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.
Sometimes this dialog is a short one, such as when there are no changing lines demanding to be converted. On other occasions, it can involve a deep and extended conservation until I reach a resolution. The unpredictably of the readings means, of course, that I am unable to allocate a set amount of time for them. The best I can do is make sure I get up at 5:00am so that there is plenty of tolerance in my schedule.
When I’m at home, it is relatively easy to keep to the ritual because I have a regular schedule. On the road, however, it’s a lot more difficult thanks to the vagaries of travel. It can be all too tempting to skip a reading because I need to rush off to a meeting or to the airport to catch a flight or simply because I’m feeling jaded after a less than stellar night’s sleep in the uncomfortable bed of an unfamiliar hotel room.
Ironically, of course, it is exactly at such times of flux that sticking to the ritual becomes even more important because it provides an anchor for settling the mind amid all the unfamiliar surrounding currents. Even when I’m really short of time, therefore, I always force myself to carry out the coin toss and scribble down the numbers before heading out of my hotel room so that I can review them later on.
This is by no means as effective as implementing the full ritual all at once, but it does help keep up the overall momentum. After all, as the I Ching teaches, it is important to remain flexible while sticking to your overall principles and purpose. There is no point is insisting on perfection if it comes at the expense of achieving nothing at all.