Heaven Question Assignment

I am a f*cking flying dragon in the sky. Yo.

I told the story of being gang raped at the age of 17 when I first began this assignment. I wrote of the survival instinct that emerged to conquer the powerlessness and transcend being outcast. The journey took me to Japan to work for the Yakuza in the sex trade industry. Innocence lost was replaced by achievement and success in the seedy underworld. I jus
t kept moving, doing, getting farther from home and burning through the environment. Although the ideas of sexual trauma and response may seem to belong to yin and earth, something quite the opposite moved in me. I sense something ancestral in heaven: it is doing what has to be done and also what has been done by our forebearers throughout time. We are taught it and we also know it. My sisters before me forged a similar trail as courtesans and madams: the Mary Magdalenes.

Trigram Heaven by Adele Aldridge. http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

I became the essence of the prostitute because of this inner heritage of knowing what to do. Certainly I was not literally taught this in my small town high school. The shock and trauma of the event unleashed an age old instinct, an internal navigation, a powerful urge. The early stages of this odyssey were creative and unique and marked by action and guts; but the motivations were not from a source of pure heaven. Things were askew, unbalanced and driven by unconscious pain. Even so, I do not think it was a wrong example, so much as one overly clouded in negative association.

Heaven has been the most challenging energy for me to get a handle on in its natural, positive essence. This would seem contradictory, given the name. All those yang lines gave me the feeling of heaviness, oppressiveness, piled one atop another, and no way out. I struggled with the images of Hexagram 44, the temptress, the one never to marry. I have had to separate my emotions and life-long associations to embrace the purity of the creative force. I had to quit seeing it as something done to me, or something for me to avoid or to emulate. I had to become the dragon, instead of simply riding it.

I began to see the process of writing blog posts about trigrams as the example most compelling and current to help me positively embrace the creative force of the attributes of heaven. It has been a meta experience akin to magnifying the magnified. I am endeavoring to write about the creative force that is behind writing about heaven, which is the creative force. I also did a reading about it. I have been in a state of keen awareness of the feeling that I am about to write it, knowing it, just before actually doing it.

There is a confidence, a trust, in me that has come from all the writing I have done before, including about all the other trigrams. I have know-how. I have studied and lived it, and I feel confidence in my creative ingenuity. I can feel the timing. Life demands and work duties have been part of the timing, but there is also the movement of the dragon within me from murky ideas, to expression, to toiling through without concern if it is right or wrong or what others may think. My experience is emerging and I cannot but tell it. This is the best feeling ever. I noticed it with such highlight and contrast that I almost wanted to stay there. It was that place, before the ideas have come together, of knowing, trusting, and feeling that the timing will be perfect and the words will come, and the piece will reach completion.

The other night, I woke from sleep with a start thinking that I had lost the ability to write it. I sat up. I feared for a moment that I had waited too long to begin, milking the feeling of knowing it would come. It is time to do. It is time to sit and organize all the parts and write the ideas. It is time for action. It’s not about what I have done in the past, but what I am experiencing now. It is the toil of working through the stages of the creative process. Live it now and move with it. My Tai Chi teacher, Jude, tells each student to see and feel their own movements as the best Tai Chi. It is the best for you in this moment. I know this now, as I write, that this is the best ever. This is heaven.

 

“It isn’t that Heaven doesn’t want to think about consequences. Heaven moves forward, it is continuous action and it can only be stopped by something else. It is like a beam of light that travels the universe.”  – Harmen

Assignment: How does the trigram describe a situation? How does it describe a cause (origin, root)? How does it describe a person? How does it tell you what to do? What does it tell about how to do something?

Situation

Father. Sunlight. Force. Creative. Focus. Action. Persistence. Powerful. Exertion. Firm. Hard.

It is characterized by action and determination. It is to keep doing. With Heaven the consequences are calculated and known, carefully rationalized and pros and cons weighted. The lines can feels thick, heavy, pressing. There is no breaking through it, no denying it or getting around it. It is a foundation. It feels impenetrable, unbreakable.

In the light of yang there is color and the sunrise, which is beautiful and primal. There are many questions and answers and learning. It is science and religion and it answers many questions. But it also turns it into sold beliefs that cannot be penetrated. It can lead to feeling closed in, over ruled, dominated, and not allowing for other interpretations. There is security and protection in it, like a house, a father, a husband, a teacher, a leader.

It is continuous, a pure energy that is lasting. It generates and re-generates. It transcends every situation. It is origin with no beginning or ending. It directs in perfect timing. It is an urge without need from other sources. It cannot be depleted.

It is knowing what must be done and when to do it. In that way it is survival: finding food and water, navigating, and hunting. It learns and teaches. Our ancestors taught us. It is breath. It is know-how that comes from ancestry and ingenuity. It meets the demand. It takes the creative and unique opportunity to advantage. It is punctuality and expert timing in readiness. It is a knowing season. There is determination, force, and achievement. It is passed down. There is faith, trust, skill and intelligence. It is implicit presence. It is a wavelength.

Cause

The force and energy of heaven causes things to flourish and grow and be built, created, and recognized. It can make beauty and art and buildings and religions.

It does not ever quit. It causes things to manifest, become visible. It makes leaders. Heaven is said to cause the orbits of the planets, the seasons, the rays of the sun. It causes things to get done in the right timing. It is the urge.

Person

It is a person determined in action and characterized by purpose and will. There is confidence and strength in this person. They know what to do and have control and timing. It could be a bad ass, a king of the
domain. All titles and rewards belong to heaven. Other people recognize this person as a leader.

What to do

Take action. Do. Be creative. Exert your will. Lead. Use power and persistence. Go for it. Use creative solutions. Be firm.. Take control. Have confidence. Utilize strength in action. Keep going. Focus. Use skill and ability, resources, and talents. Just do it. Motivate. Deal with it. Express the urge. Move when it is time to move. Use fortitude. Do it 100%. Do it without concern as to what others think.

