...life can be translucent

Life lessons from Yi

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.
Constancy: humiliation.’

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.

Line 1:
‘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.

Line 2:
‘On your own day, changing it radically.
Setting out to bring order, not a mistake.’


Line 4:
‘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…

I Ching, Yi, hexagrams, I Ching reading

2 responses to Life lessons from Yi

  1. TOTALY EXCELLENT DUDE! I did not c this b 4 but let me re-iterate,this sharing of your process like this is more helpful in learning nuts and boltz living I ching.

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