Tag Archives: I Ching

Chuck’s Place: Quake Beneath the Mountain

Open mouthed Kali dragon stirring the world…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

It was Sunday morning. As I read to Jan, from Carlos Castaneda’s foreword to The Sorcerer’s Crossing, the Earth suddenly moved like a wave beneath us. Moments later, in a  more pronounced tremor, the Earth shook again.

The paragraph I was reading at the moment of tremor focused on how humans share an interpretation system that generates a solid agreed upon reality. This interpretation is not the only true reality, but in order to perceive beyond it one must gather energy.

Simultaneously, I have been immersed in Niels Bohr’s conviction that physical reality only exists when humans observe it. Therefore, ‘true’ reality exists at a level beyond the human perceptual program. Like the shamans of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage, physicists are confronted with two realities, one solid and one energetic.

My other current preoccupation has been Muktananda’s  counsel to “Give up all desires. If something comes, let it come; if something goes, let it go.” (Secret of the Siddhas, p. XV) This powerfully simplistic Taoist guidance from an Indian Swami is at the core of all spiritual traditions: reign in the ego, stay mindfully present, and let go when it’s time to let go.

On Saturday, Donald Trump issued executive orders that challenge the balance of power among the branches of government. From a synchronistic perspective these actions send tremors through the interpretation of the Constitution, the foundation of American democracy. Such challenges may generate a whole new interpretation of reality.

The active side of the Hindu Divine Mother is Mahakali, the dominant force of the world cycle we are presently in, kali-yuga. It is the tachycardia in her heart that rumbles beneath the Earth. It is she that hastens the changes rapidly unfolding before us, as we are challenged to reconstitute ourselves, and our world.

The image of a quake beneath the mountain constructs hexagram #27, Providing Nourishment, in the I Ching. The image is built with a solid line at the top and bottom with four broken  lines in the middle, suggesting an open mouth between upper and lower lips; hence the association with nourishment.

The quake below is action, contrasted with the utter stillness of the mountain above. Steadiness is recommended in the place of tremor. For Muktananda, desire would be the energy of tremor. His guidance would be to store one’s energy vs egoistic attachment and reactivity.

The I Ching recommends that one observe appropriate measure with all activities of the mouth: “For tranquility keep the words that come out of the mouth from exceeding proper measure, and keep the food that goes into the mouth from exceeding its proper measure.” (I Ching, Wilhelm edition p. 108)

The time of Providing Nourishment depicts God as coming forth with an arousing force that is brought to perfection in the keeping still of the mountain. This is the energy of spring, which brings forth new life.

With the breakdown of a uniform interpretation of reality all around the world, powerful forces have an opportunity for life. Steadiness of the individual is highly recommended to withstand the tremors of a  broken reality, but also to encounter the energetic reality that lies beneath our solid world of interpretive reality. That reality for physicists is the oneness of everything, as an interconnected energetic whole.

Like the mountain, store your energy; the path to new life. Care for the Spirit with careful words. Care for the body with temperate food and drink. Let desire be elevated to the intent for the greater good for all. Greet all that comes with equanimity. Release all that goes with loving kindness.

In stillness,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: The Turning Point

No Pipeline!

On Sunday, The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a project that threatened the sanctity of life on Roberts Mountain, was cancelled by its sponsoring companies. The impact of the coronavirus creating a world energy glut laid bare the truth that the cost of fracking and transporting natural gas via the pipeline was a financial absurdity. Even the recent Supreme Court decision to remove all regulatory roadblocks to the pipeline could not justify this 8 billion dollar project to its investors.

In our joy, Jan and I clearly realized that the world is now in the time of the Turning Point, hexagram number 24 in the I Ching. The corporate  decision was announced between thunderstorms. The Turning Point is composed of thunder beneath the Earth. Five Yin lines rest upon a Yang line at the bottom of the hexagram. The energy of new life is stirring in the Earth, and the heart. The Turning Point is the first substantial sign of long-awaited change; may it be handled with care. Here are the I Ching’s cautionary guidelines, interpreted from and with my personal insights:

Nine in the first place: To stray from the truth of the heart in small digressions is natural, however, be sure to turn around before a habit is formed. If one is enlightened of one’s illusion, shift position and embrace the truth. No shame is attached to abandoning that which does not serve the high Soul or the common good.

