8.4.14

Nelson author to speak on I-Ching

{Book Your Question-Session HERE Today}

How quick these past three years have gone. 
Multiple I-Ching Question-Sessions
with people from all walks in life.

Now, my first public lecture on I-Ching and



Please see article for full story 

10.3.14

Roots Finding Water

You can progress at this time by following the sensations of increasing depth and calmness; an assurance that arises out of reflection and self-knowing. Increasingly open to more information from the world-at-large, and more outwardly decisive by your own sense of self, the recent sense of busied action you’ve had on the inside - surrounded and open to outside influences - now moves more into a time of cautious - wise - action. 

At first this process could feel inwardly like ‘going backwards.’ Notably, when any pressures or sense of urgency is handed to you by the day-to-day, or the day-in-day-out. Rather than jumping into the fray and responding by habit, a quick tapping-in to a reflectiveness may well serve better. This could also feel like revisiting the past, or revisiting younger versions of your self. And it could feel like stagnation, until you cease any temptation toward procrastination, instead looking inwardly for a goodly length of time on the issue at hand. Stay with the emotions which are arising: they mask an important message.  

Outwardly, how you take a renewed action in the world because of this reflection - this sensing for new depth, this digesting of arising information - will benefit you greatly. For each minute of successfully isolating the issue in your thoughts and feelings, you will find a double reserve to make choices outwardly. You will grow into a sense of ‘doing the right thing,’ from having taken the time to find the calm-courage to look back inwardly upon the quality by which you make your decisions. Here: depth and calmness are one and the same. It is to move forward from a unified place; your emotions congruent to your wishes. 

Perhaps recently you have been very receptive outwardly. Casual. Perhaps even passive. This temporary habit has perhaps built up within you, feeling ‘scratchy,’ like you need to do something, or get something off your chest, or go exploring. There is an invitation toward new movement. The way of passage suggested in this reading is to listen ever more deeply to the influences coming at you from the outside, giving them a special attention rather than a habitual one, and by an ever-more-calm sensation - by the weight you bring to your own self acceptance - will you respond correctly to the outside. Stepping forward, is to first speak from the deep resonant placement of your truth.
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In the case of this Question-Session, Hexagram #46 was moving into Hexagram #40. In studing the works of Thomas Cleary, I appreciate his titles of the hexagrams greatly. He names these two “Rising,” and “Solution.” So as an overall heading to begin our study here, lets call this “Rising Into Solution.” Poetically, I have also named this particular movement of Yin & Yang as “Roots Finding Water.” As the roots go down, the solution rises up.

The first Hexagram study will pertain more to where you are coming from. And the second Hexagram study will relate to where you are headed. Somewhere between the two resides the energy you will want to cultivate in order to ‘answer’ your Question.

       
  
As this is your first I-Ching reading, there is a bit of technical information to be familiar with, so you can move more deeply into these themes on your own. This introductory information should also serve you quite well as you continue to learn about the I-Ching in general. The short segment which follows will move from the conceptual-and-general toward the specific, setting up the framework for you step-by-step. By the end of this Blog-Post you will be rather able to return to the above description with greater personal clarity toward how-and-why I reached these conclusions. 

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Remember: the I-Ching is a process-based way of doing things. It is an oracle - yes - but it finds success and benefit best through your own efforts of self-knowledge; an honest-seeking-insight. That is: the future is very much within your control, so far as you search for the truth within you.







Some I-Ching Basics

Yin & Yang are universal energies represented in the I-Ching by solid and broken lines: Yang is a solid line, and Yin is a ‘broken’ line, like two dashes. Yang, is The Active energy, and Yin, The receptive. A younger understanding of Yin and Yang can inadvertently land as dismissive or divisive toward each other: good/bad, black/white, male/female. I'm simply not a fan of this. Naming yin & yang as The Active & The Receptive, instead, allows an inroad for everyone’s curiosity.

As you were asking your Question, and going through the process of tossing the coins a total of six times, I drew out the hexagram from bottom to top, and the lines of yin/yang are numbered accordingly one through six. Every Hexagram in the I-Ching can then be broken down into two digestible chunks, called Trigrams. There are eight possible combinations, pictured here with their names:

The Book of Gardens: A Lover's Manual for Planet Earth

The bottom trigram within a Hexagram can be called ‘The Inside,’ and the top trigram ‘The Outisde.’ Each half, or Trigram, is associated to an Image, a Quality, and a Character, which we’ll consider in greater depth as we proceed. 

You will need to remember these terms of Inside & Outside for when we contemplate the two hexagrams in this Question-Session. And further to that, breaking-down a Hexagram into two parts, the Trigram can be broken down further into three separate areas of your contemplation: the personal, the interpersonal, and the societal-cultural. 

