“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 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 harrowing sometimes. I never knew what to do about how crazy, depressed or 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 aptly) 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 discovered an interpretation of reality in which the whole is more than the sum of human intellect. I found I Ching psychology to be so remarkable, beyond anything I’d previously experienced.
It 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 and possessed from within. I understood so little about this resource within me, yet a deeper need drew me to that which did. I consulted it regularly thereafter for its unique nourishment. I began to progress gradually, out of the mire, towards growth and self-knowledge. 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. I was strengthened to trust my ‘best guess’ at any juncture and I began to enjoy my learning process.
Thirty years later, I am now certain that every crisis is an opportunity to learn something radically new about myself. 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, where I built a rammed earth home and also started 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,
Dear Kim, a huge thank you for your recent decision to start following Learning from Dogs. That is very much appreciated. Sounds as though you are familiar with Payson, AZ. Jean and I were married in Payson and spent two very happy years there, before moving to Southern Oregon.
i am happy for your successful move to oregon. 🙂
A topic of philosophy I have yet to explore…being an incessant wanderer and seeker myself…I am drawn to explore further….I wander if I can find this topic on Audible? Anyway, thanks for the food for thought…
i wish they had more material on audible but here’s a link for an interview w. carol anthony who wrote the i ching translation i use: http://ichingoracle.com/media/interview.mp3
First of all I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t
mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to
writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just
seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply
just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
sorry this page was in my spam for some reason.?! (just moved it to my inbox.) What you are describing is such an important question. I think it is the heart or the purpose of meditation. Bringing one’s mind to quiet is one of the most helpful things to do on behalf of our needs. Hexagram 14, line 2 of the I Ching Oracle offers a metaphorical image of a wagon. This describes an aspect of the mind which we can turn inwardly and ‘unload’ the negative emotions and other burdens. After that, the basic exercise is to give the thinking mind it’s opportunity to rest – to be relieved of having to focus and concentrate – rather to feel for a state of release. I also would say that letting the mind relax does take some practice. It’s what they describe in the I Ching as the dark and reflective mind. Learning to let thinking quiet down is the most important step prior to going and seeing within. Just to practice the process leads to a development of trust in accessing the inner world. Once the mind is relaxed and open the oracle or Sage becomes ever more accessible. This is what the I Ching describes as the clear water of the well,in hexagram 48. I hope this helps you a little. It’s just a start but is so worth the exploration.
Hi Kim! I was talking with my sister this morning and discussion around the I Ching came up. She asked me what it is, how I use it and in what ways I feel I benefit- how does it help. She was googling you as we were talking also because I moved your painting into my living room and I sent her a photo. She said that she really connected with the painting and she would like to see more of your paintings. Anyway, it is often difficult for me to answer questions like my sister asked. I struggle to come to the essence or to feel that I am there. She found this page online. I hadn’t read this page before. So helpful and supportive to read what you have written here. I so appreciate it. Thanks Kim. Miss you. Jean
Hi jean. Thank you so much for this lovely note. Call me if you want to talk. 🙂 I miss you too