Sunday, 11 July 2010

Yes, dear

Photo by Rosa Yoskovsky

Hexagram 14 is formed of Fire over Heaven. Its name is DA YOU. Da, of course, means big, expansive, full. There is nothing bigger than Heaven.

In modern Chinese, you means ‘have’. The character was originally formed of a hand: to have, to be, there is, to be rich, offer. In ancient times you also meant a good harvest, and da you referred to a 'best year' or 'best harvest'.

Da you is ‘Big Having’: the harvest, when you can reap what you’ve planted. It implies material possessions: abundance, prosperity, loadsa money. But a key question is whether you possess a lot, or possess what is great.

In the Rogue Commentary, Bradford points out that value, appreciation and interest, prize or endowment, although regarded as tangible ‘things’, were all once verbs:

"We forget that to be able to treasure is as good as treasure itself."

When my son was in his teens, he had several friends whose parents gave them every new mobile phone, computer and widescreen television going. My son, being the child of parents who struggled to simply keep a roof over their heads, got a modest allowance, which he carefully hoarded, along with birthday and Christmas money. After saving up for two years, and researching every sound system on the market, he bought himself a stereo system – which is still going strong, more than ten years later. He once said to me that although his friends had better ‘toys’ than he did, he got more pleasure out of his, because he appreciated them more.

That’s the real Midas touch: not the ability to acquire, but to value what you have. Our greatest wealth consists of things like knowing and living out your purpose; or just being in the same world, at the same time, as people you love; or having a sense of the unity and sacredness of life as it unfolds. It’s the capacity to see beauty, to be touched by the ongoing miracle of this world, to experience life as deeply satisfying.

This is embedded in our language:

dear, adj.

  • Loved and cherished: my dearest friend.
  • Greatly valued; precious: lost everything dear to them.
  • High-priced; expensive.
  • Charging high prices.

From O.E. deore "precious, valuable, costly, loved".

We place value on what we cherish; we cherish what we love. If this sounds like a tautology, consider the question:

How can we learn to better appreciate the riches of the world in which we live?”

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