How to do it

Forcefully. Unremittingly. Persistantly. With control and confidence. With ingenuity, determination, and inspiration. . Resourcefully.

 

Puff Play

Harmen suggested I look for positive associations for heaven (after my first submission of gang rape and prostitution). I sought to understand the dragon. Who better than Puff? With this exploration, I came to see the dragon with fresh eyes, in child-like innocence, a pal, and a creative creature.

 

“Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea”

Puff is an outward breath or exhalation. It is the force of the beginning of life. It is the first cry of a baby. Magic is power, influence, a force upon events. He lived by the water which is yin energy. Yin and yang live in harmony.

And frolicked in the autumn mist”

Frolicking is playful and without malice and connotes sexual activity or, metaphorically speaking, fertilization of child-like imagination. It denotes seasonal activity. Autumn is associated with the kind of transformation that represents going down, the end of summer and of childhood. The mist obscures vision. As we age, our vision of the creative imagination is often lost. It is the alchemical tears produced by moisture and air. Change is inevitable.

“in a land called Honnah Lee.

Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff”

This fertile, innocent force is from a land unknown. His origins are mysterious. The friend of the dragon is diminutive in comparison and also fragile. He is made of paper. Childhood is tender and can be easily destroyed by elements. In comparison, the dragon is grand, hardy, seasonal, never-ceasing and strong. The child-like innocence adores the scale, both the size and the skin, the rascal. The dragon is not bad, but he is an outcast and misunderstood.

“And brought him strings and sealing wax”

The child makes a sacrifice, a gift, to the dragon of creative implements. He gives over the tools to the creative force. The string is from musical instruments and connotes tuning someone, perhaps to a purpose. It is also an attachment, which can also be a limitation, like a leash. There are stipulations to the creative force. Sealing wax is evidence of authenticity. It is also approval and can be likened to one’s destiny.

“and other fancy stuff, oh!”

Fancy is a liking, affection, and is also associated with a whim or desire: a productive imagination. It is conception of an image. There is a sense of the ornamental and elegance in art, that can be superficial or it can be the outward manifestation of the inner self. The child shares with the dragon his creative spirit and it is thereby made fanciful. Stuff is to furnish, fill, and reinforce. It is the protection under chain-mail. It is the filling and fulfillment of what is inside. And the ‘oh’ denotes it is all so very true, and simply amazing. Indeed.

Water Question Assignment

This river was a winding, challenging, terrifying, devastating, hopeful and hopeless ride through treatments, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, rising hopes and dashing disappointments. Allen, my husband, said he wanted to go shopping for a scooter. He was on oxygen and a feeding tube. He weighed very little and had difficulty walking and doing even basic activities. We had a little dog, Max, who was his constant companion.

Trigram Water by Adele Aldridge http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

There was no way in the world this man was ever going to ride a scooter. I tried to talk him out of the adventure. He would not be deterred. All through his illness I had to deal with the anger I felt. I wasn’t mad at him. I learned early on that being angry about the things I did to assist him, translated as resentment. I never wanted him to feel that I resented being with him. I often would say out loud to myself and to him that there was no place that I would rather be than by his side, no matter the course. My heart was all in, even though I was also pissed off as all hell.

I was mad, and I was constantly figuring out ways to channel and release it. Everything in those days felt like a grand effort.  For this journey, I loaded up the oxygen tank, with its stand with wheels plus an extra tank. I packed the feeding tube bag and pump in the travel bag. The back pack for it has a tube that attached into his stomach for liquid nutrition. I prepared the medications and syringes. I loaded up the dog with his leash and water bowl and travel carrier. It was Florida, so there would be no leaving the dog in the car.

We had to find scooter places in a city where we had recently relocated. We plotted out GPS routes and took off in the traffic. It was tiresome and frustrating and I was not enjoying it, though I tried. I wish I could say that I was happily going along with this course, but I was mad as hell the whole time. I was mad at cancer. I was mad that he wanted to ride a scooter and could not. I was mad at the impossibility of dreams. I was mad at the difficulties. I was mad. I was just so mad.

We went into a Honda motor bike dealership. I carried the feeding tube back pack, wheeled the oxygen tank, and carried Max in his carrier. I wanted Allen to have some freedom of movement. The bikes all leaned precariously and heavily. He sat on them, to feel them, and to imagine the wind in his hair on an open road. At every turn I was fearful that a bike would fall over, wipe him out, and hit all the others in the line crashing down like dominos. I was aware of the people watching us with confusion and what felt like concern or distaste or maybe pity. Why couldn’t I be happy to be doing this? I felt inward pain and restrained rage. I continued despite, or perhaps because of, the emotions.

In another dealership, I could not go in. I was drowning in anger at the situation and at the unfair challenges that overwhelmed me. I stayed in the car with Max while Allen went in by himself. It was the Vespa dealership. We both loved the smart looking scooters. I could not bear to see what we would never ride together. I was a dam gate of pressure. In this bit of time alone, I resolved that I would be more willing and accepting. I exhaled in this temporary puddle. I eddied as the engine idled.

Each place and route it seemed was a nightmare of traffic jams and missing turns and getting lost and turning around and starting over. Allen was calm and patient chatting about scooters and places he would like to ride. The final place was small and had both used and new bikes and scooters. My anger had simmered to more of a rippled grimace. I lugged the accoutrements of our journey and in we went. There was only one man at this final place, and he was very kind. We spent some time there. Allen picked out his favorite scooter. It was white and just in our price range. We told the man we would be back.

