Tag Archives: The I Ching

Chuck’s Place: Harmony

Let’s get those chakras in alignment…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Harmony is created when the primal energies of heaven and earth move into union with each other. Heaven, whose natural movement is upward, places itself beneath the earth, whose natural movement is downward, creating a true meeting of their respective influences.

Heaven corresponds to the mental/spiritual plane in a human being, the upper chakras starting at the heart center. Earth corresponds to the physical plane, including the instincts, emotions, and inherent archetypes of the collective unconscious that dominate human behavior. These are the core lower chakras in the human body starting at the solar plexus downward.

When the mental plane respectfully places itself beneath the physical it attends to the sensations and emotions of the body as important messengers of necessary actions. Thus the mind attends to a body discomfort vs. cutting it off and acting on its own agenda.

Cutting off the body through imposition of the will is a form of dissociation. In this case heaven/mind is above, lifting into space far removed from the body/earth, which sinks in the opposite direction, their influences completely disconnected from each other.

Harmony requires connection and balanced integration of opposite tendencies. The I Ching reveals to me that this is the necessary action of now, for the time we live in. Further, it emphasizes that body/emotion defer to mind/reason at present . As well, it asks of mind/reason to defer to the more inclusive mind/Self. Consciousness in alignment with truth is called upon to further the individuation of the whole human being.

Understand that all human beings, regardless of gender, are a mixture of Yin and Yang, body and spirit. In effect the I Ching asks Yin/earth to receive the initiative of Yang/heaven. Truth received with affection is harmony. The operative word here is truth: that which emanates from the heart center of the body, home of the spirit Self. Initiative that emanates from the ego/mind lacks the rootedness and comprehensive truth of the Self.

We are faced now with a world of breakthrough conditions whether it be the hot lava in Hawaii or the protests in Gaza. In the midst of the chaos we are guided to seek peace and harmony through tuning into the guidance of the truth of the heart.

Truthful guidance is always accessible if we still ourselves, breathe into our heart center, and intend genuine harmony. Regardless of outer conditions we can always find peace and harmony within and act upon what is truthfully necessary to do and not do now. Thus, may we all be restored to harmony in the eye of our present storms.

Finding harmony,


#718 Chuck’s Place: Po

Jeanne once called me “Parallel Man.” She referred to a certain knack I have to see the same idea presented in many different forms. In fact, under the influence of a certain idea I am likely to see it reflected everywhere for days. I suspect that this is how synchronicity works—like a wave of energy that moves and has a ripple effect on everything, at a moment in time.

This week I had a deep concern about a pending danger, a pending collapse. I consulted The I Ching, which produced hexagram #23, Po. This hexagram is constructed by five yin lines supporting a weighty yang line at the top. The image used to depict this state of energy is a house about to split apart due to a shattered roof. The English translation for the character Po is splitting apart, a most ominous condition.

The Flyer’s mind, what the seers of ancient Mexico called the foreign installation, that influences all human thinking, attempted to hook me on a doom and gloom scenario. This conjuring mind generates many negative scenarios, threats to survival; bait to capture awareness and energy in a state of agitation and fear. I breathed calmly, recalling Buddha beneath the bodhi tree as he refused to attach to earth-shattering illusions that were rapidly firing before him. It helped as well to recall the many “groundhog days” of going for the bait, investing so much energy in potential dramas that never materialized. Don’t attach; let life unfold; see what happens; suspend judgment; find out what it means—these mantras have proven far more emotionally and energetically efficient in approaching ongoing time than chasing down the red herrings of the conjuring mind.

The I Ching goes on to state that the imminent collapse presented in the time of Po is not due to personal behavior, but is, in fact, an impersonal reality, part of a death and resurrection theme inherent in nature. The time of Po is October/November, the time of the harvest. The I Ching also chooses the image of a rotting fruit on a tree to depict Po. Of necessity, the fruit will fall to the earth and die. However, that yang line, the seed, will be buried in the earth with the promise of new life.

Synchronistically, we are in the time of Po now, harvest time. Personally, illusions we cling to may be exposed, die, that change and new life might unfold. This is a natural and evolutionary process. Nonetheless, the process of letting go, of dying to old ways or untruths, may indeed be painful and threatening, as they present themselves.

I prefer the image of the rotting apple falling from the tree to that of the collapsing house. Though I see the parallel, an image taken directly from nature, undisturbed by human intervention, seems to remove the judgments we quickly place upon ourselves in trying to decipher the meaning of an oracle. Understanding what naturally does and must occur in nature first can help in suspending judgment of that same scenario as it manifests in human nature.

Incidentally, as I completed my contemplation of Po, I pulled a card from my Tarot deck (Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot Deck)—the Knight of Disks—the harvester, who with his threshing tool in hand is preparing to harvest what he has cultivated. This card is a perfect synchronistic ripple of Po, splitting apart in the time of harvest. Time for all to bravely separate the wheat from the chaff!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,

#709 Chuck’s Place: Bearing the Tension

“I am obsessed with her, or him!”
“My loneliness is all-consuming.”
“My fear is paralyzing.”
“I am so angry I could burst!”
“I’m terrified of his/her anger.”
“I cannot accept what I have done; I hate myself!”
“I can’t get over what they have done to me.”
“I cannot stop crying, I’m so hurt.”
“I cannot bear to experience another memory.”
“My body is in such unbearable pain.”

