08 December 2010

The Right Way to Consult I-Ching

This post is reproduced from my bvotech.com/blog on the same topic.

Alternative titles: How to use i-Ching or Yi Jing rightly.

To the common people, I-Ching (Book of Change, YiJing) is a book of divination. Hence, their way of consulting I-Ching is by casting a lot, or more accurately, drawing a stick. In ancient time, it is about drawing of straw. To those who know about I-Ching, it is not a book of divination and it is not about luck. It is about handling changes and ensuring good outcomes. See I-Ching in One Minute for Abundant Life.

The Random Method
Ancient Chinese had a relatively complex process of casting the lot. To me, they were just trying to ensure they had a good random number generator. With availability of computer, we can generate a random number easily. If we don’t know where to start, it is easy and good to start randomly anywhere. Here is one random Hexagram generator. Go the site and click on the cast button. You will get a starting hexagram number in the pink button. Clicking the button will bring you to detailed description of the hexagram and its stage lines. If you click cast, you will get another hexagram. That says much about the divination method.

The Right Method
To consult I-Ching, we need to have a situation or problem at hand. In I-Ching, the context (of the situations, the players, environment …), timing and positions are key parameters. Let take a typical issue to start with. I was impressed today with William Ury Ted Talk on Conflict Resolution and Mediation. Please watch the video to see his recommended method of conflict resolution. I am curious, if I consult I-Ching, will I come out with some good answers on conflict resolution and mediation. So, this is how I will seek the wisdom of I-Ching on conflict resolution.

The Computerized Tools
I teach courses on Creative & Visual Thinking Methods, Creating Learning Organization and Knowledge Management. Hence, I capture the knowledge of i-Ching using mind-map tools. I have them in Freemind, Mindjet’s MindManager, and Personal Brain formats. Freemind or its fork Freeplane are good and FOC open source software. Mind-map are more tree-like and are good for organizing and presentation of concepts. Personal Brain is a very interesting network concept-map. It is great for linking concepts but is a bit of a challenge to layout the linked concepts in presentation. It provides tags and hence is great to search and look for related information. Working with computerized tools allow quick search and retrieval, organization and update of knowledge.

Consulting I-Ching About Conflict Resolution & Mediation
If we know i-Ching, we can straight away recall that there is precisely a hexagram that talk about conflict. It is hexagram 06 訟 Litigation – Conflict Resolution.
The main description reads “integrity and honesty are withhold, need to be watchful and stay with the middle-path/balanced of justice is good. It says litigation has bad ending. Good to have people with influence and power on your side. It is no good to start big project“. You can quickly jump to the summary and detail lines to gain additional wisdom. I will just reproduce them below for you:

Summary on 6 Litigation:
Litigation consumes resources and is bad for relationship. It is best prevented by having a detailed plan, covering all possible scenarios and provide settlements clauses for them. The clearer and more foresighted one can be, the lesser the need for a litigation. For partnership, please include an exit-clause.
Nevertheless, when we execute, some misunderstanding and disputes could arise. The stage-lines give us additional wisdom to handle them.
1. Settle it Quickly even with small losses.
2. Flee: If you don’t have a case against those who sue you, then give in. Re think your strategies and business.
3. Get Support, from your past good work, network, reputation, advices of elders.
4. Follow uprightness.
5. Get a fair and wise Judge.
6. Watch out – Winning on a bad foundation is loss.

How’s that for a start? It tells us not to take up litigation to resolve issue. It is better to go for mediation. The reason we have conflict is because of differences. Mediation is about resolving of differences. Searching for differences in my mind-map or through using of tags, I can find another Hexagram 38睽 Deviation– Synergy of Differences. The description say that in small matter, differences is good. In the commentary, we know differences are good when they are resolved. I reproduce the teaching below:

Summary of 38睽 Deviation:
We are created to be unique and different from each others. We need to excel in our unique strengths and not to be like others. We need to share the common goals for the higher whole of which we are all parts of. Synergy is of differences and not sameness. Unity is common goals with different and committed people.
Wisdom from the Stage Lines:
1. Different views help prevent mistakes. It is good.
2. Sharing the same objective and values will be sufficient for unity.
3. Get a Strong Mentor to break impasse due to in fighting.
4. Build relationship with prominent people based on integrity.
5. Achieving group co-operation of complementary strengths brings celebration.
6. Deviation brings loneliness. People with different views are not against us but for us. Strength comes from putting the right talents to the right jobs.

After reading this, perhaps we can see that differences are not just bad per se. We need to re-frame our mindset – Differences could be good. The key is to create common and shared goals. How can we do that ?Sharing goals leads us to 13 同人 Companionship – Same Hearts for Teamwork.
How can we build good relationship? Building good relationship leads us to 08 比 Union – Relationship Building and to 58兑 Lake – Joy of Togetherness.
If each hexagram gives us 8 lines of wisdom, we have now walk through, from 6-Litigation, 38-Deviation, 13-Companionship, 8-Union and 58-Joy of Togetherness, 5 hexagrams or 40 lines of wisdom. Hopefully, that is enough pointers for us to resolve differences and enjoy the joy of togetherness.

What about My Business and Entrepreneurship?
I have already done that with The S-Curve & Bell Curve. All you need to do is to determine which stage of growth is your business in and than look up the relevant hexagrams for wisdom. A complete list is here. If you are just starting out, then refer to [1-starting] in the mind-map diagram and look up 03 屯 Sprouting – Starting is hard, 04 蒙 Naive – Learning, and 05 需 Needs – Wait for the Right Time. If your business is highly successful and it at its peak, then learn the wisdom from [5 Peek Success] and look up the list of hexagram listed such as 11泰 Great-Vibrant Flow, 14大有 Great Possession, 16豫 Enjoying – Yet Prepared etc.

Hope you can find your needed answers in I-Ching.
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