Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Limitation has Success

“Limitation has success…..Unlimited possibilities are not suited to man; if they existed, his life would only dissolve in the boundless. To become strong a man’s life needs the limitation ordained by duty and voluntarily accepted. ……….. Hexagram 60 of the I Ching (Wilhelm Baynes version)

Today we live in a world were the sky is the limit. Any sales promotion aims to excite this possibility that the owner of the product promoted can attain the impossible be it fairness of skin in a week or flat stomach from beer belly in two weeks. The examples are large and cover every segment that you can imagine.
The ancient wisdom of the I Ching captures the fallacy of unlimited options in the well being of man.

In the societies of the past due to the inherent limitations of population, travel and knowledge itself, the need to preserve skills in knowledge, trade and tasks enabled man to narrowly focus on the core competencies that one had. A hunter honed his skills to provide for the community, a trader and his caravan gathered the best of products and bartered wares to please the customers. The native Indians of North America used to kill only few buffalos in a year for food and hide for the entire community. In the industrial age, mass consumerism has led to the unlimited exploitation of all type of resources.

In her book “Wisdom for Better Life” author Debi Davies writes: “Learning to create and practice appropriate boundaries in all aspects of life is important for everyone. Creating proper boundaries in relationships, as well as work and recreational environments, enables people to be fulfilled rather than drained. Boundaries become our protection as well as our map for proper interpersonal behaviours. People must respect our boundaries and we, in turn, must respect theirs. Setting and understanding boundaries in day-to-day life will help you develop into a fair, productive and self-confident individual who is able to give and receive in relationships your entire life.”

There is a need for setting up a boundary at the physical, emotional and intellectual level in our lives. In the physical plane, let us take our diet today. For many individuals the diet has no relation to the work he or she does or their personal life style. People having sedentary life style eating a high calorie diet are sure to have degradation of health. Emotional boundaries are equally important. This determines the impact of our feeling on others and also the impact of others feelings and disposition towards us. In professional man management, emotional attributes of an individual play a significant part. Intellectual boundaries are determined by one’s gift of skills either endowed or acquired during one’s life. Setting up this boundary has to take into consideration the maximum leveraging one can attempt to gain through pursuit of information, knowledge and external wisdom. Today’s experience of many individuals in the ‘world wide web’ is a good example of the extent to which loss of focus can occur. In seeking spiritual empowerment today many start chasing all that appeals to instant gratification, as though these are ready made packages for instant Nirvana. A typical case is how Yoga is promoted in the west.

In conclusion we can appreciate the wisdom of the Hexagram, which was the oracle of the East, by the insight it provides towards betterment of our lives.

Love to you all


  1. Sadly limitless desire has become the order of the day.We literally decline to accept our limitations, and tell ourselves,'No, this can't be true'.While working with children with learning difficulties, I've realised that the parents of these kids refuse to agree that there is some problem for the child.They put the blame either on the child's laziness or on the teacher.It will indeed be a great stride forward if we develop an open mind in understanding our own limits and limitations.

  2. Too many options is no good and you have aptly described it in this blog.
    The limitless choice of clothings and saris and gold in the T.Nagar area has indeed created a perennial over flowing crowd throughout the year and the shop keepers also entice the customers with various schemes including discount sales. Is the customer happy at the end? Not probably. "Could have tried the other shop for a better variety or price." must be lurking in their minds.

  3. Very insightful comment. What happens in the thought process of parents is that they always have some external standard which has no reference to the child's intrinsic capacities and try to push the child to achieve the set standard. It begins with the first thought a hereditary ownership of attributes and logic that their child must be equal to greater than their own achievements in life.
    If they learned to limit their own desires this situation can be avoided. Here Kahlil Gibran's famous quote is very apt. "The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind."

  4. Consumerism has opened the mind to the limitless and at the end of the day it is not only the self but the entire society stands alienated from the true purpose of creation.

  5. Sir, thanks for the article. Now I also seem to have a very good point as to "why we DO NOT offer unlimited web space, bandwidth, etc" like other web hosting companies :-)

    Even though one know that they can't "really" get an unlimited hosting, they are still tempted by those unlimited sales promotion like you have pointed.