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The next trigram of the I Ching we will examine is the Earth Trigram. It is composed of three broken lines. A solid line is yang and a broken line is yin, so this Trigram is pure yin. In order to express itself, the one solid yang line splits in two, and the duality of yin and yang is born. All of our self development is based around this simple concept. Just as the Heaven Trigram is persevering, initiating, and motivating, the Earth Trigram is soft, intuitive, and receptive. You might think that Yin is a weaker force, but yin is deceiving and often the soft will overcome the hard.
In order to take the initiative in life, we must first have a plan. A wise person does not have a knee jerk approach. We need to quiet down and listen to what our inner guide is advising. When you sit in silence you open the door to a deeper wisdom. This is the virtue of the Earth Trigram. It represents mental transparency, openness, and keen receptivity. We turn inward before we move outward. We are open and sensitive to impression from subtle energy within our own energy field as well as the universe.
We are in a information age and we are bombarded by data constantly. Unfortunately this can lead to overload and nervous system problems. We need centering and grounding. The Earth is our center, our home. It is hard to accomplish anything in life if you don’t have a home base. We move forward rooted from our center.
Before cable TV, in the sitcom “Married With Children,” the Bundy family attempts to get reception on their TV, and the running joke was Fox had the weakest broadcast signal. The Bundys would play with their rabbit ear antennas in a crazy, desperate manner and even add aluminum foil to boost the signal. When we think of reception, we think of radio and TV, but reception doesn’t just come from an antenna on top of the Empire State building. When we go to sleep at night, our acupuncture points open their rabbit ear antennas and take in heavenly energy (stars, planets etc.,) as well as energy from the earth. This is how we heal and recharge. Acupuncture and Acupressure sharpen receptivity and open the points to absorb these finer healing forces.
Like working with clay our self development exercises help shape our mind and body into a beautiful piece of art. The lesson of the Earth Trigram is to stay soft,malleable and flexible in mind and body. Otherwise we become rigid and hard……no fun.
So when the Earth trigram appears in your minds-eye, take a deep breath, quiet down, center, and be receptive to impressions from within and without. Till the soil so your seed thoughts have a proper environment to grow into a revelation and plan. Be open and remember that knowledge is not fixed, but knowing is perpetually in motion and change.
“The Solar Angel collects himself, scatters not his force, but in meditation deep, communicates with his reflection.”
As we enter into the Winter season and the New Year, the time is right to move forward with our exploration of the classic book of change, “The I Ching.” We will first explore the inner core, the eight Trigrams. These eight processes of nature represent the relationship we have with the environment and cosmos. As the population explosion causes an environmental rift, and the over development of land disconnects us from earth, we lose the vital physical, mental ,and spiritual nourishment that the planet provides. It almost seems like we are trying to conquer nature and by doing so we cause profound health problems. By studying the eight Trigrams, we invoke a deeper understanding and appreciation of mother nature leading to a more gentile, humble attitude on life. This builds character and integrity.
The Heaven Trigram is composed of three solid lines. A solid line is yang. so this trigram is complete yang. Yang is the creative initiating energy. It gives us perseverance and enforces the will power. Three yang lines represents the creative energy of spirit – soul – matter.
When we think of Heaven, we imagine a place above us. A place we hopefully go if we’ve been good. The truth is, heaven is on earth and earth is in heaven. Heaven represents the subtle essence or spirit behind every universal manifestation. When we eat good quality food we absorb heaven from the food. We we breathe good quality air, we not only breathe in oxygen, but the subtle radiations from the planets and stars. The physical, body has a healthy response to this essence in the form of increased endurance and mental clarity. The kidneys are in charge of transforming essence to keep the physical structure strong. So when you eat a meal, eat slow and absorb the essence.
When the Heaven Trigram appears in your thoughts, it is letting you know that you need to take initiative. It gives us the power to say “yes” to new uncharted territory. We do this with a strong sense of purpose and one-pointed focus. We tap into the dynamic power of the creative will and set all things in motion. This will step down physically as strong perseverance.
