Inside & Outside

I came across something important in Thomas Cleary's "Toaist Meditation," which is worth mentioning in regard to several posts below - and certainly for the posts to come - on the nature of 'inside and outside.'

Much of my interpretation of the images in the hexagrams and trigrams uses these terms, and I need be clear that they do not exclude each other. That is, one is not of greater importance, and in fact, they are not separate entities. I think that this is readily understood with popular phrases like "we are all one" but is a far more intricate process to embody. As described in my other blog & post, "Indigo Washing," is well worth keeping an eye on. Professor Cleary says it like this, in his musing on "Stability:"

"Rather than approving inwardness and denying the external, it is best to forget about inside and outside."

Inside and Outside are simply tools to orient the mind and distill its liveliness. This distillation is simply a redirection of mental energy which is otherwise scattered; a ping-pong ball bouncing between two courts, "...what should I do... what should I do..." So the instruction here has three parts: recognize what is 'inside,' by which I also use the term "body;" recognize what is 'outside,' by which I also use "mind;" and recognize the habit of mind which would otherwise keep them appearing as separate.

For example!!:)

How often have you come across a moment where a person is saying one thing, and doing another? Even though thought takes place silently, I find them quite terribly visible through the body. How often have you been 'holding your ace card' in conversation? And does not that feel like tension? Certainly it is necessary to navigate our human world with some essential protections as "the world is full of trickery" (Desiderata). However, I do not think one's emotional state need be held hostage on account of this.

I find that worry is often a wedge for me between inside and outside: how will I be perceived if I say/do such and such, for example. The worry - the emotionality - however necessary, creates a false perception of separateness. If held to a state of worry, isolation follows; and ones actions may not be congruent with ones words or best wishes. As a stage actor, one learns to project - not only ones voice - but also ones thinking. I believe that is what the audience enjoys most, actually: those silent exchanges when a penny drops. It confirms and strengthens for us the tool of intuition, which I think always feels so pleasurable regardless of its actual instruction. Intuition is honest through and through. Thus Hamlet's advice to the players is strong advice for anyone: suite the action to the word, the word to the action...

So: when I speak of 'Inside & Outside,' please step through their three components: breath deep into your body with the description of the 'inner' image upon your thought (ie: illumination, or stillness, or joy, etc) which will generate a feeling 'inside' the body; then, imagine the description of the 'outer' image (ie: illumination, joy, etc) as something by which one is surrounded, which generates a feeling of mind. Continue focusing on your breath, and: Holding these two objects in place - inside the body, and surrounded by mind - bring the two feelings together into one unified feeling: "illumination inside joy," or "action-inside-danger," or "heaven-inside-action," etc, as per any one hexagram of the I Ching.

As I hope you are coming to see, becoming familiar with the eight trigrams alone goes a long - long - distance toward the embodiment of I Ching principles: heaven, earth, water, fire, mountain, thunder, lake, joy. Perhaps some day I will have the opportunity to learn the Chinese language, as I imagine the pictorial aspect of the language to be much more efficient than in the English.

Aside from inside & outside referring to the top and bottom of a hexagram, inside & outside also point one more layer deeper to the inner and outer layers of yin/yang of the trigram. For example, the inside of water is yang while its outside is yin; fire, conversely, is yin on the inside and yang on the outside. If you bring your mind entirely to each of these elements, imagining each angle of their 'person,' inner and outer, you'll find that this is an accurate and eloquent way to express their natures.

Which brings us closer to the essential character of yin and yang... but we'll save that for later :)

Please leave a comment or question below. I would be most happy to clarify further, and I wish for you a truly wonderous day.


Change: Post III... Entering Change

Last, but certainly not least, I met "AG" at Edmonton Indigo Drinks last night.

This really iced the cake on my evening.

AG, is a writer, editor, and an all-round asset for anyone going into business. Simply look at Noorish Cafe and Yoga Studio for the proof. We spoke briefly on her international travels, and I quickly learned of her connection to the great Master Alfred Huang.

Though it is certain that adversity will come our way in this life, it is equally certain that the best response to that adversity is to simply listen... and then follow that listening...

Connections then follow you.

