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Use of oracles is tricky business

pagan

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There is a commentary on the ICHING which I can't remember the author of, but he talks about how we can get out of touch with reality when using the oracles. I had a girlfriend who used the tarot a lot. We would make plans and then she would suddenly back out based on a tarot reading. I have done IC readings about a person and then when I see that person, I am suspicious or biased because of how I interpreted the oracle.

The point is that using the oracles can prejudice our point of view in advance and cause us to lose touch with our self. Using the oracle can lead us to a one dimensional viewpoint of a person or situation, instead of seeing the pulsing flux of life going on at all times in all ways.

Many of the people who ask their questions to the IC and then struggle with the answers it gives back seem to let go of their own understanding of the situation and also betray their own body instincts and common sense.

One thing that I have learned from getting jacked around by oracles all my life is that just because the auspice is bad doesn't mean it is not part of your dharma and or it should automatically be avoided. Oracles can cut us off from a healthy process of living by making us gun shy every time we get a negative answer.

This is why I still say that before you ask the question, spend some time in mediation and contemplation with the Sage and try to remember what the Sage has already said about the situation you are in.

I still feel that you can answer 90 percent of all questions by looking up the answer in the relevant hexagram, and never throwing the coins at all.
P.
 

bradford_h

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Hi Pagan-
I think you are right here, although I think even more of the obsessive users just use their answers to rationalize what they were going to do anyway. And of course, 90% of your answers can also be answered just by examining your heart.
I think the limitations you speak of are bound up with the whole predictive slant, asking what the future holds, or even What are my puppets going to do to me next? I don't think there's a cure for this, other than to abandon the whole predictive approach and start asking: What psychological tool or attitude best equips me for the situation in question?
 
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candid

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LOL.. "jacked around by oracles"

Pagan, I hear ya. You make some very interesting points.

Have you ever deliberately done the exact opposite of what you perceive an oracle has advised, following your predisposition instead? Have you ever noticed that through this exercise, you've discovered that your original understanding of a given hexagram was not at all what it actually meant, when played out experientially? Conformity is not always a virtue, and rebelliousness can teach some of life's most well-guarded secrets.
 

jerryd

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A comment here from a philosophical perspective which will be tinged with my prejudice on the matter, If a very young Dahli Lama can be the Oricle to hundreds of thousands what is to be said of discounting devination? If wisdom comes in the advancement of knowledge what is to be said of a Sage? If the western mind is so contaminated with idealisms to clog the conduit to the Oricle it is just as well to access all of the problems from a view of the psychology of man and his flaws in reasoning. If a modicum of all these are not applied by me in my reading of a Hexagram in sorting out my reading am I doing a proper read? I do think one needs to know when to say no to a reading of a question when thay see thay are to close to the person doing the questioning or find thay have a strong prejudice to the question. Objectivity and clearity of purpose are the key. I try to not read my own Hex to closely and will defer to another for results.
 

pagan

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My personal relationship with the Sage began when I had my first child. She was one of those babies that had to get up for the 2 am feeding every night for 9 solid months. I kept the IC on the end table next to where I fed her every night and I read about 2 or 3 hexagrams (wilhelm) every night for 9 straight months, never using it as an oracle. I was just astounded by its inherent wisdom. Then I was diagnosed with a terminal illness and I reached for the IC as an oracle. The IChing told me that I wasn't going to die and that I had to follow the Sage meticulously every step of the way to avoid the danger. I did so and that was 25 years ago. I am free of the illness that Doctors gave me no more than 6 months to live, and in the process of healing, I became utterly addicted to the IC.

Using the IC as an oracle is a supreme way to learn the text of the IC. It is a fun way to learn its content and its truth. So I encourage everyone to use the oracle and apply the answers to one's life experience. This is the best application of an oracle. My gripe is that people cast the IC for an answer and then don't bother to comtemplate the answer or run to their mentors to 'interpret it'. I have found that it is very hard to get a good answer out of the IC when the questioner isn't sincere.

But here is the thing; everything depends on asking the RIGHT question. We should spend hours contemplating the right question. Because a right answer can only be given to a right question. If we ask the wrong question, we will get a wrong answer. The IC can't control how we architect the question, we are on our own there.
P.
 