Not to worry: we will go through these items in detail as they pertain to this Question-Session. Step by step, this will strengthen your understanding of the story-like introduction of this blog when you return to it. 

So to review the process in brief: using the I-Ching involves moving your thinking awareness from the abstract, or grand and general, down into the specific. First, from the hexagram name, then into the trigrams - the images-qualities-and-characters - and then into the fine movements of thought by the personal, interpersonal, and societal amplitudes of your thought and decisions. Such a progression brings your decision-making toward a radiant and yet concentrated place.

This methodical approach of looking upon your thoughts and feelings through an organized manner will no doubt appear very foreign at first, but once grasped, it becomes a powerful tool of discernment, seamlessly blending your own thought and action, while improving your perceptions of the thoughts and actions of others.

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Let’s begin by looking upon the two Hexagrams by their Trigram halves.

46-Rising has Wind in the lower/Inside, and Earth in the upper/Outside. This can be thought on as ‘Wind within the Earth.’ Wind in this instance is synonymous with wood: we know the wind is blowing by the sound it makes when moving through the trees. So in 46-Rising, it can alternately be regarded as ‘Wood within the Earth.’ There is a root energy, an action within, rising up through the receptive Earth - into the Outside. Like finding one's voice amongst the noise.

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To meditate on this, imagine this Inside located within your belly: I also associate The Inside to the body (connecting then The Outside as mind), and I place a hand there upon my belly to set my imagination on course. Imagine for a few moments that there is a Wind within your belly. And allow your imagination to let loose at this juncture: recall your experiences of wind, pictures of the wind, the feeling of the wind, and so on - whatever has been individual to you. 

When looking upon the Trigram of Wind, observe how there is one yin line below two yang lines. Indeed the base of the wind is flexible as it twists through the streets, hugging the buildings, holding your face and grasping at your hair, bringing out commotion, dust, excitement, mayhem, trickery, and even delight(!) Take the time to allow your imagination to exercise you, and imagine this activity deep into your body - deep into your belly. The Inside.

Next… and this cannot be rushed - truly - your own enjoyment is your best guide, and I would recommend proceeding once you have made a connection with that last step... Next, we look on the upper Trigram of 46-Rising where there are three yin lines, making this the trigram Earth. This is pure receptive energy. 

Place the upper/Outside in ‘the Mind’ up upon your forehead, your ‘third eye,’ and I place a hand there upon my forehead to set my imagination on course. Bring into your imagination all your experiences of Earth - large and small. Imagine the universe of activity underneath the forest floor; the finest of creatures who carry a very large influence upon the health of the soil, and so then our very health too(!) Recall these meek things which inherit everything, or invent them on your own... Imagine also the farmers field, the open dessert, the Earth as seen from outer space… Bring thoroughly to mind your  own associations with “Earth,” and recall just how receptive the earth is to all our actions: we farm it, we dig it, water traces through it, accepting even of canyons into it; asteroids hit it, Men curse it, Lovers stay by it, and the history of every living thing depends upon it. Allow these associations - and others, as per your own individuality - to come to the mind. Imagine even that I write to you from the other side of this ‘pale blue dot.’ Allow your imagination to ‘dig deeply’ and enjoy uncovering the qualities of receptivity by the images of Earth.

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Finally - for this first segment - bringing these two contemplations together we have The Activity of Wind inside the Receptivity of Earth:Wind in the Belly; Earth in the Mind. Stated essentially: The Active inside the Receptive… unveiling a kind of restlessness on the Inside, and a host of influences on the Outside. Remember the central feelings which arise from this combination, and this contemplation: remember how they inhabit your body, feeding the mind. Remember this sensation.

This sensation relates to where you are coming from. And the next hexagram contemplation relates to where you are headed, as I mentioned above. Somewhere between the two sensations resides the energy you will want to cultivate in order to ‘answer’ your Question.

In your own time, proceed onto the poem below. Consider this an intermission to the study, as you have been absorbing some new information, and a perhaps a new way of looking into a Question. The poems I’ll share with you here are the condensed versions of my own study, hexagram by hexagram, line by line, through the entirety of the I-Ching over a period of 18 years. It is my wish that these poems will enhance your contemplation. The poem is a direct copy from The Book of Gardens: A Lovers Manual for Planet Earth. And Enjoy(!) We are at the half-way point of your Question-session.



Yin & Yang are not opposites. As #46 illustrates, the active can live inside the receptive in many ways - the sensation takes on a variety of forms. I am of the conviction that nothing is actually an opposite by following this knowledge. Yin & Yang are in relation to one another - in proportion - moving somewhat like two liquids, each in their own time and by their own qualities. 

