(Note… of course this post is here now because the Resonance Journal is coming tomorrow. Other means of keeping a journal are also available!)
At the beginning of my last Resonance Journal video, I mentioned a couple of (embarrassingly obvious) reasons why it’s good to be able to remember readings. I thought I could enlarge on that a bit for a blog post, with reasons to keep a journal of all the guidance that comes your way, not just the Yijing readings.
Reason 1. you get to learn more about Yi
A record of your experience with hexagrams and lines is simply the best way to learn what they mean to you, personally. As you build up personal associations with a hexagram, you get an inner sense of the shape of the thing that can’t be found in any book.
Having said that… there is a danger here in relying too much on those readings that really stand out in your memory. The readings that stay with you will tend to be the powerfully emotionally resonant ones: that’s just the way the memory works. If you rely just on these for your idea of the hexagram, you’ll probably end up with a biased impression, usually one that’s too extreme.
The first thing I remember about hexagram 23 is how it described (and helped me to process) a bereavement; it takes a journal search to remind me of the times it described a tooth extraction and a change in how I organised my to-do list. This is important, because 23 isn’t about bereavement; it’s about the ‘stripping away’ of whatever is no longer viable. If I can draw on the specifics of a whole variety of readings, I get a better overview and I’m less likely to leap to conclusions.
Reason 2: you can draw on your experience to help other people
This is a frequent questions at the forums: ‘Does anyone else have experience with this line?’ It’s also the whole point of the WikiWing: technology makes it possible now to build a commentary of the community’s shared experience. It’s hugely valuable. Sometimes all the new querent needs is to hear your story of your encounter with the line – the fresh perspective, ‘from the outside looking in’, opens the whole thing up for them.
Reason 3: you learn from experience
Another embarrassingly obvious one. Divination and dreams and awareness of guidance in all its forms makes a difference. Life informed by this kind of awareness is meant to be different from life without it. If I get the message, I can act on it and make changes. Or I can misunderstand ( /wilfully ignore) the message and make mistakes, or understand the message but learn only later that the purpose of these changes is not what I imagined it was… but at all events, I’ll be awake and changing – more like a living thing, less like a cog. But none of this is going to be possible unless I have the reading/ dream/ synchronicity in mind when I need it.
Reason 4: you learn from dreams
A while ago I started reading (/devouring) Robert Moss’s wonderful books on dreams. I couldn’t help noticing that he mentions a lot of very clear, detailed prophetic dreams of his. I found this odd – not to mention aggravating – as I’d never had a single one. But then again, I wasn’t remembering many dreams – so I began to write them down and pay attention. Not long afterwards, we were visiting my mother-in-law when she mentioned she’d lost a ring. We started lifting all the furniture and searching underneath, to no avail. Then I remembered a dream about finding good things in a hidden pocket, reached into the ‘pocket’ down the side of her chair cushion, and found the ring. The dream had taken me straight to it. Aha!
Of course there are whole books, and plenty of them, about what you can learn from dreams. All I know is that I don’t learn much from them if I don’t remember them, and I only remember them if I pay them at least enough attention to write them down.
Reason 5: it’s an opportunity to grow your relationship with Yi
Those powerful personal associations with particular hexagrams and lines that I mentioned under reason #1 – it’s important not to mistake them for ‘what the hexagram is about’, but at the same time… they can become part of what the hexagram is about, for you. Hexagram 2, for me, is not only what it says on the page, it’s also – because of a specific reading – my mother’s ‘superpower’ for lending her strength to a task and getting it done. In some of my readings with Hexagram 2, this is going to be part of the conversation. It’s not a meaning the hexagram will ever hold for anyone else; it only belongs in a private journal.
That journal space is also where I can build up a sense of how Yi develops themes and unfolds messages over time for me: what it means when a primary hexagram becomes relating, or vice versa; how readings shift to point out particular kinds of inner or outer change. These things can feed into readings for others in the end – though only after a whole lot of personal exploration.
Reason 6: it allows everything to speak
Your readings can be about your dreams; the bird you encounter today could be talking to you about a reading. Pay attention to all these things together, and the whole is decidedly more than the sum of its parts. Especially, I find it brings readings to life. There’s no more ‘Oh, I know what that one means’ nonsense. Interactions between dreams and readings and synchronicities keep the conversation alive and the meaning open-ended.
Reason 7: Writing your story does you good
This is true of any kind of journalling, with or without any kind of divination. Journalling is good for mental health and emotional resilience. It’s a place to work things through, to vent without worrying what people will think of you – a safe, judgement-free zone. It’s also a way to develop self-understanding, especially through pattern recognition – which brings us back to Yi, surely the world’s original and best instrument for pattern recognition.