I don’t so much throw the I Ching anymore as look for a hexagram that resonates. I am an Earth sign, and a female, and it is the start of a new year. It seems appropriate to go to the beginning of the hexagrams to seek wisdom: K’un, the Creative, Hexagram Two.
I had many plans for the start of this year. I expected to be in a new home receptive for training my new Doberman Pinscher companion. The political dangers confronting our Republic militate against this.
I find myself receptive to new paths in life. All dreams and goals are on hold as I explore a total life change more total and sweeping than I dreamed a year ago.
I am exploring ways that I can support and participate in the Resistance to the current treasonous efforts overthrow to our institutions that are underway.
The Receptive Complements The Creative
The Creative, Hexagram One, associated with traditional so-called masculine energies, exists not as a duality with the Receptive but as a complementarity.
The Judgment in the Wilhelm translation of the I Ching specifies sublime success follows from guidance.
I, who have lived alone as a mystic and recluse for the past dozen years, am suddenly in the position of believing Resistance can be accomplished only in association with others. This is a strange turn for what I foresaw as my future only a short time ago — a future I planned for most of last year.
Today also is the Feast of Epiphany. In the Roman Catholic tradition, we did not take down the Christmas tree and creche until this day. According to legend, this is when the Three Wise Men, or three magicians, reached Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of the Christ.
Epiphany and The Receptive
Epiphany is a sudden insight or revelation in common language.
An epiphany is more likely to happen if one is receptive. The Magi were receptive to the guidance of a star that shone brightly in the sky. The undertook a long and perilous journey with their gifts.
Mine usually occur after a long journey of research, meditation, and prayer. They are sudden only to the extent that once guidance blossoms, it is whole, complete, and redoubtable.
I am reading about Moveon.org, the New Jim Crow, the surveillance society, the encroachments of financial institutions into every area of our lives through debt and fees, and many dimensions of political and communication theory I abandoned after my research career was ended.
An epiphany is often only for part of my journey, perhaps only the next step to be taken. Then I must remain receptive to the next step and the one after that.
Best Wishes for Your Healthy and Happy New Year
I wish anyone who read this a happy and healthy year. May you be receptive to your own special guidance, and may your epiphanies show you the way forward.
The latest crinkle in my total life change Doberman Project is money. One of my required sources of income has been sold, and I’ve not been offered a contract for 2017. So I face a new challenge in this time of waiting and planning.
Looking for guidance from the dao using the I Ching, this dame turns to hexagram 36, Ming I, in the Wilhelm translation, darkening of the light.
Solstice has long been a time of wonder and miracles with customs that go back even before recorded time.
The election of a racist, misogynist, narcissist as president has shaken to my core.
Knowing that one half my fellow Americans think it’s okay for a man who shamed a handicapped reporter from the stage to be president earns my contempt for them.
There is no place to run and hide. A wave of far-right narrowly nationalist fervor is sweeping the planet, from India to England.
When I started this blog, I was inspired with a sense of purpose and energy for how to spend my retirement: I would find a home with a yard appropriate for me and a Doberman. I would participate in training to the highest level of excellence possible for the animal and me.
A simple plan for a total life change.
Then, whoosh, despair for the future of our great Republic swamped me — despair that so many people choose to put illusions of self-benefit above civility, the Constitution, compassion, and the law.
One person suggested that I need therapy. I think not.
“The ultimate purpose of psychotherapy is not so much the archaeology exploration of infantile sentiments as it is learning gradually and with much effort to accept your own limits and to carry the weight of suffering on our own shoulders for the rest of our lives. Psychological work, instead of providing liberation from the causes of serious discomfort, increases it, teaching the patient to become adult and, for the first time in [her] life actively face the feeling of being alone with [her] pain and abandoned by the world” in Swamplands of the Soul, Hollis, a Jungian, quoting Carotenuto (The Difficult Art), p. 15.
After a certain age — and a certain age (often posited as post-50) is barely a shadow in the rear view mirror of life — and a certain amount of counseling and spiritual seeking, therapy is only a way of escaping the difficult realization that I am all I have.Oddly, I find these ostensibly cheerless words comforting. I even find a glimmer of hope and renewed purpose in them.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
TS Eliot, Little Gidding, the last of The Four Quartets (http://www.coldbacon.com/poems/fq.html)
I was greatly influenced by The Quartets, a meditation on time, often as an undergraduate at New York University back in the days when Bob Dylan sightings at local cafes often turned out to be true. I listened to Eliot intone the words in a flat, gravely voice, on the now archaic invention of a long-playing album.
After decades of exploration, I cannot say that I know this place in life — despair — at all. I can say my current despair is a situational adjustment issue, as a therapist would frame it, and not the inner angst of youth that goaded my early consultations of this poem.
A Sufi notion suggests sometimes we are in the garden where life pleases us, and sometimes we are in the fire, where we are tested. Both are places where inner lessons may be learned.
TS Eliot reached the same idea in the final lines of The Quartets:
“And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.”
This old dame has been studying the I Ching for a long time — sometimes often, then for years . Some of the principles have seeped into my soul by this long acquaintanceship.
This is a challenging time in putting my total life change plans into motion, yet not stagnation (Hexagram 12). Lots is going on, like the gentle wind trigram beneath the thunder trigam in the hexgram of duration.
The dao of house-hunting continues. I will soon start another round of house-hunting. I have been scouting neighborhoods up to this point. Now the quest is sign a contract for a home for me and my Doberman.
Each time I complete one step of this journey, I pass through another of the endless portals toward living my dao.
My excitement is growing.
I have taken this condo apartment as far as I can, unless I spend big money for a new kitchen and bath to make the place sparkle.
Those are not cost-effective investments.
I love the thrill of the chase in finding things to turn my home into a Bohemian fantasy. Enjoying the dao of the journey is more magical and fulfilling than reaching a goal.
Proof: I have a made-to-order sofa and loveseat purchased when I and a life partner were making good money. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as finding quirky resales. Imagining what I might do in my next home delights my imagination.