The beginning student of the Sage can be challenged by an ego-attitude that would keep him trapped in a very destructive pattern of thinking that can be called “distrusting vs. trusting.” If not dealt with by asking for help from the Cosmos, this mindset can alienate him from the very source from which he desperately needs and wants to get help.
What actually happens is this: Whenever we approach the I Ching/the Sage with distrust that has developed during earlier experiences in our life, we create an unnecessary separation between our mind and the Sage, that renders the Sage unable to help resolve the very situation we would like to correct, or be healed from. The distrust creates a mechanism known in psychotherapy as “transference.” It is like approaching the I Ching with dark glasses that prevent us from understanding the Sage’s messages with clarity.
Often the source of the distrust is a traumatic experience – or a series of similar experiences in which our trust in a parent or other person of authority was shattered. As a consequence we have drawn the conclusion, ‘you can’t trust anyone,’ or ‘you can’t trust those who tell you that they love and care about you.’ The problem with such a conclusion is that it is an absolute statement that closes the door to positive experiences, or greets statements of love and caring with suspicion and distrust.
When a person with this built-in distrust approaches the I Ching/the Sage to find healing, he imagines the Sage to be an “authority figure” that is ready to judge him harshly for having developed an ego, or is otherwise generally ready to condemn him. Since the Sage cannot respond to this kind of pre-judgment, the person feels rebuffed. He then takes this rebuff as “proof” that his distrust of the Sage was justified. This is true even for someone who is aware of his distrust but still approaches the I Ching with the request to be given an understanding of what he can expect to get out of working with it. He is not aware that he is going to read its explanations through those dark glasses. It is then that he may call the I Ching a “liar” or “evil”. Such a person may go so far with such negative thoughts that he creates the fate that the Cosmos leaves him totally to the unsuccessful devices of the ego in him. What he does not realize is that his fate has the purpose of decreasing the ego by bringing him back to his senses. What seems to be a “punishment” by the Cosmos is actually Cosmic help that serves to shock him out of the grip of the ego. In that state of shock the ego is knocked unconscious for about three days. This time is a most propitious time for him to consult with the Sage by asking for a hexagram that would explain the reason for what has happened.
We need to be aware of yet another tactic the ego may try to employ after its return from the shock: Since distrusting the oracle’s advice has led to negative consequences, the ego may now propose to the person to take a leap of faith “to follow the Sage’s advice,” meaning, he should now “trust the I Ching/the Sage and do what it says.” However, taking a “leap of faith” would only lead to another fate, because the Sage does not want us to follow it blindly; rather, while on the one hand it wants to give us clarity about what it means to bring our thinking into harmony with the Cosmos, it also wants us to understand how the ego traps us by making us think in terms of opposites, as in saying, “if one thing doesn’t work, try the opposite.”
The concept of “opposites” is a purely mental concept that is not reconcilable with the Principles of Harmony that govern the Cosmic order. We can only “know” these principles by getting in touch with our deep inner knowledge that tells us whether something feels harmonious or lacks that feeling.
Temporarily suspending our distrust
To find the way out of the ego-game of “distrusting vs. trusting” we need Cosmic help. The solution lies in “suspending our distrust” long enough to recognize what feels harmonious or lacks that feeling. However, our mind cannot will itself to suspend its distrust. Therefore, before we approach the I Ching/the Sage with the request to be shown the inner truth of the situation at hand, we need to ask the “Helpers” to “temporarily suspend our distrust.” It is like asking them to put our distrust on a shelf, so that we can have a new experience.
Trust is built from having these new experiences of what is in accord with our Inner Truth. It is like building a larder we can safely depend on. We feel it growing with each experience of the reliability of the Sage, which, in teaching us, draws on our Inner Truth. Our Inner Truth is hardwired into every body cell. It connects us with the invisible Cosmic Consciousness and contains the knowledge about our Cosmic origin. It also contains the Cosmic Principles of Harmony that our mind needs, in order to bring itself into accord with that harmony.