Other than wine, a 57 Chevy and Betty White, most people today don’t appreciate things from the past. In today’s information laden, data driven culture, the mantra seems to be “the latest is the greatest.”
The iPhone was cool, but what about that Ipad, huh? And better yet, have you see the NEW I phone? And what about the thing that hasn’t come out yet? I hear that’s going to be incredible!
In the 1960s we used to be satisfied reading 1950s magazines in the dentist’s office, as long as it took our mind off “Open wide. This won’t hurt a bit.” Now instead, we’re busy checking our smart phones, updating our e-mail and Twitter feed and surfing the Net to get the late breaking news on CNN.
“Hey, where’s the funny part?” one reader interrupted, as I was writing this blog.
“Yeah,” said a second reader, “I liked it more when he was funny.”
“I still can’t figure out how he pulls those quarters from behind my ear,” said a third.
“Wait,” whispered a reader hopefully. “He’s writing again. Maybe the funny part will be coming up.”
Ignoring my readers’ interruptions, I went on.
We worship future accomplishments more than past achievements for one simple reason. We just don’t know any better. We think the future has to be more advanced than the past. Isn’t history progress? Maybe not. Or at least, not always.
So, if I told you that the greatest “how to” book on practically Anything and Everything was written over 3,000 years ago, you might be a little skeptical.
And if I told you that book could predict the future with amazing accuracy, or least tell you what you can or can’t do to do to affect the future, Hell, you’d think it was lie, a mistake.
Or worse, maybe I was getting my intel from the President of British Petroleum. Those guys can’t seem to get anything right.
But you’d be wrong if you think that a more advanced way of thinking and acting couldn’t have existed in our heretofore barbaric past. Because there is a ancient book that can answer any question and instruct you how to have a happier, healthier and more successful life. It’s called the I Ching.
Most people think the Bible is the oldest book in the world, but it’s not. The I Ching, the Chinese “Book of Changes,” has been dispensing wisdom and truth for over 5,000 years.
Even though the I Ching is 5,000 years old, it wasn’t written down until 3,000 years ago. They sorta had to wait for writing to be invented. It was that far ahead of its time!
If you’ve ever seen this diagram of Yin and Yang, Positive and Negative, then you you’ve seen the I Ching. You just didn’t know it.
So how is it possible that the I Ching can help you get a job, advise you whether an upcoming date with be a passing fancy or a lifelong influence, or figure out whether LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are worth the time and effort? How indeed could a 5,000 year-old book answer questions that didn’t exist even a few years ago?
That’s a mystery that’s easier to understand once you’ve experienced the I Ching in action.
“OK, what’s going on here?” a reader wanted to know. “Now, there haven’t been any funny parts in several paragraphs.”
“I know. I knew he couldn’t be that funny for 8 straight blogs. It was too much to expect.”
“Maybe this is just his MO. He makes you laugh and laugh and then he throws you a curveball of ancient wisdom.”
“ Well I’m sticking around,” said another. “There’s bound to be another funny part somewhere..”
(Fortunately, there just isn’t time in a 10-minute blog to respond to everything my readers bring up! So I’ll just get back to the task at hand.)
The I Ching not only gives you a specific answer to whatever question you ask, it helps you affect the outcome of the question. In truth, the I Ching doesn’t always help you get what you want. But it always councils you to get what you need.
The I Ching will answer any question about anything. The more specific the question, the more detailed the answer.
Now, I can understand if you don’t believe any of this yet. It goes against so many things we know. But just keep this in mind, if the advice and predictions of the I Ching were as flimsy as, say, a daily newspaper horoscope or Chinese fortune cookies, it would never have survived 5,000 years of existence.
“Hey, I had a fortune cookie once that was at least a thousand years old,” said another reader. “I nearly broke my tooth.”
“What was your fortune?”
“Oh, it said, “Don’t eat this fortune cookie. It’s 1,000 years old. You’ll break your tooth…In bed.’”
There has to be a reason, a cosmic universal reason the I Ching has been around so long.
Here’s a little more about how the I Ching works. There are 64 possible answers you can receive when you ask the I Ching a question. So while it seems little more than chance that you might get one answer or another, you’ll just have to trust me (or not) that real wisdom and a specific answers to your questions are written in a book that’s over 3,000 years old.
I’ll tell you the secret of how the I Ching works. I’ll tell you because I don’t think you’ll believe it.
You see, the wisdom isn’t really in the book. The book is just a guide, a teacher. The real wisdom is deep inside you. It’s buried under ego, pride, fears and all the negative emotions that cloud your daily Life.
