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Everything flows and nothing stays the same.
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher
By means of the easy and simple we grasp the laws of the whole world.Confucius (551-479 B.C.), Ta Chuan,
or Great Treatise on the I Ching
The word I (pronounced "ee") in Chinese means change. Change is one of the basic principles of the universe, the one thing that you can rely on. The word Ching means book or classic. I Ching translates as the Book of Changes, and is one of the few books that has survived from the beginnings of Chinese history. It is thought to be the oldest method of divination in the world. The first people to use the I Ching re shamans, magicians, priests, and soothsayers, sometime between 1000 and 500 B.C. before the births of Buddha, Christ, and Mohammed it has been in continuous use ever since.
Life is about changing from one condition to another. We all know that nothing stays the same. When we fall in love, we want that feeling to last forever, but it never does. It transforms into something else. When we are suffering and sick, we welcome change, hoping that our lives will improve.
Often we fear change because it represents the unknown. Most of the time, we just wish we could figure out what to do.
In the pages of the I Ching we find the sixty-four types of changes from "youthful folly" to "ambition" to "abundance" that cover all of life's transitions. According to Confucius, author of Ta Chuan, the Great Treatiseon the I Ching:
The changes, what do they do? The changes disclose things, complete affairs, and encompass all ways on earth this and nothing else. For this reason the holy sages used them to penetrate all wills on earth and to determine all fields of action on earth, and to settle all doubts on earth.
For thousands of years wise people have used the I Ching to understand the nature of the influences in any situation, and to act correctly without doubt or hesitation. Fortunately, you don't have to be a sage or seer to use the I Ching. We all have intuitive abilities, even if we haven't yet learned to use them. The process of using the I Ching can be the key that unlocks the inner door to these abilities, and allows us to have new and deeper insights into life's inevitable questions.
Our word divination comes from the Latin divus, meaning divine or sacred. The Chinese believed that to consult the I Ching was to communicate with the spiritual forces of the universe. In the West, however, we tend to disbelieve what we can't prove, and our usual cause-and-effect view of the world explains most things satisfactorily: It rains, and the trees get wet. We forgot to put gas in the car this morning, and now we have to call the tow truck. Yet many things happen that we can't explain. You think of your friend, and she suddenly calls on the phone. You need money for the bus, and look down to find just what you need on the sidewalk.
The I Ching works on the basis of what we now call synchronicity, the inexplicable coincidences of life. Carl Jung, the renowned twentieth-century European philosopher and psychologist, coined this word from syn, "together," and chronos, "time": together in time. According to Jung, "Synchronicity takes the coincidence of eventsin space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers."
Using the I Ching is synchronicity in action. All possible existing conditions are represented in the I Ching in the sixty-four images of life. In the act of tossing the coins we open ourselves to accepting what the universe has to offer. We ask the question and the wisdom of the universe responds through the coins. It is the gift of the I Ching to interpret the meaning of the pattern revealed by the coins.
We are all in this universe together. We abide by the same natural laws. Our sharing of space and time means that we are "in synch" and flowing along together. All of the conscious, living elements of the universe, including animals, plants, insects, microbes, you and I, are linked both in the actual, physical, material universe and in the psychic, spiritual, emotional, unseen universes of our hearts and minds. We all exist together within the living ocean of consciousness.
Imagine a vast orchestra playing in the heavens. Listen to the music of the spheres, and dance. Look around you: The dance floor is full of people. The band and the dancers are a single, flowing, rhythmic being. The cells of our bodies vibrate to the music. Our gestures fall naturally into the rhythm. Whether we are aware of it or not, we all move as a single entity. Everything is alive and dances. This is synchronicity.
Jung once wrote, "If a handful of matches is thrown to the floor, they form the pattern characteristic of that moment." The chance fall of the coins we use in casting the I Ching is not random and meaningless. It represents the reality of that moment in time.
Yin And Yang
Albert Einstein wrote, "There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind appearance." The most basic way to describe the universe is to say simply that it is. The Chinese call this totality the Tao. But saying that the universe "just is" isn't enough. We need to define the differences in this "is-ness" in order to understand the world around us. The Chinese call these differences yin and yang.
I Ching Made Easy. Copyright © by Amy M. Sorrell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.