Friday, December 13, 2019

How Should You Ask a Question of the I Ching?

Different western books and teachings on the I Ching tend to give different advice about how to phrase a question.  I have noted some people claiming that a "yes/no" style of question is really bad. However, I've also noted that those people tend to seem to want readings that are not very direct and straightforward, to leave them a lot of room to interpret the reading in the way they like. In other words, it seems to indicate a lack of trust in the I Ching.

In the Magician's I Ching, I point out that the question itself can be about almost anything, but that in fact in most cases (if it suits the question) it would be advisable to ask in a form where the answer could potentially be as simple as "yes/no" or "good/bad". That doesn't mean that the answer you'll receive will always be that simple, but it's good if you can allow it to be so.

For questions where a yes/no is not really a viable format, asking "should I do X" or "is it advisable to do y" are good questions.

Obviously, any way in which you ask can potentially generate a usable answer. But there are some ways to ask which could make it harder for you to obtain clarity.

For example, I do not advise "either/or" style questions being posited to the I Ching because those can on some occasions cloud the answer.

By either or I mean questions like "which of path A or path B is the best option for me"?

The reason phrasing a question in this way is a bit tricky is because first, you are not asking about one specific thing, so you might be inclined to direct the answer in the direction you would rather wish it was. This is not always a problem because sometimes the two paths are so different (if they were opposites for example, or had radically different characteristics) that you would not be able to just pick the side you like unless you were in deep denial. But when it's less clear a distinction between the two options, you might do some 'reading in' to the answer toward the direction you'd wish was best.

Second, because sometimes there is a tendency for the results to just be muddled and unclear in a casting question like this.

Third, because this doesn't easily leave open the possibility for an option C, or option D, etc.  Again, this isn't always a problem, but when you ask a question in this way you are still predirecting the I Ching to choose between only a set number of options which are what you can foresee, rather than opening to the possibility that something else could be foreseen.

In situations like this, it is sometimes better to either ask a broader question (how should I approach the overall situation? What is the best course of action in general? etc), or to ask more than one specific question (i.e. first asking "what would be the best way to approach option A" and then "what would be the best way to approach option B", and compare).

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Magician's I Ching Facebook Group Has Over 2500 Members

The Facebook group created in honor of The Magician's I Ching, but which is a general discussion group for all I Ching related subjects, has now reached 2500 members!

So if you haven't already joined the Magician's I Ching Facebook Group, please consider joining!  It's free, and filled with interesting conversation and material related to the I Ching and I Ching studies.  It's open to people coming from western or eastern traditions.  It's very welcoming to newcomers to the I Ching, and you can get questions answered or useful advice. But it also has many very learned and highly experienced advanced students of the I Ching, and if you are one of those people you'll find some excellent higher level discussion about some of the finer points of I Ching study.

While you're at it, please consider joining the Yi Fa Society.  Members of the Yi Fa Society also have a (secret) discussion group, and benefit from a complete and detailed training program for studying Yi Fa Qi Gong and the I Ching.   Members of the Yi Fa Society are taught additional Qi Gong and I Ching secrets that are not available anywhere public.

At higher levels of membership, the advanced exercises of Yi Fa Qi Gong are taught, and students are provided large numbers of instructional materials (whole books, like "Secret Techniques of the I Ching", "Universal Yi Fa", "The Yi Dao", and "the Great Book of Yi Fa", among others) on how to deepen their work with Qi Gong and I Ching for self-transformation and the work of enlightenment.

Members of the Yi Fa Society can work personally with me to keep up their practice, to resolve problems in their practice, and to develop discipline and structure in their spiritual path.   Members also have the opportunity to have monthly Skype meetings with me for the same purpose.

Yi Fa Society membership is not free, but basic membership is on a monthly donation basis set by each student.

If you are interested in joining the Magician's I Ching Facebook group, just click on the link and join, and start reading and sharing with us!

If you are interested in joining the Yi Fa Society, please contact me, here or on Facebook.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Who is the Inferior Person?

