Stepping off the treadmill. Exhaustion: A Beginning.

"Y" came in for an I Ching reading today, and we had a lovely discussion and contemplation. After an initial meditation and explaining the basics of the process (something I'll soon blog about for future reference), we hoped right into it, and this is what she threw:


As per the norm, we focused in on the images: water inside lake (on the left) and then wind inside thunder (on the right). The Image, focuses your mind onto the task at hand. Words like Lake, Thunder, Wind… these are broad enough in scope that your imaginative ability readily attach themselves to. The Qualities of water inside lake, are described as danger inside joy, and the title of the hexagram is Exhaustion. "Y" is moving out of a time of exhaustion - indeed, a knee surgery(!) - and into a time of Constancy.

Numbering the lines from bottom to top (one through six) there are natural correspondences between 1&4, 2&5, and 3&6. With Exhaustion, as we can see that by these correspondences, only one pair is  in balance right now: lines 1&3. This pertains to "Y's" Personal foundation - her own thoughts on herself - whereas the next two lines - indicative of the Inter-personal, and the Societal - are not balanced: there is a double yang in the interpersonal lines (2&4) and a double yin for the Societal (3&6). This can read as too much activity between herself and others, and too much passivity by herself with the world. Such is a picture of exhaustion: ones energies are withdrawn by the world out of necessity, and communicating with others can be taxing. The lesson of Exhaustion is to bring in the energies available onto oneself to avoid further calamity.

Here in this reading, as the time moves into Constancy (hexagram #32), there is a much more balanced picture taking place - each yin is paired to a yang. Lines 3 and 5 are changing lines… How Y understands the world is moving into a more active time, and how she incorporates others into her life is becoming more receptive. Indeed, Y mentioned how she has been branching out toward a variety of modalities over the past while, gathering new information, and how she is finding a finer and fuller sense of equilibrium with her children.

Our discussion over the course of two hours was very rich, touching on a number of subjects, including Depression. The thing about any given emotion is that the sooner it becomes named, the sooner a person can move on into the next thing needed by our situation and our Life Force. Exhaustion is one such thing. We both regaled in stories where the exhaustion was so great, truly all one could do was laugh. So with the I Ching, anything whose 'skin' appears negative, also holds a large turn-around; an inversion of energy. Thus is Exhaustion the sign of a beginning. Unlike my last reading with Fi, where she was grateful for the increase of the feminine coming back into her life, here, there is an arising 'masculine' presence in-coming by means of the action of Thunder in the second hexagram. Certainly being post-surgery requires a time for healing, and then a time for active recovery. Y  has bee steadily moving into such a transition for several months. 

Thunder is in the top half of Constancy, the Elder Brother, whereas the other three trigrams are all feminine: Water, the Middle Daughter; Lake, the Youngest Daughter, and Wind, the Eldest Daughter. It is interesting to note how exhaustion is characterized by the two younger girls, and Constancy is characterized by the two eldest children. Certainly there comes a time within all healing processes where a push from the bigger-brother-within, is a welcome thing.

By the time our discussion moved into Family Position, I had illustrated the method of how I Ching brings the mind closer and closer in to the qualitative focus one eventually brings onto the question. The Image begins the task (i.e.: water, thunder, lake, etc) - like opening a door - and the Quality focuses the mind and concentrates the energy (i.e.: danger, action, joy), and the Family Position concentrates things yet again. All of these focuses - layering them on  one by one - bring out the hermeneutical feeling of what the original question of "Y" asked. Sitting with the feelings at each stage very much quiet the mind - at each stage - and the culmination of these stages allows for very rich thinking and decision making.


I confess here… this isn't one of my more eloquent blog posts… I've cut to the chase largely for "Y's" benefit, because she got so much out of our discussion… and BECAUSE I'M EXHAUSTED. :) Which is of course all fine-and-good. I am looking forward to a Christmas break from things. I am very proud to have published my Book of Gardens this year, and am diligently building the website for it.  When I work in-person, I definitely take my cues from the person in the room and can tell if I am speaking way above a person's understanding or not. My goal is to share such a rich method of self examination. What took me 18 years is certainly not going to land in a few hours, but the excitement for the basics will! 

The urgent message of my book stands, that amid the decisions upon us all today, what direction will we take?.. "Y's" exhaustion parallel's rather characteristically of our so-called 'trickle-down' economy, which seems to only trickle down an increasing amount of pressure for the 'little guy.'  

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Much of the discussion in the back of the book pertains to the many divides we build and sustain daily with our human actions - monetized by credit instruments. I illustrate the psychological mechanisms which has us rather bound to growth-economics (i.e.: scarcity thinking) and that from the cause of this being through the very 'money' supply we use to meet our needs, our human problems go very much mis-diagnosed as intrinsic, personal, and inter-personal - whereas in fact it is a cultural monetary policy which keeps us trapped on a treadmill. You can read more about iT here, and purchase a copy - here.

Once I've introduced the basic lay-of-the-land with I Ching as I did for Y today, the discussion inevitably becomes rich and multi-directional. I'm also beginning to notice commonalities from one reading into the next, namely, the total surprised-recognition of the Questioner when I announce the titles of their hexagrams. This very much speaks to Thomas Cleary's work of translation, that his titles hit the bullseye each time with each hexagram study. His work is thorough, and his scholarship absolute tops. It took many years to digest his work, and I'm proud and lucky to say I have many more ahead.

It was a delight to sit with you today Y, and I hope to see you again for another Question.

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