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All Bluster and No Muster:

An essay by contributing editor Susan Humphreys.

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I cast the "I Ching" this morning and got #16 Enthusiasm with a 6 in the first place.

The "I Ching" (Book of Changes as it is also called) is one of China's most ancient wisdom texts. Some cast the I Ching as a parlor game like playing with Tarot cards or a Ouija board. I cast the I Ching each day for words of wisdom to ponder on during the day. Similar to how some Christians randomly open their Bibles, blindly put their finger on a line then read and contemplate what the passage has to say.

Some describe the I Ching as a form of fortune telling. It isn't. It is designed to help you clarify your thoughts and give you words of wisdom to think about AND to put into action.

Earlier this week I learned that the Religious Tolerance organization had accepted another one of my essays and was elevating me to the position of Contributing Editor. I was of course honored, happy, and proud, or you might say I had a "swelled head"! I emailed my brother, told the ladies at the Library, and could hardly wait until Sunday when I take a walk with a friend in the woods to tell her.

So this morning I read this, "You act as if the world were hanging on your words, and deeds, ready to follow you anywhere. Actually, it is either trying to escape your boorishness or is preparing to pounce on you." Sam Reifler edition.

I am often amazed at how prescient these castings can be. Nothing like a quick little put down to bring one back to reality and start your day off right!

I wrote in my journal "don't be arrogant, the world doesn't hang on your every word". And I reminded myself words without action is all bluster and no muster. It is what you do with those words that count.

To put it another way, it isn't what we know or believe it is what we do with what we know or with our beliefs that matters. Facts and figures are just facts and figures, good for Trivial Pursuit or game shows.

To put it another way, do you, do I "talk the talk without walking the walk"? Or are you, am I, all "bluster and no muster"! Or do we "put our money where our mouth is"! Do you or do I "practice what we preach"?

It is surprising how my great new insights, aren't so new. Those phrase have been around since I was a teenager. Some since my parents were teenagers.

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Then I realized that even though I never gave them serious thought I had obviously incorporated them into my life, I do try (though I don't always succeed) to "walk the walk", to "practice what I preach"!

As I thought about it some more I also realized that I can only encourage, prod, poke, challenge people to THINK with my words. What they do with my words, or with the words in the Bible or other Sacred Texts or Wisdom literature, or the words from the charismatic preacher, fiery politician, neighbor, friend, teacher, guru, from the news they choose to watch, is up to them.

Words without actions are nothing but "hot air". Salvation of a person or the world doesn't depend on words, or beliefs, or "good intentions", it depends on actions.

The positive, productive, uplifting, or negative, destructive, downtrodding nature of our actions helps us find meaning and purpose in our lives, or leads us astray--that is the subject of my next essay.

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Related essay on this web site that you might find interesting:

Ms. Humphreys referred above to her recent essay: "Finding meaning and purpose in a rapidly changing world." It is well worth reading!

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Richard Wilhelm "Introduction to the I Ching," at:

  2. book cover R.L. Wing, "The I Ching Workbook," Doubleday & Company, (1979-DEC). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store. Rated 4.8 stars out of five stars by 109 customers! Available in paperback, spiral-bound and ring-bound formats.

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Originally posted on: 2017-FEB-21
Susan Humphreys
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