In the I Ching, we are presented with a division between two levels of the self: the self as the "inferior person", and the self as the "Superior Individual". One of the most fundamental teachings of the I Ching is that in every moment, we are constantly facing a choice between embodying the inferior person, or embodying the Superior Individual.
But if the Superior Individual is our true nature, our consciousness applied to totality, when we are 100% engaged and united to reality... then what is the inferior person? What are you when you are being the inferior person?  And what is the real 'problem' of the inferior person?

First, the inferior person is who you usually imagine yourself to be. In fact, it is a groundless mishmash of transitory influences, from influences of our childhood and past, of our environment, of the influences people and ideas and media have made over our notions of reality and who we are, until we wear it all like a false patchwork skin.Wearing this skin gives us a false sense of security and significance, where we "know who we are" and "what we want", and yet ironically it is the real source of our most crippling insecurities and insignificance.

Yourself as the inferior person is really nothing at all; it's a tiny little man, in a very restricted world.

You make yourself small by shutting yourself into your limiting perspective.

You make yourself a world that's small, by only referring to reality through your own centered lens.

And when you're that small, that you affect only your own little controlled world, then what you do doesn't really matter.

It is fleeting, because it is so limited.

It creates a momentary effect, that all too often crashes against a larger reality it tries to defy, and sooner or later your efforts, that you imagined to be so very great, come to nothing.

So the problem of the inferior person is that they are a 'shut-in'. Instead of showing up, letting themselves be part of reality as it is, they are locked into their tiny fantasy universe, seeing only glimpses of heavily-altered reality through that lens of all their desires and fears and programmed beliefs. This means that they are not able to be effective in the world.

Whereas when you don't insist on being only in the center, when you act in Union and accordance with the whole force of the universe, even very small efforts can move along that flow of reality to make huge changes to yourself and to the world.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Don't Over-Complicate Practice, Surrender Into It!

Qi Gong Practitioners often develop problems in their practice due to a predictable pattern of behavior. The root of this is placing very high expectations on your experience of practice.

High expectations tend to develop in one of two ways: the first is where you begin with a simple practice that has some powerful experiences and real results, and so want to maintain that intensity and try to do so by doing more: making more advanced practices, longer exercises, adding little details, etc. until you have overburdened your practice.

The second is where you are doing a practice and feel that it is not working well, so you decide to modify or add to it. This produces a positive result, which was really caused by making a change, but which you might interpret as having been due to adding complexity or greater effort. So you continue to add more complexity and detail in your practice to try to keep increasing your experience.

This focus on excessive complexity can lead to creating a false illusion of effectiveness, that only seems to be creating results for you as long as you keep trying to build it up and innovate in your practice. It is doomed to lead to a collapse.

So it's important not to over-complicate things, not to worry about meeting some kind of ever-growing quota of expectations.

This is often a sign you are in a cycle of creating a false reality (maybe of your success, or even of struggle), when you need to create ever increasing complexities to the work you're doing or to the results you expect; this is actually you trying to dedicate more and more of your own Qi to create a bubble of fictional reality around yourself. It's because there was something that you found useful, so you clung to it.

But in so doing, you lose what's actually useful (and often, good and enjoyable) about it.

So when you realize that this is what you're doing, you have to let the bubble deflate (before it outright pops), and return to the moment, and return to figuring out how to show up in the Active Consciousness to this moment, to this simple practice, to this pass-time, to this job, etc.

The key isn't about complexity, it's about being able to relax in your practice.

It's always about relaxing into it. So for a lot of people, relaxing feels like a really profound surrender because they're so resistant to the letting-go of control that relaxation entails.
Remember to breathe.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Video: Truth Seekers are (Mostly) Bunk!

Most people who emphasize on 'seeking' for truth (rather than finding and working on it) are actually dedicated to avoiding the truth before their very eyes at all cost.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Greatest Changes You Make are the Ones You'll Never See

One of the things that the I Ching teaches you, when you get really deep into it, is to see certain things in really big scales of time.

This also brings with it the realization that all the truly big things, the really meaningful things you can do with your life, are things you will never live to see the end results of.

The key to making intentional change in something, according to the I Ching, is to do it before it starts.

To have a vision of the future, to know how to make change in something before it even starts, requires that you must be able to very clearly observe the present.

So if the future is really Incipiencies existing as 'seeds' in the present, changing the future is all about planting the right seeds.