Guidance from the I Ching: #37 - Family

Establish your relationships

Hexagram 31 Influence

October 19, 2020

“There is an advantage in correct persistence. An enlightened person, therefore, has substance in their words and endurance in their behavior.”

I consult the I Ching (Book Of Changes) for inspiration at the start of every week. This week’s message is all about playing your part.

Family is a word that creates comfort in some and dread in others. In most traditions, Family is the foundation for all social structures. While many of the traditional views of Family roles have changed over time, one thing remains clear; we begin to gain an outlook on the world and our role in it due to our Family. The establishment of boundaries, duties, and values is (or at least should be) an integral part of Family life. Social scientists point to the lack of a solid Family structure as a contributing cause for much of the “bad behavior” that seems to be running rampant in our society. Love them or hate them, Family is important.r objective. If the Attraction is mutual and you remain patient, your Influence will draw things to you.

” Leaders of a Family should be aware of how their words and their actions affect others. Hypocrisy has no place in Family matters.  

Jose Johnson

In established families, each member has a role to play. The responsibilities of a parent are much different than those of a child. And the duties of an older sibling will be different from the youngest of the Family. Problems begin to occur when roles become switched. Have you ever witnessed an interaction with a parent and their child and asked yourself, “who’s in charge?” Sometimes the shift occurs because the parent allows the child to run roughshod over them. And other times, the child has to reluctantly step into the void created by a parent that shirks their responsibilities. In either case, the child is in a position that is not comfortable or natural for them, resulting in the child being either “too big for their britches” or being forced to grow up too soon. Neither of these scenarios is conducive to developing the healthiest set of social skills. Historically, the Chinese felt strongly about the importance of Family; a belief expressed in the saying, “bring the family to it’s proper order and all social relationships will be correctly established.” But Family represents more than just the traditional “nuclear Family.” Family symbolizes correct relationships between all people.

To make the best of the power of Family, The I Ching suggests that leaders should have inner strength and act with authority. However, that authority must be built on ethical principles and expressed with consistency. Leaders of a Family should be aware of how their words and their actions affect others. Hypocrisy has no place in Family matters. To gain the trust of those you lead, remember that actions speak louder than words. For those not in a leadership position, the I Ching offers the reminder that while acting with faithfulness, loyalty, and respect are always beneficial, the impact of these actions become magnified during this time. The I Ching states that political situations will see progress when the roles of leaders and their people are clearly understood and respected. Businesses are advised that approaching their affairs like Family relationships will lead to success. These relationships should be based upon mutual respect, caring, and a sincere sense of responsibility. Everyone should be clear on their role and be encouraged to achieve their highest potential. And, as in any group dynamic, open communication becomes a key ingredient to success. Leaders must not be afraid to lead, and those they lead must be able to trust that their actions are for the greater good of the Family.

Family is where we want to turn to when things go wrong; our sense of refuge. Family is where we can feel unconditional love and acceptance. But Family is not just flesh and blood. Sometimes the strongest Family members are the ones you choose—the friends who don’t pass judgment and allow you to “do you” with their full support. Family does not mean that there won’t be disagreements and periods of aggravation. On the contrary, Family can be downright infuriating at times. However, Family is where everyone can be real. Where people see you and love you for who you are, warts and all. And when we return to Family, we can relax into our authentic self and reconnect with parts of ourselves that may have been forgotten.

The I Ching suggests that managing our emotions is no different from the proper management of a Family. You can’t teach a child self-discipline by acting like a child. A lack of discipline, either with raising a child or managing our desires, will lead to an inevitable break down or blow up. According to Confucious, “To put the Family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.” If you want to grow, you must be consistent in working towards your goals, listening to your Higher Self, and not becoming side-tracked by your “monkey mind.” Growth is the result of taking responsibility for yourself and your actions. You must decide who is in charge – your emotions or your intellect? Are your long-term goals more important than your need for immediate gratification? Family calls for you to put on your big boy/girl pants and take charge of your life. Are you up for the challenge?

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