Why did I think I had to tell Allen on the way home that he would not be able to ride? I said that he would kill himself on it. He said he did not care. It would be a good way to go. I said he might take someone else out with him. He said that we would go where there was no one around. This made me so damn mad. I cannot explain this anger. I could not stop it or control it. It would not leave me. I told Allen that I was not mad at him. I told him I loved him with all of my heart. I explained that I was mad at the situation. I was mad at the illness. I told him I wished I could have fun with him on this outing. He said he loved me for my anger. He thanked me for taking him.

Allen died three days later. I was so ashamed about this outing and the way I had behaved. I cried every time I thought of it. I wailed in agony at passing scooters or the places we had been. I begged him out loud for forgiveness. I hated myself that I had not been kind and joyful in his final days and through his last wishes. I was determined to bury this memory into a knot of self-hatred and regret.

A year after his death I met with his adult children to place the headstone. They wanted to know things about his final days. I passed over the scooter shopping like a scratch in a record. And then it hit me. This was not about me. I exhaled and shared the story. It was a testament to the way Allen had loved and embraced life. It was an example of his strength of spirit. It did not matter that I felt like an asshole. As I told the story, we laughed and shook our heads and gulped back tears. We giggled at me carrying all the medical equipment and the dog. We made light at my anger. It was so apparently understandable. The memory of a wonderful man, who was so full of life that he would go scooter shopping in his final days, transformed the remorse I had carried and washed it away.

I have come to see that anger as the rush of rapids, the course of the river, the flood waters rising. I took the plunge. I filled in the pit. I screamed. I cried. I toiled. I perspired. I laughed. I loved. I did it. I cussed like a ship of sailors. I said there is no place other than here that I would rather be, or that I can be. I did not talk him out of it. I did not give up. I did not sit home and feel sorry for myself. That would have been a deep regret. I am a person who gets angry by injustice. I am a person who cusses. I am a person that straps on feeding tubes, oxygen tanks, and service animals while keeping a wary eye on a frail, life-loving man sitting atop a motorcycle.

 

WATER

Assignment: How does the trigram describe a situation; a cause (origin, root); a person?  How does it tell you what to do? What does it tell about how to do something?

“Engaged movement’ and ‘venture’ – yes, as long as it is not will-driven or actively steered in a purposeful chosen direction. Water has to follow the course that is set out for it.” –Harmen

 

Situation

Water is a situation of danger, risks, uncertainty, uncontrollable emotions, and hearing the inner rhythms of the heart. It is weak outside, yet strong inside. There is a sense of no way around it. The challenge it poses is full of difficulty and the work feels like drudgery, never ending and without purpose. Around every curve is something different and there is no way to prepare for it except by being fluid, flexible. There is the possibility to gather strength and force, but only by the effort of keeping fluid. The situation is moving along the set course. The challenge feels like fingers worked to the bone.  There is nothing that can change the course, except to follow it. In this way, the obstacles inherent in the situation can be moved past.

There is something of sound and listening for the familiar, and repeating rhythms in it. Listen for the beat of your heart or the rhythm of the situation. It may be the kind of danger for which patience is required, like paying taxes, or being with in-laws, or a busy week at work. There is a downward flow to the situation which can mean moving with it and through the obstacles and challenges. You can do this because you have done it before in one way or another. It is an exhale or a sigh and can feel like exhaustion in the repetitive nature of the difficulties.

It is also a situation where we are following our Dao and doing what is needed to meet the challenges. It is listening to the inner pulse and going with the current. Water does not have its own will but rather follows the laws of nature. It coils and moves downward, ever changing and inexhaustible. It is also about patterns and shapes. It is the realm of emotions especially the deep ones like sadness, seething rage, loneliness, and grief.  It is the unconscious in the mid of winter and a deep place of knowing. It is the moon, a state of reflection and mystery. It is sound that is stored and also carried. Water is associated with fear and hard work and so it is also the place of courage and fortitude. Emotions bring nostalgia and trauma and intuition.

It is an ‘uh-oh’ feeling. It has the association of being in a pit, a drop off the cliff. It is described by what it has to meet, get over or around. Yin lines on the outside are like feelers, antennae, checking the environment. Yin moves in response to the conditions. Yang on the inside is the set course, the flow that moves downward, or fills up. The fluidity of water is to be in constant contact with what is inside and what is outside. Plans are not helpful. The environment, which is not the water, is changing.

A river splashes and runs fast in the channels with a whoosh of sound. It banks on the curves. It crashes into boulders and swirls around them. It moves back to the rush and flow of the main channel. It becomes a circular eddy in small holes or ditches. At a flat place it becomes wide and smooth. As the path descends the pace speeds up. At a drop off it is a waterfall. It splays out, then curls up in bubble and foam at the bottom.

Cause

Water causes a situation characterized by difficulty, danger, hard work, deep emotions, and mystery. It can also be a plunge into the unconscious realm, mystery, and the unknown.

It is to flow along without question. The risk and danger feel like a rush at times. No plan is pondered with this course or consideration of how it might end up. There is familiarity with falling, with descending, and moving along without purpose. Emotions cloud reason by rippling without query, control, or objective.

Person

It is someone characterized by emotional response like sadness or by danger and difficulties.  This is a person who flows with their deepest knowing and intuition and with fluidity. It is one who flows with the challenges. There is adaptability. They do what needs to be done as it arises.

What to do

Take the plunge. See where it takes you. Work at it if that is what is needed. Use emotions to inform the quality of the situation. Listen to your most inner knowing. Follow your heart. Adapt to the environment. Be loose and fluid. Expect changes and follow what you know as things come up rather than any plan. Feel with attention the inner voice, and resources. Check in with emotions and feelings without letting them take control.

