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Blog post: Still not enough time for the I Ching

hilary

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Still not enough time for the I Ching

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Some 11 years ago (!) I wrote about people telling me they didn’t have enough time for the I Ching, and the gifts of time it offers. Well… we haven’t got noticeably less busy since 2008, and I still hear this quite often.

What distresses me most are the people who explain they’re as interested in the Yi as they ever were, but just now their life has become too stressful: they’re doing something too new, or going through too many changes, and will probably come back to the Yijing when things have settled down.

This isn’t called the Book of Settled Things: it’s made for times of stress and change. For me, it’s second nature in impossible, harried moments to grab the beads and ask for help; I wish it could be that way for everyone. (‘Help!?‘ is a very good question for Yi.)

To sum up what I wrote before: yes, a reading takes time. Also, it’s worth it.

A firm grounding in the full reality of your situation; understanding the scope and limits of your responsibility; a clear vision of your next step: these things save time, in a purely practical way. And beyond that, readings have the potential to transform your whole experience of time – from ‘time management’ into flow.

But now I come to think about it, I realise I get sucked into this ‘not enough time’ mindset, too. Nowadays, I’d never consciously tell myself I don’t have time for a reading: I’ve learned from experience that I don’t have time not to do readings. Instead, I can get my head down, immerse myself in something, and somehow forget I know an oracle that can help. Only when a friend asks, ‘What did Yi say about it?’ do I realise that it would have something to say, and I could usefully listen. I just get too deep into doing stuff.

Advice from the Oracle


And so with all this in mind, I asked Yi for advice to help solve the problem of not having time for readings.

Yi gave me Hexagram 29, Repeating Chasms, changing at line 2 to 8, Seeking Union.

changing to​

It starts – as readings often do – by acknowledging you. If you feel you don’t have time for readings, it’s because you’re in the midst of repeating chasms, navigating one pit after another, swimming as hard as you can – and looking for a lifebelt, not a swimming lesson.

In other words, Yi isn’t describing this as a problem of time management, nor yet of misunderstanding what the oracle is. The issue we call ‘not having time for readings’ is just Chasm stuff: overwhelm (see the Sequence from Hexagram 28), falling, darkness and the unknown. It’s in absolute uncertainty that we stop asking.

white-water torrent in a rocky gorge

‘Ah, but have you fully considered the fan yao and zhi gua?’
‘Repeating chasms.
There is truth and confidence.
A connected heart creates success,
Movement brings honour.’

Hexagram 29, the Oracle

The first requirement in the chasms is fu, ‘truth and confidence’: being where we are, and trusting that. This is going to be hard, mid-chasm, when we’re probably concentrating on being somewhere else as soon as possible.

A ‘connected heart’ is a diviner’s heart: bound to reality, intuitively within the flow of the time. Be where you are, connect – we need to get in the habit of noticing when we’re lost, and asking then – and act from that connection.

Amidst Repeating Chasms, Seek Union:

‘Seeking union, good fortune.
At the origin of oracle consultation,
From the source, ever-flowing constancy.
No mistake.
Not at rest, coming on all sides.
For the latecomer, pitfall.’

Hexagram 8, Oracle

I’ve written before about how Hexagram 8 is about the origin of oracle consulation with stalks, and with it the ability to name and know patterns.

From my previous post:

The oracle consultation referred to here is clearly, specifically, divination with stalks: the first such divination, its origin. Why stalks, not the more ancient tortoise plastrons? Could it be because the tortoise oracle says, in essence, either ‘Yes, the spirits are with you in this idea of yours’ or ‘No, they aren’t’, but the stalks say, ‘Here is an image of how it is’? Like Yu, Yi makes images for us so we can recognise what we’re seeing.

I think that’s what we really ask Yi for: a picture, a pattern for comparison. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘Here – this is.’ ‘What if I did this?’ ‘You’d be doing this – here, have a look.’ We look at the picture Yi offers and recognise the pattern it invites us to see. ‘Oh,’ we say, ‘It’s like that. ’ We get a feel for the situation; we get the picture.

Hexagram 8 musings

So when we’re in the chasm and aspire to Hexagram 8, we’re seeking that kind of connection: to form a cogent picture of where(/when) we are, recognise it and know what kind of time this is.

How can you seek union from the middle of repeating chasms?

‘The chasm has sheer sides
Seek small gains.’

Hexagram 29, line 2

Typical Yijing advice: direct, compassionate and eminently sensible. When you don’t have time for a reading, seek small gains.

That’s not a major life insight from an in-depth reading, or a grand solution to sweep all the problems away. (We know the Chasms don’t work like that: the only way out is through.) This is Yi as flotation device, not deus ex machina.

In fact, I’ve sometimes found people in the midst of the chasms are actually scared of doing a big reading: it’s much more helpful to ask something small and immediate.

The issue might not be so much with finding time for a reading as with finding the emotional capacity. There’s the moment of asking, not knowing what Yi will say, and then there’ll be the reading itself to absorb. Things are already quite intense enough without adding something huge and portentous from Yi; we’re already bearing enough reality to be going on with.

So instead of looking for a question that encompasses the whole situation, you could try,

  • ‘Help for today?’ or
  • ‘What to remember?’ or
  • ‘What’s one thing I could do differently?’ or
  • ‘Next step?’
 

