Have you heard of the I Ching? From what I can tell, not many know much about this ancient Chinese classic, either in China or elsewhere, and only a talented few are masters in its application.
Called The Book of Changes in English, this is one of the oldest Chinese texts, estimated to date back over 3,000 years. You might say it’s a divination manual. Or a book of timeless wisdom.
I first learned a little about the I Ching from my honey when he told me eye-popper stories, some of which are now shared in Chapter 8 of his memoir “How My Brother Got Married after He Died.”
Then yesterday I had my attention pointed back to this meaningful text when I attended the monthly online study session offered to members of the Carl Jung Circle Center. I learned about how the book traveled from China to the West through Richard Wilhelm, who spent 20 years in China and translated the I Ching into German in 1923 (along with a host of other Chinese classics), and to which Carl Jung wrote the foreword.
Jung used the oracle as a method of exploring the unconscious with his patients in psychotherapy and in support of his principle of synchronicity.
A certain curious principle that I have termed synchronicity, a concept that formulates a point of view diametrically opposed to that of causality. Since the latter is a merely statistical truth and not absolute, it is a sort of working hypothesis of how events evolve one out of another, whereas synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance.Carl Jung (in the Foreword)
I may return to the subject of synchronicity at a later time. It interests me, because already for decades I’ve observed frequent close repetitions of related yet unrelated atypical images and events in my every-day life. I’ve always felt this meant I was in sync with the Universe.
In the study session we were taught how best to consult the oracle to make a decision, resolve a conflict, boost personal growth, or solve a relationship problem. The guidance is then found in its 64 hexagrams and their meanings. (I’m skipping all the technical parts here.)
Since I don’t have a copy of any of the translated versions of the I Ching, I sought it on the internet. I wasn’t surprised to find more than a few sites that offered readings. So, my curiosity was piqued enough to pick one that allowed me to get an immediate reading online.
My first question (avoiding a yes/no one) was: How will this year of treatments end? I was referring, of course, to my year of anti-cancer treatments I’ve started.
The result was rather astonishing. See if you agree.
The primary judgement was hexagram #36 “darkening of the light.” It was explained thus:
This hexagram symbolizes a diminishing of one’s brightness and spirit. Its meaning is literally “The Wounding of the Bright.” Your life may feel out of control or under a dark spell for a time. This too shall pass. A veil of untruth makes things dark, but all hope is not lost. Yield to the darkness for a time, but be cautious of it. As the light dims your inner light grows more visible. You are light. Light is love. The Sun still shines behind its veil of clouds. It is the light inside that is ultimately important. With this knowledge you can survive any darkness outside.
Then I was informed that my hexagram had one changing-line, which alters the insight into the future expression of the hexagram to #63, “perseverance of brightness.” The change indicates:
When opposed by others, you can feel stripped of your joy and light. But this is only true from one perspective. Your inner light and spirit are eternal and they still shine. Joy resides deep within you, it has just been covered by a layer of fear. It will re-emerge. You are not going to be subjugated by others.
And the final future expression of hexagram #63, and answer to my question, is:
A transition from chaos to order is referenced by this hexagram. You have come a long way but the journey is not over. Like a traveler who has traversed a difficult and wide river, you appear to approach your destination. But the river bank is not the final stopping place. The most difficult work is over, but the wise person never stops moving onward in incremental steps. You are entering new territory and it will be smooth going at first. A new relationship or project will get off to the perfect beginning. But stay balanced internally and externally, or else the road ahead could become bumpy. Completion and beginning are deeply connected. Only one part of your journey is ending.
Whew… much to take in, there.
When I read about these two numbered hexagrams on other sites, I get a different (longer, more complex) answer. But it doesn’t matter… I’m not trifling with the result.
I’ll just take from this any wisdom I can. It actually feels right.
The light comes from inside me and the journey of self-exploration continues. I stay present.
What did you get out of reading this? Anything new for you, interesting? Does it spark any wonder, curiosity?