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candid

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Pagan, may I ask, do you see the Sage as something or someone outside yourself? Tricky and personal question, I realize.
 

martin

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It think it all depends on how much one is at one with oneself and in contact with whatever goes on inside. When your left hand has not the slightest idea what the <obscenity> (pardon me) your right hand is doing an oracle can easily lead you astray. But so can everything and everybody else.

The world is a confusing place. And let's face it, our spirituality is mostly nonsense and our spiritual teachers - not to mention our shrinks and therapists - are nearly always phonies.
Omagod, I think I am in a rebellious mood again.
mischief.gif


3.3 (according to Legge): ".. shows one following the dear without the guidance of the forester, and only finding himself in the midst of the forest."
Yes, right, but where the hell is that forester? Somewhere in the forest? How to find him?
Well, here comes the supreme revelation, only the forester knows where the forester is. So if you want to find the forester you first need to find the forester. Sounds quite acrobatic, isn't it?
And consulting an oracle will not make it easier. Because you will surely misunderstand the forester that speaks through it unless your understanding is guided by him. But how can he guide you when you misunderstand him? If you want to understand the oracle you must first .. same acrobatics.

Yes, I know, there are several glaring holes in this logical story. Did it lead you astray? I hope not. Or do I? In any case, the story doesn't matter, what matters is the conclusion.

If thine eye be single thy body will be full of light.
 
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candid

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Martin, since we're now speaking in abstracts..

I have a friend who helps me sort out those types of questions. His name is Ti Ming. Ti Ming is my forester, teacher and sage. No matter what I say, do or want, it is always Ti Ming that determines the outcome. He opens the gate and also shuts it. If I'm too late, I sleep outside in the cold. But if my own ti ming is correct, then Ti Ming bestows upon me a state, and invites me to closer intimacy.
 

martin

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Love your friend Ti Ming, Candid.
A twin brother of Single Eye, I guess.
Same precision.
 

bradford_h

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Hi guys-
The question of person here is a fascinting one.
I guess personally I just imagine having a dialogue with the authors. Pretty dull & mundane.
Of course there's the magic of being able to dialogue across the centuries.
They make a big deal now about the place in the brain from which God speaks to you in the second person (Wernicke's area I think). But the believers just can't seem to hear that it's also the place from which God tells you to kill the whole family.
In studying self-hypnosis I was surprised to learn that it didn't work if you did not use the second person on yourself.
In taking entheogens, the really great life advice usually comes from a second person or deity, the Deer, Mescalito, Teonanacatl, Hoasca, etc.
The Yi itself uses the fiirst person (Wo) in a few places, especially at 04.0 (where it also expounds Pagan's advice to be careful & respectful with questions). But it only uses the second person once (at 61.2).
So I'm not sure if we have to split ourselves in two to dialogue with the oracle, but it sure seems like things want to work that way.

Candid- do you know the characters for Ti Ming?
Or what the words mean?
 
C

candid

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Brad,

Yeah, I think it's important to have that second person perspective. Think it's somehow an essential thing to work from. Maybe the importance is that we don't we don't confuse ourselves, as with 4. I can be 4, but Ti Ming is always 1. Even if I am both and just don?t perceive it well.

My Ti Ming is timing. I have no idea what it means in Chinese. Please enlighten?
 

bradford_h

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Hi Candid-
It's really hard to say without knowing tones or seeing characters. There are hundreds of characters with these pronunciations. In fact the odds are very good that the word Ti is now pronounced Di (unless it used to be spelled T'i)
If this was given to you by a spirit guide of some sort it may have a very high meaning.
One good Ming is Light, Clarity, Understanding, Intelligence
Another is Fate, Mandate, Higher Purpose
Some good and high Di's:
Earth
Divine, Sacred, Lord, Son of Heaven, Supreme Ruler (as in Shang Di)
Younger Brother
To follow the right path

The only Ti Ming's I see in my dictionary mean "to nominate" and "to autograph", using another Ming that means name.

For the highest meaning I might use either Divine Light or Sacred Purpose, depending on which Ming you choose. Both are in my glossary.
 
