Follow the Path of the Dao: A Western Approximation

The interpretations of individual hexagrams (as for example hexagram 11 – peace ) start out with Eastern concepts, but from there successively move on . If one wants to follow this approach further and interpret the hexagrams from a perspective that is even stronger rooted in Western thinking, philosophical anthropology provides a good framework.

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10 – treading (conduct)

778777I was told two job stories these days. Both situations involve encroaching employers. In one case, extra (unpaid) hours are demanded with a flimsy justification; in the other, extra tasks were assigned that require extra work, which is then not paid. The I Ching‘s commentary in both cases is 10 – the treading. Continue reading “10 – treading (conduct)”

16 – enthusiasm

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Scope of Questions

Regarding hexagram 16 – Enthusiasm I received a couple of questions concerning quite different issues:

  • “How should I interpret my physical symptoms?”
  • “What point am I at right now?”
  • “Without success, I can not keep living. But success always includes some failure. How can I deal with this?”
  • “What do I have to give up to be happy?”
Some Reflections

I find it surprising that – in my understanding – a certain disorientation speaks from all these questions. Personally, I have always been amazed by the name of this hexagram: enthusiasm. How in the world can something like enthusiasm arise from the combination of Kun, the earth (lower trigram) and Zhen, the thunder (upper trigram)?

It is exactly this question – how does enthusiasm arise from Kun and Zhen? – which I asked myself when the answer literally crossed my path. It crossed my path in the form of an incident that made me suddenly understand how something like… enthusiasm!… eventually could arise from what the winding paths of the changing lines suggest.

The story goes something like this: Quite a long time ago a damage was done to me, which I noticed only many years later. As a result, I broke off contact with the person in question. And then recently I run into someone I hadn’t seen in a very, very long time and who knows the story and everyone involved. That day we talked about this and that, but then the conversation turned to this ancient story and… somehow I had the feeling that my counterpart wanted to sound me out in the form of: “Well, and how do you feel, as a victim?”

At that very moment I realized: I don’t want that any more. I no longer want see myself as a victim. Because that’s what I had done, for some time, because the damage had indeed been great, the whole thing vile. But I had worked it out for myself since then, intensively even, and at some point… yes, you can put it that way: At some point I made my peace with it. The chapter was closed for me.

And then this person comes and… wants to see me (again) as a victim. No thanks, no need.

At that moment, the changing lines of the hexagram made suddenly sense to me. I am in a place where I am at peace and comfortable (Kun, the earth). The victim story lies long behind, is worked through. And then someone speaks to me about the old incident and I realize: Hey, that’s not it anymore. The chapter “I, the victim” is done with. It’s no longer a description that applies to me. I am now much more than “the victim”… Voila: Gen, the mountain, releasing what has become obsolete.

But, let’s follow the course of the changing lines even a bit further: What does it mean if I let go of the term “the victim”? And replace it with something else, perhaps with “the one who made it (anyway)”? Then, clearly, the glasses with which I look at the world change (Kan, the water). I no longer see all the little episodes where I’ve been screwed, but I suddenly see… all that I’ve managed and overcome in my life. And instead of fear and worries, I am suddenly filled with… enthusiasm 🙂 in the face of the path that lies ahead of me, the path towards myself (Zhen, the thunder).

The current interpretation can be found here: http://www.no2do.com/hexagramme_en/888788.htm

55 – abundance

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Scope of Questions
  • A user asks the I Ching the following question: “How should I deal with my lack of jobs – and the corresponding low income? Is there maybe something good about the situation?” The I Ching’s answer is hexagram 55 – abundance. A wonderful response to a question which relates to scarcity…
  • A user writes: “Two weeks ago I decided to separate from my wife after 13 years of marriage. My question for the I Ching is, ‘What situation am I in?’”
  • A user asks: “My only son is leaving the house. I am currently not working. How should I deal with the future emptiness?”
  • A user asks how his professional situation will develop for him.
  • A user wants to buy an old oil mill in Italy to renovate and use it as a domicile. But everything keeps continuously getting delayed, while he lives in the mobile home and waits. The answer of the I Ching: 55 – abundance.
    Continue reading “55 – abundance”

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