Sometimes, our cool head is the savior: when chaos ensues, when gut feelings go haywire. But perhaps they are not going haywire at all; maybe we just don’t understand what they’re trying to tell us. That’s when the cool head comes to the rescue – guiding the gut, illuminating the darkness, calming the storm.
Until the gut joins in again, head and gut finding each other, making decisions together. And bidding farewell: to the confusion.
A user complains about her professional situation. She recently started a joint project with a colleague and became increasingly involved in its progress. Unfortunately, the workload for the project kept increasing instead of decreasing over time. Eventually, the user felt completely burnt out and exhausted. She turned to the I Ching for advice, describing her work situation as follows: “I feel trapped in quicksand: no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I work, the tasks never end. It keeps piling up on me.”
The I Ching’s response to the user is Hexagram 22 – Grace.
Hexagram 22 – Grace begins with the trigram Li, the fire, signifying an important boundary: the boundary between oneself and others. Perhaps this is already the key point in the challenging situation the user finds herself in: Where exactly does the boundary lie within the new joint project with her colleague? Or phrased differently: “Which tasks are genuinely hers in this collaboration, and which tasks is she taking on that don’t really fall under her responsibilities?”
We delve into this point further, working out under what premise – and especially with what task division – she entered into the joint project with her colleague. The list of her tasks is clear and manageable. However, when we compare this list with the demands she has been handling in recent weeks, it becomes apparent: much of it was not agreed upon, or it doesn’t fall within her assigned area of responsibilities. There were surprisingly numerous small requests and side tasks she took on – because she’s a kind and helpful person – but these don’t actually belong to her role in the joint project. This realization dawns on her just now.
Further into the reading, the trigram Li transforms into Kan, the water, suggesting that the environment we encounter externally has something to do with ourselves. Applied to the user’s situation, this means: There isn’t a deceitful project partner overwhelming her with tasks. Instead, there’s something within her, an old program, being activated here. What is this program? Where does it come from? And how can the user deactivate it? What is the button that needs to be pressed for her to behave the way she did in her partnership, working until complete exhaustion?
With this thought, I conclude our session. And I assure her that it’s worth exploring this question. Because from Kan, the trigram further evolves into Zhen, the thunder. If she manages to answer the question about her inner button driving her into self-exploitation and change her reaction pattern, it will have an impact on her life. Specifically, she’ll plant a seed that will eventually bear fruit, leading her to a self-assessment (Zhen evolves into Gen, the mountain): What have I been practicing so far? And what of all that no longer fits with the new place I have arrived at? What old, outdated, unnecessary patterns can I finally let go of? To replace them with new, fresh patterns that I have developed with a clear, empty mind: with a beginner’s mind.
Another, Older Case Study
I recently attended a family constellation about a strong, inexplicable attraction threatening the seeker’s entire life structure [seeker = the person doing the family constellation]. Later I consulted the I Ching about the overall situation – from the initial constellation to the healed, resolved outcome. The response I received was hexagram 22 – grace.
Li, the fire (lower trigram) and Kan, the water (first core character) form the base of 22 – grace. These two trigrams are also found in hexagram 63 – after completion and are considered an ideal combination: fire (below) warms water (above). Psychologically one might say that Kan and Li represent a process that deeply integrates intellectual clarity into the personality: head-knowledge is being transformed into deeply rooted gut instinct.
In fact, at the beginning the seeker is very confused about his feelings which seem real but are also inexplicable. Feed-backs from representatives further confusion. Only when considering projection as a possible cause and examining this avenue more closely darkness starts to thin out. Li, the fire (lower trigram) is transformed into Kan, the water (first core characters): a detailed examination of the projection makes confusing gut feelings all of a sudden clear and comprehensible.
From this deep insight about own, sometimes unconscious motivations (Kan) compelling consequences must arise – and in retrospect it is particularly interesting for me to examine in detail the sequence of trigrams. The next step I personally remember from the family constellation is valediction (Gen). In fact, however, Kan first develops into Zhen, the thunder (second core characters), a character that stands for clear judgment and decision-making, and for the capacity to resolutely implement those decisions. At this point in the family constellation – I recalled only later – boundaries were drawn and certain areas of life, ominously interlaced for too long, were separated from each other.
Hexagram 22 – grace concludes with the transition Zhen–Gen, the mountain (upper trigram): drawing boundaries is follow by letting go and saying goodbye. In fact, the fatal attraction the seeker had perceived for so long was not but a powerful culmination of a leave not taken and thus dominating his life for years.
Drawing boundary (Zhen) and disentangling realities finally assigns a task to the seeker: the task of letting go (Gen) of feelings, thoughts and bonds that had long lost relevance.
Scope of Questions
- One user asks: “What’s next for my health?”
The current interpretation can be found here: https://www.no2do.com/hexagramme_en/787887.htm