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Asking for awareness

In the past I’ve done a lot of readings, for myself and other people, seeking advice about what to do and how to do things. I expect I’ll do a lot more of them, too, because they are direct, clear, straightforward and massively useful.

‘How can I do this?’
‘What’s my best path?’
‘What if I try this?’
(Or ‘What if I commit to this?’ – which can yield a radically different answer.)

Lately, though, I’ve been asking more questions along the lines of,

‘What to be aware of here?’
‘What’s going on with this?’
‘What do I need to understand?’

I ask these in the hope that the answer will also show me something of how I can be here (wherever ‘here’ is) in a well-adapted way. And they do: I’ve been getting some hugely helpful answers from Yi, that say in effect: ‘Here’s what’s going on, here’s where you are, so to live here to the full, to navigate it, be like this.’

A tiny example… I was confronting something that always intimidates me, for no good reason that I could see, so I asked – what goes on here, with me and this thing? (And I was certainly hoping the answer would give me some idea how to be less inadequate about it.)

Yi’s answer: Hexagram 29, unchanging. After a moment, I realised this told me very exactly what it was and how to be. These were chasms to learn, and if I held my heart fast, movement would bring honour. (I got on and did the intimidating thing, and it went well.) Very direct, very immediate – a kind of instruction manual for the psyche in the moment.

Also… this kind of reading can create some compassion and patience for oneself. Chasms? OK, maybe it’s not quite so pathetic to be frightened. Or – demon country? OK, maybe my efforts here deserve a bit more respect, and maybe it’d help to adjust my expectations about how long it might take to change this particular pattern. I think this sense of compassionate recognition is one of the greatest gifts Yi offers.

If what I was saying the other day is right, and readings fundamentally bring about change through awareness – more than through advice or resolution – then what kind of reading is going to make the biggest difference? Should ‘what to be aware of?’ be the default question?

3 responses to Asking for awareness

  1. Everything if it is required to do so, is to be done with compassion. Otherwise be AWARE that the universe has its own plans and it is the self that needs to accommodate this plan. Everyone is protected and at every moment, your situation is ‘perfect’.
    Proceed when your heart tells you. It does not matter what the ‘outcome’ will be (as it is unknown) but the fact that you have made the decision – this is the critical bit. You are being CREATIVE and participating in the flow of the universal plan.
    Be positive on yourself, on others and on the future.

  2. I am so happy others are working with the I Ching in such a way. What you’ve said is true. This is a different kind of questioning and a different kind of awareness–more internal, less situational. The awareness and compassionate feedback helps clarify my meditation practice and deepens my “walk with God.”

    I have found that differing translations are more useful than others in this regard. LiSe’s website is frequently spot on. I have also found Cleary’s “The Buddhist I Ching” and “The Taoist I Ching” to be a blessing, along with Carol Anthony’s “A Guide to the I Ching.” Hua-Ching Ni’s commentaries are also invaluable. His commentaries are a treasure.

    Ultimately, the answer comes as it will–as when you awakened to the meaning of Hexagram 29. It is not so much in the book but in the heart and soul. Or both.

    Thank you so much for this post. I would relish the opportunity to talk more about this.

    Thank you so much for raising this crucial and beneficial aspect of the use of divination.

  3. Thank you, Allahna. Do you have Wu Jing Nuan’s Yijing? That might strike a chord with you, too: it’s full of simple insights and real awareness of the gua as living, active things.

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