Surrender to Insights

How should you prepare yourself in receiving answers from Yijing?

Consultation Rituals
In my post entitled Diviner’s Block, I mentioned that there are some complicated traditional rituals Yijing practitioners do before doing an elaborate consultation. Nothing’s wrong with these, but I never follow them either, given that I practice Yijing anywhere, anytime using basic steps and methods. I likened Yijing consultation with saying a prayer, which is something you can do and say whenever and wherever there’s an urge to do so.

Being a ritualist myself, I suppose the purpose of those rituals is to bring the consultant’s or the querent’s mind into the right conditioned state. A ritual helps to prepare one’s focus and attention like in any considerably sacred or spiritual activity, knowing that in ancient times consulting Yijing is also a way to understand the grace and wisdom of Heaven.

Though I never do any of those old rituals, I still do a ritual of my own, preparing both myself and the client to achieve the state of mind needed to discern clear Yijing insights.

Setting the Tone
In every session I do, I always invite my clients to do 3 rounds of deep breaths to help them become calmer and make creative insights pop up easily. Breathing meditation, as we all know, is the most universal of all rituals. It’s simple and straightforward. I think it’s the most critical starting point that sets the tone of any spiritual, even secular, activities.

Breathing then is followed by a crucial moment which I call surrender to insights. It has two parts:

  • Open your heart
  • Open your mind

#1 Open Your Heart
In my facilitation work, I always invite participants to take a look at their hands. (You can do it too, right now.) And naturally, without even thinking, we automatically open our palms. Thus, there is a striking connection between our hands and our hearts. It is said that the heart is about the size of one’s fist. This image inspired a poem I wrote about the heart:

Sintigas ng kamao

ang puso kapag bato 
Simbanayad ng palad 
ang puso kapag bukas. 


Hard as fist
when heart is a rock.
Gentle as palm
when heart is open.

In public speaking, conversation or presentation, open palms naturally convey trustworthiness, openness and honesty. We have somehow learned that body language and nonverbal gestures speak louder than just the words we say.

Our hands, therefore, is the physical extension of our hearts. And open palms is a gesture of both giving and receiving. Just like the gentle opening of one’s palm, opening your heart before a Yijing reading is your willingness to give your trust to Yijing’s reading process, and your openness to receive answers without any expectations.

#2 Open Your Mind
Back in college, I used to collect Magic: The Gathering trading cards, at least those disposed by a friend who was once a hard core Magic player. I collect them because of its most interesting quotes, and one of them is this:

To fill your mind with knowledge,
we must start by emptying it

from the card WINDFALL, Magic The Gathering, published by Wizards of the Coast

This quote perhaps reminds us of an original Zen story often told in so many versions:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. ‘It is overfull. No more will go in!’

‘Like this cup,’ Nan-in said, ‘you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?’

from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (1957), edited by Paul Reps

Both of these sources are stark reminders of what it means to open one’s mind crucial in entering the oracular space of Yijing. Emptying one’s mind is to remove all expected answers, preconceived notions, mental models and frameworks, personal opinions and certain worldviews that influence, and more often confuse our thinking. It is an act of unlearning and unknowing, adapting Socrates’ timeless axiom: I know that I do not know.

With an open heart and open mind, we are now ready to receive Yijing insights.

Randomness = Surrender
Randomness is always at the heart of all kinds of oracles, be it Tarot or Yijing. Picking a card or generating a hexagram randomly via coins or sticks removes personal biases and bypasses logic, and what is left is an attitude of surrender. To surrender this way is to give up our tendency to control the outcome, and let synchronicity or meaningful coincidence be at work.

This mental and emotional surrender opens up to the possibility of magic and revelation, almost comparable to the experience of receiving an “answered prayer” or simply by being delightfully surprised. It is in the novelty and excitement of randomly discovering something, of sparking our sense of wonder and awe, that life has so much in store for us than we can possibly imagine.

So to surrender is not to “give up”, but to give or yield (Latin: rendere) your control to what is above and beyond (Latin: sur). That is also randomness.

First Gifts
So when you get a Yijing reading from me, or even if you do it on your own, always remember to open your hearts and open your minds. Truly, they are the first gifts of Yijing insights waiting for you to unwrap and be revealed.


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