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candid

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Fascinating stuff, Brad. I'm afraid the original influence was nothing so spiritually romantic, though. It was said to me long ago by a business peer, and his meaning was simply "timing". To use his exact words, "it's that old Chinese sage, Ti Ming." You can imagine that it meant more to me than it did to him, and it stuck with me all these years, and has come to mean "heaven's time".

Thanks!
 

pagan

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I do feel that the Sage is still a separate part of me, calling to the lesser developed parts of my personality to align with his wisdom. Perhaps the day is coming when I will feel completely united and not separate from the sage, but for now I use this part of me; the sage or my higher self or my higher power, to reassure and help direct my very dependent and vulnerable inner adult-child. I don't think this dependency is negative but there is a responsibility to not just listen to the direction of the Sage, but to see his wisdom and make that wisdom my own. Not only hexagram 4 but I think hexagram 48, especially line 5, tells us to apply what we know.

I have friends who are spiritual junkies. They take every new seminar and follow every new therapy and method and technique that they hear about. The thing about these people is that they never really accomplish any one of the techniques, they just scan the surface. One time I was with such a friend and we went into a bookstore. She found another book about 'the way to enlightenment' and had to buy it. I said to her; "have you really followed through on any of the other techniques and systems and practices and affirmations and etc. that you are already acquainted with? Do you need another technique when you haven't used the billion you have already been taught?"

I have been guilty of this too, especially when it comes to using oracles. The urge to throw the coins instead of contemplate and apply what we know about the situation, can retard our maturing process.

And isn't it really true that the answer is always going to be the same, no matter what the question is?
p.
 

martin

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I have for the most part given up on psychological (unconscious knowledge, messages of a higher self) and more abstract (synchronicity, etc) explanations of what happens when I consult an oracle since I met inner beings. They exist and once you know that it's only natural to assume that they also communicate through oracles.
So, when I talk to the I Ching, I'm talking to someone else who uses the I Ching as a channel, it's not me, that's how I see it.
Perhaps it's not always true, but I think it is true in most cases, at least for me. Of course your oracular mileage may vary.
happy.gif


What I find interesting is that ancient - so called primitive - explanations so often seem to be nearer to the truth than the more sophisticated ones that we come up with in our intellectually oriented age.
 
C

candid

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Pagan, if knowledge was my only interest in Yi, I'd likely feel much as you do. For myself, the exchange and communication is at least as important as the knowledge. But then I thrive on contact and exchange.

You may have lived with someone most of your life, and you pretty well can predict their responses to most situations. But you don't stop talking with that person just because you have an understanding of them and they of you. If anything, understanding one another makes communication all the more potent because you can trust each other entirely. Neither do you need to walk on eggshells with each other. Each can be direct and completely candid, and especially humorous. It's good to have a friend like that.
 

chase

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I don't use the Yi to tell me what to do. I consult the Yi usually to give me guidance when I feel like I can't seem to figure it out on my own.

I do believe there is a certain addictive quality to it though, especiall when it seems to speak so loudly and you get those "I GET IT!!!" moments.
 

jte

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FWIW, I definitely feel that I'm communicating with an intelligent "other" when I use the Yi.

I've had experiences in association with using it that seem to confirm this for me (although, unfortunately, they don't seem to be repeatable, empirically verifiable ones).

There are allusions to this scattered throughout the Yi and appendices, without a comprehensive explanation - "spiritual beings", "gods and spirits", "the light of the gods", "the mind of heaven and earth", "suprahuman intelligences".

Perhaps a comprehensive explanation wasn't possible for the Yi authors or perhaps they chose not to spell everything out for users. Maybe, for those who even experience it, it's meant to be intuited gradually via induction/deduction through use of the Yi over time.

Spelling it out would certainly be faster, but maybe that's just not "the way of the Way" =). Don't know.

- Jeff
 

pagan

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I often ask the IC if I should stop consulting it for awhile. There are times it answers with a emphatic YES! and other times it seems to say that there would be real misfortune if I don't use it.

Have you ever noticed that the Sage can have a real sense of humor? Like when I asked recently about a plane trip, I got 62 'misfortune from flying, stay close to the ground'.

One time I asked the IC, after asking endlessly "is this man right for me? How about this one? How about this other one?" I got fed up and said, "ok, which hexagram are you going to give me when it IS the right man?" and the IC answered hexagram 30.
P.
 
