Tuesday, 20 May 2008


So, last Fiction Friday, a restless, ugly, bitter, frustrated, depressed, confused, distressed, angered, weak, selfish, panicky Lonely Londoner sat in her white hot bathroom on the cold yellow tiles, took a sharpened pair of scissors and carefully cut a line into her right thigh. Yes, I am a fleeting cutter. Actually, this is the first time I've had the urge since 2006. So, the American X suggested getting back fully into my yoga and Buddhist practices, particularly the I-Ching or Book of Changes. Ever heard? Anyway, as all my belongings have taken up all my floor space what with all the packing and moving off of campus going on this week, and since the book was delivered to me bright and early this morning, (also since I'm constantly fascinated by prying into more corners of Asian culture) I went with the I-Ching. I'll tell you about it.
"The I-Ching takes a decidedly realistic view of the world. It doesn't mislead us into thinking that evil - in ourselves, in others, in the world at large- can be eliminated once and for all. It acknowledges that we all have in our characters both positive and negative elements, and it teaches us to be led by our superior qualities so that our thoughts and actions are free of inferior influences. It also teaches us how to respond to negative influences outside ourselves in order to avoid harm and maintain our well-being."

"The qualities that the Book of Changes counsels us to embody in our lives are modesty, awareness, acceptance, adaptability, compassion, restraint, innocence, perseverance, tolerance, reticence, devotion to inner truth, patience, openness, detachment, conscientiousness, balance and inner independence. The qualities that the I-Ching urges us to let go of are fear, anger, desire, arrogance, aggressiveness, anxiety, harshness, cunning, goal orientation and self-indulgence. At this point these are merely words. It is only when we begin to follow the guidance of the I-Ching that we begin to have an inkling of their true meaning."

So basically, after that, you shake three coins, heads have a value of 3, tails a value of 2. Add them up. For each number that is even draw a broken line, and for each number that is odd, draw an unbroken one; putting the number you got next to the line. You throw the coins 6 times. So you will have 6 broken or unbroken lines on a page, with the first line drawn starting at the bottom.

Then, there's this chart...So, basically lines 1-3 (the bottom three lines) make up the lower trigram, and 4-6 on top make up the upper trigram. And the number on the chart that lies at their intersection indicates which hexagram you threw, and which hexagrams you should turn to for advice for this particular session. There are a lot of twists, like, for the first hexagram you draw, you only read the advice from the lines that have "changed", meaning the ones that came up to a value of either 6 or 9 in the coins. And then, for the second hexagram, (which is based on the lines you get from inverting the "changed" lines, you only read the opening paragraph, as it is merely read 'to further illuminate the instruction of the first'.

So, you can turn to the I-Ching if you have a specific question in mind, or if you just feel troubled, or some people throw hexagrams every morning to direct the path of their day. Asian culture is ram-packed with superstition so...technically, this is like a more fun, advanced and interactive Hosroscope, and I tend not to like living my life based on what someone or something says it's going to be like. I'm more of a hippie, if you will. But, it seems I need to try some direction. I'm way too lost at this stage to do the whole 'go with the flow' thing. So, this is an experiment.
So, yes, some people let this be the breakfasts of their day and wholly live by it, but my hexagrams today, among other tidbits of advice, say I should know my limit and try not to strain myself, so I'm probably not going to stick to this/report to you everyday. Although if and when you get the book, your personal hexagrams will instruct you differently, I will try loosely (it's a lot of info.) to share with you what I received from time to time, because it's still great advice. But not today because 1) I'd like to explore the book further on my own and really understand my advice and, 2) this post is already too frickin' long.

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