I think of yin and yang like a balancing mechanism, and they turn over and over by proportion, by nature, by your thoughts, by your feelings: they flow and turn and churn through everything. You could also think of them in chemistry terms, in that yin and yang invert into each other: a process in which nothing is lost, nor truly nothing gained. 

Yin and Yang reveal the cosmic dance; the cosmic dream.
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The two trigrams contained in #40-Solution. are Water (on the Inside) and Thunder (on the Outside). As above: I'll start off your contemplation by bringing your imagination into your body/belly, with the image of Water, and then into the front of your forehead with the image of Thunder. 

Water is highly dynamic. It is mostly flexible (yin) in that it takes on many forms, yet its essential inner-nature does not change. There is only one water here on Earth, be it by rain or snow, lake or ocean, stream or river… What befalls the water befalls all the water, and inside that connectivity arises a quality of danger and/or a warning. A drop of water rejoins with every drop of water, hence: water is one yang surrounded by two yins. It is flexible on its outsides, yet united within. 

Water has been called ‘the enemy of man…’ I don’t recall if this was Confucius or Lao Tzu, but by ‘enemy’ I believe the speaker refers to the fact that water will always behave by its own terms… As will ‘Man,’ as you are well aware… Hence the factor of Water being an ‘enemy’ as there is a competing Pride. So however you allow your imagination into Water, know that there is always a sense of caution present: ice, snow, rain, depth, entrapment, floods…. And yet without water, we do not stand a chance of survival, remaining its dependent. Water then, is a good teacher, whose depths are worth exploring. 

So imagine deeply then, discovering what mysteries you will: Water - now - is on the Inside.

Above, we have Thunder. It is characterized by one yang line below two yins. I found this very curious during my study, until… One day… I was walking in a forest. It was a pleasant, uninviting, uneventful day in the Canadian Fall. Suddenly - extremely suddenly - all the fallen leaves of the forest floor picked themselves up off of the ground by about one inch. Literally - a massive ripple of energy raced across the forest floor, under my feet, and BANG!… A massive hit of thunder struck immediately above me… It was one of the largest ‘shocks’ I’ve received from Nature, like a Giant had quietly passed, rubbing his feet on the carpet floor, stirring up the electricity. 

Deep into my study, I recognized why the yang line of Thunder then lies below: the air is flexible, yet the current of energy which allows for thunder is connected to the ground. Imagine as you will - recall as you will - your experiences of Thunder(!)

Bringing these two trigrams together then, 40-Solution, is surmized by: Danger inside Action. Water inside Thunder. Remember this feeling. Bring your study to a place where you can recall this sensation.

Once the feeling from this new hexagram is clear to you, contrast this back to the feelings you found by ‘#46, Rising.’ The Action of Wind within the Receptivity of Earth. Moves into: Danger inside Action/ Water inside Thunder.

Between the two experiences - this slight tipping of the scales - arises the emotional resiliency invited in by your Question. We'll step deeper into this, after a little poetic break:


To find a solution and enact upon it, one must move through ‘danger.’ More particular to this Question-Session, one must ‘Rise’ through it. So lets now step a little further again into this idea of ‘danger.’ 

'Danger' sounds ominous. Horrific. … And who needs that(!) Think on ‘danger’ truly as CAUTION. Wisdom, as we age, has us better adapted to ‘danger’ by way of caution. And as we look into the specifics of which lines of yin and yang are in movement (from old to young) you will come to know where to look in your own life - we learn where exactly to apply our caution. This last step in the process will make everything above much more clear, and bring you back to where we began this blog-post: you're study for this Question-session will be complete.

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This final segment of your Question-Session contains some very fine detail. AND… some “answers.” By which I mean direction: concrete ways to direct your energy upon your Question. The meditations on the four trigram/elements above are preparatory steps: contemplating the Trigrams steps your mind into your innate Creative Intelligence. This involves digesting another layer of technical information, yet, as above, it will later serve to organize your thinking-and-feeling around this Question, as well as for going forward with an interesting skill, and an increasing perceptiveness.

To describe this constant balancing of yin and yang, the I-Ching uses the terms “Old Yin/Yang” and “Young Yin/Yang,” describing the freshness of their arrival, their arising. Everything has periods of rest and periods of activity, as sometimes you yourself are very active, and other times receptive. Learning, for example, contains both activity and receptivity. The degree of each is in proportion to how you experience any arising difficulty: sometimes a problem invites reflection, and at other times, the study involves some rather legitimate struggle. One state is not ‘better’ than the other, as each describe what-is; and their mixture, in whatever arising proportion, also describes what-is

Overall, the I-Ching will always reveal What-Is within you.

