Consulting the I Ching For Guidance
The I Ching Offers Guidance for Daily Life
What is a sage? It's a rhetorical question, really, as I ponder and explore my own spiritual growth and my continuing spiritual journey.
I googled sage, just to find out where I am in my spiritual journey. "Having or exhibiting wisdom and calm judgement. Profound wisdom."
Wow. That's a lot to live up to. I am trying to be wise. In a book I read about the Tao Te Ching, the author suggests that there is no trying. There is either doing or not doing. So, I can be wise in a moment. I can choose to slow my thoughts and exercise the wisdom of years of experience. It only takes a moment. Right now, in this moment, I am wise. I have to see my ex-husband today, so the real exercise in learning to be a sage will come when I choose in that moment to be wise. It will have to be a conscious choice not to be fearful, not to be a victim, not to be scared of him.
The bible says we should not fear men, for all they can do is harm our physical body. That's not entirely true. Some men can crush your spirit. But the sage stands strong and resilient, bending but not breaking. Withering but not dying.
Part of my journey into enlightenment and spiritual growth includes consulting various texts of perennial wisdom. For example, some days, I read the bible. I used to read the bible everyday, excluding all other forms of spiritual learning. My fear kept me from seeking out the teaching of those who have gone before me. Having shed my fear and moving forward on my path of growth, I also regularly read "A Course In Miracles", the Tao Te Ching, and I also seek guidance through the I-Ching and oracle cards. These are a few of the many, vast and varied resources available to those seeking a spiritual path.
The Book of Changes
My Own Experience
I have been using this book for nearly ten years. I keep a notebook and three gold coins on a shelf with my I Ching. I have found it to be insightful and helpful for most of the problems I've faced over the past decade.
There were weeks and months when I used the IChing every single morning, caught in a tide of emotional overload, I needed guidance every single day.
Now, I use it occasionally, just for reinforcement. In addition, I consult the IChing whenever I'm faced with a big decision or a difficult dilemma.
A Primer on I Ching
Where Are the Answers?
When one consults the I Ching, one begins with a simple question. Usually, I ask about a specific situation, person or issue. Sometimes my question is more broad and general. I usually do an I Ching reading at the first part of a new year, to offer me general guidance and direction for the coming year. I ask "the Universe" what I need to know for the upcoming year. I ask for guidance on a particular day. I ask for help in dealing with a situation or particular person.
The I Ching is a tool that can be used daily, to seek direction for one's day, or to seek assistance and clarity for a specific question, problem or situation. It is simple and easy and can be used as often or as rarely as you deem necessary.
Today, my question for the Universe and for God is: "What should I know today?". In addition, our family has some significant changes coming up, so I asked for guidance regarding that situation.
Once you clarify your question, it helps to write it down. I keep a notebook with my I Ching, so I can write the date and my specific question. The next step is to hold three coins in your hand and concentrate on your question. I use three gold coins, but the coins are not as important as focusing your intention on the question at hand.
As you focus on your question, shake the coins in your hand, then toss them on the table or desk. The I Ching has very specific guidelines regarding heads and tails. Make a note of how the coins landed. You will repeat this process for a total of six throws.
Although it sounds complicated, most books on the I Ching explain in very clear detail how to discern your answers. It is important to concentrate upon your question. Hold the coins in your hand to allow them to absorb your energy, then toss them gently onto a table or other flat surface.
Keep a notepad or piece of paper nearby, so you can write the configuration of the coins after they have landed. Then, using the I Ching book, look up the meaning of the coin tosses.
Where Do You Turn?
Where Do You Seek Spiritual Guidance?
My Answer For Today
"In fellowship with others, embody the principles of the Sage."
So far, the first line seems daunting. The explanation continues, describing how in relationships (love, work, family, friends) we are to conduct ourselves with proper principles in order to find success.
These principles include kindness, humility, correctness, equanimity and openness. So what is equanimity anyway? Thank goodness for Google. My Webster's Dictionary remains silent. The online definitions include "evenness of mind, especially under stress." Hmmm... remain even tempered.
As I contemplate these principles of relationship, I realize the similarity between this list, and the list of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, in the Bible. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, self-control. Years ago, I memorized the Fruits of the Spirit, in an effort to better myself. I sometimes use the list as a meditation. And now, here it comes again, through the IChing. The list reminds me that perennial wisdom, is eternal. The principals laid out by our great teachers continue to be laid out, through generations.
Continuing with my reading, it says that the fundamental rule of relationships is openness and honesty. It speaks of entering into relationships without hidden agenda's or unspoken reservations. Give trust where trust is due. Where trust is not warranted, do not resort to harsh behavior, rather act with reserve and reticence. Do not volunteer more information than is necessary in a situation.
The final part of my reading warns against fighting and quarreling. It is better to disengage and separate. It advises perseverance in proper principles. Again I am reminded of the Bible, which says to not grow weary in doing good, for in due time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.
So I face today, and my upcoming situations with kindness, humility, correctness, equanimity and openness. I face the relationships, both good and bad, with an open heart and truth. Where reserve is required, I can still be kind.
If I only remember this lesson in each moment, then I can grow in wisdom. If I feel myself growing fearful, in a moment I can change my perception. I can be the prairie sage. I am the prairie sage.