AG has had the good and permanent fortune of assisting Master Huang in getting his great books to market. And now, only a few weeks into the STA-sis Arts revamp and revitalization, it is my good fortune to see the six-degrees-of-separation principle welcoming me with open arms. As we can see in the case of M1, two posts below: a simple step into your joy keeps ones illumination burning at a right and steady pace. But is this easier for the young?...

Allow me now to say 'no.' ... Which brings me back to Change.

Amid adversity, we do have our best learning. We hear things like this all the time now: All kinds of platitudes and maxims are spurting out their inner wisdom all over billboards and board-rooms, and it is quite possible we are green-washing and even indigo-washing ourselves into a big blob of grey... EVEN THEN, I can now argue, if one keeps close to oneself but a small modicum of hope... a little morsel of faith in oneself... even just a grain of belief of knowing that Life itself sustains you.... your learning... never... rests.

Not for a moment. Not in your sleep. Not in your dreams. Not in hours of media-based stimulation; in spending all your money, expelling all your friendships, whatever it is that you do... Learning cannot stop when there is faith from underneath it. Upon surfacing - and it does come up for air - illumination cannot help itself but want to burst forward into joy; and adversity becomes merely a future power to draw upon.

Adversity bolsters ones reserve.

So whatever barrier we face - or think we are facing - stick with it. Enter your own debate. Enter Change. And I would say: stick with adversity, gently, otherwise you may fall into the pitfall of "being right." That is to say, do not allow suffering to become rigged to identity, as that is truly thee Labyrinth.

And yet, along these lines of listening and observing, the Labyrinth itself, inevitably, becomes its own gift.

Practically speaking now, there is nothing - truly nothing - that a cup of tea cannot solve. (And I do recommend Jasmine!) Eyes closed, deep breathing into the back and belly (in that order), is the best medicine.


Faith, meditation... hope... these things are physical experiences for me. I do not find them in the mind. I do not find them outside myself. I find them in my low back: my ankles, my fingers, my lungs, my eyes.... I find them inside my skin.

They do shine.

They do tingle.

Listen for them :)

Change: Post II... sudden voyBom!

I had several other interesting conversations last night at Edmonton Indigo Drinks.

M (a third M!) is in a rather enviable spot with Athabasca University, whose perks include free tuition! Talk about a dream job. And a busy time! M's spirited nature is seen clearly in his practice of voyBom. This practice takes me back to my conservatory acting training, and I'd like to say simply that M's findings are true. The psychological and physical resonance which a person has after a session of this work is truly amazing. For those skeptical still on the nature of chakras and physical energy fields... give it a go! Truly, the worst thing that could happen is that you'll make a bunch of friends and have a great laugh!

M3, introduced me briefly to his visual artwork, steeped in the precision and beauty of fractals and sacred geometry. He spoke of the four seasons inherent to the I Ching (and M3, if you are reading this, please feel free to post the four qualitative words you have for them, and link freely to your work). Beat Poets use the 'cut up' to assemble incredible synchronicities, and it sounds as if M3 has discovered a way of finding patterns in negative space by cutting up fractals.

We were also joined by S, of Balancing Spaces Inc., whose long standing fascination and practice of Feng Shui has taken her deeply into these systemic and arguably divine patternings. M3 realized as we were speaking that there is a kind of sign-wave which moves through the rising and falling of yin and yang (young yin to old yin and over to young yang and onward to old, and so on)... to which I postulated that the S-curve inherent to the Tao symbol may also be a sign wave(!)

Well... this stopped M3, S & I in our tracks, moving directly into a spontaneous voyBom! (No: that was NOT an Orwellian sentence!) I have long (loonngggoonngggongongongong) been looking for the exact TERM of that s-curve, as I am truly tired of saying ... "s-curve." I came across this term once, and it got buried in a flurry of wonderment I'm sure. If anyone knows this term, or finds it, I'd drop everything to give you an immediate consultation, and buy the tea!!

Truly: enough of "s-curve." ;)

... Returning for a moment to my earlier post on last evening (posted immediately below)... I knew full well that I was not in a position to give a full reading to M, and certainly a networking event is designed around 'introductions' primarily... I have been thinking on hexagram 49, Change, throughout the evening and into this morning... and certainly these latter conversations were in themselves like following a broader and broader spiral...