Heaven, being pure spirit, teaches us truthfulness arising from absolute fearlessness. Since heaven is pure spirit, we have no fear. Fear arises when we feel disconnected to spirit. We take the straight-fast path… acting truthfully. There is no time for games. Since truth is the quickest way to freedom (“the truth will set you free”), individuals attuned to Heaven speak the truth fearlessly.
In summary, when a conflict arises, or a decision needs to be made, and the Heaven Trigram appear in your mind’s-eye, then follow your inner guide by taking the initiative, be true to yourself and others, and put the gentile essence of your being behind your every move.
” So when you hear it thunder, don’t run under a tree, there will be pennies from heaven for you and me.”
Life is about change. Nothing stays the same. Everything in life runs in cycles. It is important to recognize when a cycle is ending and one is beginning. Often we resist change and cling to the old cycle. The ancient Chinese scholars observed the universal changes in nature and were keen to see the correlation in everyday living. They compiled this wisdom into the classic book of change, “the I Ching.”
The I Ching is one of the oldest books written. It was first handed down orally and the compiled into written text between the 10th – 4th Century B.C..The inner structure (trigrams) was compiled by the legendary emperor, Fu Hsi (2852-2837BC.). The trigrams are based on the theory that the pure energy of spirit needed to express itself by dividing into what we now call yin and yang. These two energies needed to express itself further, so the interaction of spirit (yin) and matter (yang) gave birth to a third, middle, sentient factor. These ancient scholars used symbolism to reflect these three energies. A solid line represents yang ——– and a broken line represents yin —- —-. Mathematically you can have four combinations of yin and yang and by adding a third line you have – the eight trigrams. The I Ching was later refined by the legendary emperor, King Wen (1150 BC.). King Wen understood that in order to fully represent change, and to add a new dimension, two trigrams should be combined. This lead to a dynamic six line hexagram. Mathematically, this generates sixty four unique energy patterns. After deeper thought, he brilliantly developed the hexagram’s sequence of flow. The classic commentary on each individual hexagram was contributed by many scholars and most importantly by the legendary, Confucius (551-479 B.C.). His commentary is known as the Ten Wings because after studying it, you will be able to fly. His son, the Duke of Chou, further refined the text by developing the commentary on each individual line. The I Ching is a lifelong study and never ceases to amaze. It is not the easiest to understand, so in future posts ,we will first look at the trigrams and then move on to interpret the essence of each hexagram.
We grow by being proactive in life. Simply, we need to LET GO and move forward with our goals and ideals. In order to do this we need a coach. The I Ching is the supreme coach to help us understand life’s mysteries, conflicts. doubts, challenges, and decisions. With the bombardment of data causing a narrowing mental space, as well as the narcissism tendency of social media, the I Ching couldn’t be more timely.
The word consciousness is derived from the Latin root “scio,”- “to know” and “con,”- “together.” The I Ching’s Taoist roots are based upon the concept that man is in between Heaven and Earth. Heaven is our spirit (subject-yang) which is all knowing but it needs a object to perceive, (earth- yin-object.) Yin and Yang cannot live without each other. The feeling principle between yin and yang is our true consciousness (to know – together.) It is our soul. Knowledge buried in our consciousness is not easy to perceive. The I Ching is a tool to unlock the inner doors of our mind, which in turn connects to the inner doors of the universe. How is this so? The language of the I Ching is symbols. Each of the 64 hexagrams represents a unique note, color and sound. By studying the I Ching, we begin to resonate with the essence of these mathematically balanced, universal symbols. As a result, the intuition is sharpened and many levels of truth gradually unfold.
Historically the I Ching is used for divination. Although this was probably the correct way in older times, in my opinion it is not the way to go today. It is better to have a firm understanding of the hexagrams so when life’s challenges confronts us, one of the 64 hexagrams will immediately come to mind, and we act with wisdom, character, and integrity. We then flow with life’s changing tide rather than against it.
Artwork by Juan Li
Just as there are no two identical fingerprints, we are all unique in a very special way. Our goal is to discover, refine and express our hidden potential and natural gift.
