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Blog post: Why we cherish Yi

hilary

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Why we cherish Yi

Clarity’s recent member survey (still open here if you missed it) is teaching me a lot about who I’m writing for, how to help, what to improve, and so on – thank you for taking it!

Still, I think my favourite part, the question I’m most glad to have asked, is about why people cherish their relationship with Yi. I’ve been reading and re-reading the responses to that one, enjoying individual stories and the things we have in common. So here’s a post about what we have in common…

“It is like a close friend”​


That’s the prevailing theme throughout the responses. I don’t think anyone described Yi as a ‘tool’, or a device, or a means to an end. Instead…

“Yi has been a steady friend to me, and guided me safely. patiently and lovingly through many a challenging situation.”
“I love the feeling of having a wise and honest companion spirit.”
“Having a most qualified sparring partner to discuss the dynamics of a given situation.”
“I have always regarded the Yi as my friend in all the 60-odd years I’ve consulted it.”>

(Yes, ‘60-odd years’ – and this response wasn’t unique. One of my questions was about how long you’ve been consulting, from ‘less than a year’ to ‘more than ten years’ – I should have asked about longer timespans!)

It’s direct and personal​


This is something I often notice when I’m reading for other people, too: yes, there’s wise guidance and rare insight and ‘aha’ moments, but often what moves people most deeply is the sense of being recognised. The Yi answers our question, and speaks directly to the person behind the question. It’s good to be seen by a fellow-human, and something else altogether to be seen by an oracle.

“Sometimes just the sense that the universe is actually listening to my questions, when the answers seem particularly relevant even if not what I was hoping for.”
“I’m amazed by how the answers always feel like direct responses to my query, as if I’m having a conversation with a wise friend.”
“It feels so personal; my reading is meant for just me.”

Exactly. We probably all have examples of responses that jumped off the page at us, sparking a wry grin or outright laughter or tears or just that familiar sense of being slapped with a wet haddock. And it’s not always possible to communicate to someone else quite why it felt that way: the oracle’s talking to you, and how it does it isn’t always translatable.

So how does it do it? With imagery. Anyone can advise you not to be too patient, but only Yi can tell you you’re waiting in a bog; any number of books talk about stress and pressure, but you can feel the ridgepole flexing. And, of course, there’s imagery – poetry – that doesn’t map neatly onto rational advice at all, can’t be reduced to it, and speaks straight to the soul in ways we will never understand.

“The way the imagery can surprise and ambush my rational brain and get into the cellar door of my subconscious.”

“Yi is always there”​


“I find that it offers a non-judgemental space and words of advice regarding the issue that is bothering me. It is there, at any time of the day or night, like a very wise and permanently available being, always willing to offer guidance or at least salve some of my concern and offers a small respite in which I can relax and gain some perspective.”
“Knowing that there is always “someone” listening. Knowing that I can ask any question, even (or most of all) the ones I’m not too proud of.”

There’s no time we can’t consult and no question we can’t ask. Still obsessing about the thing at three in the morning? Not a problem. You can’t break the oracle. (No-one has in the past 3,000 years; you probably won’t be the first.)

This is not, of course, a promise that we will like the answer…

Its personality​


“Yi’s kindness, wisdom, wit and humour. “

Again – exactly! How many tomes of spiritual advice regularly make you laugh out loud?

“He’s an old and warmhearted sage, who doesn’t judge me but also doesn’t care about my primary feelings.”

I thought that put it particularly well: being met with kindness, without judgement, but also absolute honesty. Quite a lot of people mentioned getting the answer they needed, not the one they wanted; absolutely nobody used the words ‘polite’ or ‘tactful’.

“I appreciate the sincere and honest feedback”
“I can always depend on an honest answer.”
“Honesty, trust, and insight.”
“No emotional mush-mash”
“Yi’s answers require me to stop fantasizing and get realistic to understand them. “
“Getting encouraged when I need it and slapped back to my senses when I need it.”

That’s a leitmotif woven throughout the responses: honesty.

