...life can be translucent


From the blog: Recurring hexagrams


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Apr 8, 1970
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Recurring hexagrams

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I’d been planning on writing a devastatingly insightful post about some rarefied, recondite connection you can find between readings with the Resonance Journal. Maybe the karmic significance of a repeated nuclear hexagram emerging as primary when you ask a Big Question – something deep and meaningful like that. Only when I actually started looking through my own journal, there was something much simpler calling for my attention: nine readings, on largely unrelated topics, all with the primary hexagram 38. What’s that about?

I think anyone who’s spent a few years with Yi has had this experience: there’s a hexagram, or sometimes a line, that sticks. No matter what you ask about, it keeps coming up. It reaches the point where you cast the first couple of lines of the hexagram and are already saying, ‘Not that one again…’

So what does this mean?

Sometimes, when you take a long look, it becomes clear that the readings with the same answer do all share a theme, even though they’re about parts of life that belong in quite different ‘boxes’.

An example from a few years ago: readings about both work and volunteering came up repeatedly with Hexagram 12. It was obvious the two situations had nothing in common: six days a week spent at home toiling over a computer keyboard; one day spent at a day centre for the elderly, mostly stacking/unstacking the dishwasher and making the tea. The 12-ness of the voluntary role was evident: I wasn’t happy with the situation (rules took precedence over people at every turn), but there was nothing I could do about it. But it wasn’t until I developed some insight into that situation in the light of the reading that I started to see the similarities with how I was running my own work. (As I said, that was some years ago – I made changes!)

So the ‘not this again’ reading can be a gift. ‘Look!’ it says, ‘See how this situation in your life is an image for that one?’ And if – as with my little volunteering role – one situation is relatively simple and clear, then it almost becomes like a ‘reading’ itself, a parable offering you a way to understand a larger story.

But there are also times when the readings don’t share a theme. My nine 38-readings? Two about the Flow of Change project, clearly related; three about purchase decisions, one about a productivity system, and one sort-of connected to that, I suppose, about asking someone to become an accountability partner. And two readings cast as examples with no question in mind when trying to reproduce a bug in the journal software so I could describe it accurately for Justin to fix.

Not only are most of these not remotely important questions, some of them were barely questions at all – the software-testing readings, and one or two ‘What if…?’ questions about things I didn’t really intend to do (like buying a more expensive phone). This recurring hexagram seems to be about something other than the things I was asking about.

It’s not unlike the experience of seeing the same number everywhere – every time you look at the clock it’s 11 minutes past, your car mileage ends in 1111, your reservation is for seat 11… that kind of thing. I always think those just mean ‘Hello.’ They’re reminders that synchronicity happens, the cosmos resonates, your world is ready to talk with you – here it is, where are you? Could recurring readings mean much the same – a simple ‘Hello’?

Perhaps. But then again, this is Yi; it has a wider vocabulary.

Here’s what I’ve found. When I start looking at these not-very-important, not-very-related readings, searching for a connection, it takes me out beyond my original questions. Those questions were answered: I had good advice when I needed it about keeping this somewhat dodgy old computer (not a robber, a marital ally!), about changing how I looked at my work, and so on. Answering questions is something Yi does. Only it also goes beyond the questions and invites me (if I’m even half-awake) to follow along.

It’s not that I’m about to see some life-changing connection between software debugging and to-do lists. But I have spent some time mulling over ‘outsider’ status, the perspectives it opens up, the emotional triggers it activates and so on. Just the act of reviewing the readings together gets me to pay attention to something outside the ‘boxes’ of the original questions.

Yi described this process with Hexagram 13 – experiencing harmony out in the wilds, beyond the walls that circumscribe my routine daily concerns. Life-as-to-do-list turns into a series of minor battles: fix the bug on that web page, solve this customer’s Paypal problems, catch up with those emails, move onto the next thing. And Yi – even if I rarely ask about more than the next thingtodo – says, OK, put the weapons away for a moment, come up this hill and take a look around…

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