Water moves through the course. The direction is set and there is obligation to move along with the layout of the terrain. It feels risky to move fast and without a plan. The movement is in service to the confines, the limits, of environment. There is a grinding away through the uncertainty of the changes in the curves and the uneven path. Move around the obstacles and continue the venture. Inside there is a gurgling of emotions, hearing the echoes of the world. Just keep moving. Use inner strength to measure the flow.

How to do it

Do it fluidly. Do it with adaptability. Use emotions. Do it with engagement and venturing. Stay with the set course. Toil through. Avoid getting stuck or being rigid. Follow the course. Do it with awareness that the environment is changing

Stay strong on the inside while flowing through bubbling up, uncontrolled emotions. Keep moving. Let the obstacles, the past, the work, and the day be gone. Make use of knowing how to meet each turn or bend along the way. There is no stopping, no quitting, only continuing on the course. Fill in the pit and rise to the top. Leap into the unknown, flow over the edge and continue onward. Take the risk without reserve as the course demands.

Flowing down a dry riverbed path is a cautious adventure. There are loose rocks and stones that roll, sticks that crack and break, sudden holes and ditches, and curves and bends that are impossible to see around. It is a freeing feeling of fluidity. It is powerful. It is the rush of danger. It forms the path it follows and changes and shapes the obstructions it encounters. In maintaining this fluid state of mind there are no obstacles whatsoever.

Fire Question Assignment

 

fire-adele

Trigram Fire by Adele Aldridge http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

Lay the fire with a bed of tinder.  It is that which fire is not without. Ah, the tinder! It is in the middle of the chosen place. It is the thread and the weave, the open middle, the yin aspect. The associations with the spinner are feminine. Consider the spinster: an unmarried woman; or the spinning house: a prison for prostitutes which is a house of corrections for impassioned women. To weave is to spin images. It is the beginning of the burning. Spinning or making tinder is to draw out and twist fibers into thread. This is in preparation, to make it ready to transform and to receive the spark.

explosive-1598271_1280

I learned to make a fire from a bow drill, which is as close to rubbing two sticks together as it gets. The interesting thing about making a fire in the wilderness, in a survival situation, is the steps and considerations before there is to be fire. Fire does not come or begin or maintain or grow on its own. It requires fuel and the proper environment.fire-diagram

In making a fire, before we learn how to make the tools, we are taught to consider the placement of the fire. You want your fire to heat and to last without burning fuel excessively. Fires are placed in hallows or on stones with consideration of the wincampfire-1585353_1280d and elements that are either moist or combustible. A blazing fire is too hot for cooking and burns too much fuel. A fire built on roots can cause underground fires. A fire built with too much exposure will blow out. A fire too far from the hut will not keep you warm in the night, or fire too close will sweat you out or smoke you out. Its good to have a barrier to the heat, something to keep it in, or bouncing back.

In preparation you build a kind of hut or tipi for the flame. This is placed on the spot you have carefully picked out with careful consideration. There are four types of grades of fuel: tinder (very fine wood and bark fibers), kindling (Twigs and slivers of wood), squaw wood (pencil to wrist thick sticks), and firewood (logs and branches). There are many things to consider in gathering the fuel: the types of trees and the hardness of the wood, the location near water, the amount of moisture, gathering dead limbs from trees rather than ground wood, etc. Moisture in wood can be good for some uses of fire. However the tinder, that which catches the spark, must be as dry as possible.

The tipi is built around the tinder, leaving an opening to the wind. Balance and lean the skinniest and sman-outbreak-of-1756848_1280allest kindling first to protect it and ready to catch the first flames. Place the kindling around it, getting larger and thicker, to about 6-8 inches wide and a foot high. This technique will aid in flourishing any fire.

The bow drill is 5 parts. Each element is chosen withcare and molded with precision. The bow is the cordage tied to the spindle. The handhold is between your hand and the spindle. It holds the drill in place and is made of rock, bone, or very hard wood. The fireboard is a flat piece, twice as long as the drill and half as thick. It is notched and made from the same medium hard, dry wood as the drill.  The drill is a rounded wood 8’ spindle with points at both ends. The tinder is a light fluff ball of dry fiber

By holding the apparatus in the correct form and movement a rhythm continues with strong intentions and focus.  There is a warming friction from the thrusting and stroking of the combination of the tools. Things begin to heat up. Patience, timing, good form, and coordinated movement all play significant roles. Equally as important, even vital to the process, are the mental and emotional qualities. It is desire fueled with belief.

My teacher taught us all the steps. When it came to the portion where he demonstrated the making of fire from wood, he asked us for our help. He wanted that we believe in him and his ability to make it happen. He asked us to focus with faith and the image of the fire, but also with patience in the process. We were not to wander or lose interest in the creation of the spark. In attitude we were rooting him on with delighted anticipation of fire. The success is enjoyed by all.

I constructed my own bow drill and tipi with tinder. I held within me the positive desire and faith. I copied the stance and the movement. I practiced the task with attention to smooth movement: stroking, desiring, believing, doing, and continuing. It is mindful, physical, and emotional. It is praying to the gods and also releasing all thought. As the heat and the smoke becomes a red spark it is all consuming. It is orgasmic.

I feed the spark to the tinder, where they combine into flame. I blow them together and cradle the glow. Fire in my hands is transferred to the opening of the tipi. It catches. I am in elation, breathless, gasping, in wonder and awe. I am also spent from the exertion, my muscles screaming in the release. A warm glow fills my face. The fire is clinging to the structure and moved by the wind and radiates light and warmth. I sit back and smile. Satisfaction, fulfillment, reward are kindled by the flames.

flame-1620214_1280

 

Question Assignment

How does the trigram describe a situation? …cause (origin, root)? …a person? How does it tell you what to do?  What does it tell about how to do something?