Trojina

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What distresses me most are the people who explain they’re as interested in the Yi as they ever were, but just now their life has become too stressful: they’re doing something too new, or going through too many changes, and will probably come back to the Yijing when things have settled down.

This isn’t called the Book of Settled Things: it’s made for times of stress and change. For me, it’s second nature in impossible, harried moments to grab the beads and ask for help; I wish it could be that way for everyone. (‘Help!?‘ is a very good question for Yi.)

For the very antithesis of this view go here :devilish:

I don't understand why you would wish everyone would grab the beads when they are stressed. I understand up to a point but I don't think it is universally helpful for everyone to grab the beads at harried moments. I've seen plenty of instances where grabbing the beads only makes them more harried and less likely to have a clear head on the matter.
 

hilary

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For me, it's only ever helped when things are really fraught. I wonder what makes the difference? Maybe just slowness.
 

Trojina

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Don't know what you mean 'maybe just slowness' but the difference is going to be in the person's relationship with divination at that time I think and how susceptible a person is to addictive/avoidant/dependent behaviours, nothing that can be measured or pointed to exactly by a casual observer.
 

wander woods

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The issue might not be so much with finding time for a reading as with finding the emotional capacity. There’s the moment of asking, not knowing what Yi will say, and then there’ll be the reading itself to absorb. Things are already quite intense enough without adding something huge and portentous from Yi; we’re already bearing enough reality to be going on with.

For me, making time & emotional space for a reading in the midst of real trials is a priority. It's necessary, because I'm in need of guidance. Yi isn't going to add to my burdens, coming, as it does, from a place of profound compassion. I can also dispense with consideration for Yi's personal faults, feelings, and experience! Yi isn't human & so I'm excused. It's all about me. Similarly, I'm not a burden to Yi emotionally, as I might be to a human confidant. This is refreshing & enabling.

The past year has been enormously difficult for me & the fault is strictly my own. So, my need for guided self-awareness has been enormous and continual. Yi has been the best of allies, without expressing exasperation, boredom or a need to exert control, unlike my human allies have. I'm not 'too much' for Yi. In return, I'm blessed with access to ancient insight and wisdom. How is this unwelcome assistance?
My gratitude is enormous.

Avoiding or neglecting Yi when we're hard pressed has got to be a matter of our relationship with Yi & nothing else.
 

Sparhawk

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Trojina

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Oh yes, I've bought some of those when in Greece - I meant divining with them
 

Sparhawk

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Oh yes, I've bought some of those when in Greece - I meant divining with them

I know. :) I thought the connection with stress was funny. As you know, there are those who consult the Yi after every sneeze or hiccup and those who barely touch it for divination but know it is there, on standby, and everything in between. I suppose it is a matter of personality and comfort with the oracle and I understand all positions regarding its use given that I'd like my own to be respected as well.
 

Trojina

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I know you know but I didn't know if you knew I knew you knew :cool:
 

Sparhawk

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For crying out loud, don't you know already that we are both omniscient? But of course you knew that. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

Trojina

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I know I'm omniscient but I didn't know if you were :freak:

I mean you haven't been here for a decade so I've forgotten what you're like (despite being omniscient) ……..but it's all coming back to me now...dear oh dear...
 

Sparhawk

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Hey, I am a decade wiser! (allegedly...) Watch out! :flirt:
 

Trojina

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I will be watching ...oh yes....after a decade who knows what's become of you
 

hilary

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Where is that dragon going?
(some of us have been wondering for a while now...)
 

Sparhawk

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Where is that dragon going?
(some of us have been wondering for a while now...)

I wish I knew... Even worse, like Trojina pointed out, that thing has been flying solo for about a decade (even though I check in here, once in a while...). Who knows what its mission is. He's a scorcher though. :giggle:

BTW, I tried to change it earlier today with another image but the system isn't taking it. Even tried using HTML. Any guidelines for that with the new software?
 

Trojina

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. Even worse, like Trojina pointed out, that thing has been flying solo for about a decade


I realise I had always half imagined he had another life around the back of the screen where he vanishes for a very short while. I think 24.3 is his line or maybe even 36.1 because I'm not sure if he has time to eat round the back of the screen.


I'm not sure the dragon should go, it's your trademark along with the high heels.
 

hilary

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As far as I can see, everyone has permission to edit their signature and use images, so it must be as Liselle said: it just doesn't allow dragoncide. It's very well-designed software.
 

Sparhawk

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I'm not sure the dragon should go, it's your trademark along with the high heels.

I see you have a long memory. Don't make me dig out the archive that picture of you in a leather outfit and matching whip (and stiletto heels to torture your subjects). Of course, I've never been worthy of those. Sigh... :flirt::wrydemon::rofl:
 

Trojina

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Pleeease, don't make me unearth the one of you in the latex lederhosen.....

Hilary, it seems the winds of time have not refined the nature of this character, the chisel of experience has not wrought a nobler man. I think it best you please escort him from the premises forthwith.
 

Sparhawk

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Pleeease, don't make me unearth the one of you in the latex lederhosen.....

Hilary, it seems the winds of time have not refined the nature of this character, the chisel of experience has not wrought a nobler man. I think it best you please escort him from the premises forthwith.

I knew it! You love me too! Feels like primary school all over again... :flirt::rofl:
 

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