Six in the second place: Here the ego is encouraged to quietly subordinate itself to the truth of the heart, the intent of the high Soul. “Quiet”, writes Aurobindo (Powers Within, p. 120), “is a condition in which there is no restlessness or disturbance.” Ego is deeply calm when it acts upon its true vocation, the intent of its high Soul. Meditative practice that masters the automatic reactions of the autonomic nervous system can support this relationship.

Six in the third place: Here we encounter the Sisyphus of constantly doing that which I would not. These are the reversals of good resolutions brought on by the desire body’s influence upon a receptive ego. Ultimately, this is not a disaster; one simply will have to do it over again until one gets it right.

Six in the fourth place: Stay connected to your inner truth. We are surrounded by contrary views and the opinions of others. The power of true connection with one’s high Soul is the only friend one will ever need. There is no need to prove anything to anyone, proof rests in the knowing heart.

Six in the fifth place: Assume responsibility for manifesting your high Soul’s intent for your life. This requires deep self examination and honesty on the part of the ego. Admitting and relinquishing one’s attachment to illusions frees tremendous energy for one’s true mission, the intent of the high Soul.

Six at the top: Beware of blind obstinacy, it leads to misfortune. Refusal to answer the call of the high Soul ensnares one in an ever-deepening rift from right action; a slippery slope into the abyss. Mortality has its limits.

In summary, the time of the Turning Point is most auspicious. The underlying burst of energy to initiate change has arrived. However, as the guidance emphasizes, much effort in shaping needed change rests in the hands of the ego, which must first and foremost wrestle with its humanness.

Humanness is often governed by the inherent archetypes, the ruling parents. We are all children of those archetypes, charged with transcending their governance through arriving at right action, rooted in the truth of the heart center.

Nature is providing us with the thunder, let’s use it wisely.

At the Turning Point,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Waiting

Storm clouds are gathering…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Today, I consult the I Ching with the following: Please provide guidance to navigate the energy of now.

Hexagram #5, Waiting, with moving lines in the first and fourth places, with a future of hexagram #28, Preponderance of the Great, is my answer.

The image of Waiting is water gathering in the sky, a picture of clouds filling with moisture. The obvious inference is, waiting for rain. This can only happen when the clouds have accrued enough density and are thus ready to release their bounty.

Applied to human circumstance, don’t try to push the river. The forces at work here, particularly in nature, are operating on their own schedule.

The moving line in the first place suggests that at present conditions are calm, the impending concern is still at a distance. The guidance suggests that one not exhaust one’s energetic reserves in advance, as this might weaken one’s ability to respond when it truly is time to act.

At the moving line in the fourth place, the storm has arrived. One finds oneself in quite a dangerous, precarious position. The guidance here is to stand fast, to allow fate to take its natural course. By embracing this composure, one is likely to not worsen the situation and, as a result, find the best way out.

The pending danger is more vividly expressed in the image of hexagram #28, a deeply sagging ridgepole, a roof soon to be caving in. This condition is transitory, as collapse is inevitable.

Thus the notion of a major shift, a revolution, is the inevitable consequence of this set of circumstances. The I Ching cautions that this is not to be achieved through forceful measures. The change is a natural and necessary transition, appropriate to the needs of the time.

In a nutshell, we are presently in a time of waiting. At this moment, the energy of major change is still gathering.

Be calm, remain aware, but don’t tax your energy with too much vigilance. The storm will arrive, a major transition will occur; it is inevitable.

Do not act precipitously. Follow your path of heart, regardless of who follows you.

In calm gratitude for the guidance,

Chuck

Chuck’s Place: Seeing & Being Seen

I Ching: What is the guidance for all in this time of great disarray?

Seeing the Present & the Future…
– Diagram by Chuck Ketchel

As can be readily seen, the first four throws produced highly charged Yin Lines, topped with two solid Yang lines.

The image generated is one of a large tower on a mountain that captures a wide view of the countryside. Likewise, it is easily seen from a great distance. Thus, the image urges developing a broad perspective, as well as being a good example for all to see.

The four activated building blocks of the tower’s supporting columns (represented by the X marks) offer nuanced guidance and turn into their opposites, as they become the Primal Spirit: The Creative, hexagram #1. These four lines highlight the necessary progressive changes required before one steps into directing their power effectively. Their individual guidance, in the order of their position, as follows:

  1. Contemplation hindered by immaturity. A shallow, thoughtless view of prevailing forces hinders effective leadership. Counsel encourages growing up and accepting responsibility. Contemplate the fuller picture of the interconnected whole.
  2. One looks out only through the crack of the door, a narrow one-sided point of view. This is the narcissistic perspective that relates everything to oneself. Guidance: dispassionately widen your horizon. Tolerate and strive to understand and value the views of others.
  3. Place of transition. Going to the heart center to receive guidance from the high Soul as to right action. This is ego moving beyond blame and one-sidedness, seeking inner truth.
  4. Time for action. Being in alignment with the deepest truth, ego acts in accordance with the true needs of the interconnected whole.

