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Finding your real question

Before you think about putting your question into words, just immerse yourself in it. Let all the issues, hopes and fears involved bubble up to the surface – writing, or talking it through with a friend, might help.

(I normally write out all the circumstances, dilemmas and emotions behind my question in my reading journal before I cast. I find this helps to bring these things firmly to consciousness – keeps me from squirming away from the difficult parts – which clarifies the whole conversation. It’s also really useful to refer to when I’m looking through my reading journal later.)

Odd, but true: the best preparation for bringing a real question to the oracle is to ask yourself some searching questions. Think of it as the beginning of the conversation. The Yijing is already asking silently, ‘How can I help? What do you need me to show you?’ So ask yourself…

  • What’s brought me to the oracle?
  • What do I need to know?
  • What difference do I want this reading to make?

The question that emerges from this process will often fit into one of those ‘templates’ I suggested earlier

  • What do I need to understand about…?
  • What best to do about…?
  • How can I…?
  • What if I…?

In other words, you might be asking for a description, or for advice, or for prediction. Any of these is fine – and often a single situation will lead you to ask each kind of question in turn. You just need to be clear in your own mind about what you’re asking.

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