It is a true pleasure to grow into this position of offering guidance through the I Ching. Naturally, I intend to bolster this practice into professional practice, but for now I am in the learning seat: my research has been thorough, and the next leg of the journey is getting my understanding into the world. Every opportunity that now comes my way to consult I Ching with others is a gift. A TRUE GIFT. Thank you L, S-S, O, N, T and M. It is an incredible exchange.

Change: Post I...

I went to Edmonton Indigo Drinks last night. This networking event has a similar theme as the Green Drinks which have popped up in Alberta over the last few years, where environmentally conscious people and eco-focused businesses can come together, socialize, and develop their networks further. Indigo, being a latter colour in the rainbow, is a place for holistic practitioners to do likewise within their field, and gain traction with this growing sense of culture.

Naturally, I made sure I had three dimes in my pocket and some STA-sis business cards, and indeed met many an extraordinary individual, including M, who is finishing her piercings apprenticeship while simultaneously practicing her RMT. After our jump-into-the-deep-end icebreaker on the nature of Perfectionism, she graciously allowed me to speak on I Ching, and it wasn't too long before we found a table and asked a question...

This was my first casting 'unarmed.' I did not bring my Book of Gardens, nor any Thomas Cleary to rely upon, but went strictly "with the flow," as M had aptly named it. Her hexagram brought about, 49 Change: fire inside the lake. A brief description of Fire, is that it is flexible on the inside and bright on the outside; Lake, is flexible on the outside, and consistent on the inside. Indeed M, carries herself through the world with a very grounded openness, a sensible and balanced curiosity.

Knowing only a few things about her, namely that she is in her schooling currently, and that her consultation was not in flux (no lines were in a state of transition, but rather, one of arrival) it follows logically that M will be in this state of 'fire inside the lake' for some time to come. I expect that she is a very bright student, with much 'illumination inside joy!'

Later we were joined by one of her closest friends, also M (so let's say M2 for now), and I shared my findings. M2 blushed and confirmed readily of M's steady and 'illuminated' nature, her reliability, and the joy she simply brings to others.

As M had asked, 'What do I need to do to progress?' ... clearly the answer comes: NOT MUCH. You, M, are in the earlier part of the life span as you know, and that you travel through the world with a ready supply of stability, all you need do is truly to continue nurturing that inner light, and continue to pursue your joy. Change and evolution, as we agreed upon at meeting, are the currencies of Life. Your youth gives you a natural advantage to capitalize upon this. But if there is any caution in saying that, it would only be to not put all the wood on the fire at once, thinking that a bigger/brighter flame will bring greater illumination. You'll simply burn through your fuel supply that way, seeing the horizon before you've actually travelled there: so don't get greedy, lest you burn up and leave yourself in the dark(!)

I know you won't do that though. You're in a great spot in life, are much loved by your close friends; there is flexibility in the centre of the inside, and flexibility at the outer reaches of the outside... The remainder of the body of this hexagram is young/unchanging yang. You have many resources to rely upon.

It was a pleasure to be in your company... "M & M" ... I look forward to your next questions. You've both inspired me more than words allow.


Fire below the Mountain: bookend transition with reflection.

My new friend Tomasz came by for dinner at the Edmonton house. We had a lively discussion all evening centering on the state of the world, global powers and elites, the economy, and the like. Our mutual friend, S (a philosopher with his own practice called ASK, Assisted Self Knowledge) took us to the test on any statements of potential conjecture. Though that can be uncomfortable, on important topics it is all the more important to do so, as conjecture is a very limiting force, being a pervasive yet subtle power.

I did not ask for Tomasz's question until after he had thrown the coins and I spoke about the images. There was some foundational movement at this time in the lower part of the hexagram. He threw, 22 Adornment, and 18 Degeneration: the stillness of Mountain in the outside (the mind) and moving from Fire (illumination) to Wind (action) on the inside (the body). ... Stillness on the outside, illumination on the inside, moving into action...

Tomasz is well traveled in life. He has lived in many countries, is approaching the grand man's time of fifty years old, and has a multitude of experiences to draw upon. Indeed in the position of mind there is stillness here, and fewer questions on self-hood at this juncture. "Mountian, is where you loose the self" says Thomas Cleary (much more on him to follow:). What caught my attention, naturally, was this inversion in the lower trigram. The bottom two lines are changing. The expression of the bottom two lines on their own could be read as moving from Spring to Fall, and I spoke much on this first image.

