The user’s question is: “What is there to say about the city / area where I live?” The user has lived in this place for a long time, but always with a feeling of alienation, uneasiness, like a prisoner. At the same time he feels gratitude – but also burden, boredom. The answer of the I Ching is: 60 – limitation. Somehow he likes the interpretation with humus. A similar sentence has accompanied him for a long time, a sentence that speaks about flowers that need exactly this kind soil/dung to grow.
The question of the user: “What is important now, in this existentially threatening situation?” The background, as he explains, is that new projects are developing which give him justified hope. He feels that he should nurture hope and at the same time take the chaos (in the form of his living environment) more easily. There is a lot to be cleared up, and this mountain of work together with old fears almost paralyze him. But at the same time he feels hope, a light that gives him courage and says: Everything is good.
A user asks how he should behave in the cooperation that is about to begin. He actually feels superior to his partner because of his greater experience and would like to set the pace. On the other hand, it is clear that his counterpart will manage and coordinate the entire project.
A user has the following concern: “Why does the question about the meaning of life constantly pop into my mind, even though that questions seems to lack sense and I just turn in circles?”
Another user asks what the coming year will bring. The I Ching’s answer, hexagram61 – Inner Truth, fits well with her life situation. She is learning more and more to rely on her inner voice and her perception for guidance. Continue reading “61 – inner truth”
The exam period is beginning. A user wants the best possible grades for her final exam. However, she feels she has not yet fully mastered the material. Should she postpone the exams? Her question to the I Ching: “Should I do the exams now?”
A user asks the following question: “Does he call me because he still has the same feelings as I do? Does he just call out of kindness? Does he call me because he misses me as much as I do? Does he still have feelings for me?” The I Ching’s answer is 62 – Preponderance of the Small.
The user’s newly moved-in neighbor repeatedly operates a device that disturbs the peace, triggers violent vibrations and sounds as if a moped was riding up and down in front of and under the apartment all the time. Neither the property management nor the police take the complaints seriously, but the user does not want to move either. His question to the I Ching: “What happens now with this situation?”
A user would like to give up his (breadwinning) job and fully devote himself to a literary activity. His specific question: “In what situation I’m in right now?”
A user works as a lecturer and strongly identifies with the contents of her teaching. On one hand she want to share her experiences with her students. On the other hand she wants to give her students room to make their own experiences. She asks: “How can I find a balance?”
A user asks “How am I doing with handling this emotionally difficult experience?”
Over the past few weeks users have shared three different scenarios with me that the I Ching had all answered with hexagram64 – before completion. Here a short description of the individual situations:
Situation A: A somewhat obscure relationship. The user asked the I Ching what is the best for her to do in the matter.
Situation B: To save his marriage user B has radically turned away from a to him very important person. He loves his wife and children. Nevertheless he just cannot get this other woman out of his mind. Continue reading “64 – before completion”
The I Ching is a highly complex yet simple philosophical system which describes our world’s immanent change and declares change itself as the basic principle of the universe (cf. Govinda 1983). And the wisest thing for us to do is to subordinate to this change, these changes, to adapt to bring ourselves into harmony with the world around us.
So it is not at all about subjecting the world. We cannot. But what we can do is make changes where we can make them: in our own consciousness.
I am an artist and a philosopher. And on many long journeys I traveled with Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the Book of Changes in my luggage. With varying success. The original texts are, let’s face it, rather inaccessible.
Daoism advises us to get to know the basic principle of continuously changing, phenomenal forms through observation of nature and to realize the Dao by harmoniously adapting to them. The I Ching, the Book of Changes, is a textbook for this process.
The Chinese character Li [Fire] actually means to leave, to separate, to be distant[. …] Etymologically the character’s radical shows a short-tailed bird next to it a bird-catcher: a hand holding a net (Wang, p. 68). The bird is caught in the meshes of a net. Popularly Li refers to a golden oriole. Lorenzen 1998, 4 Continue reading “Phase Element Fire”
Metal, as an element of Chinese nature philosophy, here is described as a quality that can flexibly adapt to a mold (ie, as molten metal) and then become hard and thus useful. Changeability and alteration between solid and liquid states corresponds to metal and accounts for its benefit. Lorenzen 1994, 21, 205-219 Continue reading “Phase Element Metal”
Earth, our center of safety and security, is the foundation for maturing our relationships with others. Only a sense of self, an accordance with ourselves, gives us the opportunity to relate and bond with others. It is the definition of the Self in relationship to and differentiation from the environment. It is a Self that draws its power from loyalty to mother earth, from a feeling of being safe, nurtured, accepted. From having a home to retreat to, no longer striving and acting, but absorbing strength and peace and security within oneself. Continue reading “Phase Element Earth”
Well, in man the phase element water corresponds to plant seeds in nature, which rest in the soil during winter until new growth in spring, preserving the year’s essence, the most valuable of any previous existence. It’s like our own collective existence which we owe to our roots, our basis for new growth. As long as we still have a connection to our past, as long as we are aware of our roots, we can draw life power from them. Continue reading “Phase Element Water”
Wood means to be deeply rooted in the earth, just like a tree, and to strive towards the sky, fire, absolute Yang. The wood phase within a person guarantees a free and powerful flow of energy. It lets a person turn outward, open to the outside world through his/her eyes, to behold and grasp the environment, and finally engage in it with the help of muscles and tendons. Lorenzen 1994, 216-217
The images stem from the ideas. The words make the images clear. In order to fully express the ideas, there is nothing better than words. The words are a result of the images. This is why you can see the images by looking at the words. The images are dominated by the ideas. This is why you can see the ideas by examining the images. The ideas are fully captured by the images and the images made clear by the words. Therefore, the words are intended to explain the images; once you have captured the images, you can forget the words. The images are intended to explore the ideas; once you have captured the ideas, you can forget the images. Continue reading “Wang Bi: The Images Stem from the Ideas”
The most striking feature of the Book of Changes is that it is not looking for the unchangeable and eternal, ie not for something that corresponds to man’s desire to maintain his identity in a constantly changing and transitory world, but that change itself is declared basic principle of the universe. The Chinese did not fall victim to the wish-born thought Continue reading “Lama Anagarika Govinda: The Inner Structure of the I-Ching”
What is Shen? You cannot perceive Shen through your ears. You must have excellent eyesight and an open and tender heart, so that Shen, spirit, communicates through your consciousness. Spirit cannot communicate through the mouth, but through the heart. To capture Shen, you must look very closely, and suddenly you will come to what there is to capture. But just as quickly you will again loose this kind of knowledge. Shen communicates with man just like the wind that suddenly clears all clouds. And that is why in this case we speak of Shen. Huangdi Neijing Suwen, Chap. 36 Continue reading “Shen”
The classics say that Qi follows Yi and manifests itself as a result. Everything that is, has previously existed as an intention (Yi). In this context Wu Wei signifies to be with intention or to have intention. However, Wu Wei does not mean to do nothing at all.
Besides some aspects such as demon or ancestral medicine, the roots of Chinese medicine practiced today developed approximately around 500 to 200 after the turn of the eras. After Zhou Dynasty the social and political structure of China collapsed. During the Warring States Period statesmen and philosophers were concerned with the question how to acquire happiness and well-being for both state and individual. Kongzi [Confucius] and Lao Zi, Continue reading “Daoism and Confucianism in TCM”
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