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211 Flowing in Life with the Yijing JEANNE WHITE Having worked with the Yijing for forty years while simultaneously pur‑ suing my calling as a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), I have come to realize that we all live in a dual time‑bind. For one, we are embedded in the five seasons as they follow one another, each promoting a different physical and emotional environment in the course of a lunar year through a cycle of generating and control‑ ling known in TCM—nurturing and correcting the flow of qi through the organs. Each season is seen as having not only a physical aspect, but emotional and mental correlations as well. More specifically, spring, the season of ‘wood,’ erupts from deep within the earth into a profusion of growth, visions, and ideas. This is followed by the ‘fire’ of summer, with heat, accelerated circulatory activ‑ ity, and a tendency to pursue an active and changeable lifestyle. Indian summer is the season of ‘earth,’ a time of afterglow and harvesting, of collecting and concentrating. In the fall, the time of ‘metal,’ vital energies retract, leaves turn brittle and dry out, losses are mourned. In wintertime, under the auspices of ‘water,’ life returns to its deepest source during the season of greatest potential and least manifestation. These seasons are further divided into two‑week sequences, each progressing into the next. The heavenly stems and earthly branches fur‑ ther help specify treatment schemes based on temporal qualities mani‑ festing the interactions and manifestations of qi. These rhythms of nature underlie the most fundamental aspects of our life and health. Besides these outer seasons, we also need to be in resonance with our inner seasons, which unfold similarly but in a nonlinear motion. This is where each of us is a uniquely personal interface for powers that come 212 / Journal of Daoist Studies 6 (2013) to the fore and move us through the process of individuation, accentuat‑ ing some experiences in the course of a lifetime, while others recede. These two ways of experiencing time constitute the framework of being in a physical space. By tracing our inner bodily landscape, the dual time bind offers insights into why we are all the same, yet so different. Our personal histories unfurl on this altar. Life takes place and unfolds according to these hidden constituents. Within this overall context, I became interested in consulting the Yijing not so much to seek specific answers to questions. Instead, I chose an open‑ended approach in which I asked the oracle about the quality of the present moment. Becoming a space of cosmic interface, where the quality of the instant is alternately revealed like a storm, a gentle breeze or a rushing plunge of water in the body’s inner landscape, I felt trans‑ formed by what happened when I decided not to reject some hexagrams and crave others. It came as a revelation that hexagram 36 or 23 could be survived in one piece und unveil deep connections that extend to what it means to be alive in the more mysterious and hidden aspects of each day’s experiences. Many poems emerged from these explorations. They often felt like “thank‑you notes” in appreciation of the vastness of all that surrounds us: sometimes coming along in the simple garb of a peasant, sometimes shouted drunkenly, sometimes uttered in deep despair. Daoist self‑cultivation does not occur in a vacuum. It maps experi‑ ence by remaining steady, without care for gains or losses, in this given moment, right NOW. It invites us to explore this now to the deepest ex‑ tent possible. It means that we place ourselves firmly at the pulse of this highly intertwined moment in time. The Yijing is a flow chart of our cellular minds. By continuously changing, it is a bed rock of our being as humans. By cultivating the yin rather than exhausting it through attachment or rejection, core health is conserved. We become guests of circumstance. By practicing to consciously abstain from choosing and preferring the draw of one hexagram over another, by living with it without resis‑ tance, poems came together: the result of intentionally emptying the mind (from...


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pp. 211-220
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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