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I Ching on Economic Troubles

Paul Obrien
I Ching on Economic Troubles by Paul O'Brien

One of my resolutions is to cast the I Ching oracle once a week, to ask the universe for insight on a wide question or concern and share the results.

I am using the free I Ching reading feature on tarot.com — http://www.tarot.com/oracle. I decided to ask the Oracle about our dismal economy, so I type into the screen: “Best way to relate to depressed economy?”

While I am shaking the coins (placing my mouse over them on the screen), I begin a guided meditation with my eyes closed, letting the breath be deep and slow, sitting upright with my hands in prayer position. My prayer: “I surrender to the Truth. May divine wisdom flow through this I Ching reading to increase our clarity, adjust our attitude, and guide our way.”

The results were uncanny: The Present Hexagram that I cast was #39, Temporary Obstacles, with changing lines 4 and 6, which takes us into the Future Hexagram #33, Retreat.

This reading (below) speaks for itself, and with incredible clarity. Temporary obstacles leading to a retreat. Pretty straightforward. And the two changing lines offer two clear alternatives — one positive, one not as pleasant.

What I take from this reading is that this is a time to accept things the way they are and retreat in the face of what are in reality “temporary obstacles.”

Keep your head about you, focus on small details and, as the first changing line #4 clearly advises, be sure to line up as much support as you can before making any bold moves.

This is not a time to just ‘try harder’ at whatever you are used to doing, but to button down the hatches a little bit, to ride out the storm, always trying to remember that this recession is a “temporary obstacle,” which will turn into an up cycle in time.

There may be little you can do but ride out this wave’s trough cycle, just trying to stay on your surf board, focusing more on inner balance than great outward results. Another perfect reminder from our ancient sacred oracle, the I Ching!

For the full text of hexagrams and changing lines that were cast in this I Ching reading, see below. (Text excerpted from the I Ching that I originally produced 31 years ago.)

Your Present Hexagram: #39 Temporary Obstacles

Have temporary obstacles been blocking your way? In the course of trying to reach a goal or to fulfill a personal ambition, obstructions inevitably present themselves. This is not always a bad thing. Obstacles, difficulties and even setbacks that are eventually overcome often turn into assets. Without irritating grains of sand, oysters would never make pearls.

The obstacles pointed to here are not permanent, yet they are in the way. As when a large boulder falls in the road, the best course of action is usually to go around it, rather than to try to move it out of the way. Temporary obstacles must be seen for what they are — temporary — and should not be allowed to take on too much significance.

A positive aspect of even the most difficult obstacle is that it may cause a person to turn inward, and gain greater depth and character. While the ignorant bemoan their fate and seek to blame their problems on others, the wise seek the cause of the problem within themselves. Through this type of introspection, obstacles become a means for personal growth and self-discovery.

Without air resistance, no plane would ever fly.

If you are facing temporary obstacles, try not to be overly concerned. Obstacles are a part of achieving every goal and furthering every undertaking. Setbacks and reverses can affect morale, but keeping up your self-confidence in the face of challenges is part of a successful solution to many of life’s problems. Obstacles of short duration are best handled with a yielding attitude. Go around the rock, don’t put your shoulder to it.

Your Changing Lines

The first changing line is line 4

When confronting a boulder in the road, many hands make light work if it must be moved. Many obstacles cannot be removed single-handedly. Do not venture out to confront such a serious obstacle until the proper support is with you. Enlist some help. To push before your support is in place would bring misfortune.

The second changing line is line 6

When a difficult situation degenerates into a real mess, only bold, forthright action can bring success. This line points to the situation of a person facing a major obstacle to forward progress — and something blocking him behind as well. There is no way forward, no going back. The situation is complex and there appears to be no way out.

When this happens, you must re-enter the fray. Do your best not to worry too much about the results. Look for help from above — from others in positions of authority and power. If you can find such support, success becomes probable. In the end, of course, you can never escape your fate.

Your Future Hexagram: #33 Retreat

All worthy goals meet resistance of some kind. When negative forces predominate, a well-timed retreat is a good way to stay on the path to ultimate success. Tibetans know this.

Strategic retreat is not to be confused with escape or surrender. Successful retreat demands quick and nimble movement — taking up a new position before you are damaged by the current situation. You are not admitting defeat by temporarily retreating, but simply increasing your options, and preserving your resources. Sometimes it is necessary to slow down, let go or move back in order to develop counter-moves for the future. Timing is critical, as is how well you position yourself after realignment. Considerations of personal security are critical.

Periods of withdrawal or retreat call for cool-headedness. It is necessary to keep your wits about you. Attend to small details while allowing yourself time to contemplate the whole picture. Be creative; not all progress follows a straight line. Self-confidence is also essential; small setbacks can easily become defeats if we allow ourselves to become mired in self-doubt or self-pity.

Waves of progress are, by their nature, short-lived. Learn to attune yourself to the up-and-down cycles of life. When the wave is behind you, ride it in; when it’s not, lie low. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can ‘fix’ any situation whenever you feel like it. Some things are bigger than you are. Hold your pride in check and you will be better prepared to find creative openings.

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