Once these issues are addressed, allowing one to penetrate the objective truth and take the necessary actions to support that truth, one becomes seen and experienced by others as an example to be followed, as they contemplate the truth of their own lives. The tower that affords the broadest view is the healing model for all.

With the strength afforded by surmounting the limitations to objective contemplation, one is fortified to direct the dynamic Spirit energy of the Creative, the life force itself. This is the optimal arrangement, a mature, broadminded leader who directs the life force toward the true needs of the interconnected whole.

The Creative is the active side of infinity. What’s at question is how that energy will be directed. As shamans point out, the life force can be directed toward good or evil deeds. Both can be manifested on a grand scale. Leadership that contemplates the true needs of the interconnected self, and the interconnected universe, is best fit to direct the power of the Creative.

Contemplate with humility, objectivity, and equanimity from the heart center, as you direct the creative force of your life and assess the intent of others.

Contemplating,

Chuck

 

Chuck’s Place: Guidance for Now

I actually started four blogs this week, none of which feels right at this moment. Finally, my ego turned to a higher power, the I Ching, and asked: “Guidance for the World, NOW?”

The Image: Caught between rising waters…

The result: Hexagram 29, The Abysmal or Danger. Moving lines in the 2nd, 4th and 6th places.

The future: Hexagram 12, Standstill.

Interpretation: A) The context of The Abysmal; B) The activated lines of The Abysmal; C) The future of Standstill.

A) The Abysmal is formed by the doubling of the trigram of water. The image is one of being caught in the rising water of a ravine, a dangerous, yet extraordinary position.

This week, I was standing in a dry ravine. Even in the absence of actual water its energetic current took me off balance, causing a fall into a bush that tore my face. Rather than interpret such an encounter as carelessness, I accepted it as a design of power. I clung not to victimhood nor self-pity, relegating it to a known world, but as an experience to be relished. I am open to life.

The current situation too begs objectivity, from all of us. It is not the consequence of a subjective attitude or foolishness. Do not blame the self. Do not tantrum with reason. The danger is real. And yet the danger is an encounter with power, a most educative experience. To survive and learn from the encounter one must get quiet and remain calm and observant. Be like water that fills the space thoroughly and then moves on. This is impeccability, the right attitude to escape destruction in an encounter with infinity.

B) Specifically, in line 2, instruction is given to not fight the dark forces. Don’t engage in direct conflict; it’s a trap and energy drain. Remain steady, be fully present and observant, in silence. Adapt until the right moment for movement arrives.

Line 4: The challenge is complex. Have great patience, study and wait. Be accepting of gradual change. Avoid impulsive action or attachment. Recognize that this is a learning situation of great consequence; view it from all angles. Water is thorough; it fills every nook and cranny before it moves on, and you can be safely carried on.

Line 6: Beware of getting caught in the prison of illusion. A master conjurer can ensnare one’s full attention, steal one’s energy and manipulate an outcome. Always stare down that conjurer within the self first. Sometimes the prison sentence of illusion is a lifetime. The greatest conjurer of all is the ego itself, who knows everything.

C) The future is Standstill. Do not devalue any moment in time; they are all equal. Treat standstill with reverence. In Standstill, Heaven above moves further away from Earth below. Their energies do not unite but further alienate from each other. Creative union is not possible in a time of stagnation.

Richard Wilhelm writes, in the Judgment of Standstill, “But the superior people do not allow themselves to be turned from their principles. If the possibility of exerting influence is closed to them, they nevertheless remain faithful to their principles and withdraw into seclusion.”

Here, ego and mystery separate. Rather than crown ego victorious or inadequate, recognize a time of lull as a necessary preparation for the next true encounter. Focus attention on doing the best you can, in all situations, to prepare for power’s next test.

Follow the path of heart inward, to the place of worth. Avoid being drawn into the egoic opportunism of the moment that seeks one-sided victory. Save the energy for when it counts, then act, decisively.

Be calm,

Chuck