In the more than three thousand years the I Ching has been around, the book has often erroneously been viewed as a fortunetelling device – as if the future were something prewritten. In Hexagram 25 called “Innocence/Not Projecting/Not Expecting,” the I Ching shows this assumption to be false. “Innocence” refers to our original innocent state of mind that brings us into harmony with the Cosmos and its harmonious order.
The year 2012 is characterized by worldwide crises in almost every aspect of our lives. These crises manifest from the disharmonious consciousness created in the minds of people by disharmonious words, ideas, and beliefs. The I Ching helps us, by connecting us with our deepest inner truth to see that we are by nature part of a harmonious Cosmic order. Disharmonious words, ideas, and beliefs create the disorder we experience.
We possess, by nature, an inner truth that is in harmony with the Cosmos. Our inner truth is a feeling knowledge, that would light our path, and enable us to respond to its inspirations harmoniously. When we follow this inner light, the word “crisis” takes on the meaning of “opportunity” — the opportunity to find the Cosmic solutions to problems that benefit the whole.
How does our mind lose its innocence? It happens when it elevates itself over all other things in Nature by imagining that it is “special” due to its ability to think and express itself in verbal language. Looking down from its high place, our mind no longer listens to our inner truth, but plots and plans from a purely mental approach to life. It thus shuts the door to what is possible when we follow our inner truth and creates a self-made prison. The walls of that prison are made of the limitations given by the parameters of time and space, and by what we think we “should do.” The relevance of this fact becomes clear when we realize that our inner truth exists in a dimension beyond time and space, which we can call the dimension of eternity. In practical terms, it is the realm of possibility.
The salient point here is that the Cosmic reality of which we are an integral part comprises both the dimension that is subject to time and space (the world of all the forms in Nature), and the other dimensions that exist beyond time and space. The I Ching shows us that the forms in Nature are compressed Cosmic Consciousness. The act of being compressed into form and thereby becoming subjected to the parameters of time and space occurs through transformations in the atomic realm. We can picture the process in this way: something that first exists as a harmonious feeling in the Cosmic Consciousness takes on the form of an image in the Cosmic Consciousness. Transformations then compress this image into a form in Nature that corresponds to its original image. Thus, the process of “becoming form” begins in a dimension that is beyond time and space. Although the thing has become a form, it has duration in the sense that it always remains connected with the eternal dimension. Thanks to this connection, the thing participates in constant transformations. The name for this wonderful ability is LIFE.
By contrast, let us look at what happens when our mind projects an image that is caught in the limitations of time and space: while that image can take on form, its form lacks a connection with the unlimited Cosmic Consciousness, and is therefore lifeless.
The I Ching shows us the difference between these two kinds of reality: the first is the Cosmic reality; it is characterized by a way of life that is in accord with the Cosmic Principles of Harmony. The second is a fake, parallel reality created by the human mind from abstract ideas that are contrived; that reality is lifeless, and therefore cannot endure. This truth becomes evident in the fact that abstract ideas inevitably produce crises. However, what seems to be the possible “end of the world” is really the end of the false, parallel reality that has been established in the lap of the Cosmic reality. The collapse of false constructs reveals the underlying Cosmic reality that has duration. What the collective crises mean for the individual is something each of us, as individuals, needs to investigate. One way is through consulting the I Ching. What we learn from it is that we each have a Cosmic destiny to fulfill; first, however, we need to become aware of our unique Cosmic possessions.
The purpose of consulting the I Ching is to reconnect our mind with our inner truth and thereby with the Cosmic Consciousness. To make this possible our mind needs to be willing to come down from its high horse of delusionary thinking. This is neither done by incriminating ourselves nor by committing acts of repentance; the belief in fighting the crisis equally misses the point. Rather, returning to innocence is an act of freeing ourselves individually of the neurotic pride that is the cause of the world’s problems. When our mind thus takes its true place in the Cosmos, the result is “supreme success,” as it is put in Hexagram 14, Possession in Great Measure. Once reconnected with our inner truth, our mind then needs to tune into the images and inspirations it receives from this inner source, and follow them.
In this way, our mind, instead of functioning on self-created abstract ideas that have increasingly isolated it from its Cosmic source, joins the Cosmic evolution. This act of self-correcting can only be carried out by each of us individually. Self-correcting enables us to make our creative contribution to manifesting the harmonious Cosmic order on the Earth. The energy that is set free when our mind lets go of its arrogance is then transformed into the creative energy we need, in order to express our uniqueness as individuals.
What becomes clear from the above description is that true progress is made through returning to our original state of innocence, which is synonymous with returning to our true nature. Hexagram 24, Returning, describes this process in the following words:
“‘Returning’ indicates the direction in which the path of development leads: back to the person’s original nature. It does not lead forward, through cultivating virtues; nor does it mean trying to become something we are not; rather, it is a process of continuously subtracting, or weeding out what we have falsely added. Each step on this path leads to increasing light and relief. We take this path through ceasing to look outward for solutions to problems; we look inward instead. Each hexagram of the I Ching illuminates some hidden part of our psyche that, through giving the mind pre-eminence, we have left behind; thus, it helps us to discover and reclaim our true nature.”
A final note: What we have described above may sound abstract because we are not relating it to specific experiences, but everything we have written about the I Ching is based either on our own experiences in everyday life, or the experiences of people who have worked with our book “I Ching. The Oracle of the Cosmic Way,” and who have shared with us what they learned.