The I Ching depicts the time of tension, inherent in each of these very real life circumstances, as the time of waiting. It offers the following counsel, but first a note of clarification. In The I Ching “the strong man” represents the masculine principle in both women and men. The strong man, the ego in us all, is confronted by the intense forces of nature within us that both nourish and deeply challenge our conscious stronghold.

Hexagram #5 Waiting: When clouds rise in the sky, it is a sign that it will rain. There is nothing to do but to wait until the rain falls… One is faced with a danger that has to be overcome. Weakness and impatience can do nothing. Only a strong man can stand up to his fate, for his inner security enables him to endure to the end. This strength shows itself in uncompromising truthfulness [with himself]. It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events by which the path to success may be recognized.

The bird sits upon its egg and broods, in the time of waiting. The bird cannot create life, but if it refuses to brood, to sit and wait patiently, new life will not emerge. The period of waiting, as the bird sits upon the egg, generates heat, a vital ingredient to the transformation from egg to chick. For humans, the time of waiting requires containment of our emotional state (our egg), which generates inner heat, the basis for new life. When we are confronted with seemingly insoluble problems—gripping emotions, beliefs, or obsessive projections—our ego cannot make them go away with some new formulaic spin.

True solution, resolution, new life will only emerge from a source beyond the ego. The ego must acquiesce to the feminine principle of waiting, the labor of bearing the tension, in consort with its masculine consciousness facing the absolute truths inherent in the forces of tension upon which it sits. The outcome of this time of waiting is the irrational process of deliverance to new life. I highlight the word irrational because deliverance is a function of nature, not ego. The rain comes when it’s ready. New life is a changed self, fully relieved of its prior state of tension.

We live in a time of the collective inflated ego. Science has become the rational One True God, master of creation and solver of all problems. The irrational forces of nature are studied and corrected by science, as it perfects nature’s random and haphazard processes. We can’t help but see the consequences of such hubris upon the earth, with the irrational forces of nature wreaking havoc upon it in the form of oil leaks, floods, earthquakes, etc.

On a more personal level, nature confronts the rational forces of consciousness with moods, gripping emotions, needs, irrational beliefs, and compulsive projections. These forces are the messengers of our souls. Some of these messengers are angels; some are demons. Regardless, they are all demanding something of us. If we refuse them acknowledgement through repression, denial, rationalization, or projection, they intensify their approach and, like the earth, disrupt our functioning through volcanic emotional eruptions or earthquakes where we break apart into fragments. No amount of ego solutions will quell these forces permanently. No amount of medications will obliterate these forces of nature. We must reconcile with our deeper nature.

Reconciliation requires the correct ego attitude. We can’t simply lie down and give up. Nature has no respect for such a regressive attitude. This approach will land us in the flood, but not on Noah’s ark! We must remain aboard our ark of consciousness amidst a sea of forces, unknowing of the outcome, bearing the tension, awaiting the sign of the dove that we have arrived at new life.

We must respect the power of the unconscious, as Noah respected God, knowing that its power is greater than our ego, yet it seeks reconciliation with us. Nature wants consciousness. It created us. We are part of it, but we must assume the right attitude toward it to further our evolutionary potential. Nature has the resolution to our problems in its womb, however, it will not lead us to land or birth a solution unless we stand up to it, face it, acknowledge it, and discover what it has to show us in full consciousness and truthfulness. This is the period of bearing the tension, which we must, of necessity, suffer the heat of.

If we can bear the tension without succumbing to illusion, without falling prey to one of the demon’s tales, nature ultimately will reward us with deliverance. But this is an irrational process where consciousness must willingly ride the waves, without interference, bearing the tension like Christ upon the cross or Buddha beneath the bodhi tree. If we attach to any illusion, for example, the big baby inner child, who can lure us into sadness and fixate us in an eternal hell of pain with the illusion of emotional catharsis, then we become the ego that cannot remain aboard the ark of consciousness. If, on the other hand, we can bear the tension of the pull of that inner child, but refuse to attach to its drama, that is, remain the adult bearing the tension without drowning in the sadness, a time will come when nature will pull back the energy of this burden and release us into new life with the potential for innocent fulfillment at a deeper level. This is genuine transformation, genuine change, new life.

In summary, if we seek to achieve genuine deep change, we must be willing to bear the tension, suffer the pulls of opposite forces coursing through our moods, thoughts, and projections. Bearing the tension means waiting; patiently remaining still amidst the torment of intense emotions that seek release through acting out, giving up, or some form of ego spin on reality. However, waiting also requires standing up to all the truths that are presented while we wait.

And then, ultimately, nature, that non-rational force, will intervene: the clouds will release the rains, the chick will be born, the ark will land—new life through transformation. Such is the fruit of the time of bearing the tension.

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,