41: Decrease

Increase and decrease are both part of the natural cycle of life. As another ancient scripture put it, “To every thing, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Like a reservoir used to irrigate the fields, learning to accept a temporary decrease—in position, feelings, or material possessions—prepares the way for an increase in the future.

We live in materialistic times, but there is no disgrace in letting go of some of your assets; this can be part of an investment in future gain—a gain that may come in the form of greater freedom, learning, or development of personal character. Likewise, the inner strength that comes from bearing an unanticipated loss can be balanced by an increase in inner strength and insight. When letting go of material desires leads to greater simplicity in daily life, good fortune comes calling.

In nature, the lake evaporates to form clouds that drop rain, which nurtures the surrounding forest. As the forest grows thick, more rain is captured to increase the lake. Similarly, some evaporation of resources, or a decrease in one area of your life, will give rise to an eventual increase in another. A loss of responsibility at work can mean more free time, and more free time may generate greater creativity or more career options. In general, a decrease can free the spirit and fill the soul with a lofty and satisfying sense of purpose.

Be mindful of the lesson of young lovers: even with minimal possessions, feelings of the heart can bring an unsurpassed richness to life. The smallest of actions, if sincere, can have great value. Remain confident, for a time of decrease may actually bode good fortune for you—especially if you remain open to the possibility.

Let go of frustration, resistance and regret over whatever might be decreasing at this time. See the larger picture and accept the ebb and flow of life’s cycles.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

If you want to be of service to others who have less, there is no blame in that. But you must be careful to not assume too much responsibility for them, lest you deprive them of their dignity and the chance to advance through their own effort. Learn to be sensitive when taking on the burdens of others, and carefully avoid self-righteousness. Likewise, when the tables are turned, a mature person considers how much help he or she can accept without putting their helpers at risk. Such deep consideration makes giving and receiving happen with ease over time, and without concern about possible decrease.

Line 2

In order to render true service to those who are lacking advantages, it is essential that you don’t compromise your dignity. A decrease in self-respect that grows out of excessive subservience, even to a higher goal, can lead to a decrease in performance as well as self-esteem, both of which would be counterproductive. To truly be of good service to others, you must be sure to take care of yourself first.

Line 3

If three people go off on a journey, one will drop out. If one goes out alone, a second will join up along the way. The strongest bonds and deepest relations are between two people; agreements among three people, no matter how lofty the intentions, are never quite as stable. Two’s company, three’s a committee. Letting go of extraneous relationships is suggested here.

Line 4

If your negative habits and personal faults are alienating others, there is one solution: straighten up! When people let go of negative habits, new opportunities and good fortune flow in to fill the void.

Line 5

Natural, good luck is here! Great fortune is your destiny now, and you need fear nothing. Enjoy! Invest! Higher energies are supporting you.

Line 6 (top line)

There are different ways to acquire wealth, but the highest and most satisfying is increasing the collective good. For supremely successful and enlightened people, their increases cause no decreases for others; they have learned to advance by generating more for all, not by clever maneuvering to advance self-interests alone. The prosperity of such people rebounds to the good fortune of all of beings.