3 min read
Sometimes in the midst of an ongoing sticky situation, it's good to consult the I Ching more than once on the same topic. It is not recommended to ask the same question twice in the same sitting in the hopes of getting a "better" answer. That’s not it. However, since the I Ching is the book of changes, it can be entirely appropriate to ask the same question again a day or two later, as the situation evolves.
Let me give you an example from my own life.
Like many of you, I often look for guidance when navigating relationships, so being single I can turn to the I Ching with dating questions. I began seeing "Mary" shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic, which certainly complicated things for a new relationship just getting off the ground. Navigating those issues, among others, lead to some conflicting feelings, and I began to wonder if I should break it off.
To aid my focus, I wrote down the question, "How do I make a relationship work with Mary at this time?" I closed my eyes and took three deep breaths to let go of tension in my body. Then I fanned out the deck of Visionary I Ching Cards, while staying focused on the issue on my mind.
I drew a card to represent the situation in the present, and I received hexagram: #5, Patience. "The situation calls for consistency and perseverance. Waiting is an essential skill; patience is a powerful force," it said. "To rush anything, or force results, stimulates resistance and causes setbacks."
I then drew a second card to represent future potentials, i.e. where the energy could move if I stayed in alignment with the spirit of changes. I got #43: Determination. "Some resolution is pointing to a breakthrough, but decisive action will be necessary."
Those two cards produce the 4th changing line, which advised: "Retain your composure and patience. There is no chance of great success now," it read. "Avoid direct confrontation." OK, it’s time to lay low right now!
That all seemed pretty clear. It was definitely not the time to take decisive action, but it also wasn't looking that great for the longer-term success of the relationship in general. So I just let things simmer for the time being.
Two days later, I had the urge to reach out and resolve things with Mary. So, having had a bit more time to reflect on it, I consulted the I Ching again, writing down as my subject "Letting go of Mary."
As I spread the cards out in front of me, I opened myself to the wisdom of the I Ching and flipped over a card, revealing #5, Patience. What? Patience turned up again? What an amazing synchronicity!
This time, for the Future hexagram, I got #1, Creative Power. "If your goals are in alignment with the greater good, positive actions taken with good timing will meet with success." To me this indicated that there is a light at the end of this tunnel in the form of a creative resolution.
Interestingly, these two readings yielded the same 4th changing line from my first reading, but the second reading also included another changing line—the 6th line—this time, which seemed to point to where this relationship was headed. "This is a time of difficulty," it says. "You can learn from the lessons in this situation."
I meditated on the reading and when the time felt right, I called Mary to broach the subject of changing the form of our relationship. During the conversation, I tried to focus on the I Ching's guidance of resisting negativity, retaining composure, and aligning the conversation with the greater good. In the end we came to a mutual, loving conclusion that this was not the right time to pursue a romantic relationship for either of us, but that we had enough in common to be friends. We now have a lovely friendship that we are both happy about.
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