“I can’t say it is wrong (to see fire as a net or that which connects, sifts and separates). The name of the trigram, li 離, means ‘leave, separate, part’. At the same time, because of its connection to Fire, it means ‘to connect, cling’. This gives this trigram a somewhat Buddhist flavor – when you cling to something you will sooner or later have to let go of it, like when Fire burns it fuel it will sooner or later be disconnected to it. Yet when it comes to the meaning of the trigram it is the ‘connect’ part that is emphasized, not the ‘separate’ part.” –Harmen

Situation

A situation with the attributes of fire would be characterized by clinging, consuming, visualizing, and clarity. It is easy to imagine a nighttime camp fire that clings to and consumes the elements of wood and air to bring light and warmth. People are drawn to the warmth and to the light as tkitchen-239209_1280hey naturally gather for these properties. I think of the phrase ‘keep the home fires burning.’ The hearth was central to the home. It heats and is the place for cooking. It is a light that allows
discernment in the darkness. The hearth of the home is associated with cherishing and adhering to the family and the home. It is also a situation where we are using gut feelings, an internal process, to make decisions by what resonates with the fire within.

I also see it as a net. We are connected by it and separated by it at the same time. It catches what is useful and sifts out what is not. It is an internal process by which we decide what resonates in the gut and what does not. That which does not make it in the net is not gone, just not needed in the moment. There can be struggle to keep the spark alive. When surrounded by the structures and rules of the collective, blow on the little spark, feed it some tinder, and keep it alive.

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Too much fire, out of control, and congregating together, relying on others, and all is lost, consumed. Gone. The fire of hell is to lose the essence of the soulfulness. Whatever is thrown into it becomes something altogether different, ashes to ashes and dust to dust. That which society does not want to allow into the collective is burned away.

In a more out of balance sense, fire could represent a situation hot or volatile, with burning passions. In other words, it is a situation in need of cooling off.  When peoplphoenix-1440452_1280e come together around a fire, there is harmony as well as disagreement. It could be a situation characterized by a lack of independence in the sense of neediness and co-dependency. There is something of change in the sense of burning away impurities and complete transformation, a rendering by extreme heat, like the phoenix that rises from the ashes.

Cause

The cause or root can be whatever a person clings to as they move through life and specific situations. It could be love, creativity, the home, a career, a religion, or a cause. The fire as cause is to consider the roots of dependence, clinging. The attending to a fire or lack of attending to it could be a root cause. The fire must consume fuel to stay burning. It needs the proper environment. A spark can easily be buried or it can be the beginning of a forest fire. Discernment can lead to positive causes. It can also be blinding, if what is seen or considered is only by the light of the fire. It is not always the bigger picture.

Person

It is common to refer to a person who has a firebeach-1573213_1280 as being passionate about something. It is also a person characterized by a light of discernment and warmth. The thing that they cling to or depend on can be different sources of fuel. It might be a passion for love, for an ideal, or for art. It might also be people who have exhibited transformative effects in their lives, who were made different by the fire. It could also be a person dependent on others.

What to do

Consider what or who to depend on. Cling to the fuel that keeps the fire burning. Visualize. Imagine. Use discernment. Make use of passion. Use a spark. Blow the flames. Consider the grades of fuel and how they affect he fire. Tend the fire. Light the way. Get clarity. Bring in a sense of warmth. Adhere to something. Cherish. Feel it in the gut. Consume the fuel needed.

How to do it

Passionately. With desire. With clinging dependence. Discerningly. With clarity of vision. With belief in possibility. Use visualizing images. Transformatively. With dedication and devotion. With fervor and affection. Do it by watching the fire and how it adjusts to the fuel provided. Look at how to connect with the available fuel to keep the flame steady and burning.

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Wind Question Assignment

Assignment: 

  • How does the trigram describe a situation?
  • …a cause (origin, root)?
  • …a person?
  • How does it tell you what to do?
  • What does it tell about how to do something?

    06windwood

    Trigram Wind by Adele Aldridge http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

Wind

“It is communication, exchange, lasting progress, gradual & subtle change, curiosity, asking questions, playing the journalist, research, investigation, never give up, work on the long term, gentle pressure, small steps, walking, attention to details, writing detailed descriptions.” –Harmen

Situation

It is characterized by the effects that come from slow moving progress. Writing a story. Building and maintaining. Always there and never lost: influencing, forming, and changing perceptions. It affects the way of seeing the world and making choices. Elements manifest over time. There are visible effects from unseen beginninstairs-1627424_1280gs. It is quantity and quality of work. Little bits add up. It is a garden, a work of art, and tree roots growing through the sidewalk.

Research, slow, detailed work. It influences the approach taken. It is considering elements and attributes. It seems to be a diversion. Movement of the wind is unseen but effective. By the time the actual effects are seen time has passed. It is contemplation on deep levels, and daily tasks that are all adding up. Acceptance of a destination. Following a pattern.

Cause

Wind as a cause is easier to consider, because that is what we see anyway. The wind causes swirls and eddies, it causes leaves to dance, deserts to shift, and mountains to move. It causes a shift, which can be in perception. It has effects on mood and  creative expression and communication. Changing effects. The wind shifts the desert sand or the clouds and they appear completely different by the same cause. It is like influence of the Yi. The affect of 10 years ago is different than now, though it is the same cause.japan-956073_1280

In a more negative sense, a cause of a situation like the wind would be looking at things through only the details, the research, the long term pressure. This kind of cause might lead to a situation where time was spent on these things rather than other approaches. Could cause an imbalance in feeling release or joy in the present.

Person

breeze-1578424_1280Someone who is detailed, curious and never ending in their research and investigation. Questioning, and going step by step in the ongoing learning process and accumulation of knowledge to a useful approach that can be seen and felt.

There are people who spend their lifetime on projects and great works of art. There are also people who have toiled through life but have managed to support a family or build a business or have a farm. It is someone with inclination to continue doing.

