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?