Guidance from the I Ching: #38 - Contradiction

Finding unity in diversity

November 2, 2020

“Contradiction. In small matters, there will be good fortune. The superior person, in accordance with this, accepts the diversities which make up the whole.”

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

As we prepare for the current election, there is possibly no better hexagram to convey our current condition. As a country, we find ourselves at odds with one another. We see many of our leaders more concerned with working against one another than working for our greater good.
Contradiction represents a condition in which disunion and mistrust prevail. However, this hexagram also shows us that we will begin to create unity if we can come together in small matters.

“Differences of opinion do not make us enemies when we can find common ground to stand on. When we can accept our differences and work towards the common good, we begin to evolve into our higher selves. 

Jose Johnson

According to the I Ching, significant achievements are out of the question during times of Contradiction since they require complete cooperation and alignment. Business or social strategies are rendered ineffective due to opposition from equally strong opposing forces. Contradiction represents an atmosphere full of misunderstandings, and when antagonism is at its peak. But that does not mean that we can’t create change; it just means that we must utilize a different strategy. Instead of bulldozing massive change, we should focus our energies on small victories through gradual influence. The I Ching goes so far as to suggest that the best way to deal with conflicting opinions is to start with the least controversial aspect. and to “use small, gentle influences to bring about mutual accord.”

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Despite the Contradiction, there is still the possibility that unity can be formed. And the unity that is formed as a result of Contradiction is often more impactful than alliances that occur quickly and without effort. Contradiction can create the perfect opportunity for growth if we stop attempting to make our way the only way. When we can accept that there is no one “right way” and that none of us has a monopoly on the truth, then we can begin to use Contradiction as a way to see the full picture, not just our little corner of reality. According to the I Ching, “the Superior Person respects alternative points of view.” But the more important lesson is that we should not merely seek unity at the expense of diversity. We tend to connect with others based on our similarities, but we discover who we are through our differences. We don’t all need to agree for things to work, but we do need to agree to be civil. Differences of opinion do not make us enemies when we can find common ground to stand on. When we can accept our differences and work towards the common good, we begin to evolve into our higher selves. As a community, our similarities form our bond, but it is our uniqueness that gives us strength. It is the power of Yin and Yang, as stated by the ancient saying, “opposition is a prerequisite for union.” 

The Contradiction that you are experiencing may be occurring internally as well as societally. It is not uncommon for people to become aware of humanity’s dualistic nature as you become able to see both sides so clearly. As you begin to weigh the Contradiction that is life in your decision making, you may seem indecisive or uncertain to others. But this is only because they are not currently able to see beyond their limited knowledge and beliefs. When you embrace Contradiction’s true nature, you begin to see how all things work together to form the whole of reality, which can help bring you a greater sense of peace and connection. The sense of oneness or wholeness in a world of Contradiction can bring you great depth of character and peace of mind.

Remember that Contradiction is not a permanent condition. It is a sign that disparate elements are seeking a way to come together. Contradiction represents the difficulties that are part of the struggle but also gives us hope for success. However, this doesn’t mean that the path will be easy. It is part of our nature to seek the comfort that comes from harmonious times, but there is no growth in the comfort zone. It is through difficulty that real change occurs. When a situation is challenging you, it is also helping to forge you into a better version of yourself. The opposition you face during times of Contradiction can serve to refine your strength of character. When you can get past the idea that the world is “black or white,” you will gain the ability to view Contradiction as life’s natural progression towards a deeper level of unity.

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