So in this particular Question-Session, there is one line of Old Yang, and one line of Old Yin. Numbering the lines from bottom to top, one through six: Yang in the third line inverts into a state of Young Yin, and just above it in the fourth line, Yin inverts into Young Yang. The ‘young’ quality depicts an arrival of energy in these areas.

     
           

Within a Trigram - working form bottom to top - the areas we can focus on, are: the personal, the interpersonal, and the societal-cultural. 

When we look at the hexagram as a whole, we have two trigrams: one trigram on top of the other, and so the correlations of Inside and Outside weave together:
  • Lines 1 & 3, relate; focusing on how your Personal energies move within the Inside and the Outside.
  • Lines 2 & 5, relate, focusing on how your Inter-personal energies move on the Inside and the Outside.
  • Lines 3 & 6, relate, focusing on how your Societal energies move on the Inside and the Outside.


Line One, houses your Personal thoughts on the Inside.
These are your thoughts on You, and you alone. These are the thoughts you have about yourself which no one could ever know - even if you speak on them until your voice runs out to your most absolute and best friend(!). Your mind is the only place where such thoughts are expressed, and only you can know their subtlety.

Line Two, houses the Interpersonal thoughts on the Inside.
These are your thoughts on your relationships, and on your ability of relationship. Again, no one can ever know these thoughts. This is where we make decisions about others.

Line Three, is the Societal-Cultural on the Inside.
These are your private contemplations and feelings on the World.

Lines 4,5, and 6, pertain to how these areas of thinking take action in the world:
  • Line 4 pertains to how you are thinking about yourself as you are out-and-about in the world.
  • Line 5 pertains to your relationship(s) as you are out-and-about in the world.
  • Line 6 pertains to your sense of Society and Culture as you are out-and-about in the world.

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Returning to your Question-Session: here, where the ‘Roots find Water,’ lines 1 & 2, and 5 & 6 are all in ‘Young’ energy moving consistently through your time: they have time yet before they become 'old.' These areas are Young: they are consistent, unchanging, reliable, solid, good-to-go, not-to-worry, established…

Where the lines are changing is of interest, and here, the third and fourth lines are changing. The changing lines of any Question-Session need be of particular attention. 

In this Question-Session, these changes are rather significant for you in that these lines in particular form and intimate bridge between the Inside and the Outside. They point upon the congruency of your own sense of character. This juncture points upon that place in your mind which may have seemed like a Nest; a place where you might experience a pressure of some kind toward effective action; a hive, which includes how you think in private about the world (line 3), and then, from how you feel about yourself while out-and-about in the day-to-day… (line 4).
By these two shifts in yin/yang energy: your private and Inside thoughts-on-the-world move toward a more receptive time (line 3); new information comes in, you experience new attitudes toward things, people, and experiences; you become more flexible for learning about things in the world; you may be feeling less strict on-the-inside with your views… And twined to that, your sense-of-self as you move-through-the-world, outside in the company of others (line 4), moves into a more active time: you may be reflecting more upon what others are saying - but then in turn act upon it. You may be healing from old ideas or events - finally moving on with renewed vigour - or you may be experiencing your emotions in a larger, more accepting way… The sense of self relaxes and yet enlarges; a quiet yet steady reinvigoration.

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Briefly now - parallel to all of the above - is the character of these trigrams. We’ve reviewed together the Images and Qualities: the Image introduce a focus for your mind and study, and the Quality gives the study some colour. Here, briefly, the Character personalizes things just a little bit more…

Wind, is like the eldest daughter within the family; Earth, is the mother; Water, is the middle daughter; and Thunder is the eldest son. 

So on the Inside, we move from Wind to Water: from an Eldest Daughter energy, into the Middle Daughter energy. And on the Outside, we move from Earth to Thunder: from the Mother energy, to the energy of the Eldest Son.

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If considered in terms of hierarchy both the Inside and Outside shifts here depict a qualitative demotion. Like I said, the 'answer' to your Question at this time might feel like going backwards, which speaks to the current difficulty; the 'danger' revealed in this Question-session. Doing so, brings out the Solution.

Such a picture of familial relationships illustrates that you may be moving toward a more assertive time in the Outside world. Metaphorically, the eldest son inherits from the mother, and in time, he will lead the family. Underneath this aspect of your arising outward leadership, you move toward a more contemplative time on the Inside: the middle daughter  (water) takes the focus out from behind the eldest daughter, Wind. Inwardly, this time feels somewhat like a demotion, a calming, a letting-go - contemplative - while rejuvenating and empowering. 

So this combination of Outter and Inner is very dynamic, somewhat like moving in two emotional directions, whereby the territory you inhabit grows and matures, while stepping into a more radiant and congruent place.

These third and fourth lines mark the area of your thinking and your life where your question has lead you. This is the area where you will find your caution and your wisdom. This is the locus of attention from which you can guide your decisions which are moving within your Question.

