“Where we are most uncomfortable…that is where our inner work lies.” Carol Anthony
I would say the most important thing I have learned from the I Ching is to understand the Cosmos as a profoundly nurturing experience. We all represent an essential part in bringing our uniqueness to the world, with myriad forms of help to assist us in doing so. But it is also the case that we have become so fundamentally estranged from this help and our intuition, that life transitions can often seem unbearable or even almost impossible.
The I Ching has been like an untiring personal therapist, guiding me through seemingly unsurmountable transitions. As long as I can remember, I’d felt so confounded and conflicted about societal issues, my family life, and the way relationships could become almost kind of harrowing sometimes. I never knew what to do about how crazy, depressed and out of control I could feel when things weren’t working. I was almost twenty, and would discover that love relationships could bring out some painfully haunted aspects of me. I know I am not alone in that, yet one feels overwhelmingly so at those times.
So I forged ahead, (or waded more like) into the self-help genre. I attempted all manner of things, long story short… I came to the I Ching (maybe the oldest self-help book in the world). I entered a reality in which the whole is far beyond the sum of the human intellect. Its psychological accuracy was remarkable, beyond anything I’d experienced with a human therapist.
The I Ching articulated something I hadn’t learned from my culture. It was about rediscovering my lost intuition, and the potential to receive insight and an inner sense of truth I needed the most. I understood so little about this resource within me, yet a deeper need drew me to that which did. I consulted the I Ching regularly thereafter for its unique nourishment. I began to progress exponentially out of the mire, towards growth and self-knowledge. In every difficult situation, I was guided to hidden resources I hadn’t known I possessed. I came to see the frightful ‘unknown’ as a myth, and the doubt and mental paralysis it perpetuates. This strengthened me to follow my ‘best guess’ at any juncture and I began to trust my learning process.
Thirty years later, I am now certain that every crisis is an opportunity to learn something radically new. That is where the I Ching comes in. It has given me the perspective I most needed in my worst moments. I know it may sound too easy, but that’s what characterizes a crisis (the fallacy that we cannot be helped). I am exceedingly grateful for this inner knowledge and an irrefutable trust in the massive potential which exists in each of us.
(Never give up.)
As to consulting the I Ching Oracle, what we are doing essentially is checking to see if something is harmonious with our inner truth. The method has some limits… it’s never a final answer or an abstract prediction of the future. There’s no black and white, right or wrong. It is meant to be an acknowledgement of what we have sensed from within regarding the inner truth of a situation.
When we are entering somewhere new we need guidance. Asking questions of an oracle is like consulting a map of the inner truth of the territory. It offers direction but the individual experience will be one’s own. The proverbial journey is more about the inner state of our feelings relative to Cosmic Harmony. Wondrous things are possible when we are open to possibility. Life itself is the Oracle.
Everyone has a path, or destiny. In I Ching, The Oracle of the Cosmic Way, it is described as The Tao, or in Hexagram 56 as the inner path of the Wanderer: “When the student develops his personal relationship with the Sage—the alive consciousness that speaks through the book—he finds himself in the company of a wonderful and trustworthy friend, thus no longer feels lonely.”
Indeed, this remarkable version of the Chinese classic has been like a true friend. I am so grateful to Carol Anthony and Hanna Moog for the lifetime of knowledge they have instilled in their work, (which can be found at their website: ichingoracle.com)
I have worked in a variety of ways, artistically and otherwise…like living in Tucson, AZ., where I helped start BICAS. These days I am teaching I Ching in various locations , painting and exploring the forests of my home in the Mogollon Rim.
It is my good fortune to share with others this work which has been so helpful to me.
Thank you for visiting,