Whenever things get dark and dirty or I'm stumped as to how to proceed in life, I throw the I Ching. I'm no Nancy Reagan (who evidently consulted it when advising her husband), but I've found that it utterly helps me to clarify whatever predicament I'm in and motivates me to sit with said problem without anxiety or fear. If you don't know about The Book of Changes, I suggest you read about it online because I'm hard-pressed for time today and just don't feel like typing out an explanation in addition to what I'm going to type out here.
I have the original Bollingen Series of the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of The I Ching or Book of Changes with a remarkable forward about the book and synchronicity by the great C.G. Jung, but when I throw the coins, I use R.L. Wing's The I Ching Workbook. It's easier to understand, and I can keep a record of the outcomes I've gotten in its pages.
So, last night I asked a question -- which is particularly unbloggable -- threw my two ancient pennies and one Buddha charm -- and got a very satisfying answer -- an answer that enabled me to settle down in my bed and watch three episodes of Homeland on my Kindle Fire as I blew my nose and sipped tea (I have a nasty cold). Lest you think every hexagram/answer is as benign or gentle as the one I got below, I assure you that other times I've thrown the coins for guidance have resulted in very different answers, some with bold warnings and admonitions.
I know this is a cruel blog post in that I'm not divulging my question, but the answer was so perfect that I just felt like marking it:
Hexagram 52: Keeping Still; Meditation
There is a focus now upon your inner perspective. It is of particular importance at this time that you meditate upon the object of your inquiry. With this frame of mind you can realign yourself to the tao.
MEDITATION here refers to a state where your thoughts do not go beyond the situation at hand. It is not a single act but a frame of mind. Once the mind is calm and the ego quelled, you will transcend your internal turmoil. Your inner stillness will bring enlightenment by objectifying your impressions. You can now make exceptional progress by acting in accordance with the cosmos. MEDITATION and inner calm will help to center you. Through objectivity, you will know when to act and when not to act. In this way you make no mistakes and suffer no consequences.
Because of the external complexities in worldy matters, it is of great importance to achieve an inner peace which will allow you to act in harmony with the times, rather than reacting with impulsiveness. Hold your thoughts to the present and attempt an unprejudiced view of the situation. Actions that spring from this attitude will be appropriate and well regarded.
Relationships can now benefit from internal stillness. By avoiding thoughts that project too far into the future, and dispelling illusions of what can or will be, you can overcome ego-generated difficulties. MEDITATION, as well, can prevent you from making regretful social errors.
MEDITATION, in general, can renew both mind and body. By pacifying stress that is based upon projection and fantasy, true relaxation can be attained. The instincts that spring forth will be in accordance with your real needs. Stop your thoughts now.
Stop your thoughts now! What a thought, no? It's back to the cushion and sitting, I believe -- my practice has been half-hearted, at best, but this gives me some impetus to circle back, as do these words of Lao Tzu, from the sixth century, B.C.:
He who knows does not speak.
He who speaks does not know.
Close the mouth.
Shut the door of desire.
Blunt the sharpness.
Untie the tangles.
Soften the light.
Become one with the dusty world.