If the stresses of starting your own business aren't challenging enough, try doing it with family. While I trust my brother more than anyone on earth, the concept of being professional and courteous simply does not exist with a guy whose seen me in diapers.
My mother was already eating as I sat down, weary-eyed and hungry. I bit into a juicy drumstick when she gave me an all-too-familiar look; the look that I was about to get a serious talking-to. I quickly swallowed my mouthful in hopes of pre-empting the advice that I was in no mood to hear when suddenly, something deep inside of told me to be patient.
“You know, honey… that was one of the best conversations I have heard you have with your brother in a long time. You've become so much more patient with him. I’m proud of you.”
I was taken aback by the praise. Sure, I had been making an effort to reign in my temper with him recently, but I had not noticed any substantial difference.
“Where has this new found patience come from?” she asked.
I was wondering that same thing…
Was I getting wiser; my temper waning in my old age? I'd like to think so, but if I'm being honest, I must attribute the personal change to a single, specific book: the I Ching. As its introduction reads:
On the surface, the I Ching is merely a book. It is a very old book – one that has survived for thousands and thousands of years in many different forms – but it is just a book. It is also a very wise book – it is regarded as the foundation text of Chinese wisdom and philosophy and was instrumental to sages such as Confucius, whose education and teachings were formed by it – but it is just a book.
Beneath the surface, however, the I Ching is more than just a book. It is a living, breathing oracle, a patient and all-seeing teacher who can be relied upon for flawless advice at every turning point in our lives. Those who approach the I Ching sincerely, consult it regularly, and embody in their lives the lessons it teaches inevitably experience the greatest riches that life has to offer: prosperity, understanding and peace of mind.
The concept is simple enough: By practicing the superior qualities you open yourself up to the power of the Sage – or God or the Universe or the Higher Power or any other term you use to describe the underlying life force of existence. Whereas, practice the inferior qualities of fear, anger, desire, arrogance, aggressiveness, anxiety, harshness, cunning, goal orientation or self-indulgence and you shut the door to God's goodwill.
While the I Ching makes no promise of riches, its lessons ensure balance and inner peace. From Confucius to Bob Dylan – and many in between – sincere devotees have reached great heights in this world and found an inner wisdom within themselves. Acceptance of the inevitability of change is the only sure way of maintaining true happiness.
Still need more proof? Consult the Sage yourself. There have been countless versions translated over the years, and I recommend Brian Browne Walker’s The I Ching or Book of Changes: A Guide to Life’s Turning Points.