What to do

Pay attention to the details with a questioning mind. Expect long term effects that cannot necessarily yet be seen or felt. Do not give up because things are happening on an unseen level. Don’t rush things or expect that it will go quickly. Consider the bigger picture. Approach the situation step by step. Consider the possible influence of things already put in motireed-1666746_1280on or that move more slowly. Use investigative techniques with a sense of curiosity. Do things with patience and an acceptance that some things take time. Be alert to subtle changes or affects. Exert a gentle pressure. Pay attention to the subtleties in communication, exchange, and music. Do a little bit consistently and continuously.

How to do it

Slowly. Gently. Curiously. Unceasingly. Investigatively. Patiently. With alertness to detail. With continuance. With subtlety in action and influence. With faith in small actions. With a sense of awe in noticing small things. With a sense of the grander vision within the details. With a sense of accomplishment in small steps.long-1245787_1280

Mountain Question Assignment

MOUNTAIN

Assignment: How does the trigram describe a situation; a cause (origin, root); a person?  How does it tell you what to do? What does it tell about how to do something?

Situation

04Mountain

Trigram Mountain by Adele Aldridge http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

When I am in a situation that is mountain, it will be characterized by stillness and inaction. The situation calls for stopping and consideration of the present surroundings. It represents a limit or boundary. It calls for thoughts to not go beyond the present. When there is a mountain in the situation, it is impossible to see through or past the mountain. It is possible to look back and consider the path up to the mountain and the steps already taken. If I face a situation that feels like a mountain, it might be that I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge. I may feel that it is in the way of what I want to do. I can’t just start hiking up a mountain without considering resources, time, purpose, etc. I may feel it is impossible, or I may feel like turning back. By stopping I can bring more awareness to present conditions. There may be something I have not considered, and it will only come to me with rest in mind, body, and spirit. It will only come with keen awareness of the present conditions. The situation is recognizing the limitation or boundary.

Cause

Mountain as a cause might be a challenge that is inherent in the chosen path. The mountain was already there. It may be that I had not planned for this situation that was bound to happen. The limitations are a natural part of the terrain. The cause is that I am being inactive or still in the chosen path and decisions. Since mountain is also about looking back, it could be that looking back has taken the focus off of looking ahead to the inherent challenges in the path. A mountain would be immobile, sturdy, un-moving. These are characteristics that might be considered causes for a situation to occur. The cause is looking at things as if it is limitation or an ending. A boundary marks the end of one kind of terrain and the beginning of another. A mountain range is a natural boundary between two things or places that are different. It feels like there is a spiritual aspect to mountain, because when you climb up you can see all around. There is greater perspective. Mountaintops and hilltops are associated with sacrifice, graves, and communing with heaven.

Person
A person described by mountain might be facing an obstacle, or a challenge to be overcome. It might also be a person characterized by stillness and meditation. It makes me think of the Buddah. I think of a person who allows the present to tell them how to act or not to act. Maybe it could be a person who is an obstacle or challenge and is resolute or not easily moved.DSCN4909 I watched this documentary about a woman Apache Indian who was known for her perceptive abilities. It was said she could tell from which direction the enemy was coming and how close they were. She would stand o
n the peak of a mountain with her hands out stretched and palms up. She would slowly turn in every direction. Her hands would tingle if she felt the enemy. A stronger tingle meant the enemy
was closer. A person who grows up living in a land and being so in touch with every aspect of it can likely detect interruptions, sounds, smells, that have become a natural part of their knowing. She reminds me of being still and in tune with all the details of the present moment.

“It can also be a person who is conservative by nature, thinks in limitations, is introspective and introvert, the silent type who doesn’t speak his mind yet has a lot to offer when he is approached, a librarian, etc.”  -Harmen Mesker

What to do

Be still. Stop. Meditate. Consider the steps that got me here. Consider the present situation. I re-focus thoughts by considering the beauty around me. I might think of my own body. I can adjust my position, by sitting up straight and lengthening my spine. I might relax my shoulders and pay attention to my breath. I allow my breath to fill in my diaphragm and then empty it. I can close my eyes. I let thoughts that resemble worries or habitual thinking float by like clouds. I notice the temperature, maybe the feel of a breeze. I listen for the sounds which might be birds or crickets or the wind or my dog softly breathing. I can think how it feels good to sit and contemplate things in this way. I am not focusing on how to get over the mountain, but rather noticing present conditions.

How 

I can be still, but I think it is also about being OK with that. Life seems so often about movement, action, and repetitive thinking. There are challenges or obstacles that we come across, and it is common to feel like figuring it out, finding a solution, or pulling out an ax or a blow torch to get through the mountain. It can be a relief to realize that the best way to approach an obstacle is just to stop the approach, the movements and the thoughts. It’s a release from the worries about the problem. I think of people traveling in an unknown wilderness. They come in their travels to the mountain. It’s a natural indication that it is time to set up camp. That means rest, and considering the travels so far. The mountain is there, and it must be crossed, but not just now.

“To me this sounds more about what to do than about how to do it. With how I expect more adjectives. For instance: Turn inward and do it

  • silently
  • with confidence
  • conservatively
  • with awareness of your limitations
  • by making use of the space that you carry within you” –Harmen Mesker

 

Lake Question Assignment

LAKE

Assignment: How does the trigram describe a situation; a cause (origin, root); a person?  How does it tell you what to do? What does it tell about how to do something?

