Water Below & Above

I want to follow up on yesterday’s I Ching reading*. I had asked for guidance on our responsibility for the land. I received the 27th hexagram: Yi / Nourishing – Thunder below and Mountain. You can see it had four moving lines (indicated by the O and X) which produces a new hexagram for further guidance.

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The bottom (1st) and top (6th) are moving Yang lines that are shifted to Yin lines. The 2nd and 5th are moving Yin that are shifted to Yang lines and so we get an entirely new hexagram: #29 Kan / Darkness – Water below and Water above.

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The central theme of this gua is: falling but not drowned; in danger but not lost. Maintain your confidence: soothe your mind. With assurance and faith, caution and trust. you can pass through any difficult situation … there is hope.

The Complete I Ching, Alfred Huang

For me, this is a beautiful follow-on to the reading on Nourishment. Yes, we know what we need to do – nourish, cherish, take care of our piece of the world, our piece of the land, our communities, and always, ourselves.

And … it’s necessary to acknowledge that this work we do is likely to go through phases of deep darkness. When we feel like we have fallen into a pit, it’s time remember that there is hope, we may feel lost but we are not.

The guidance in this hexagram is so clear to me. I can deliberately cultivate confidence in myself; I can assure myself that I am moving forward in what Buddha would call Right Mind and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) call Good Mind; I can have faith that as we identify the seeds of destruction and domination and call them out, we will prevail; I can cultivate caution, acting wisely in the right time; and finally I can trust – those I ally with, myself, and in the end, I can trust that Spirit will continue to lead me towards good for all.

Now is the time to prepare yourself. What are the things in your life that give you hope? For me, it’s a walk with my dog, or a conversation with a friend, or reading a poem that brings me back to myself. I might meditate, or listen to a visualization, or go out into the deep dark night here in the back country of New Mexico where there are no lights to filter my view of the stars and look up and witness the immensity of the universe and the privilege it is to be alive at this moment in time where I can make a difference.

This is one of the reasons for this blog on Practical Spirituality. Realize the tools you need to survive and to flourish. Take the time to write them all down, put them someplace you can easily find, and when you begin to see too much darkness around you, take out your little seed of hope, plant it, and watch it shine.


A Ritual To Read to Each Other ~ William Stafford

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.


*I use The Complete I Ching, 10th Anniversary Edition, by Taoist Master Alfred Huang