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Saturday, 6 March - link

switch hitting the i ching

I had a decision to make. Yesterday I called Howard.
Why not ask the I Ching? he suggested.

It had been years since I rolled coins to see where my question landed amidst 64 possible outcomes. The I Ching is a system of personal divination, less useful for prediction, more useful for "suggested modes of thinking." You outline your dilemma, and the I Ching responds with a metaphor, a frame for consideration.

Except in this case, I found that the I Ching didn't seem to care what my question was. I asked how I should consider spending time deepening my understanding and relationship to creative people I respect, versus time spent deepening my relationship with people outside of media. The answer I got ultimately seemed to rise up to reinforce nearly all the other lessons I've had racketing around my gray cells for the last few weeks, shedding precious little light on this particular moment but perhaps giving me tools to stay alive and awake.

I rolled three coins. The numbers came up: eight in the first place, eight in the second place, seven in the third. Then the second trigram: eight in the first place, eight in the second place, seven in the third place. Two identical trigrams! That was unusual.

ChênI checked my Wilhelm/Baynes. Two Chên - The Arousing. The commentary read as an exhortation to action. Bold action! Shocking action! Not exactly what I expected; I read through all my I Ching books to see what kind of actionable clue their might be. So far, my takeaway was "just do something interesting!" The reading didn't seem to address my dilemma directly, but it did talk about reverence and calm in the face of too much activity. I read still more books and resolved to let the lesson sink into my over the next few days.

Curiously browsing through my R.L. Wing's I Ching, I saw her instructions - cast the I Ching from the bottom. Stack the lines on top of one-another. Whoops! I forgot that. I rewrote my 8-8-7-8-8-7 from the bottom up, and went back to my Wilhelm:

KênKên - keeping still, mountain. A wildly different reading - less shock and motion, quiet instead. And here was some poetry that spoke to me: "The heart thinks constantly. This cannot be changed, but the movements of the heart - that is, a man's thoughts - should restrict themselves to the immediate situation. All thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart sore." That resonated strong - all thinking that goes beyond the immediate situation mostly makes the heart sore. That's ambition and doubt. All those extra minutes of my day I wonder what's to become of me! Or what kind of decision I should make. Hah!

Throwing long-range project planning to the wind, I woke up the next day to do some work for Mimi and clean my home. Living room and dining room, bedroom. Hey, home, here I am! Everything else I have to do will be easier if I'm calm and cleaned up.

Posted on 6 March 2004 : 07:49 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.