I Ching

Introduction: Days of Change
I-Ching-64-hexagrams

The only constant is change, am I right, man?

Okay. So though it’s been accessible to us for a century or so, few in the western world know much about the I Ching, which translates to “Book of Changes”. It’s ancient, several thousand years old (though specific estimates vary), Chinese, and is generally classified as Taoist (even though it can be argued that its more strategic aspects are not entirely consistent with Taoist teachings on avoiding competition). Continue reading

1. Let There Be Light!
pleiades_star_cluster_by_izoold-d4oi4qw

The first hexagram of the I Ching is comprised of six solid, strong lines of light. Scientifically, this is the big bang, the explosion that created the world. Spiritually, this is the kingdom of heaven. In our daily lives, this is the story of the great leader or great sage. Journeying through the lines, bottom to top, it goes something like this:

In the beginning, when the creative powers… Continue reading

2. The Real World, Planet Earthearthspace

The second hexagram we encounter paints a vastly different picture—and, as you can see, is comprised entirely of dark and broken lines. While it is tempting to view the second hexagram as the opposite of the first, it is important rather to understand it to be its complement, fitting together like the two equal pieces of the yin-yang or Tao symbol.

This is not a picture of the lofty, the great, or the… Continue reading

3. It Sucks to Grow, Growing is Greatgrassground

The first two hexagrams of the I Ching are each comprised of lines of only one type–six solid lines in the first hexagram, symbolizing yang and heaven and six broken lines in the second hexagram, symbolizing yin and earth. Here, in the third hexagram, we come to the first scenario that involves a combination of … Continue reading

4. When You’re Young, It’s Okay to be Stupiddunce

The I Ching’s fourth hexagram is about young, dumb students and their older, wiser teachers. We are presented with a magnificent image from nature—a wild spring at the foot of a mountain. The mountain, representing the teacher, looms above, seasoned and still, while the spring, the student, pools below before flowing onward as all water … Continue reading

5. Have Some Booze and Food While You Wait

funny dave matthews

In a strange and fun song written twenty years ago (seriously) about taking hallucinogenic drugs on a beach, Dave Matthews sang, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we’ll die.” I’ll let you decide whether Sage Matthews knew this previously or not, but a couple-ish thousand years before that, the same words can be found …Continue reading

6. How to Maybe not Lose
tai-chi-cory

Tai Chi, though it doesn’t look like it, is considered a martial art. It is born of the same ancient Chinese philosophy that brings us the I Ching. When learning Tai Chi, students are not taught the martial applications of the intricately choreographed motions they are studying at all. Novices spend a minimum of a … Continue reading

7. The Makings of a Good General
general

In the seventh hexagram, we are shown the image of the all-important groundwater that remains mostly hidden yet is always stored within the earth. When applied to society, this image means that power and strength—the potential for military might—exists just beneath the surface in even a strictly civilian population. Furthermore, the laws of the universe … Continue reading

8. JOIN THE UNION
artunion

As a purportedly aloof and wise wizard and a dutiful five-year student of the I Ching, I am not supposed to play favorites. Then again, part of what makes me such a great New England renegade in the shadow of Monadnock is that I do things I’m not supposed to do all the time. … Continue reading

9. Little Birdy Whispering in Lion’s Ear
lionbird

The ninth hexagram is not one of triumph or even mild success, but one of intense frustration. It’s as though we can see exactly what we hope for, and see the potential for that hope to be realized, yet also see that the hope is not realized, may not be realized in the future, and … Continue reading

10. Is There a Right Way to Behave?

Here's some original behavioral wisdom from the Wizard himself: Don't be like this guy.

Regardless of who you are or your particular personal stripes, you probably find the question above slightly tricky. I know I do. I find the notion complex because on the one hand, I don’t really feel like telling anyone what to do or how to be. On the other hand, I spend a good chunk … Continue reading