08Lake

Trigram Lake by Adele Aldridge http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

Focus on joy, gathering of that which gives pleasure and fulfillment, naivety, not attached to responsibilities, a little bit of egocentric behavior to be able to find your own ‘lake’ that feeds your creativity. Beautiful poetry is written on the side of the lakes… It also denotes magic, wizardry, ignoring rules, creating your own reality within the limits that are provided. The problem (if you can call it that) is that Lake is relying on the outside world for nourishment: the water from the Lake has to come from elsewhere and for replenishment it will look outside herself. If she finds that nourishment she will be happy, if not the water will become stale and the happiness turns into a depression. Find out where your lake gets its nourishment from and if this source is the right source. Questions that might help in this process are: Are you connected to the right sources? What gives you genuine joy, regardless of whether it is acceptable, normal or feasible? Are you capable of taking unusual measures? You are the only person who is responsible for your own happiness. Focus on the true joy that is involved in it. If that joy can’t be found at the base of all your doings then you should redefine that base, that foundation that is the bottom of your lake.” – Harmen Mesker

Situation

A situation that carries the attributes of lake would be characterized by joyful exchange and interaction. Since the quote above pretty much sums up those characteristics, I will focus on specific examples of situations that would fit. The actual feeling of sitting beside a lake with others and enjoying the interaction is an easy example. It brings to mind the relaxation and recreation that people do when they visit a lake. They go to get away from the stresses of life and there they take in the beauty and joy and stay on the surface in topics that are bantered about. I also got this trigram as representing my work situation. That fits in the bigger picture, as I am in hospitality, where we keep conversation light and pleasant. It also represented the idea that, in regards to the deeper issues, there was an attitude of not wanting to look at those things. They wanted to keep the situation light and pleasant, things going along as if nothing was happening. There was a lack of taking responsibility for things. This is the surface of the lake, where rules are ignored. There are limits to a lake, it is contained and this can apply to a situation.


Person

The person could be seen as characterized by pleasing exchanges. This person might also have a self-centeredness that is contained within a certain environment or subject. That person is concerned with their own sources of nourishment. Though the person may have fun and interesting exchanges, there lacks a concern with responsibilities on other levels. A kind of alter reality is created around this feeling of pleasant exchange around a lake. We meet people in life that we consider pleasant in a certain environment, say at a coffee shop or in a 11836921_1616306515289108_5999068334924696032_nbar (a watering hole) or on the internet. That person seems to be that pleasant interaction, but there is no real nourishment for a relationship on a grander or deeper level. Lake could represent a person only about that one area of interest and may seem superficial or lacking of depth and understanding in other ways. It is a person that is fun to be around at the lake, but not a person who has other valued attributes. Robin Williams comes to mind as someone who could typify the attributes of Lake. We see him as joyful and funny and we assume that his life is this way too. We gather to see him in movies and we feel an exchange because of his warm personality and humor and we feel joy. There was some issue with him receiving nourishment for this joy in his ongoing life. We know he suffered from depression and ultimately took his own life. Despite his career as typifying a joyful gather place, his lake dried up.

Cause

A lake is formed because of outside conditions. There is the nourishment, like a river or stream. There is low lying earth that has natural containment properties. Applied to causes in life, this might mean the situation was caused by natural conditions inherent in the situation. It is made by the natural elements of a gathering place and nourished by outside sources. In a more positive sense the causes make it pleasant and open for exchange. In a more negative sense other conditions might be ignored, like continuing the source of nourishment or looking at deeper issues involved. A lake reflects the environment, sometimes so perfectly it is difficult to tell the reflection from the reality. I am drawn again to the example of Robin Williams. A comedy show is where people gather together to laugh and be light hearted. There is an exchange. The setting is a contained place that lends itself well to this kind of interaction. We can laugh at our foibles and share in the joy of this kind of reflection. But this is not the rest of life. Robin Williams was a wizard in that containment, but could not find nourishment in other ways for joy.

What to do

Focus on the qualities that bring joy and nourishment. Consider ideas of fulfillment within the containment of the situation. Open up and exchange in pleasant interaction. Let go of the usual rules and interaction pleasantries. Allow in the wizardry of interaction on this level the way that the surface has ripples and also becomes mist or the dark, murky depths. Consider the sources of joy. Don’t let the lake go dry. Share joy. Let loose and be free of hindrances. Contemplate joy and beauty on deeper levels, like writing poetry. Allow meaning to penetrate and go deeper without the use of words. Enjoy the feeling without focus on responsibilities. Be self-serving in the sources that bring this feeling. Fill in and fill up. Take a dip. Dive in. Be light. Enjoy recreation that is relief from stress.

How to do it

Joyfully. In exchange and interaction. Pleasantly. Openly. Loosely. With an alchemical kind of wizardry as in fluid to mist. With keeping sources and flow open and fulfilling. Without responsibility or hindrance. Self servantly in enjoyment. Within a joyful gathering. With laughter and flirtation. With happiness and with reflection of the ways joy is brought to life. In happy meditation. With a light heart. With recognition that some things / situations / people are meant to be only surface and for the fun of it

Earth Question Assignment

EARTH

Assignment: How does the trigram describe a situation; a cause (origin, root); a person?  Ho

images

Trigram Earth by Adele Aldridge http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

w does it tell you what to do? What does it tell about how to do something?

Earth Is. It is Grand. It carries everything. Provides for everything if she is given the right material. She nourishes. She is the Mother. She says ‘come to me and I will make you grow’. She does not do that out of power (that would be Heaven), she does that simply because she does it. She is the ultimate expression of weiwuwei 為無為, ‘doing by not doing’. That is why she cannot strictly be called ‘life giving’, although I think I know what you mean. Just by herself she can’t create life, just as Heaven is can’t creative life on its own. It provides the material through which the forces can act. Without substance forces cannot exercise their influence. Earth does have a choice: how and where the forces are accepted is entirely up to her.”  Harmen Mesker

Situation

The attributes of Earth are Mother. Field. Mare. Darkness. Shadows. Inward growth. Labor. Service. Flexible. Inner release.  Response. Deliverance. Sub-Mission. Abatement of distress. Sub-terrain. Downward. Inward. Without resistance. Open. Receptive. Willing.