According to the Ageless wisdom teaching, we are composed of layers or what is known as subtle bodies. These layers are primal energy on different levels of vibration. The subtle bodies express themselves through the seven major energy centers known in the east as chakras. These seven major chakras are formed when the energy counterpart of our nervous system (nadis) crisscross many times.The chakras are influenced by our thought forms and purpose in life. Since the chakras vibrate on a very high level, they need to step down and express themselves through the seven major glands (pineal, pituitary, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, adrenal, ovary-prostate.) The glands are considered the most spiritual part of the human body. They influence us on a mental, emotional, and physical level. This stepping down process continues further with the glands expressing themselves through the major organs (lung, heart, spleen, kidneys, liver) and the organs expressing themselves through the acupuncture meridian system. When the organs are in harmony, the corresponding acupuncture channel will be strong and free of blockages. If there is a disharmony, we will experience pain and tension along the corresponding channel. Since there is a feedback mechanism between the points and organs, acupuncture – acupressure treatment will heal on a very deep level.
Ageless wisdom philosophy teaches that the universe is composed of a primal energy known as the Monad or spirit. In order to express itself, spirit divides into it’s polar opposite – matter. Matter is spirit on a lower level of vibration. The interaction of spirit-matter gives birth to a third element known as consciousness or soul. What is the definition of soul? It is said that the soul resides in the layer of the higher intuitive mind. My definition is that the soul is the “essence” of who we are. It is our unique spiritual identity.
As we journey through life, we are swayed by three types of energy – physical, emotional and a little from the soul. Internal exercises like meditation, as well as any form of creativity will unleash energy from soul levels. Meditation results in the greatest flow of soul energy. Meditation is a broad concept and does not have to be sitting. For example, an early morning run, bike, or walk can be a meditation as long we lose our self to our higher mind. During meditation the soul imposes it’s vibration on the lower self and then in place of the restless, self centered emotional nature, there is imposed the steady harmonious, virtuous nature of the higher self. This new rhythm gives birth to ideas and revelations so we can make changes and be more creative and centered in our life. Soul infusion helps us express our virtues and have a greater understanding of our emotional nature leading to subordination of the negative and strengthening of the positive.
As our self development and cultivation of the virtues matures, there will be two meditations occurring at the same time. As the mediation of the soul and the meditation of the lower self approximate each other, a conscious relation is established between the soul and its “shadow” (man on the physical plane.) As the lower self vibrates in unison with the soul, we build character and widen our mental space.
This inner expression is not something glamorous that we do, but by contacting the soul and radiating its love and light, we forget the lower self and manifest soul principles and qualities in our relationship with others. We then serve and express a heartfelt attitude conveying love of life and under all conditions recognize its beauty and purpose.
It is hard to have a deep discussion of preventative care without exploring the internal organ relationships and energetics. We use the word energetics because we are talking about the Qi or energy of the organ but not the physical organ. For example, when use the word heart, it is a broad concept and covers the entire mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect of the heart.
The heart is the seat of consciousness and awareness. The heart is the higher, intuitive mind. When the heart is open, one feels joy, compassion, patience, focus, wisdom, and love. When the heart is closed one feels emotionally cold, impatient, agitated, and in a severe form, hate. It is paired with the small intestine, and in the Five Element philosophy – the Fire element. When one thinks with his or her heart, the thoughts are less self centered and of a universal loving nature. This higher intuitive mind is always sending us messages, mainly ideas to help us find our path and purpose. We need to quiet down and listen to the whisper of the heart.
In Taoist and Chinese Medicine philosophy the heart houses the Shen. The Shen is the deep spiritual aspect. When the Shen is disturbed, we will feel agitated. Insomnia is an example of disturbed Shen. How do we nourish the Shen? The Shen is nourished by the inner virtues like loving kindness, being humble, courage, integrity and gentleness. When the Shen is strong it shows in our complexion. The face will glow and we will have a deep inner smile.
Be intuitive, think with your heart.