These moving lines point toward the gems of wisdom within you. I placed the very beginning of this Blog-Post in italics, as it is ‘The Story’ of your Question-Session. By my explanation which followed - though I confess it has been lengthy - I truly hope I have given you a few tools for consulting and exploring the I-Ching further, and I trust that the information herein is worth sitting with, and that I have given you much to digest over the time ahead as you make your decision. 

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I am of the conviction that every person alive today is facing a deep and heart-felt Question much like yours. 

I believe there is something at play in our human-story which has us all seeking a great reconciliation. 

Your attention to the central Question within you is admirable. And such attention-giving is also much needed in the world. It has been a gift in my time to share this knowledge with you, and I am very grateful for our time together.

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Continue meditating on the images. Continue crafting and carving this question out from the nest of thinking and emotion which brought you to me. Continue breathing into your situation, and bring always your concentration back to this contemplation until this question finds its “Answer.”  The I-Ching is a meta-process, in that all questions lead back to every-other-question. 

Like carving stone, inside your mind 
- inside you - there resides a great object of beauty. 

It is worth spending all-the-time-in-the-world with. 

The Book of Gardens: A Lover's Manual for Planet Earth

10.12.13

Stepping off the treadmill. Exhaustion: A Beginning.

"Y" came in for an I Ching reading today, and we had a lovely discussion and contemplation. After an initial meditation and explaining the basics of the process (something I'll soon blog about for future reference), we hoped right into it, and this is what she threw:

 

As per the norm, we focused in on the images: water inside lake (on the left) and then wind inside thunder (on the right). The Image, focuses your mind onto the task at hand. Words like Lake, Thunder, Wind… these are broad enough in scope that your imaginative ability readily attach themselves to. The Qualities of water inside lake, are described as danger inside joy, and the title of the hexagram is Exhaustion. "Y" is moving out of a time of exhaustion - indeed, a knee surgery(!) - and into a time of Constancy.

Numbering the lines from bottom to top (one through six) there are natural correspondences between 1&4, 2&5, and 3&6. With Exhaustion, as we can see that by these correspondences, only one pair is  in balance right now: lines 1&3. This pertains to "Y's" Personal foundation - her own thoughts on herself - whereas the next two lines - indicative of the Inter-personal, and the Societal - are not balanced: there is a double yang in the interpersonal lines (2&4) and a double yin for the Societal (3&6). This can read as too much activity between herself and others, and too much passivity by herself with the world. Such is a picture of exhaustion: ones energies are withdrawn by the world out of necessity, and communicating with others can be taxing. The lesson of Exhaustion is to bring in the energies available onto oneself to avoid further calamity.

Here in this reading, as the time moves into Constancy (hexagram #32), there is a much more balanced picture taking place - each yin is paired to a yang. Lines 3 and 5 are changing lines… How Y understands the world is moving into a more active time, and how she incorporates others into her life is becoming more receptive. Indeed, Y mentioned how she has been branching out toward a variety of modalities over the past while, gathering new information, and how she is finding a finer and fuller sense of equilibrium with her children.


Our discussion over the course of two hours was very rich, touching on a number of subjects, including Depression. The thing about any given emotion is that the sooner it becomes named, the sooner a person can move on into the next thing needed by our situation and our Life Force. Exhaustion is one such thing. We both regaled in stories where the exhaustion was so great, truly all one could do was laugh. So with the I Ching, anything whose 'skin' appears negative, also holds a large turn-around; an inversion of energy. Thus is Exhaustion the sign of a beginning. Unlike my last reading with Fi, where she was grateful for the increase of the feminine coming back into her life, here, there is an arising 'masculine' presence in-coming by means of the action of Thunder in the second hexagram. Certainly being post-surgery requires a time for healing, and then a time for active recovery. Y  has bee steadily moving into such a transition for several months. 

Thunder is in the top half of Constancy, the Elder Brother, whereas the other three trigrams are all feminine: Water, the Middle Daughter; Lake, the Youngest Daughter, and Wind, the Eldest Daughter. It is interesting to note how exhaustion is characterized by the two younger girls, and Constancy is characterized by the two eldest children. Certainly there comes a time within all healing processes where a push from the bigger-brother-within, is a welcome thing.


By the time our discussion moved into Family Position, I had illustrated the method of how I Ching brings the mind closer and closer in to the qualitative focus one eventually brings onto the question. The Image begins the task (i.e.: water, thunder, lake, etc) - like opening a door - and the Quality focuses the mind and concentrates the energy (i.e.: danger, action, joy), and the Family Position concentrates things yet again. All of these focuses - layering them on  one by one - bring out the hermeneutical feeling of what the original question of "Y" asked. Sitting with the feelings at each stage very much quiet the mind - at each stage - and the culmination of these stages allows for very rich thinking and decision making.

