Inside & Outside

I came across something important in Thomas Cleary's "Toaist Meditation," which is worth mentioning in regard to several posts below - and certainly for the posts to come - on the nature of 'inside and outside.'

Much of my interpretation of the images in the hexagrams and trigrams uses these terms, and I need be clear that they do not exclude each other. That is, one is not of greater importance, and in fact, they are not separate entities. I think that this is readily understood with popular phrases like "we are all one" but is a far more intricate process to embody. As described in my other blog & post, "Indigo Washing," is well worth keeping an eye on. Professor Cleary says it like this, in his musing on "Stability:"

"Rather than approving inwardness and denying the external, it is best to forget about inside and outside."

Inside and Outside are simply tools to orient the mind and distill its liveliness. This distillation is simply a redirection of mental energy which is otherwise scattered; a ping-pong ball bouncing between two courts, "...what should I do... what should I do..." So the instruction here has three parts: recognize what is 'inside,' by which I also use the term "body;" recognize what is 'outside,' by which I also use "mind;" and recognize the habit of mind which would otherwise keep them appearing as separate.

For example!!:)

How often have you come across a moment where a person is saying one thing, and doing another? Even though thought takes place silently, I find them quite terribly visible through the body. How often have you been 'holding your ace card' in conversation? And does not that feel like tension? Certainly it is necessary to navigate our human world with some essential protections as "the world is full of trickery" (Desiderata). However, I do not think one's emotional state need be held hostage on account of this.

I find that worry is often a wedge for me between inside and outside: how will I be perceived if I say/do such and such, for example. The worry - the emotionality - however necessary, creates a false perception of separateness. If held to a state of worry, isolation follows; and ones actions may not be congruent with ones words or best wishes. As a stage actor, one learns to project - not only ones voice - but also ones thinking. I believe that is what the audience enjoys most, actually: those silent exchanges when a penny drops. It confirms and strengthens for us the tool of intuition, which I think always feels so pleasurable regardless of its actual instruction. Intuition is honest through and through. Thus Hamlet's advice to the players is strong advice for anyone: suite the action to the word, the word to the action...

So: when I speak of 'Inside & Outside,' please step through their three components: breath deep into your body with the description of the 'inner' image upon your thought (ie: illumination, or stillness, or joy, etc) which will generate a feeling 'inside' the body; then, imagine the description of the 'outer' image (ie: illumination, joy, etc) as something by which one is surrounded, which generates a feeling of mind. Continue focusing on your breath, and: Holding these two objects in place - inside the body, and surrounded by mind - bring the two feelings together into one unified feeling: "illumination inside joy," or "action-inside-danger," or "heaven-inside-action," etc, as per any one hexagram of the I Ching.

As I hope you are coming to see, becoming familiar with the eight trigrams alone goes a long - long - distance toward the embodiment of I Ching principles: heaven, earth, water, fire, mountain, thunder, lake, joy. Perhaps some day I will have the opportunity to learn the Chinese language, as I imagine the pictorial aspect of the language to be much more efficient than in the English.

Aside from inside & outside referring to the top and bottom of a hexagram, inside & outside also point one more layer deeper to the inner and outer layers of yin/yang of the trigram. For example, the inside of water is yang while its outside is yin; fire, conversely, is yin on the inside and yang on the outside. If you bring your mind entirely to each of these elements, imagining each angle of their 'person,' inner and outer, you'll find that this is an accurate and eloquent way to express their natures.

Which brings us closer to the essential character of yin and yang... but we'll save that for later :)

Please leave a comment or question below. I would be most happy to clarify further, and I wish for you a truly wonderous day.

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