6 of Pentacles – Generosity
A finely dressed man stands with a balanced scale in one hand and giving out coins to two kneeling beggars with the other. There are no bystanders, indicating that what the man is doing isn’t for show. Rather, his actions are guided by the scale he holds, which measures justice and equality.
This card is an indication of material wealth and success. When in such a position of fortune and power, it is wise to utilize our wealth to benefit others and society.
This card is about the true purpose of charity. Understand that charity is more than just the physical act of giving. For an act to be truly charitable, it must be accompanied by a genuine desire to increase the well being of others. Donating due to obligation or guilt is not the same thing as charity.
The underlying goal of genuine charity is to assist those who are down and help them get back on their feet. As such, we must always be careful about how we give and what type of assistance we provide. As the saying goes, ‘give a man a fish, you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish, you feed him for life.’ When we help others, our actions should encourage and empower those to whom we offer assistance. It should not create dependence.
Also, while it is good to give in good faith, do not give foolishly. Whatever we offer to others – be it our money or time – make sure that it is being well utilized. We shouldn’t exhaust our energy and resources on those who aren’t grateful and we shouldn’t give simply because we’ve been asked to do so.
While there are a lot of unfortunate people who deserves a helping hand, not all are worthy of our charity. There are people who have absolutely no desire to help themselves. When we give to those people, are we truly helping them? Or are we merely enabling them?
Hexagram 41 – Decrease
The image of Decrease is illustrated by Mountain above Lake. Just as a mountain contains a lake, we must halt our anger and control our desires. In this way, decrease is not seen as a mere loss and condemnation. Rather, it is one of the necessary experiences of life.
There are times when we must decrease what we currently have to make room for new things, people and experiences. We withdraw from certain activities so we have time and energy to be directed elsewhere. We decrease in anger and resentment to make more room in our hearts for loving kindness. We sacrifice who we currently are to become who we want to be.
Just as pruning a tree will make it stronger, when we let go of things that are superficial, we give ourselves space to explore new opportunities.
Nine on line 1:
Our modern lives often fill our calendars with work and obligations. We are constantly running from meeting to meeting while checking our phones in between just to make sure we haven’t missed a thing. While it is good to be responsible and fulfill our duties and promises, we should take a pause every now and then to consider if all these things and events in our lives are necessities or distractions.
Nine on line 2:
One thing we should never decrease in is our virtue and dignity. The only way we can be of genuine service to ourselves and others is to keep true to our values and beliefs. This is the core of our being; if we give this up, we will have nothing left. More than a loss of wealth or health, this type of decrease is the most unfortunate or misfortunes.
Six on line 3:
Surround ourselves with good company but do not waste time with people and relationships that don’t serve our higher purpose. It’s not about how many people know us, but how well those people know and care about us and vice versa.
Six on line 4:
Decrease is also letting go of bad habits and vices. This is what sacrifice is truly about – we release all those things that no longer serve us in order to serve a higher good. The only thing that is lost is our ego and fear. Once we let these go, we will find freedom and new opportunities. Do not hold onto things that hold us back.
Six on line 5:
Decrease in the form of investments paves the way for future increase.
Nine on line 6:
Decrease is a choice to give. However, giving doesn’t mean lessening. There are things we can give without lowering our own resources or that of others. In fact, the wise give in ways that never decrease from themselves or anyone else. Knowledge, good will, love and affection – these are all things that we can give without limits to those deserving of our effort and good will.
Unfortunately, when we hear the word ‘sacrifice’, many minds automatically conjure the images of gruesome murders on altars to worship jealous and hungry gods. In truth, these events have taken place in history, but it is a bastardization of a highly beautiful and spiritual act.
True sacrifice, although painful, does not incur suffering. The only things we’re asked to give are those that do not serve our higher purpose. We release all the thoughts, feelings, habits and people who prevent us from fully realizing our potential so that we can fully dedicate ourselves to nobler pursuits.