The situation that resonates most deeply with me is working with the Yi. The more I can open myself to these qualities when consulting, the more growth and yield is possible. I am the material through which the forces act. I am the substance upon which the forces exercise their influence. I labor and serve in the shadows of my consciousness to be the fertile place of responsiveness, deliverance, and inner release. In this process of yielding in willing sub-mission to the message, I find abatement of stress that is inward. I open, without resistance, to the message.

Cause

I have been in therapy for 25 years, on and off. I have come to trust my therapist, as she is also a mentor. I can see that the therapeutic process has been a cause for growth in my life. It doesn’t start out that way, necessarily, but the goal of therapy is to bring about or cause changes inwardly. It works best when trust has been developed, and I can be like the attributes of earth. Then, the process itself becomes like earth in the way it causes me to willing submit to it, because of the trust I have in the process. The therapeutic process is the earth that has caused growth in me. There is everything about Earthiness in that office, my therapist, the process, and me.

In a more negative sense the yielding can lead to being overly influenced and responsive if the forces themselves are negative. Allowing bad seeds to be planted in your garden can cause a sickly garden.

Person

I know that usually a motherly type person is represented by Earth. However, I think of my late husband, Allen. He was the kindest person I have ever known. He had a way of allowing others their beliefs and he was receptive to them. He IMAG0188was born Jewish and then Messianic Jewish, and then a Born Again Christian Preacher, and then a New Age book author and teacher of Tai Chi. He was open to other people in a way that I had never before experienced. When he was so sick in the hospital, people would come to preach or pray with him. These people always thought Allen was a member of their religion. He was so open and receptive to people. He would allow them to influence him with their words and beliefs and words, and there would be growth and inner release for all who experienced it. I saw him ask Janitors or orderlies in the hospital to come and pray with him. Some guy who had been pushing a broom would come to his side and belt out the most amazing prayer, and Allen would receive it in the most giving and personal way. He was also full of the attributes of Earth in the way he received his children. He allowed them to be themselves and he was receptive to them. He was the most motherly of fathers.

What to do

Open. Be receptive. Be willing to labor and serve. Be flexible. Allow inner release. Be open to abatement of distress and to deliverance. Grow. Yield. Make use of willingness. Release resistance. Provide for. Allow for growth. Nourish. Just be.

How to do it

Openly. With flexibility. Willingly. In service. Yieldingly. Allowingly. With provision. Encouragingly. Acceptingly. With release. With willing sub-mission.

Thunder Question Assignment

THUNDER

Assignment: How does the trigram describe a situation; a cause (origin, root); a person?  How does it tell you what to do? What does it tell about how to do something?

images (1)

Trigram Thunder by Adele Aldridge http://www.ichingmeditations.com/

“Thunder would fight, ferociously. It would never run away. It would rather give all it has in one last exploding effort.” –Harmen Mesker

Situation:

All day I had been stressing about the situation at my job, and so I decided to spend the evening relaxing with friends. I went out in the garden of my artist friend. It is a magical place, especially in springtime with all of the new growth. It was twilight and the sky was grey with looming clouds. There was a refreshing breeze relieving the warm, humid air. Thunder rumbled long and low. I ducked under an archway covered in vines. I thought of thunder in the Yi. I thought of the thunder that followed the lightning that comes when I think of, …when, oh, scary, I won’t think about that now. The thunder subsides. I smile. I peer out at the clouds for signs of lightening. I continue on the garden path. There is a lovely old religious icon, Mother Mary, clothed in blue and white. She wears a sacred heart around her neck. She stands about two feet tall on a pedestal. There are shells surrounding her feet. At the foot of the pedestal is a figurine of two frogs hugging. The whole tableau is encircled by plants with a reddish color amidst the large, green leaves. As I contemplate Mary and the frogs of the Earth, thinking of my story and my study of the Yi, I consider the elements of the trigrams present here and now. I look just 13466529_1028264877221628_2277214813664377104_nbeyond Mary to the left. Climbing up the wire fence behind her is a bronze turtle, the size of a platter, with six sparkling stones on his back. I got chills. Just then, the thunder roars and rumbles. I flinch and duck in automatic response. As the thunder passes to a low rumble and then quiet, I laugh out loud. I am amazed at the beauty and resonance. I tell my friend later that I had a religious experience in her garden.

A situation of thunder is one that brings a rumbling, shaking things up. There is a promise of spring which brings new growth. It is frightening at first. Afterwards there is a release.

Cause

Thunder might be the cause of coming into a situation all sound and fury. It’s all good if that is what is called for in a situation. Thunder causes movement and growth in a startling way. Something that is alarming causes people to act in a certain way. Restlessness and a desire for something new could be a cause or origin of a situation. Being frightened by something startling could be a cause for all sorts of actions.

 “It can also mean that a sudden unexpected change caused the current situation.”  – Harmen Mesker

Person

I am thunder, ready to give it all I have in a moment of truth. I am alert and moving. There is power that comes from below and moves through me in a burst of sound that shakes things up. I arouse, excite, and inspire new perspectives.

“This is all true, however I would like you to describe another  person. Like, “a Thunder person is someone who is easily excited or angered, is able to make quick and intuitive decisions, is decisive yet reckless and inconsiderate” etc.” –Harmen Mesker

What to do

Go in in with power and authority to get things moving. Issue forth. Cause a stir, especially one followed by release and growth.

How

Take action.  Heavy work. Fertilize the situation. Take charge. Rise up.

Describe how an action should be done: quick, without thinking (about consequences), with a *bang*, with one irreversible effort that causes a complete change of events etc. –Harmen Mesker