The Meeting of Like Mindedness.

{ photo credit }
I'm open to new paths, myself. I'm very much a 'road-less-traveled' fellow. And this weekend I found myself with a lucky Friday night free to do as I please. I've only recently ventured out of my writer's cave having completed my Book of Gardens: A Lover's Manual for Planet Earth, and so after a deep stretch yoga class I followed my feet to a local poetry reading with Doug Wilton's Elephant Mountain and Nelson's BookSmyth.

It was nice to cross paths with the likes of Nelson's local poets. As it is a special culture, it's poets are a highly special bunch; the cream of a highly eccentric crop, where I have always felt myself amongst esteemed company (albeit secretly esteemed). Nelson is one of these places which either draws in our deeper thinkers, or it will draw deeper thinking out of a person. Either way, I'm deeply proud to be a part of this little town.
{ photo credit }

I made an offering to the group at the top of the evening: after each presenter, they would choose a number between one and sixty-four, and then I would lead in a brief meditation on the subsequent hexagram chosen, concluding with a reading of that I Ching poem from my Book of Gardens.

Everyone thought that was rather lovely, and for me it was certainly a test... ever looking toward the underlying fabric of how I Ching will always reveal only what-is.

The readings began with Linda Crossfield, who was there with her grandson. Linda is well known in the literary community here and I enjoyed listening to her read in person at our recent Elephant Mountain Literary Festival. Afterwards, she picked #37 People in the Home. The meditation centered upon fire inside wind, or, illumination inside action. This was naturally quite fitting to her work (copies of which can be obtained HERE.) which seemingly effortlessly brings out a sense of wisdom tucked into the corners of the everyday. It was rather suiting that her grandson was present, as he - quickly! - memorized a piece of hers, and we were delighted to have this young voice at the podium. Indeed: illuminated... illuminating... and quite dynamic to have a multi-generational presentation of her work that night.

We moved next to Phil Madar, whose postcard stories are filled with chuckles. His story ended with the character searching for the Norwegian word for storm... and no doubt a little later Phil asked for #51 ... Thunder. 

The meditation is governed by action inside action, one thunder inside another thunder, culminating in one larger and pervasive thunder. The meditations I crafted were based on my usual Inside & Outside couplings, placing each image in the belly and behind the forehead - localizing the imagination and concentration.

Next arrived one of Nelson's dear War Poets, Dennis Foley, whose appreciation of form and metaphysics is both curmudgeonly and formidable. Truly by no coincidence - I Ching only reveals what-is - Denis asked for #21 ... Biting Through. It astounds me that each time I cross this mans path he has another 'almost-got-shot-there' story. And despite such a history, here thrives a Poet.

Lastly, our host, Douglas Wilton, whose blog need be on every Kootenay Poet's "follow" list - ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN - shared a metaphysical musing from a recent walk in one of Nelson's many gorgeous pathways. Doug chose #8 ... Accord, a deeply metaphysical consideration, whose meditation is centered upon receptivity inside pitfalls. The study of Self is ripe with pitfalls of grandiosity as one peels away the postures of ego; followed with new feelings aside from overt feelings on the self, a new awareness naturally 'appears' to take up more space...

I look forward to bringing my Book of Gardens to future poetry readings throughout the Kootenays, offering small hits of mindfulness, and generating further discussion on my favourite subject, the I Ching.

Thank you Doug, for hosting an excellent evening. See you all again soon!

Full On Wow

D, came by for tea and I Ching. She cast #3, Difficulty, moving into #8, Accord. There is only one small movement in the first line, moving from yang to yin, which, though small or seemingly hidden, is significant.


The little personal shifts we make on any given day-to-day are like setting something into a spiral motion: as we travel further away from that shift, or decision, the eventual breadth and perspective we gain is significant. So too might every decision be, if we be granted our thoughts the attention they ask for.

{ photo credit }
The top trigram is consistent in both hexagrams: water, each line comprised of young or new energy, is constant and unchanging here. Water, synonymous with mastering pitfalls, or danger, and contains a hidden - yet definite - invitation to use every ounce of wisdom one has. Water, in I Ching, is an invitation to uncover its compliment, Fire, or, Illumination.

D & I meditated on the images and qualities here of Water, Thunder, and Earth, finding that the internal (lower trigram) shift from Thunder into the receptivity of Earth was a very significant energistic shift - affecting the quality of the mastering pitfalls in the above, the outside upper trigram.

That the water stays consistent in both hexagrams holds this invitation toward wisdom at the forefront for any keen observer. Water (mastering pitfalls) is a constant element at all moments in the I Ching, and here indeed we see an immediate example of that, and the coin toss in this particular instance invites the solution of Accord.

{ photo credit }
The line in the fifth position of any given hexagram is significant, and generally is seen as a boon if it is yang energy. Here, with Accord, being surrounded by yin, the ready caution is of passivity, though certainly after a time of Difficulty, rest is necessary. Yet the double invitation here is to absorb one's learning. That is, to not loose sight of the recent difficulty, but to mine it for its true, directional value.

The quality of accord is of receptivity inside the 'danger' of water. Danger here can also depict mystery, like any still body of water, what lies beneath the surface generates much emotion.

Amid that feeling, if one injects into the absolute centre of it this idea of receptivity, the magic of Accord comes into view.

{ photo credit }
The Earth element is key. Our Earth receives everything we give: bulldozers, toxic spills, shovels, projectiles, trash, urine, rain, lightning... the Earth simply gives way. It is the ultimate embodiment of the Receptive principle. Coupled this to the water element in Accord, and the illumination carried within a prior time of difficulty rises to the surface..

The fifth position is like 'upper management.' Or your most trusted advisor: close to the leadership, holding much knowledge and influence. That this 'advisor' is surrounded by the Receptive brings forward the image of riding that edge in meditation where you are close to falling asleep(!) yet one has to stay alert just enough to take in the full breadth of information at hand. Amongst the Receptive, the wealth of information it receives is truly limitless. Accord is the method by which one relaxes ever more deeply into the practical value of wonder, allowing the neural-chemical process to unveil, out from the shroud of daily stresses and battles we are habituated to. Its invitation reaches as deep as you are willing to travel. Thus moving from Difficulty to Accord is a time for being the sponge, for soaking up the lessons one has weathered; a true time of gratitude and appreciation for having arrived at this moment.