◊◊◊

I confess here… this isn't one of my more eloquent blog posts… I've cut to the chase largely for "Y's" benefit, because she got so much out of our discussion… and BECAUSE I'M EXHAUSTED. :) Which is of course all fine-and-good. I am looking forward to a Christmas break from things. I am very proud to have published my Book of Gardens this year, and am diligently building the website for it.  When I work in-person, I definitely take my cues from the person in the room and can tell if I am speaking way above a person's understanding or not. My goal is to share such a rich method of self examination. What took me 18 years is certainly not going to land in a few hours, but the excitement for the basics will! 

The urgent message of my book stands, that amid the decisions upon us all today, what direction will we take?.. "Y's" exhaustion parallel's rather characteristically of our so-called 'trickle-down' economy, which seems to only trickle down an increasing amount of pressure for the 'little guy.'  

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Much of the discussion in the back of the book pertains to the many divides we build and sustain daily with our human actions - monetized by credit instruments. I illustrate the psychological mechanisms which has us rather bound to growth-economics (i.e.: scarcity thinking) and that from the cause of this being through the very 'money' supply we use to meet our needs, our human problems go very much mis-diagnosed as intrinsic, personal, and inter-personal - whereas in fact it is a cultural monetary policy which keeps us trapped on a treadmill. You can read more about iT here, and purchase a copy - here.

Once I've introduced the basic lay-of-the-land with I Ching as I did for Y today, the discussion inevitably becomes rich and multi-directional. I'm also beginning to notice commonalities from one reading into the next, namely, the total surprised-recognition of the Questioner when I announce the titles of their hexagrams. This very much speaks to Thomas Cleary's work of translation, that his titles hit the bullseye each time with each hexagram study. His work is thorough, and his scholarship absolute tops. It took many years to digest his work, and I'm proud and lucky to say I have many more ahead.

It was a delight to sit with you today Y, and I hope to see you again for another Question.



9.12.13

Progression to Joy: Return of the Feminine.

It’s approaching the two year mark since I began offering I Ching readings to people and I continue to marvel at the omnipresent sense of reinvention housed in this ancient avenue of study. I equally marvel at the degree of shared enjoyment which is generated by the study of the I Ching. 

A new friend and colleague, Fi, is the first person to have two readings with me, one week apart. Each time, she cast a hexagram with some subtle change, and overall, a very interesting and highly sequential picture came clear. I found this extremely inspiring for how much the I Ching reveals always and quite simply what-is:


There are two clear progressions taking place here, and one inversion: Yang shrinks in the upper half/trigram, and by the fourth hexagram yang increases within the bottom/lower half. There is a constant progression toward a greater yin presence, while steadily, from below, the constancy eventually births a second line of yang.

Fi, recently completed a major construction project and expressed feeling relieved as of late to ‘invite back in the feminine,’ after having been in such a rough-and-tumble environment working alongside nine men. “42, Increase,” is a picture of this time of action within action: Thunder below, and Wind above. Thunder is a ‘masculine’ action and stays constant on the inside/below for the first three hexagrams before changing into Lake (… Joy) … Wind, above, in the first hexagram, describes a feminine action. Together, Wind & Thunder make for a storm of activity - as indeed building a house must be…

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Though we did not discuss gender in any overt way during our discussion, there is a significant and steady tipping of the scales in the above sequence of hexagrams. Each trigram has a family position. Here, in the first hexagram, Wind, the Eldest Daughter, is above Thunder, the Eldest Son. Qualitatively these family positions suggest different levels of authority and ability, and the progression here is very interesting when parallel to Fi’s recent accomplishments. 

   

Looking just at the top halves of this series of hexagrams, we have: Wind, the Eldest Daughter, moving into Mountain, the Youngest Son; moving into Earth, the Mother, the receptive in full, and remaining as such into the fourth and final hexagram.

Fi made mention of a sense of relief having got through such a major project, and expressed a sense of gratitude for the feminine flooding back into her day-to-day. And indeed the upper half of a hexagram is indeed how ones thoughts-and-actions are moving out in the world.


In the lower halves of this series of hexagrams a different pattern reinforces this development: Thunder, the Eldest Son stays steady and constant for the first three hexagrams until changing into Lake, the Youngest Daughter, Joy, in the fourth. Biologically, eldest children generally take on responsibilities at the arrival of younger children. So overall, in this progression of hexagrams, this kind of authority, or decisive quality is waning, making way for more youthful energy... The lower halves of a hexagram reflect back more ones thoughts-and-actions within one's sense of self, or ones interior and private world. So the overall picture then is one of Fi needing great strength, or perseverance, to get through to this new time of arising (and intrinsic) joy. 

