Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So we consulted the I-Ching. I say 'we' - but Richard was helping me in this and he has, I dunno, 30 years or more experience in this stuff and has even published his own translation of The Book. So I was in safe hands there.

We threw a Hexagram 10. Lu or "Treading".

TREADING: "Treading on the tail of the tiger.
It does not bite the man. Success."

I'm not going to tell you the question I asked, cos that's personal shit - but this resonated immediately on a whole bunch of levels. Less than 24 hours after throwing this 'gram I trod on the tail of the tiger, fer sure, but the tiger did not bite back because the tiger was, in this case, passive/aggressive. A reflective aggressor whose technique is to echo/mirror-grrrrr back at all who they come into contact with. "Neither a Victim nor an Aggressor be". These people have no ammo if you don't give 'em any.

Treading can mean a path; it can also mean maintaining (or acknowledging) a hierarchy. It also particularly relates to conduct, both in life and in business:

"That which is strongest and that which is weakest are close together. The small and cheerful [Tui] treads upon the large and strong [Ch'ien]. The strong, however, acquiesces and does not hurt the weak, because the contact is in good humor and harmless.

"In terms of a human situation, one is handling wild, intractable people. In such a case one's purpose will be achieved if one behaves with decorum. Pleasant manners succeed even with irritable people."

Here, conduct is the key: one's goals can be achieved by small, respectful steps forward.

The hexagram is split into two trigrams:

Above: Ch'ien - The Creative, Heaven.
Below: Tui - The Lake, The Youngest Daughter. It is associated with pleasure and joy, the desire to reproduce - to speak via the mouth or, in my case, impulsiveness. It signifies decline, collapse and breaking; it is The trigram of Metal - again, this all personally resonates with me in terms of health, personal outlook, etc.

Combined, the two represent ascension, an upwards movement; though, again, through small incremental steps. "Treading."

If the hexagram is represented as solid black lines or blocks, then it's easy to play Rorschach with it: it can be seen as a maze, as viewed from above, from which one has to find a way out of. Seen in these terms, the idea of 'conflict' quickly becomes an outmoded concept; situations reposition themselves in terms of paths that have to be navigated, rather than battles to be fought. Again, conduct is key to aiding that navigation.

Similarly, the hexagram can also be seen Rorschachally as a ladder (which ties in with the idea of slow upwards movement). Is that a broken rung? Okay, then we just move up past that one a little more slowly and carefully. Steady as she goes.

A parallel reading (these Chinese dudes were wise and spent hundreds of years evolving and developing this stuff) is that I am both The Tiger and The Man - in Chinese medicine, the Tiger is a particularly strong form of Chi or energy that is associated with the lower bowel - again, that's particularly poignant in my case - The Tiger will not bite (or can be overcome) if The Man deals with it respectfully, but with good humour.

This certainly seems to be the case.