This is one of those embarrassing experiences with Yi, but I wanted to share it all the same. It’s a very clear example of the difference a question – and the thought behind the question – can make.
There’s this course I’m thinking of taking. I like the look of it, I like what it promises – I think it’ll help me to make the jump from knowing how to do things, to actually doing them. (Something of a stumbling block for me for a long time.)
The thing is, this course requires me to do one lesson (and an exercise or two) per day for the next 18 days. What if I make the commitment and then find I don’t like it, or it’s a waste of time? So at this point I enlist the oracle, which is always a reliable guide when choosing which authors and authorities to trust.
“Yi, what if I undertake this course?”
Hexagram 32, Persevering, changing at line 3 to hexagram 40, Release.
Oh, no. One of my least favourite lines to receive:
‘Not persevering in your de,
Maybe someone receives a gift of shame.
I understood this at once as addressing that issue of ‘every day for 18 days’. If I undertake the course, the most likely outcome is that I won’t see it through… and every time I start something and don’t finish it, my self-esteem sinks to a lower ebb. It’s a very nice-looking, free multimedia course – and if I start it and don’t see it through, it will be a ‘gift of shame’ of the first order.
The question is – is that really what it means, or is it referring to something lacking in the course? So to clarify this, I went back to my question and reworked it:
“Yi, what if I undertake this course – and sign the promise to complete it – and actually do so?”
Hexagram 49, Radical Change, changing at lines 1, 2 and 4 to Hexagram 48, the Well.
OK – now that is different! Radical change and revolution in the Well – I guess, in its state of repair and my ability to get to the water. Since I’ve been going through a depressive phase lately, my inner ‘Well’ has been pretty much in the muddy and birdless state.
‘Bound with yellow cow-hide’
Starting with a commitment or undertaking that is ‘binding’. Also, previous experience of this line suggests it’s about keeping the practical realities in sight before starting anything big.
‘On your own day, changing it radically.
Setting out to bring order, not a mistake.’
‘Regrets vanish, there is sincerity and confidence.
Changing mandate, good fortune.’
The meaning leaps off the page. This may be about the content of the course, but I think it’s actually just as likely to be about the personal significance of completing it.
One commitment, signed and dated. Here we go…