Deep down, all people and therefore all religions are the same. We’ve just bastardized religion by segregating humanity into different, mutually exclusive paths. True religion (hardly ever practiced) knows better. We’re all One. And One with the Universe.
It has to be Great Cosmic Joke that the Chinese sage who first wrote down the I Ching was named Fu Hsi. Because if you pronounce it in English, it sounds like “Few See.” How true.
There is just one ancient Chinese Book of Changes, or I Ching, but there have been many translations and updates. Over the years, I’ve used about 10 or more variations because I can’t relate to the ancient Chinese text that states, “It is not a good time to cross the Yangtse River” or “ it is time to set your armies marching.”
That’s why I use I about 10-15 different modern translations that I can relate to. Some are specifically used for business. All I Ching books have the 64 answers (called hexagrams) in them, they just define the answers in different ways.
I know all this is new information is highly suspect and confusing, so I’ll simplify things by telling you two stories about consulting the I Ching.
These two stories demonstrate the depth and wisdom of the I Ching. Bear with me. You just may learn something new.
In the early eighties, I got hired as a Copywriter at NY ad agency Richard & Edwards (We called it “Richard & Ed’s Ward because Ed was such a character. That’s putting it mildly.
(Saying someone is a real character is like saying a man who died was “eccentric.” What you real mean is that “the person was a real pain in the butt.”)
Getting back to this new job at Richard & Edwards, I should have known something was off when Ed Mandell, Richard & Edward’s Creative Director, didn’t ask to see my portfolio on my one and only interview. He stressed one thing and mentioned it three times. Did I know how to turn the air conditioning off at night? He showed me, I proved I could do it and I got the job.
My first week there was a little unusual because they didn’t give me hardly anything to work on. I was raring to go, and they just weren’t giving me the opportunity to prove they hired the right person.
Of course, they had small projects for me to work on. Editing a print ad. Timing a radio script. Turning off the air conditioning. But I wanted to prove myself and earn my salary and the accolades of fellow workers.
By the second week, I was getting a little paranoid. Was I just not good enough? Did they make a mistake hiring me?
Every morning I’d go into Ed’s office and ask if there was anything I should be working on.
“You’re doing just fine,” Ed said, giving me nothing to do. “Keep up the good work.”
By my sixth week, I still didn’t have a 30-second TV commercial to my name, and I was panicking. I didn’t know where to turn. Surely I would be fired, right after they stamped “TRASH-Please Remove” on my forehead.
So I did what I’ve done so many times before, I “asked” the I Ching what I should do. I phrased my question, “Should I have the Wall Street Journal write a article about me, so Ed knows how good I am? Wouldn’t that be a good way to keep my job?” I figured once Ed realizes how good I am, he’ll give me something substantial to work on.
Now there are 64 possible answers you can get when you ask the I Ching a question. Sure, they’re written in the book, and sure you do interpret what you read, but that’s only because the truth of the I Ching speaks directly to your subconscious.
So when the I Ching answered, “A hammer is not a good tool to fix a watch with,” to me it meant, ‘Ed, my boss, knew exactly how good I was. That’s why he wasn’t giving me anything to work on. Even though he was a senior partner at the agency, he felt threatened by my talent. Ed felt threatened by his own shadow’s talent.
So the very worst thing I could have done was to have the Wall Street Journal affirm my ability. If my real question was, “How can I keep my job?,” then I Ching’s answer was to continue to do very little or nothing. I did and the job lasted 2 years.
One more story. Carl Jung, the world famous Swiss psychiatrist, asked the I Ching a double question, “Do you really work? Can you really give people advice and answers on any question?” He got answer #48 (more technically hexagram #48), also called “The Well.”
In part it reads: “The well provides us with the fundamental building blocks of life. It is an inexhaustible source of spiritual nourishment. If you approach it sincerely, without mistrust or frivolity, it will guide you through every difficult hour with unimpeachable wisdom.”
However, it went on, “If you muddy the well, doubting the I Ching by placing your ego desires above the council it offers, you impede your own progress.”
Jung was satisfied with the answer, but needed more proof. Surely, if he asked the exact same questions and got the exact same answer, that would prove the I Ching was truly filled with divine wisdom.
“Aha,” Jung said, when he didn’t receive hexagram #46 again, “the I Ching is not as all-knowing as I thought it was.” But just to double check, he looked up the new answer he received.
These aren’t the exact words, but basically, the I Ching responded to Jung’s twice-asked question,
“ Jesus, you’re an a**hole. When you ask a Wise Man a question once, he gives you the Answer. There’s no need to ask him twice.”
The I Ching is never wrong. It speaks to a higher self that is difficult for many of us to find. It puts perspective and balance in your life and teaches you the wisdom that is hidden inside your greatest teacher. You.