The difference it makes​


Obviously, we value the oracle because its advice and insights make our lives better: I get to understand people better and do slightly fewer stupid things, and I appreciate it. This respondent’s experience seems very close to mine:

“It has helped me broaden my repertoire of actions, gotten me out of defaulting to usual habitual patterns, and thus enriched my life experience.”

Yet oddly, this is one area where people’s experiences differ a great deal. Compare this…

“Rarely is it suggested what to do or not do in relation to my question. Usually I find out why I asked the question, realizing another question within it. The conversation is a quiet time worth spending, not so much to receive as to participate in an exchange. A wonderful experience always.”

… with the first two points this person made…

“Well, first, it invariably issues accurate predictions. Second, I have often used it to cut through tangential issues and get straight to the crux of the matter (in a very 30.6 way) when I need help or support making a decision.”

No two people meet quite the same oracle, I think. Every now and then, I’ll encounter someone who is quite sure that the Yi has a distinct guiding philosophy, because the tenor of all their readings bears this out. The Yi always encourages Daoist inaction… or teaches patience… or instills decisiveness and the will to act. As many, many people said, we receive the answers we need (and not particularly the ones we want), and our needs are not the same!

‘It helps me be more confident’​


Here’s a theme I hadn’t expected. A common objection to divination is that it takes away our agency, makes us dependent on an oracle to tell us what to do. That is a potential problem – the ‘is it OK to go out and buy milk?’ reading, or – much worse – not following a heartfelt desire ‘because the oracle said not to.’ (You don’t need Yi’s permission!)

But the theme that emerged told exactly the opposite story: the oracle doesn’t tell you what to do (which can be quite annoying of it). Instead –

“It helps me to be more confident in my life.”
“It tends to validate my own intuition about a situation, which gives me more confidence to make decisions.”

And the person who mentioned predictions first, and decision help second, continued:

“Third, I often use Yi to reality check my intuitions, to help discern when they really ARE intuition versus anxious or hopeful visions.”

I think over time this has an incremental effect: we can learn the difference between real intuitions and hopes/anxieties. And in the same way, Yi’s teaching me to be more discriminating about my own motivations. A perennial puzzle for me: if I don’t take the risk, am I being a) a rational adult or b) cowardly? So I ask, ‘What am I really doing, if I take this path?’ – and get to know myself better. The Yi isn’t replacing intuition or self-knowledge: it’s teaching them.

And beyond all that…​


As I was saying, it’s not just the advice or the insight, or the mentoring or even the friendship: it’s the realisation of what is really happening when we divine, and what this means.

If you drop a coin, it falls: we live in a universe with a law of gravity. If you drop three coins, six times, an oracle speaks to you. What kind of universe is this where that happens?

“It makes me feel like ‘the universe’ or something out there cares and is willing to help me make wiser choices, or just understand my life better.”
“It gives me an intimate feeling of being deeply understood and guided by a wise and loving friend. It makes me feel I am swimming in a sea of meaning and that I am not alone.”
 

Trojina

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There's something about this Blog that makes me call for an antidote, a sister thread "Why Yi confounds me". I reckon it's to do with Amazon....I'm reading it like I read Amazon reviews or it's coming over like that to me and I now know many of those are fake. I'm not saying these are fake at all of course not but reviews always look more genuine when there's some less positive ones. If they are all positive you know they are fixed.

I think there can be far more nuanced or ambivalent relations to Yi, I don't think it's all flowers and friendship all the time. The survey did ask about 'why we cherish Yi' so naturally it got positive 'reviews' it steered people towards the positive with the word 'cherish'. There's nothing wrong with that but something's missing, it's not the whole picture. I can't limit myself to 'cherish' personally not without all the rest of whatever there is.

Also what I note in SR for example over the years is often a kind of confoundedness, for want of a better word. Things often said for example are

"Why does Yi keep telling me to wait ! I don't want to wait."

"If xyz was the case why wasn't Yi just straight with me and why didn't it give me a direct answer like say 23 or 36 if this relationship wasn't going to work" (that's quite common)

"I've followed everything Yi has suggested but now after all that, it told me to wait and wait and now it says it's too late ! Well why did it tell me to wait then !"

