What To Expect From An I-Ching Reading

The I-Ching or "Book of Changes" is based on the Chinese yin/yang philosophy of balance and harmony in one's life. It involves meditation and predicting the outcome of certain event in one's life.

"Who will I marry?"

"Will I get my dream job?"

"When will I die?"

Regardless of their past accomplishments or current state of affairs, humans have always harbored an obsession with the future and sought ways to predict what it will hold for them. In earnest, they have consulted tarot cards, read tea leaves, gazed into crystal balls, cracked open cookies, deciphered auras, and offered their palms to fortune tellers""all in the hope of either learning how to avert danger or basking in the satisfaction that the universe is looking out for their best interests.

Perhaps one of the methods of divination you've thought about exploring is the I-Ching. Dating back to over 4,000 years ago, the I-Ching or "Book of Changes" is based on the Chinese yin/yang philosophy of balance and harmony in one's life. This synchronicity, as termed by psychologist Carl Jung, is often interpreted in the course of meditation and allows the participant to see how a particular problem fits into the context of preceding events. Rather than providing a specific yes or no answer to one's question, the tosses of the I-Ching coins or sticks invites the user to look at the laws of probability as they relate to other activities going on at the same time. Simply put: If A, B and C have occurred, the odds are high that such and such will be the outcome of D.

When someone consults oracles such as cards or numerology, he or she generally has a desired outcome in mind and is simply using these devices for much-needed affirmation. For instance, perhaps she is already hoping that her married lover Freddie is going to leave Estelle by Christmas and move in with her. This either/or scenario means that if the cards agree with her, she'll go away happy and wait for Freddie's phone call, a call that""in reality""may never come. If the cards are negative, however, she will give them another try and another after that and then either buy a new deck or pursue a different method altogether. Because she has been so fixated on only one acceptable reading, it becomes frustrating and impossible to entertain any other avenue; i.e., meeting someone single and available and a much better catch than Freddie himself.



Let's put the same romantic dilemma to the test of the I-Ching. Instead of framing the question as a yes or no, however, the participant approaches it in an exploratory fashion; i.e., "I'm conflicted in my love life and am unsure of what to do about it." Because the I-Ching is predicated on the fact that nature is constantly changing and evolving, the answer will reveal what factors need to be considered and adjusted in order to put things back into an equitable balance. The probability of this person having concurrent difficulties with her job, her finances and her relatives is a wake-up call to rethink why she has made some of the choices she has made. By allowing her mind to be open and relaxed during the I-Ching process and look at all sides of the equation with clarity, the greater likelihood that her subsequent decisions will be well grounded.

It also goes without saying that the more objective a participant can be about the big picture, the less intimidating the smaller, seemingly more immediate problem will be. The freedom of the I-Ching allows its users to tap the best mentor a person can have: his or her own subconscious. Unfortunately, intuition frequently gets short shrift because humans lack the confidence to completely trust their own judgment. An amusing parallel can be drawn to those who write letters to Dear Abby asking advice about relationships; in their heart of hearts, they already know what needs to be done in order to move forward but feel that they need an expert's stamp of approval before taking the first step. There is also a huge fear factor that making the wrong choice will result in circumstances much worse than whatever they are already in.

Again, the yin/yang theory of balance emerges to remind us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. A bad choice will ultimately be displaced by a good choice, just as too much good fortune will periodically be countered with lessons in humility to remind us of its value. The changing lines of the I-Ching hexagram are representative of the constant flux inherent in the world around us, as well as the need for us to be adaptable to that ebb and flow if we want to move forward.

Last but not least, an I-Ching reading encourages the participant to articulate what it is that he or she really wants from the situation. On the surface, the question of "Will I be rich?" would seem to focus on financial security alone. By delving deeper, however, the desire for wealth could actually be little more than the perceived means to a more significant end; specifically, being able to provide for one's family, to achieve recognition in the community, to win someone's love or to be able to see the world. Once the end is identified, it then becomes easier to appreciate the different routes available to us to reach it.

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