Yesterday some Change Circle members went on a remarkable inner journey, visiting a Lake and a Mountain, receiving some unexpected gifts. (Thank you, Kevin, who guided the guided imagery.) Change Circle members can access the recording from our home page; if you’d like to join us for future explorations, you can sign up here.
Then I cast my hexagram for the week: 10, Treading, the lake below heaven; then I had a night of half-remembered dreams full of lakes.
So… I owe you a blog post, and it seems to be about lakes. I’ve been thinking especially about inner lakes, the trigram dui on the inside, with its surface open to the upper trigram. It seems to represent one’s inner capacity, a way of being open to the world and of interacting with whatever is outside.
Water takes things in; it dissolves them throughout its own structure; it brings disparate elements or ‘flavours’ of experience into contact with one another as it blends them. What it absorbs spreads through it freely: sound vibrations travel furthest through water; homeopathy depends on water to carry the remedy; people are captivated by Masaru Emoto’s photographs.
Also, water reflects. As I take an imaginative walk into Hexagram 10’s landscape, if I look up I see qian, heaven, with its constellations; if I look down, I see the same patterns reflected in the lake. And they’re reflected into the lake, not just on its surface: the heights of heaven are reflected into the depths. The Image of hexagram 10 suggests I use this as a reminder that there is that other dimension, that I ‘differentiate above and below’ so I can straighten out my sense of purpose in the ordinary things of life.
This seems to be a characteristic of hexagrams with an inner lake: they have something to say about inner life, not as anything very exotic or spiritually exalted, but the ordinary emotional stuff we’re made of. There are the ordinary people, in hexagrams 10 and 19, as the inner life of the society. There’s also the idea of accepting, protecting and teaching them (in 19) and drawing out their purpose (in 10): the lake is about bringing awareness to the inner substance.
There’s the same idea of self-awareness about the ordinary stuff in hexagram 41: the noble one doesn’t become a pure ascetic without emotional attachment, but ‘curbs anger, restrains desires.’ She’s human, with some awareness of her own emotional states. And so in hexagrams 19, 60 and 61 she reflects and deliberates, accepts outer things into her own inner circulation to absorb and learn their nature. In hexagram 54 (which always reminds me of that other marrying maiden who ‘kept all these things and pondered them in her heart’) she knows them inwardly. Joined with an utterly different way of knowing in 38, the lake allows harmonising as well as dividing. And then in hexagram 58, the inner circulation naturally joins with outer exchange, and flows out to encompass ‘partners and friends’.