The Wisdom of the I Ching

61. The Power of Truth

To experience the Power of Truth in his activities, a man must have an open mind, free of bias and prejudice. Through this power, he is able to exert great influence on others, for there is nothing stronger and more enduring than truth. When, therefore, a man is aligned with truth, he cannot be dismissed. His actions rest on the foundations of the universe itself.

A person who acts in accord with truth is kind to others, because he knows the struggle that all have in finding and embracing what is true. He is respectful and receptive towards those who have a greater understanding of truth than himself, for he knows he has much to learn. Hence, there is no room in his character for arrogance; the knowledge of truth is infinite, and all her genuine seekers remain forever open to new discoveries. It is only through a united effort guided by truth that great works are possible. It is through the Power of Truth, therefore, that the development of all mankind is nurtured.

When a man must lead difficult people, he must place absolute reliance on what is true. With a mind that is receptive and that harbors no judgments of others whatsoever, he must understand those he would lead and see, as it were, through their eyes. He cannot do this if he harbors even a single judgment or conclusion in his mind about them. At the same time, he must stand firm in his commitment to truth and use his capacity to know truth in order to bring those he would lead to the right path. When actions are thus grounded in what is true, even the most difficult problems can be overcome.

That which is true leads invariably to that which is right. It is not the mere understanding of others, the mere experiencing of their point of view, that enables the superior man to lead. Deceitful men with evil intent act through similar understandings. It is by bringing the truth to bear on the understanding thus effected that he can exert a constructive influence.

When a leader must judge the acts of others, he seeks an understanding that penetrates to their heart. Thus, the truth of the situation is brought to light and reality is faced squarely. Every situation has its own unique circumstances, and the superior man recognizes and addresses these, and makes them a basis for his judgment.

The Lines
1. [9] The man who relies on the Power of Truth must prepare himself. Such ability does not come casually neither is it the result of an instantaneous decision. It is a way of life. Only with such a serious attitude, developed over a long time, will he be uninfluenced by external circumstances and manipulative intents.

2. [9] A man's inner thoughts are reflected in his words and deeds, and his every expression has influence upon all around him. Others will respond to him if his inner being is congenial and his spirit resonates with their spirit. If his inner being is consonant with what is true, others will know, and his influence will spread far and wide. This influence depends on the Power of Truth; he cannot fake this influence.

3. [6] If a man's relationship with others rests on intimacy alone, and is not founded on truth, the man will be always off balance. All of his actions will depend on the response of his companions, not on the dictates of his own character. His stability will be controlled by circumstances.

4. [6] A man turns with respect to those who are stronger in the truth than he, but he stands firm against the contrary and divisive influences that have no part in truth. Only when he has an unwavering inner commitment to truth can he do this.

5. [9] A leader leads with the force of his whole character. His principles come from within and influence all around him. These principles are founded in what is true, and serve to unite all his followers. Without this foundation in truth, the unity breaks apart at the very first crisis.

6. [9] If a leader relies on empty pronouncements while his heart is not dedicated to truth, he may deceive many and succeed for a while, but in the end he must fail. Deception can never be the foundation for real advancement.


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