The I-Ching, Yijing or Book of Changes was born thousands of years ago in China. It started out as a divination manual and slowly evolved into a book of wisdom as well. Throughout the ages, people from all levels of society have turned to it for advice. They include emperors, statesmen, thinkers, merchants and common folk. Even today, the Yijing remains relevant. Thanks to the efforts of Richard Wilhelm, Carl Jung and the many Yijing enthusiasts out there, it is more famous and more widely read than ever. For me, it is the one book that I reread on a daily basis. If you wonder why, here is a list of benefits that I have derived from reading the Yijing.
Acting in Accordance with the Laws of Life
There are certain laws of life that remain the same throughout the ages. No matter which era or culture we are in, these laws are the same because the challenges that we face as human beings are the same. I will just give a few examples to illustrate my point. When we face shocks of fate, it is better to stay calm to manage it than to lose our cool. When the times demand that we wait, active waiting is always better than passive waiting. During good times, we should prepare for the bad times that will follow. During bad times, we should take heart because it will not last forever.
The Yijing is a book of timeless wisdom that reminds me of the laws of life. To live well, we have to know these laws to know how to behave during each moment. If we act with these principles in mind, we will live in peace and harmony with the world around us. But if we fail to do so, we will face problems in our days ahead.
Awareness of Actions and their Consequences
When you drop a stone into a pond, it creates ripples which flow outwards. Like the stone, our actions create ripples through life. They have consequences that may be good or bad for us. To compound matters, our actions may also affect others, leading to more actions and more ripples. Reading the Yijing has made me aware of the consequences of my actions and those of others. With this foresight, I am able to gauge how events are likely to unfold which allows me to adjust my actions to attain the results I want.
For example, let us imagine that I have to work with someone I dislike on an important project. If I allow my personal feelings to cloud my judgment, it could lead to a quarrel or a fight. Under such conditions, the project is likely to fail. But if I were to work to find common ground, it would help to minimize our differences. In doing so, we can focus our efforts on the project and succeed.
Acting in Harmony with the Times and Circumstances
Timing is everything. If we act in harmony with the times and circumstances, we are likelier to get double the results for half the effort. But if we go against the times, we end up expending double the effort for half the results. Knowing when we should act and when we should wait is crucial to success. By reading the Yijing we can recognize the times we are in and act accordingly to succeed.
An athlete who has just recovered from a serious operation would be in no condition to compete. If the athlete were to insist on doing so, he or she would only meet with failure and worsen their wounds. The timing is simply not right for action. But after the athlete has made a complete recovery and trained extensively, the times change. Under such conditions, the athlete is likelier to succeed at winning a competition. Not all cases in life are so clear-cut; this is where the Yijing can shed light on a situation for us.
Dealing with Changes and Tough Choices
How would your life change if you knew the outcome of events beforehand? What if you knew exactly what to do when you faced problems or change? This, for me, is the greatest benefit of the Yijing. It is not just a book of wisdom; it also has practical applications when it comes to making tough choices. Through divination, it is possible to foresee events and adjust our actions accordingly. Knowing how to deal with changes as they arise eliminates uncertainty and gives me peace of mind. With the Yijing by my side, I can face changes in career, relationships or life in general with less worry.
For example, let us imagine that I am applying for the job of admin executive at company A and B. To make things simple, let us assume that both companies offer the same pay and benefits for the position. Let us also assume that commuting back and forth from work is the same for both companies. Now, joining a new company is a big decision. The last thing I want is to end up in a working environment that is hard to bear. Thus, the deciding factor for me is how I would fair at each company. Knowing the answer before I work at either company allows me to decide which job offer to take. With the Yijing, I can divine the answer to make the best choice.
Few books have changed and shaped my life the way the Yijing has. But this is not surprising. I have always wanted to learn to manage change because change is the only constant in life. Only by learning to handle change can I live a life in harmony with my times and circumstances. And since the Yijing is a book on handling life and its changes, it will continue to remain useful and relevant to me in my days ahead. Do look out for my article next week. I intend to share my ideas and experiences in shaping the future with the Yijing.
Have you ever read the Yijing? If so, what are your thoughts and experiences about the book? If not, what do you think about the book so far? Do share your thoughts and comments below.