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Lake, is indeed synonymous with Joy. Fi, is indeed strong, healthy, fiery, and with great will. This reflects back the image of Thunder being constant (and on the Inside) for so long. Thunder is sudden and decisive. Wind, is forceful and flexible. 

As we look again at the first two hexagrams, the change which takes place is a ‘loss’ of one yang line. Conversely, this is a ‘gain’ of one line of yin. That process repeats into the third hexagram in this series, leaving only one yang line left - her resources worn down, making way for qualitatively different resources to arise. When we look upon Thomas Cleary’s titles for these hexagrams, we move from “Increase,” to “Nourishment,” to “Return,” and then finally into “Overseeing.” If we were to ascribe a narrative to this progression, certainly a return to the mature (and happy) feminine is very present.

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In her second reading (the third & fourth hexagrams pictured above), I spoke on hexagram #23, Stripping Away.

   

As you look upon it, you can see it is ‘flipped’ in comparison to #24, Return. I prefer the word inversion, and the I Ching hosts several different kinds of inversions. Thomas Cleary is an exceptional scholar who illustrates fully how Yin/Yang are in constant motion, and at the ready to invert into their other at any given moment in time. Yin/Yang are dynamic energies, rather than fixed entities. Both Return, and Stripping Away, when side-by-side like this depict a kind of exhaustion, and I’d like to suggest that where in #23 the exhaustion comes along by surprise, Return illustrates a sense of complete acceptance. I'll illustrate this better at the end of the post, from an example within my book

Through this particular sequence of four hexagrams the top trigrams inherently depict a kind of ‘stripping away’ … Yang is stripped back until there is only one left: activity and action head toward their natural rest, and the benefits of rest arise. Reflectiveness become present. This, is Return. … The inversion which very much catches my eye though is how the top trigram in the first hexagram inverts into the lower trigram of the fourth(!) Wind… inverts into Lake… That sense of age, responsibility and weariness, becomes spent and is replaced by an invigoration: Wind 'converts' into Lake; Action, inverts into Joy(!)


As I explain to everyone who comes to me for an I Ching reading - I am not a psychologist - so I do not want to know what your question is. I will speak to the movement of the energy of yin/yang at hand, only - as in the above - as I’d rather not be biased inside the reading. Doing so, the Questioner (you) becomes a very present partner to exploring what houses your underlying energies. NONETHELESS, a titbit in conversation always arises which becomes the jewel to shine a light through onto the reading. Clearly, Fi is headed into calm waters, away from the storm - the thunder and wind. She leaves the mountain pass and reclaims the joy of the mother earth around her.

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It is clear to me now that after so many years of personal reflection through I Ching, that now I have moved with a good and happy certainty into the level of inter-personal reflection, bringing my study into the lives of others - an important change in and of itself for any endevour. And, no doubt it is my aim for “The Book of Gardens” to contribute to a broader, cultural, contribution…. All steps along the path. 

I'll leave you with a selection, #24 Return - enjoy! And may you find time for a little wonder & relaxation today(!)

{ from: The Book of Gardens }

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13.8.13

The Meeting of Like Mindedness.

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I'm open to new paths, myself. I'm very much a 'road-less-traveled' fellow. And this weekend I found myself with a lucky Friday night free to do as I please. I've only recently ventured out of my writer's cave having completed my Book of Gardens: A Lover's Manual for Planet Earth, and so after a deep stretch yoga class I followed my feet to a local poetry reading with Doug Wilton's Elephant Mountain and Nelson's BookSmyth.

It was nice to cross paths with the likes of Nelson's local poets. As it is a special culture, it's poets are a highly special bunch; the cream of a highly eccentric crop, where I have always felt myself amongst esteemed company (albeit secretly esteemed). Nelson is one of these places which either draws in our deeper thinkers, or it will draw deeper thinking out of a person. Either way, I'm deeply proud to be a part of this little town.
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I made an offering to the group at the top of the evening: after each presenter, they would choose a number between one and sixty-four, and then I would lead in a brief meditation on the subsequent hexagram chosen, concluding with a reading of that I Ching poem from my Book of Gardens.

Everyone thought that was rather lovely, and for me it was certainly a test... ever looking toward the underlying fabric of how I Ching will always reveal only what-is.

The readings began with Linda Crossfield, who was there with her grandson. Linda is well known in the literary community here and I enjoyed listening to her read in person at our recent Elephant Mountain Literary Festival. Afterwards, she picked #37 People in the Home. The meditation centered upon fire inside wind, or, illumination inside action. This was naturally quite fitting to her work (copies of which can be obtained HERE.) which seemingly effortlessly brings out a sense of wisdom tucked into the corners of the everyday. It was rather suiting that her grandson was present, as he - quickly! - memorized a piece of hers, and we were delighted to have this young voice at the podium. Indeed: illuminated... illuminating... and quite dynamic to have a multi-generational presentation of her work that night.

