The lesson described below pertains to our use of the retrospective-three-coin method (rtcm). This method consists in using three coins (or a specially configured die), to put questions to the Sage in order to receive Yes/No answers. The method is described in our books, I Ching, the Oracle of the Cosmic Way, Healing Yourself the Cosmic Way, and The Psyche Revealed Through the I Ching.
The use of the rtcm, especially when exercised without reference to understanding the meaning of a hexagram, can contain certain dangers of which the Sage wants to make us aware. All these dangers have to do with our asking questions that do not come from our inner truth or from our commonsense, but from the ego in us. The Sage, in effect, cannot answer, and so the answer we receive is paradoxical. The Sage can only make us aware through shock — the inappropriateness of both the question and the answer. It wants to make us aware that we need to listen to what our commonsense wants to tell us. Our commonsense reflects our true feelings about the matter at hand. Our commonsense is the consensus of both our inner and outer senses. We have, unfortunately, been trained to only pay attention to our outer senses, and to disregard our inner senses. Therefore, the fact that something about the answer does not feel harmonious does not register in our minds.
The situation we are referring to here is usually one in which we want the Sage to make a decision for us. We want to do things “right.” Behind this desire is the ego that makes us think in terms of “right/wrong,” and the idea that we need an authority figure to reassure us of its benevolence if we follow what it tells us to do.
An example is a person who believed he “ought to go on a fast” to prove his spiritual intent. He wanted to make sure that the duration would not be too short in the eyes of the Sage, so he asked, “should it be more than a week?” He received +++. He continued questioning, “more than two weeks?” (+++), and so on, until he had reached the point of doubting the answers. Fortunately, he called us to find out the inner truth of the situation. He then told us, “sometimes, I feel obligated to comply with the answer I get from the Sage so as not to be obstinate or resisting. Then I often just get angry and feel frustrated as if I am being deceived or tricked.”
Whenever we think that we “ought” to do something, such as follow the Sage to the point of feeling frustrated, it is a clear indication that we are under the influence of a “you should” spell. The feeling of frustration in view of the Sage’s answers is a sign that our will to follow the rule in question has burned out. The Sage by giving us “+++,” helps us get to that point of burnout. Then it is important to understand the lesson: to free ourselves from the “you should” spell through deprogramming it.
In the above example, the person needed to deprogram the belief (not originating in the I Ching), “If you want to be spiritual, you should regularly go on a fast.” He also needed to deprogram two more things: first, the image of authority he had put onto the Sage, and second, the fear of becoming guilty if he did not follow the Sage’s answers.