January 1: Day Eight

Go to Day Seven

An algorithm is a formula to get an unambiguous answer, while divination is asking a question of a random set of variables and using intuition for meaning. In a way, the I Ching, an ancient system of divination, combines both elements.  

As I contemplate the year ahead having put down thoughts on vocation, volition, knowledge, and faith I’m still asking myself what lies ahead? The answer is I don’t know. The next year is a mystery to me. What work will I be doing this year? Will my efforts yield any financial benefit? How will I continue to deal with my aging parents and their needs? Should I change my life, move, and find another line of work? I don’t know.

When I asked the I Ching, “What should I know as I prepare for 2021?” the response from the casting was Hexagram 6, Conflict.

You are sincere
And are being obstructed.
A cautious halt halfway brings good fortune.
Going through to the end brings misfortune.
It furthers one to see the great man.
It does not further one to cross the great water.

This seems appropriate. When change comes for me, it’s most often after I have leaned into a conflict at the heart of my job or in my organization. Every time I can see in retrospect where I could have relented – given up and given in. Every time I can see how I kept up the conflict. The more resistance to my views, the clearer they become and the better I get at articulating them.

Richard Wilhelm’s reading of Hexagram 6 is cautionary: don’t carry a conflict stubbornly through, meet it halfway and seek arbitration. Don’t start any big endeavor until this is resolved. I take this seriously, although I’m struggling with how to implement the advice.

Go to Day Nine