Article 2. Suspending Disbelief by Carol and Hanna

© by Carol Anthony and Hanna Moog

   The I Ching, Richard Wilhelm states in the Foreword to his Classic Translation of the I Ching, began as a yes/no system of putting questions to the Cosmos. As centuries went by the original answers became interpreted and edited by the various dynasties. After Carol discovered the “retrospective three coin method”* of asking the I Ching whether we understood it during a consultation, we found ourselves understanding the I Ching in new ways    — new by beginning to understand the original oracle sayings as guided by the Sage that speaks through the oracle. 

   In this manner, we found that the I Ching is not a belief system that tells us what to do and how to think, based on the way it was edited by scholars over the centuries; rather it wants to connect us with our own inner truth. Our inner truth, as we learned, is the largest storage place in the world that contains everything we need to know to live our lives in joy, harmony, and prosperity. For example, it contains:


  • the feeling knowledge that we are part of the harmonious order of the Cosmos
  • the feeling knowledge of the Cosmic Principles of Harmony
  • the feeling knowledge of the help and support available to us from the Cosmic Helpers for all our needs
  • the collected experience of humankind — not the collected myths, but the collected understandings about our true nature
  • the feeling knowledge of our positive symbiotic relationships with the Cosmos and Nature


   The Sage made us aware that the beliefs we hold often contradict the feeling knowledge contained in our inner truth, and it is for this very reason that we usually come to the I Ching: one or more of those beliefs have created the problem for which we are seeking a solution. Obviously, we cannot understand the I Ching’s counsel so long as we remain convinced of those beliefs. The longer we work with the I Ching, the more we realize that the beliefs created by humans have blocked our contact with the feeling knowledge of our inner truth. If we think about it, we realize that the difference between beliefs and our inner truth is that we do not need to “believe” what we know on this deep level to be true, because it feels harmonious and fitting.

   For the same reason, we find that the I Ching does not want us to take on new beliefs, but to learn to listen to what we know deep inside ourselves. Because we have come so far away from this practice, and have been made to doubt that it even exists, the I Ching helps us connect with our inner truth. With practice, we gradually become free of our distrust, and we gradually begin to realize that our feeling knowledge contains everything we need to know; it has only been pushed aside by beliefs that have created disharmony in one or more areas of our lives. This disharmony, of course, is experienced as a lack of joy, prosperity, and good health.

   When we come to the I Ching, we tend to want to hold onto our beliefs because we think they give us a feeling of security. This thinking has made them into powerful habits of mind. However, if we are seeking relief from the problems they have created, we need to be willing to suspend them, at least temporarily. As long as we are captives of those habits of mind, the door to understanding the causes of our problems remains shut. To enable the I Ching to show us those causes, we are not required to give up or even suspend our beliefs; we are only required to temporarily suspend our disbelief in the existence of our inner truth.

   A second prerequisite to being able to learn something new is the temporary suspension of our preconceived ideas. Preconceived ideas equally prevent our mind from learning something that is outside their frames of reference.

For the person who wishes to consult the I Ching, we recommend the following exercise:

   Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Now, ask the Sage to temporarily suspend both your disbelief in the existence of your inner truth and your preconceived ideas.

(This exercise does not need to exceed one minute.)

*This method will be introduced in our next article.