Guidance from the I Ching: #7 - Collective Force

Finding strength in numbers

November 9, 2020

“Collective Force requires correct persistence. With a strong leader, there will be good fortune. Then there will be no mistake. In the midst of the receptive is the profound forming the condition for Collective Force. An enlightened person, therefore, is generous toward the people and finds strength in their number.”

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

Whenever I begin to question the power of the I Ching, it sends me very clear reminders. Last week, on the day before our 2020 election, I received the hexagram for Contradiction -an indication that we are in a struggle of conflicting interests. (You can read the full blog post here.) This week, the I Ching answered my question of “what is the lesson we need to hear this week” with hexagram 7 – Collective Force.

” Leaders who show support and generosity will be most successful in creating unity. The past’s divisive powers begin to lose their strength as the new Collective Force starts to coalesce.  

Jose Johnson

Collective Force is a sign of change that is manifested by the growth of a movement. Like a snowball rolling down a mountainside, momentum continues to build as more and more join into the Collective. The hexagram creates the image of people gathering around a central point. Perhaps this is the common ground that the previous state of Contradiction helped you to identify. But for Collective Force to be effective, strong leadership is needed.

According to the I Ching, Collective Force presents the opportunity to pursue massive achievements. To propagate the kind of change that benefits all humanity. Now is not the time to think or act small. And as we continue to reach for larger and grander achievements, we will need to rely even more on the Collective Force. But the beauty of this time is that, just like a muscle, the more often you exercise Collective Force, the stronger it becomes, and the more skillful you become at wielding it.

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Collective Force requires discipline, organization, and a virtuous goal. Effective communication is a critical component when attempting to mobilize the power of Collective Force. It is also vital that the goals of leadership align with the point of view of those they serve. To gain others’ support, they must have confidence that leaders have their best interests in mind. Leaders who show support and generosity will be most successful in creating unity. The past’s divisive powers begin to lose their strength as the new Collective Force starts to coalesce. According to the I Ching. “people can now be most effectively lead through education, generosity, and leniency.”

Sometimes translated as The Army (although the I Ching warns against using it for warlike or destructive purposes), Collective Force is all about teamwork. For Collective Force to be effective, everyone must know their role and play it to the best of their ability. While emotions may run high, this is not a time to completely give in to them. And just like a great warrior, if we wish to use the power of Collective Force, we must rely on solid planning and rational thinking to win the battle. When breaking through obstacles, Collective Force requires us to maintain an unshakeable conviction that our principles are noble and that the rest of the Collective will “have your back.”

The Collective Force is also a message about connection. It is only through coming together that we can overcome our present obstacles. Our current COVID reality has created a barrier for many – a sense of isolation that magnifies our feelings of disconnection and instigates divisive thoughts. Our lack of social interaction leaves us feeling lost, alone, and searching for answers. When we begin to realize that we are not alone – that others share our experience and desire the same growth – we start to tap into the power of Collective Force. The I Ching suggests that we should “hold together with your loved ones to overcome any difficulties.”

Being part of the Collective Force does not mean that you surrender your identity. On the contrary, it is only through each member’s unique contributions that the Collective gains its power. When we can balance our individual needs with others’ needs, we can work together for the common good. The I Ching encourages us to become more generous, polite, and considerate if we wish to empower change. This approach stands in stark contrast to our current social climate. But if we want to avoid a civil war, we must consciously decide to act more civilly.

So in this moment of Collective Force, which side do you choose to stand with? Will you answer the battle cry that attempts to rally others towards the common good or one that seeks to sow division and chaos? What part will you play in the ongoing fight for the soul of our nation? We are not facing a question of Right or Left. We are fighting a battle of right or wrong. Can we put aside petty politics and get down to the major tasks at hand – overcoming this pandemic, rebuilding our economy, and restoring faith in humanity – or will we continue to point fingers and hurl allegations? Remember, arguing over who made a mess won’t clean it up. Let’s band together under the flag of decency, compassion, and integrity and use the power of Collective Force to right the course for this and future generations.

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