Adornment, is described by Fire below the Mountain, illumination inside stillness. I always imagine sitting nestled into the mountain at lakeside on a calm evening when Adornment arises. It is a time of something even more still, more radiant, than simple reflection; but is rather a deepening appreciation of one's physical body, the miracle of one's blood and neurons, emotions, and that this body is a filter for Life... All these things coming to a point of radiant calm confidence and observation... an inner sparkling darkness... the night sky within ones own skin. ... The image of illumination inside stillness alone is worth contemplating.

The first sages who (possibly unbeknownst to them) set out on developing I Ching, sat around fires, asking questions to the stars, the cosmos, and threw bones into the fire to be cracked by the drying heat. Imagine now the pictorial quality of the Chinese language... In asking these questions, and allowing the divining powers of nature to bring back their 'answer' for examination, these early sages developed in time a cataloging system of these bones and their cracks, discovering patterns within the questions themselves - and even the questioning - like a 'primitive' quantum physics. Over several millennia, the patterns coalesced into what we now know to be the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching. It is truly a most remarkable accomplishment, brought together through observable and natural elements.

So I think of Adornment as a time of great beauty, in fact. It has such a bulk of history and genuine inquiry contained within it.

"Relax into the kidneys: doubt is simply time feeling like regret." Is my interpretation of the mountain under which the fire of Adornment nestles... "Relax into the kidneys: doubt is simply time feeling like regret."  I brought T toward this image, and this feeling in his body, a place of pervasive security and nurturance. I explained briefly the history and use of fire in I Ching, as well as my own time sitting below a very specific mountain... deep into my own research and writing. When we truly still ourselves, there is always a great bounty within. Tomasz, is about ten years further into his time than I am, so there is much treasure here.

All along this time with Tomasz, I was offering a caution, as the action of Wind is approaching. Indeed, Degeneration, offers many forewarnings on the nature of corruption, and how at the heights of strength  the prior seeds of weakness are often revealed. Do not hide them! Be ruthlessly honest, and scrape away any inconsistency. It is the way through to success... I was somewhat insistent that Tomasz use this feeling of reflection from Adornment - like wearing a crown - as a REMINDER for going forward. It is easy to alienate others, or alienate oneself from others by way of knowledge. By staying still to the beauty of our experiences though, we become so very inviting, and put ourselves in a position of sharing our innate wisdom; our most mature selves.

If one is 'newly minted' with a peak spiritual experience, it is a time of caution. Of tending the fire gently. As, if one claims enlightenment (illumination) to soon into the world... some form or other akin to corruption gains traction within ourselves. Beauty itself the intoxicant, my friends(!) Enjoy, but do not linger :)

Of course we all want to feel AWE. And, more keenly, to speak of this experience articulately. What is of great importance is the timing within ourselves for the quality to arise by which we share this awe. Too soon... and others may not follow. Too late? ...don't worry about it.

So: as we move into action, notably after a period of great discovery, this is indeed like "crossing a great river" (TC). And to be in such a position, is a great honour(!) I am happy for you, Tomasz!

Jung says that our second half of life is far more interesting than the first, to which I must concur (I am just at its starting gate, and am loving it!) And yes, it is like crossing a great river: one must prepare "Three days prior. Three days after" (TC). We must bookend our transitions with preparation and reflection.

The complete gorgeousness of Adornment cannot be underestimated in its usefulness. It follows on 21, Biting Through, which is a powerful and turbulent time. Thus Adornment is in itself a form of 'success.' Personally, I define success as contentment. That deep long exhale which happens upon the heels of an achievement. By focusing on the words, "illumination inside stillness,"  this gorgeous feeling will be an important anchor for Tomasz.

Tomasz now steps into what I hope and trust will be a time of quality-based action. Qualitative Action. This is not the action of a young man who has things to figure out, nor the action of youth which rails at others from inside their unknowing. This is the action of learning how best to proceed, with all the wisdom of the first half of life to inform, as we share our best knowing.

Much love Tomasz. May you always have long life, radiant good spirits, and excellent health. Remember the Zen saying, "your poverty, is your treasure" and return to that deep breath, deep into the kidneys.