We moved next to Phil Madar, whose postcard stories are filled with chuckles. His story ended with the character searching for the Norwegian word for storm... and no doubt a little later Phil asked for #51 ... Thunder. 

The meditation is governed by action inside action, one thunder inside another thunder, culminating in one larger and pervasive thunder. The meditations I crafted were based on my usual Inside & Outside couplings, placing each image in the belly and behind the forehead - localizing the imagination and concentration.

Next arrived one of Nelson's dear War Poets, Dennis Foley, whose appreciation of form and metaphysics is both curmudgeonly and formidable. Truly by no coincidence - I Ching only reveals what-is - Denis asked for #21 ... Biting Through. It astounds me that each time I cross this mans path he has another 'almost-got-shot-there' story. And despite such a history, here thrives a Poet.

Lastly, our host, Douglas Wilton, whose blog need be on every Kootenay Poet's "follow" list - ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN - shared a metaphysical musing from a recent walk in one of Nelson's many gorgeous pathways. Doug chose #8 ... Accord, a deeply metaphysical consideration, whose meditation is centered upon receptivity inside pitfalls. The study of Self is ripe with pitfalls of grandiosity as one peels away the postures of ego; followed with new feelings aside from overt feelings on the self, a new awareness naturally 'appears' to take up more space...

I look forward to bringing my Book of Gardens to future poetry readings throughout the Kootenays, offering small hits of mindfulness, and generating further discussion on my favourite subject, the I Ching.

Thank you Doug, for hosting an excellent evening. See you all again soon!


Full On Wow

D, came by for tea and I Ching. She cast #3, Difficulty, moving into #8, Accord. There is only one small movement in the first line, moving from yang to yin, which, though small or seemingly hidden, is significant.

           

The little personal shifts we make on any given day-to-day are like setting something into a spiral motion: as we travel further away from that shift, or decision, the eventual breadth and perspective we gain is significant. So too might every decision be, if we be granted our thoughts the attention they ask for.

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The top trigram is consistent in both hexagrams: water, each line comprised of young or new energy, is constant and unchanging here. Water, synonymous with mastering pitfalls, or danger, and contains a hidden - yet definite - invitation to use every ounce of wisdom one has. Water, in I Ching, is an invitation to uncover its compliment, Fire, or, Illumination.

D & I meditated on the images and qualities here of Water, Thunder, and Earth, finding that the internal (lower trigram) shift from Thunder into the receptivity of Earth was a very significant energistic shift - affecting the quality of the mastering pitfalls in the above, the outside upper trigram.

That the water stays consistent in both hexagrams holds this invitation toward wisdom at the forefront for any keen observer. Water (mastering pitfalls) is a constant element at all moments in the I Ching, and here indeed we see an immediate example of that, and the coin toss in this particular instance invites the solution of Accord.

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The line in the fifth position of any given hexagram is significant, and generally is seen as a boon if it is yang energy. Here, with Accord, being surrounded by yin, the ready caution is of passivity, though certainly after a time of Difficulty, rest is necessary. Yet the double invitation here is to absorb one's learning. That is, to not loose sight of the recent difficulty, but to mine it for its true, directional value.

The quality of accord is of receptivity inside the 'danger' of water. Danger here can also depict mystery, like any still body of water, what lies beneath the surface generates much emotion.

Amid that feeling, if one injects into the absolute centre of it this idea of receptivity, the magic of Accord comes into view.

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The Earth element is key. Our Earth receives everything we give: bulldozers, toxic spills, shovels, projectiles, trash, urine, rain, lightning... the Earth simply gives way. It is the ultimate embodiment of the Receptive principle. Coupled this to the water element in Accord, and the illumination carried within a prior time of difficulty rises to the surface..

The fifth position is like 'upper management.' Or your most trusted advisor: close to the leadership, holding much knowledge and influence. That this 'advisor' is surrounded by the Receptive brings forward the image of riding that edge in meditation where you are close to falling asleep(!) yet one has to stay alert just enough to take in the full breadth of information at hand. Amongst the Receptive, the wealth of information it receives is truly limitless. Accord is the method by which one relaxes ever more deeply into the practical value of wonder, allowing the neural-chemical process to unveil, out from the shroud of daily stresses and battles we are habituated to. Its invitation reaches as deep as you are willing to travel. Thus moving from Difficulty to Accord is a time for being the sponge, for soaking up the lessons one has weathered; a true time of gratitude and appreciation for having arrived at this moment.