I asked the I Ching:
“What can I do to have courage and strength?”
The answer was so powerful that I had to write it down in my journal so I could internalize it, and I also wanted to type it up on my blog to share it with you, because it’s just good advice in general.
Hexagram 40 Line 5
It is time to eliminate bad habits and behaviors and free yourself from relationships and situations that drag you down. Deliverance requires inner resolution and perseverance. You alone can save yourself. No one else can do it for you. But if you stay the course, people who undermine your self-worth or have an unhealthy influence in your life will see that you cannot be taken advantage of and they will withdraw of their own accord.
“Delivering yourself” means treating yourself with respect and developing a positive attitude toward who you are and what you do. Deliverance requires a narrative of redemption. It means believing in a vision of yourself and in a story of your life in which things can get better. If you hold fast to this vision and make this story your story, your life will indeed improve.
By believing in yourself and becoming committed to your deliverance, you will no longer attract harmful people, and you will no longer get yourself entangled in unhealthy behaviors and difficult circumstances that you could have avoided.
Jack M. Balkin, The Laws of Change
I need to stay focused on this message, because I need courage and strength in order to stay on the right path. After a lifetime of approval seeking and people pleasing, I finally know what it’s like to be free, but there are still backsliding and self-sabotaging habits that I need to be aware of. Only I can save myself.
It’s finally raining after many weeks, and the shop cats are all gathered inside. Work has been slow, but I find ways of occupying my time. In any case, there’s still The Room left to clean.
The sound of rain and thunder echoes in the garage. There’s an uneasy truce between the cats. I get excited by auspicious I Ching readings.
I enjoy being happy in and of myself. Most everything, even my opinion about myself, is a condition that I could use as a reason to not be happy, but I’ve trained myself to choose to be happy instead. The rain is coming down hard!
Since I’m (re)starting over, I’m going back to basics; keeping it simple; getting to the heart of the matter; being sincere. That’s one of the benefits of a new beginning. I can keep what I like, and leave out what I don’t like. One of the most basic and important things is being aware of what feels good to me, which I sometimes only realize after knowing what doesn’t feel good to me. The key is to use what doesn’t feel good to identify what does feel good, and to focus on and do the things that feel good.
Sometimes I need to talk to myself about what feels good at the moment, and that whatever I’m doing does actually feel good, and that I’m choosing to do it. This is also sometimes necessary when it comes to remembering things from the past that don’t feel so good to think about, and cause confusion. If the emotions are too strong, I do my best to focus on other things that feel good, but when I can, I get clear about what I really think about the subject. That’s when I realize that certain things I did, I actually wanted to, and it felt good to do it, but other things didn’t feel so good, and I would do it differently now.
At the heart of it, I think what people desire is to know what they want to do – and be able to do what they want to do – in the way that they want to do it. Doobeee doobee doo. We may dress up this desire in various ways – make excuses, justify it, try to explain, seek cooperation, or manipulate others – but it seems like we essentially want to follow our heart’s desire. I asked the I Ching what my heart’s desire was, and it said that in the midst of old things falling away, what I have left is my integrity; the seeds of something new.
Today, I found myself feeling very angry, frustrated, and sad; sorry for myself, and blameful of others. But I found a way to feel better because I wanted to, and now I know that no matter how angry I feel, I can feel better. I did an I Ching reading and as usual, received accurate, timely, and wise guidance. I’ve been using The Gnostic Book of Changes every day, and these definitions from Hexagram 22 line 1 are words I want to live by:
- At the outset, the man is tempted to create a falsely flattering public image for himself. A simple demeanor is more gracious and fitting to his position.
- Move forward under your own power and avoid false appearances, dubious shortcuts, or ostentatious behavior. It is more important now that you rely upon your own worth.
- Now the attribute of art, or grace, consists of discarding all nonessential adornments. It consists of leaving out everything superfluous, and of confining art to its appropriate place.
- One must rely on one’s own inner worth rather than a “vehicle” of ostentatious superficiality. Suggested is the need to abandon a crutch of some kind.
- You are able to make your own decisions.
- You can stand on your own two feet.
- Rely upon your own resources and initiative.
I did an I Ching reading and received Hexagram 4 “Inexperience”, and after looking up the meaning from The Modern Poet’s I Ching, I was struck by the accuracy and beauty of this definition, so I’m quoting it. It succinctly describes what I’ve experienced so far, and sums up my overall outlook on life.
You are lucky right now, although you may not see it clearly. In fact, you have probably been through a decidedly unsettling period in your life. You have been open-heartedly, even carelessly, following your instincts in order in gain the experience and self-awareness to which you are committed. Probably you wonder in amazement at moments on some possibly devastating mistakes in the recent past. You have, however, emerged relatively unscathed. The experiences you needed and sacrificed for are now part of your personal history, but the lingering anxiety of a near-disaster and the haunting complications remain at hand.
You are a good-hearted person basically, who likes to meet life head on and give back a solid measure of what you take. Now is your time for learning and true growth. If you were willing to accept the pleasure and excitement of your recent experiences, you must be equally willing now to recognize the depth and meaning behind your actions. You have wanted to grow and now you are challenged down to your roots.
You will experience a shifting teacher/student role for yourself at this time. One moment you may find yourself explaining life’s secrets to someone close to you–the next moment you will be puzzled and reaching out for a bit of wisdom to help you through. A positive and thoughtful attitude will ensure you of gaining the most from the magical, yet confusing, dazzle of these days. Be patient as summer and gentle and wise as rain. Although you don’t have wide experience with great numbers of people over long years of life, you have a talent for understanding which sets you apart from most people. You encourage and explain at the right times for others, as you delve into the depths of human nature.
I woke up from a vivid dream about my ex. I did a few I Ching readings about it, got up to feed my cat, and attempted to go back to sleep, but it felt like anxiety was gripping at my heart with an icy claw.
I’m doing things differently these days. I’m being my own friend, and blogging about it to my followers. I’m taking ownership and responsibility for the happiness and success in my life. I’d given my considerable powers away, but now I’m reclaiming it.
I know that this has to do with fear, which is also about discovering my true power and strength. It’s about appreciating all the great things in my life. I don’t need to look for someone else’s approval. I don’t need to be envious of other people’s happiness and success if I appreciate who I am, what I have, and what I can do.
Last week, before moving into our new apartment, I was listening to an Abraham seminar that was on a USB hard drive, and all of a sudden the hard drive stopped working. This kind of thing has happened before with other hard drives, and it usually ended badly, so I was doing my best to not panic as I mentally went over what was on this particular hard drive, and berating myself for not backing up the files.
I decided to consult the I Ching, and the guidance I received said to not pursue the possessions I’d lost, and that in seven days it would be returned to me. I was struck by the accuracy of the reading, but somewhat skeptical of waiting for seven days for my hard drive to “magically” work. In fact, I tried several troubleshooting techniques for a couple of hours before putting the hard drive away.
You can probably guess where this story is headed, but read on anyway. I was already budgeting money toward a new hard drive, and thinking about how to recover the files. Then we moved into the new apartment (as I’ve chronicled), and the hard drive was forgotten until tonight. I was thinking “wouldn’t it be funny if it really did work seven days later?” Still somewhat skeptical, I plugged it in, and naturally enough it worked like a charm.
As much as I’ve written about self-improvement, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics, I’m surprisingly skeptical and stubborn about these things, which makes me a good teacher and student all-in-one. Miracles are actually the norm, and it’s our own disbelief that makes them seem rare.