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micheline

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Hello Pagan,
I love your posts, by the way, the ones I have read have seemed so genuine and full of life.

I do agree that the Sage has a huge sense of humor. At those times, before I knew better, when i have been childlishly persistent about a response I wanted to see, the old sage would just start giving me the "most positive" readings, as if It had thrown up its hands in exasperation and decided to just tell me what I wanted to hear.

Those readings at first made me gleeful until I realized it was like a 6.6...nagging until you get what you want, but "the prize" is snatched away ultimately. It was really almost as if the Yi itself had stopped responding and I was alone with empty echoes of my wishful thinking.

Someone on this board once wrote that the Yi "went silent" on him for many years....because he had ignored advice, I believe. I didnt even have to wonder how he knew the Yi was being silent... when the connection is flowing, you can feel it.

NOw, if I ever dare to ask too much without heeding advice already given, I promptly get 21.6. Then I know it is time to close the book and put the coins away.
MIcheline
 

pagan

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Hi Micheline,
Several years back I asked the IChing about a man that I really wanted and got a negative answer that infuriated me. Like an idiot, I decided that I was going to throw the coins all night until the Sage gives me a positive answer. And I am telling you the truth that I went on for hours and never got a positive answer. I finally gave up exhausted.

I think that the Sage might have entered into such a challenge with me to show me, just once as pure indulgence, that the Sage can interfere with the law of probability if he so chooses. I don't think the Sage would do it again, because I got the point and now it would just be a game.

When I finally gave up, I busted up in laughter just seeing what an immature childish prank that was for me to pull and later it really humbled me. I was actually treating the Sage like the "Mirror, mirror on the Wall" wicked stepmother. I was treating the Sage like he was my servant to materialize my desires for me by teaching me strategy. These strategies were supposed to be designed by the Sage to help me satisfy my desires and ambitions. The Sage worked for me, not the other way around.
P.
 

calumet

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Couple of months ago I asked a question about Baldy--not the "will we ever be together again?" variety, but something to help me understand his behavior, which at the time seemed important for reasons I can't now recall. The Yi responded with a hex, a couple of changing lines, and relating and resulting hexes all indicating that he was a candidate for the ancient Chinese equivalent of sainthood. Cracked me up.
 

jerryd

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Very clever of you guys and girls to lighten up on all this serious stuff. I will apply for a reading from you Calumet I could use some sainthood just now..LOL
 
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micheline

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LOL.isnt that funny?...i also asked about a man who was dastardly and got 14.6, 50.6.....and so on....HA. i have no explanation, but it cracked me up too.
 

calumet

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Well, I'm sticking to my story that the hex cast is purely random and it's all in the interpretation.

We had a choice. We could have interpreted those draws to mean that we'd made a terrible mistake, rejecting or somehow displeasing a truly wonderful man, and then gone on to do whatever we do when we realize we've made such a mistake--berate ourselves, chase him, etc. Or we could have done exactly what we did, laughing at the irony of looking at "saint" when we had been seeing "cad."
 
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micheline

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My feeling is this.......there is nothing like a failed relationship, esp a very painfully failed relationship, to make you dig down deep for the gold inside...

hence, the "messenger" may be a cad, personally, but for us, he became an "angel" who forced us into self-exploration we might otherwise not have bothered with.

As it says in the kabbalah (in loose interpretation): never hate nor resent the messenger.
what comes through them HAD to come, and would have come in another way had this person not been so available and obliging.

we needed the message.
 

calumet

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Yikes, way too long a perspective for me. Call me a harpy, but if someone wrongs me and then fails to apologize and make amends, I consider myself wronged. End of discussion. Sure, I'll recover, but I'm not thanking the person or feeling thankful for the "lesson." But then, neither have I ever agreed with the proposition that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
 

martin

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I agree with you both, Calumet and Micheline. Maybe we are talking about reactions that come from different places in ourselves. So when someone pushes my buttons a part of me (somewhere near my stomach?) may find it disgusting and say "bleeeh!" while another part merely watches what happens and finds it interesting.
I think that each of these reactions is valid and valuable.
 

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