Of course there can be help and explanations from others with all of these kinds of experiences although sometimes people feel a bit fobbed off I think when they want more immediate concrete answers and they are told this is about long term life direction and so on. But it's not all plain sailing people can have a rough ride, sometimes they can get quite cross, indignant or even sad about answers. Admittedly this is often due to reading poor commentary that doesn't apply but what I am saying is there is quite a broad spectrum of emotional response to consulting that I think is really an important natural part of the process of working with Yi. It's important to recognise the hard times since if people get the idea everyone else has a sense of a really good understanding friend in Yi they could feel like they've gone wrong or something.
 

hilary

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It's important to recognise the hard times since if people get the idea everyone else has a sense of a really good understanding friend in Yi they could feel like they've gone wrong or something.
Very good point, thank you.

The next question on the survey was 'What gets in the way?' - mostly so I could see what I need to write about. Responses... I gave some options...

  • Asking the wrong question 16%
  • Not enough time to spend with the answers 16%
  • Trouble understanding the imagery 18%
  • Not knowing how to fit the parts together into a whole message 29%
  • And 'something else' - 21%

I'm reading through the 'something else's and looking for patterns, though there were a few who said 'nothing does!' (which is odd, because surely there's something at least some of the time...)

A couple of patterns I noticed already: imagery and fitting it together become less of a problem with experience. Especially fitting it together - that more than halves. But 'asking the wrong question' was actually a more common answer with more experience, which I think is probably a sign of being more aware of that.
 

Trojina

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I don't think it's simply a case of things getting in the way as that presupposes all answers are understandable if only one has the right approach/knowledge/tools etc. One needs to accept that there will be answers one doesn't understand, that no teacher will understand for you and that indeed anyone who teaches Yi has answers they don't understand.

I think it is good and right that there will be answers one won't understand, that can't be prised open and scrutinised immediately, that remain a mystery. Everyone has answers they don't understand and mostly I think that is because they are long term. People always want to jump to a quick 'ah it means that'.

I'm saying being confounded is part of the experience, valuable in itself.
 

hilary

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Hm, yes, I think I agree with you on that. Just because Yi is a friend doesn't mean it's tame; just because it always answers doesn't mean I should always expect to understand. I don't, anyway.
 

Liselle

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It took me an humiliatingly long time to realize that if something doesn't make any sense it might be because Yi put it there for me to recognize and it hasn't happened yet. :duh: (Along with all the other ways to misunderstand, of course.)

As useful as "it's a conversation, treat it as one" is, I think that's a way conversations with Yi are not like conversations with people at all. You sort of have to hold big and small in your head at once. Yi's talking to us on our own level, but still is so much bigger than us, all at once.
 

Trojina

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If you drop a coin, it falls: we live in a universe with a law of gravity. If you drop three coins, six times, an oracle speaks to you. What kind of universe is this where that happens?

Well what kind of universe is that then? It goes back to who you think you are talking to when consulting. If you think it is an answer from God then that might be why I found the blog slightly odd as in Amazon reviewish as that is like giving God an Amazon rating and a uniform one at that where that God is always nice and friendly and amenable as a character.

Just because Yi is a friend doesn't mean it's tame; just because it always answers doesn't mean I should always expect to understand. I don't, anyway.
I have said this before but you don't always answer if you don't want to and if you have the right to not answer Yi most certainly does. No one actually knows whether Yi always answers or not. I don't think it always does, it's not a servant IMO. If I can not reply so can Yi and so can God. I mean you can't handle or manage Yi can you, nor can I nor can anyone. No matter how many techniques or whatever one uses if an answer is not forthcoming as yet it retains the 'right' to do so, to be unforthcoming at that time. Not tame, not manageable, not small enough to put in any container of any kind and yet willing perhaps at times to enter into very small containers indeed.
 

hilary

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not small enough to put in any container of any kind and yet willing perhaps at times to enter into very small containers indeed
Quite. I find it endlessly strange that something that acts as a voice of God will also at times tell me what's wrong with my html code.

