Joy: This was the prognosis of my I Ching reading this morning in the form of Hexagram 58 (兌/duì). This is comprised of two lake trigrams, the idea being that when they come together there is much less chance of the water in them drying out and the future of the land and community that depend on them is assured.
Earth over Fire; Sun swallowed by Earth; perhaps even a solar eclipse. Darkness descends with the arrival of hexagram 36 (明夷/míng yí), snuffing out the light.
When you identify a promising opportunity, it can be very tempting to rush in to make sure that you’re first to market. But if you move too fast, the chances are that you’ll lose out on it. The history of the tech industry is full of examples of companies that were so far ahead their time that the infrastructure and market weren’t ready for their offering. Facebook wasn’t the first social media platform; no matter whether it was out of dumb luck or great strategy, the company initiated the rollout of its service at exactly the right moment.
Hexagram 63 (既濟/jì jì) representing completion: an appropriate way to signal the end of my trip. After an interesting couple of weeks in Europe and the US, I can head home with my mission complete.
It would be an exaggeration to say that I’ve been under confinement (Hexagram 47 – 困/kùn) as a result of the snow and wind that have ravaged Britain over the past few days, but I do have to admit to feeling a certain amount of restlessness as a result of being unable to venture much further than the village green and churchyard for my daily walk because of the icy paths and roads.
My I Ching reading is a vital morning ritual for me. It helps me to start the day right by initiating an internal dialog with myself on the topics raised by the hexagram(s) that I have formed with the casting of the coins.
I blame the oracle for its failure to warn me at Paris CDG that my luggage wouldn’t be accompanying me to Nuremberg. Obviously, it had nothing to do with the gross incompetence, I mean effortless efficiency, of the airport. I still can’t quite decide whether it’s the worst airport I’ve ever had the misfortune of visiting – an accolade that I’ve reserved for Manila for many years.
Water above lake: if there is too much of it, the lake will overflow and flooding will ensue. A system for managing the flow of the rivers and streams into the lake is required. In ancient China, notches cut into a bamboo sticks were used for this very purpose. This is the origin of Hexagon 60 (節/jié) in the I Ching, meaning regulation, articulating, moderation, or limitation.
The air is crisp and clear after the rain and thunder from the storm. The oppressive humidity and heat have disappeared. The world wakes up with a newfound sense of purity and purpose. This is the image conjured up by hexagon 40 (解/xiè): one of blessed release from a period of tumult and torment.
One way to use the I Ching is to ask it a question and look at the hexagram you produce from your coin throw and the related texts for the answer to it. The trick is to make your question as specific as possible. The more ambiguous it is, the more ambiguous the response. “Should I take the new job I’ve just been offered?” will produce a far clearer answer than “should I look for a new job” – not least because the number of variables involved in considering the latter are infinitely more than in pondering the former.