Please see my "Book of Gardens" for my complete interpretation of Thomas Cleary's 'Budhist I Ching.'


Ahh... True love. Do you exist?!

A few days prior, another long time pal, S-S, asked a question of the I Ching, and 48 The Well, and 5 Waiting, came back in response. S-S was wondering When will I find true Love?

A good and timeless question.

That said, I thought: By what method will I find true love? might offer a pleasing thoroughness, to which S-S agreed.

Clearly spring approaches, and the ground stirs. The Well, has an element of community, and ones awareness of community, or communal-ness. Also, there is the aspect of 'bringing up water.' The inner activity of The Well, is of the trigram Wind - action - and this activity was moving toward the Heaven aspect inside Waiting: pure yang.

The Well, holds water - some in stasis, some in motion - and so too does Waiting. But there is nothing passive going on here: Nor is there any focus on the past! Waiting can be radiant, present, and the 'heaven' of love's waters reflect such. At risk of breaching the content filter of this site, I'd have to say... lush.

I figured, then, that S-S knows exactly what she needs and wants. Outwardly, the water/danger element stays in the outside position - in mind - in both hexagrams, unchanging. That there was one small movement in her casting - from the action of Wind to the action of Heaven - that very first/bottom line in the hexagram - the foundation - suggested to me that this is another time of gentle and loving introspection, and attending greatly to physical health. Every person knows their own feelings regardless of the time or credence paid to them, and certainly by adulthood, we know what makes our feelings 'tick.' ... Take many hot baths, and lather with quality (organic) oils afterward, know your mind, and then... well... wait. Wait with all the radiance of simply being alive.

So the only caution here, is, of course, in the mind: in thought. The classic 'robber barren!' I recommend lots of deep belly breathing, especially when you 'think' you are close, at the edge of success. The eagerness, spoils, and the readiness... is indeed all.

May much love come to everyone.
Stay in touch S-S: you are always loved.

(Please see my "Book of Gardens" for further detail.)

Wind and Water. Feeling through to thoroughness.

My long time pal, O, asked a question today. Using thc coin method, 57 Wind, and 47 Exhaustion came back in response. O, was wondering about where to live and how to live, as she often travels. After some discussion, it seemed clear that a decision is forthcoming, due to the caution offered by Exhaustion, to not have any energy drain: Exhaustion is described by Water inside the Lake, so there is a separateness between two bodies of water, a sense of 'draining.' After more discussion, we thought that "What is the best way to be healthy and sustainable?" would offer more of a process, and perhaps a future consultation.

Wind, is flexible on the underside, covers vast area quickly, yet is decisive, active, and quite free in its upper portions: one third flexible, two thirds decisive. :) Wind moves around all objects quickly, leaving no surface untouched.

Exhaustion, has a joy being pursued, though with a slow and steady leakage making the joy unsustainable, and potentially unreachable. This is only a caution though, as much of this energy had already passed in this particular instance. So this is a very creative and active time for O, where she is in a lead position in her life: the invitation is clear, she has done all the research she needs to have done, and the decision awaits. Furthermore, the flexibility of wind also speaks to an abundance... Perhaps the gypsy, flying inside the wind, may grant the truest music...

Given the options on O's plate, I recommended an imaginative exercise/meditation: that in sitting quietly into each scenario, she imagine deeply and in great detail each choice - as if she were living it - allowing a central feeling to arise as a result. So, not to concentrate on one imagined/perhaps-habitually-preferred outcome - either/or - but to seriously commit to one's mind each choice, individually, allowing the feelings to follow in accord. Each feeling will arise naturally, spontaneously, without any force, and the most beneficial outcome will become known - happily so... Do I live in one place, or another... Or do I live by a completely different set of rules?... each choice to be played out in her mind's eye. It would be otherwise easy to make choices based in fear and be blown-about by 'the wind'... This is a time of clearing away clutter - not ruthlessly - but spaciously, encouraging the clear vision for her future, and holding true to the feelings which bring about a sense of vitality.

Thank you so much O! (Here's to another 20!) Stay in touch and let me know how I can assist further :)

(Soon to be in published form: "The Book of Gardens: I Ching inspired Eco-Theology")