As for not answering... we might need a distinction between not answering the question (definitely) and not answering the person - which would mean you could cast a reading but it would be truly random and have no special meaning for you at all, no more than any of the other 4,095 possibilities. I'm not so sure that ever happens.
 

Trojina

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I didn't mean not answering the question you put, happens all the time since Yi knows what you really need to know. I was speaking about just not being answered

I'm not so sure that ever happens.
Why? How do you know ? As I have said if you can choose to not answer why can't God not answer and why can't Yi not answer ? Does Yi have less life and intelligence and autonomy than you or I do ? In the bible there are times God doesn't answer when they use the Urim in Thummim for example or when prophets can't prophesy.

If one sees Yi a live presence the idea that we as humans determine it must always answer seems to make it into a compliant pet we manage/handle/analyse. What belief or idea leads you to think Yi must always answer but you don't have to if you don't want to ? No one has any evidence either way because it's not an evidence thing but it seems very important to me to, well if you are going to honour Yi, honour it's aliveness and volition as not less than yours.
 

Cometta

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I didn't mean not answering the question you put, happens all the time since Yi knows what you really need to know. I was speaking about just not being answered


Why? How do you know ? As I have said if you can choose to not answer why can't God not answer and why can't Yi not answer ? Does Yi have less life and intelligence and autonomy than you or I do ? In the bible there are times God doesn't answer when they use the Urim in Thummim for example or when prophets can't prophesy.

If one sees Yi a live presence the idea that we as humans determine it must always answer seems to make it into a compliant pet we manage/handle/analyse. What belief or idea leads you to think Yi must always answer but you don't have to if you don't want to ? No one has any evidence either way because it's not an evidence thing but it seems very important to me to, well if you are going to honour Yi, honour it's aliveness and volition as not less than yours.

Thank you for this reminder. I needed this.
 

Cometta

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It goes back to who you think you are talking to when consulting.
There must be a thread for the answers he gave us because I am sure I am not the only one who asked him. Unfortunately I got something about my state of mind in the moment of asking. But deciding who I am talking to before asking my question affects how I receive the answer.
 

Trojina

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Who or what you think you are talking to (and some think it is themselves/their subconscious etc ) is a personal thing involving your own beliefs and so on so any answer anyone receives is going to be seen in the light of that. I mean it's not like someone's cast is interpreted to say 'I am XYZ and everyone will say 'ah yes you are XYZ'. Everyone has their own ideas and understanding about it, there isn't one answer to fit all. I posted such a question 'are you the voice of God' or something like that in CC once.

My point was here in this thread I don't know if Yi is a voice of God but if it is then when Hilary conducts a survey on why people cherish Yi then she is really asking why they cherish God. And if those quotes she posted of what they said were about what they cherish about God then well that's another thing and well God would be getting Amazon type reviews.

Imagine if they said about God the things she posted

“It is like a close friend”​


“Yi is always there”​


"It’s direct and personal"​



One could say all that is true of God they aren't specially connected to the I Ching. It's a strange territory sort of heading into Yi worship. I've no problem with Yi worship but it does raise questions for me and I mean personal philosophical questions not questions someone can throw some coins on and that will settle it for me forever because that's my journey to make.

Oh and when we get to

"Its personality"​


Well much has been said and written in all faiths about the personality or character of God but God wasn't called 'It' in those, at least I don't think so.

Yi has great references in this blog, hence if one thinks Yi is a voice of God then God gets great references in this blog although we can't give God references can we what we give if we praise and admire and appreciate God is worship. Hence is the above blog worship ?

And then there's all the rest of it...it isn't all plain sailing and that's not always because we lack skill in interpreting at all it's because as Hilary said we are not playing with a tame pet whose every mood we know, there's risk too there's challenges too. There's feeling lost and some answers not making any sense at all. That is part of the developing of the relationship. That is why I find a stack of glowing references not the whole picture at all
 
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Cometta

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Nor can we settle the question of who is God.
We just learn to know him bit by bit untill we die. Like when we start our life by being many people and end being only one.
 

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