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.
I Ching: What is the guidance for all in this time of great disarray?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
On the eve of the summer solstice, the most enlightened day of the year, President Trump abruptly cancelled a retaliatory strike upon Iran.
The year is cyclical and repetitive, punctuated by seasons that mark life’s beginning to its completion. The summer solstice elongates the light of consciousness at its highest peak, a supreme opportunity to be in alignment with inner truth.
Perhaps under the impact of solstice energy, President Trump was influenced momentarily to be patient and acquiesce to the greater good.
I threw the I Ching this morning, with the question: Where are we now in the cycle of the Tao and how best to promote fulfillment?
The I Ching responded with hexagram #48, The Well, with moving lines in the fifth and sixth places. The model for The Well in nature is the tree, whose wooden roots penetrate the earth to draw up the water that sustains its life. The well, in ancient China, was accessed by a wooden pole that dipped a bucket into the water, which was raised to nourish all.
The I Ching warns that carelessness in raising the bucket can be disastrous, such as, “if for instance the military defense of a state is carried to such excess that it provokes wars by which the power of the state is annihilated, that is a breaking of the jug.”
On an individual level, the I Ching counsels that, “every human being can draw in the course of (their) education from the inexhaustible wellspring of the divine in (human) nature. But here likewise two dangers threaten: a (person) might fail in (their) education to penetrate to the real roots of humanity and remain fixed in convention… or (they) may suddenly collapse and neglect (their) self- development.”
Interestingly, the future work proposed by the I Ching to solidify the best use of the well is hexagram #18: Work on what has been spoiled. That hexagram has us address the contents of the shadow or personal unconscious that create decay within the personality, as well as the attitude of the ego in a state of avoidance or inertia.
The two moving lines of the hexagram are extremely hopeful. The nine in the fifth place states that the water in the well is exceedingly pure, fed by a spring of living water. Thus, the channel to the living spirit is available in the hearts of everyone. However, what is lacking here is the volitional drawing from this wellspring of wisdom. Though the knowledge and right guidance are available, they must be drawn upon to arrive at right action.
The six at the top takes it to that final step: “One draws from the well without hindrance. It is dependable. Supreme good fortune.” All are empowered to draw from the inexhaustible guidance and nurturance of their inner well, situated in the higher truth of the heart chakra.
Thus, the I Ching highlights in these accentuated lines that the guidance we truly need is readily available within our hearts. We are primed to receive it, since we already have available to us the tools to procure it. The time is right to exercise such actions.
These tools include, reading the synchronistic signs that appear to guide us through our days, as well as the dreams which foreshadow the opportunities for self-development each night. In the calmness of meditation we open directly our channel to spirit.
Specifically, the I Ching asks us to face the source of our guilt. By facing and addressing the issues behind our guilt, the water of our inner well is clarified to nurture our fulfillment. Sometimes we must undergo shocks to our well before we are fully ready to deepen our fulfillment. This is the work of recapitulation that fully frees our energy from the ‘impurities’ of the past.
The time is right for deepening fulfillment through drinking the pure waters that await in the deepest caverns of the heart.
What does it mean when you simply can’t get it out of your head? It might be a thought, a desire, a hunger, a person, an object, or an incident.
The energetic charge of our fixations is experienced as strong emotion and mental perseveration. This is the fire of an activated archetype outwardly projected and inwardly fixated. Some deep need is stirring and we are drawn involuntarily to its projection, the flame of our fixation.
Projection is automatic, that is, unconscious. We don’t choose to project, it happens to us. We are not at fault, for instance, if we are attracted to the wrong person. Attraction happens. Nature is ruthless in pursuit of its aims, in this case, blindly bringing a couple together for union.
Caught in the flame of desire the ego is overwhelmed. The intensity of the energetic charge may at once be both threatening and exciting. After all, archetypes transcend our civilized exterior; they reach down to the primordial core of our being and flood us with bursts of living energy. How do we keep ourselves afloat in such a precarious state?
In the hexagram of The Well, the I Ching makes clear that we all need to partake of the living water that lies beneath the surface of the Earth. The well is the human connection to that living energy below. Humans must build the well. Psychically, the ego is the well. As humans we are charged with building and managing our relationship with our archetypal core, what Jung called the collective unconscious.
In the case of fixation, the ego builds its well through its response to archetypal activation. A hasty reaction may be equivalent to jumping in the well and drowning! An overly suppressive reaction may refuse the bucket that brings up the living water from below.
Often the ego lends its mental manipulative powers, such as through rationalization, to further the aim of the archetype while naively assuming it is doing ‘the right thing’. Only deeply contemplative innertruth will reveal the right action called for.
Often the ego protects itself from rejection and defeat through rationalization turned against the self in some cognitive permutation of unworthiness. Perhaps this is a necessary defense, as the ego hones its ability to regulate the impact of archetypal energy.
We too easily forget that the ego, with its consciousness, is a very recent acquisition for humankind. Before its arrival we shared, with all other animals, life completely directed by archetypes, with no conscious choice available. No wonder we are so flustered when an archetype is activated. How fragile our conscious footing amidst such intensively charged directives!
The ego can choose to bear the tension of the archetype. In recovery programs guidance is given to examine people, places, and things. In early recovery, particularly, the archetypal energetic power of the desired object is respected by avoiding known associations to it. Further, one turns to a trusted sponsor, the program, or a higher power to strengthen one’s resolve to bear the tension vs succumb to habitual addiction.
Spiritual traditions all stress restraint, sacrifice, and detachment as the technology to manage archetypal fixation. Unfortunately, this technology, valuable as it is, does not address the need to fully partake in our humanness while in human form. Yes, we are spirit beings, but we are spirit beings in human bodies with deep archetypal roots in this Earth. We must build our wells to draw our nurturance from that underground river of living energy.
If we can’t bear the tension and either jump into the well or refuse the call we needn’t judge ourselves negatively. All experience accrues, adding to eventual ego enlightenment. When we are ready, when the ego has been sufficiently moulded to be in the truth, we can align our intent with that of the heart, our personal conduit to our higher spirit.
From this place of heart centeredness we know the truth and allow ourselves to be in the Tao. Being in the Tao means knowing that our lives are unfolding to express and fulfill all that we are and that projections are stirrings to find outlets for that fulfillment. However, often projections are simply reflections, not what is actually needed. The heart, in its quiet calm, will tell us the truth.
Aligning with this truth we have the certainty that life will bring to us the real deal. And with that we will be led to draw the water from our living well, our fixations realized in their highest form.