognitive capacities of employees become far more sharp and effective as emotions become balanced, understood and integrated. If organizations continue to leave people alone and without professional support in handling their emotional conflicts and challenges, they will not be able to help their staff handle the enormous stress that today is part of organizational life everywhere on the globe. Abundant research delivered the proof that millions of people today are maladapted to handle the stress of life in our modern consumer societies, both at work and at home.
— See, for example, Hans Selye, The Stress of Life, Revised Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978/1984, with many references.
Hans Selye was the first researcher who found that not all forms of stress are harmful. He even asserted that some basic level of stress is needed for advancing in life; in other words, our emotional system can cope with stress if stress levels remain within reasonable boundaries.
According to HeartMath® research it depends on the person’s ability to handle their individual ‘stress response.’
In so doing, a person skilled in self-management can actually take stress as an opportunity for personal growth.
Thus chaos is not the problem, but how long we need to build inner coherence!
Research on emotional intelligence has shown that the most successful people in life are the ones who have learned to manage their emotional reactiveness, neutralizing or transforming negative emotions in the process of gaining a new richness of experience.
— Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 43–44.
This research also demonstrated that when the electrical patterns of the brain synchronize with the rhythmic patterns of the heart people operate with greater physiological coherence, resulting in increased conscious awareness and greater intelligence.
The ability to self-generate feelings such as care, appreciation, and compassion is key to greater brain efficiency, enhanced learning, and a more emotionally balanced life. This is one reason why heart intelligence is such a powerful metaphor for increasing personal and organizational effectiveness.
— Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 45–46.
One of the most cutting-edge findings of this research is that, contrary to traditional neuroscience, people can learn to ‘rewire’ neural tracks that inhibit learning, growth, and emotional maturity, and that are necessary for achieving success. The brain has showed to have an enormous plasticity for those processes of rewiring neural networks and for changing preferred neuronal pathways that were laid down in early childhood.
This fact alone opens enormous possibilities for assisting us with mind and brain changing tools targeting at not only boosting our performance level but changing our self-understanding in virtually limitless ways. We need to stop blaming our emotional nature for mismanaged emotions and start to see the heart for what it is — the source of our core power intelligence!
This is so much the more important as, although the heart and brain each radiate electrical frequencies, the amplitude of the heart’s signal is 40 to 60 times stronger than that of the brain!
A mind or organization without heart is scattered, impulsive, and easily distracted. Emotions and organizations without the intelligent balance that comes from the heart create flash fires of instability and waste, causing people to stay locked in self-justified mental loops, missing a heart intelligent perspective that could offer deeper understanding. Incoherences rules. People leave. Groups operating only on instinct arising from gut feelings and often based in fear stay constrained in modalities that imprison the spirit and age prematurely. The heart puts first things first, from the 7 trillion cells it nourishes to the life it sustains to the vitality it ensures — intuitive, intelligent, businesslike; core, fundamental; the first priority.
— Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 51, 55. The results measured after implementing this research are staggering. They included reductions of 65% in tension, 87% in fatigue, 65% in anger, and 44% in intentions to leave the company.
Now let me explain how HeartMath® Research proved the divinatory method of cognition right. The old science of divination knew that there is an intelligence of our heart and that the heart emits vibrations into the universe that have an impact upon all of life and living!
This age-old insight, however, was denied or declared ‘epiphenomenal’ during the phase of positivistic science, from the time of Bacon and Galileo until the upcoming of systems research in the 1940s.
Both the systems view of life and HeartMath® Research now clearly confirm the fact that when we are focused internally, and in a state of inner coherence, we have the ability to lucidly plunge in a state of cognition that is highly aware of where we are steering and thus how our current thoughts and projects will develop on the timeline into the future!
While most people are not consciously aware of these patterns of lucid cognition, they can use divination, the I Ching, the Tarot, the Runes or any other method to help them in their decision-making. Fact is that it’s not the divinatory method as such that somehow ‘knows’ our future, but our own heart’s lucid cognitive intelligence!
Throughout this book, for the interpretation of the 64 hexagrams, I have used the expression ‘build inner coherence’ for indicating that the situation requires you to seek your focused state, to make peace with yourself, overcome any fears, face your future positively, and plunge into that state of lucid cognition that, if not immediately, so the hours and days following your reading, will signal you the way to go, and thus to act properly, so that everybody involved in the situation is benefited.