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I-Ching 20 Overview

Apr 27, 2024

There’s a storm outside my window at the moment. There are flashes of lightning and the sound of thunder. Perfect and dramatic timing as I drew Hexagram 20- Overview. The Hexagram states: 


During a period between events, the practice of stillness with awareness is beneficial. By mindfully observing the true nature of things—by apprehending the rhythms and cycles that guide all creation—we can discover and explore the natural laws that rule our lives. Examine yourself and your situation, not just with the thought of discovering truth but also with the idea of focusing your personal power.


Even though it was pouring rain, I went for a walk as soon as it paused. Even though there was a potential for another downpour, it felt right to be outside. I walked as far as possible, thinking about the hexagram’s message. I could hear thunder near me, and it started to rain. I found shelter near a local bookshop. The rain came down hard, almost like it was trying to communicate something to me. I did what I was told, I allowed myself to be trapped in that moment and just be still and observe the nature of everything. What did I need to examine about myself in this very moment? Maybe the truth was I still lacked faith in a lot of things. Maybe I lacked faith in things because I was afraid of what the other side of trusting looked like. I feared the possibility of appearing foolish for trusting the wrong things and people, especially after investing my whole heart into everything. Acting from the heart without expecting anything in return is a challenging practice. While we may wish it were ingrained in us effortlessly, many of us who naturally give find ourselves being taken advantage of.


The downpour grew stronger, almost in rhythm with the building of my feelings. I could hear the words in my head from a song echo…


You can't open your eyes for a while

You just breathe that moment down…

Lose your faith in me.”


It’s taken me a long time to build my faith. Every time I have, the world has shown me how much there is to look forward to. So many paths would lead me to everything I could ever want. But what was it about the doubt that was so strong? Doubting myself became an entire distrust of the entire universe and all the confirmations it was trying to show me. It was a domino effect, a slippery slope. That’s what negativity can do: one moment of darkness seeps into other parts of your life. I’ve seen darkness form in various ways, especially in the spiritual/wellness community, and I was in the thick of it. It was easy to delude ourselves since many of us were introduced to spirituality through darkness. It was a way to regain our sense of self again, to find safety in something bigger- to make all the pain make sense. The rain grew louder. I forced myself to look deeper. I saw how people in the spiritual community so badly wanted to be seen. There was a tendency for individuals within these communities to seek validation and recognition, sometimes at the expense of genuine growth and humility. 


What was it about attention and recognition that felt like a drug? I feared being put on a pedestal too high to get down. I wanted to make sure I kept the human and checked my ego.  As much as I loved the idea of enlightenment, I was still trying to get used to being grounded. Why were we so obsessed with being like Gods when we could barely embody peace here and now? That was also a drug of the spiritual realm, creating any meta-physical scenarios that fit the narrative. Practicing spirituality requires wisdom and discernment so you are never fooled by the most accessible person you can fool, yourself.  Plenty of spiritual leaders and seekers fooled themselves into a “higher state of being.” It is essential to believe in something, and I was afraid we lacked the self-awareness and honesty to dismantle false perceptions as we strive for authenticity. A line from an old martial arts movie came back to me:


"The enemy has only images and illusions behind which he hides his true motives. 

Destroy the image, and you will break the enemy.”


How do we destroy the image? Who is the enemy? Only wisdom could enter here now. I must first recognize my demons to see the demons in others. Destroy the image by letting go of the illusion that we will ever be perfect in this lifetime, detach from the idea that we may ever reach an enlightened state, and have compassion for those who struggle to find their path. The path of purpose is the hardest path to stay on. Spiritual elitism would destroy what the devotees had intended to build in the first place: unity and awakening within the collective consciousness.


 There was a book outside the bookstore, Being you, by Anil Seth, sitting on top of a pile of other books. I took this opportunity to let the Universe speak to me. I flipped through the pages and asked to land on a page to give me an answer, I landed: 


Experiences of being you, or of being me, emerge from the way the brain predicts and controls the internal state of the body.” 


 I looked at the rain, and allowed myself to get lost in every single moment of it. The words of the Hexagram came back..”Examine yourself and your situation, not just with the thought of discovering truth but also with the idea of focusing your personal power.


It hit me. I didn’t trust myself enough after spending the last few years building everything I could to reach this point. Now, when I needed it the most, I was losing faith because I wasn’t sure I could trust myself with the abundance I received. What was it about myself that I didn’t trust at this point? I sat with this for a while longer. I was reaching a new threshold of some sort. Overview…. Composure and contemplation. After a long climb and hike towards the top, we don’t immediately find our way down, do we? We stay at the overview and sit in the presence of everything we’ve overcome to get to that point before we think about trekking down to the other side.


Often, towards our destination, it’s easy to want to lose faith; it's the easy way out. No one saw the goal anyway, and it’s not like it would affect anyone else to give up. But, it would forever be a dream that never really dies. A lie and defeat we forever live with. A dishonest way to say, “I was just terrified to see what would happen if I did succeed, that I did trust myself along the way, that I wouldn’t destroy what I had cultivated.” That was it. I was afraid I would destroy all the good that came into my life because of the person I used to be. It’s not like we were ever given the manual to get life right. We came into life to make mistakes and to learn. It didn’t make it any easier the more you strived for something honest. When you’re honest with yourself and start holding yourself to a higher standard, it becomes harder to see yourself lie. Harder to see yourself anywhere near deception. 


I don't think I love you anymore

That gold mine changed you…”


I was afraid my gold mine would change me, I saw how much it changed others. I didn’t want to repeat destructive cycles and patterns. I didn’t want to get lost in a world of self-absorption. I lacked examples of people who fully trusted themselves, and I grew weary of being a role model for something I felt uncertain about. Despite my efforts, I didn't perceive myself as a shining example; I was simply striving to do my best. Yet, I understand that striving is all we can do. It was important for me to realize this fear, transcend this barrier, and push myself toward a new perspective. I realized I needed to shed this aspect of myself to uncover what lies beyond. While our brains lack time sensors, our experiences can profoundly influence our perception of time, either instilling fear of the future or perpetuating self-fulfilling prophecies. It's so crucial to let go of this nostalgic attachment to past negativities. Instead, I must create anticipation for the future, envisioning the emotions I aspire to feel by embodying them now. Doing so will allow me to recognize and embrace them when they manifest. Learning to bend time means learning to control time through hallucination- a potent state of daydreaming.


My visions of the future were coming to fruition faster than I realized. I now needed to continue to have a new level of faith alongside them. I needed to trust others around me as well. Having faith in others close to you is hard, but it is part of healing the wounds inside us that require giving and receiving. You can’t always guarantee people will offer you their best in return, but that's not a reason to stop trusting. The rain stopped, and I looked behind me as if something or someone was there. I saw a card that said, “You are loved.”  We may have forgotten a simple fact, the Universe/God/Heavenly Mother/Father loved us regardless of our spiritual understanding. I accepted it as a synchronicity and kept walking. I needed to build a strong, loving, faithful future. A recogonized future, foreseen and built from someone I trust- myself.