Thursday, June 18, 2015


What are you expecting of yourself and others? Wondering how it's all going to turn out?
Want a reading about that, based on the wisdom of the I Ching Book of Changes?
  • Jot down a topic you're curious about. 
  • Pick a number between 1 and 6.
Read the post below, +/or scroll down to the end to see the reading that corresponds with your number.

circular picture in fabrics
Innocence Mandala, fabrics, by Jude Spacks

I am always very happy to see Hexagram 25, Innocence (The Unexpected) show up in an I Ching reading. It points me back to the wholesome satisfaction of doing things for their own sake, without conniving about outcomes. The I Ching calls this "supreme success": to move into action from a mind that is "natural and true, unshadowed by ulterior designs" (I Ching Book of Changes, Wilhelm/Baynes trans). 

It also reminds me that if I'm trying to force things to work out in my favor, it's likely that nothing much will work out at all—it would be better not to undertake anything with that kind of defensive, pressured mindset. Likewise, if I come from a slapdash self-indulgent mood which is the flip side of pressure-head, I won't connect with the genuine ease and sureness of innocence.

This inherent, mature innocence is not naive or impulsive. It is a state of openness to the movement of the unpredictable. Innocence orients us to the present-moment flow of creative inspiration.

When we're not expecting an outcome or projecting our own mental state outwards onto circumstances, we're fully available to the present. In the undefended mind of innocence, there are no foregone conclusions. We are at home with the fact that we don't know what will happen later, and we go about our business, naturally harmonizing with what is happening now. It feels right. 

But sometimes the innocence of residing in one's center without expectation of results seems vulnerable and risky. We might think we must throw ourselves outwards into efforts to manipulate externals through expecting and projecting.  

Expectations can give an illusion of egoic control. "I expect you to finish this immediately!" has a nice tough sound to it. Like, "I'll hold my breath till my face turns blue!" Maybe sometimes it works to force things to bend to your will.

But if I'm depending on getting my way to feel ok, I've outsourced my happiness, which is not a position of real power. When I expect others (or myself) to conform to my wishes, I set myself up for resentment: disappointment laced with blame.  

The Courage of No-Defense, digital artwork by Jude Spacks

If we give up the willful control of expecting/projecting, what will be left? Will we just sink down into lazy lumps and never get anything done?

It might be worth questioning the notion that we're programed with a lazy-lump default we must constantly labor to override. Basically that assumes we are guilty of indolence until proven innocent, again and again.

The innocence of going with the flow doesn't mean the flow always goes where we'd like it to. It means that we're able to respond to unfolding reality with full access to our natural intelligence in the moment, unclouded by a struggle to force externals to match our projections and preferences.


What if we already have the natural curiosity, ingenuity, stamina, perseverance and all the other qualities we need to accomplish what can really be useful to us and the Whole?

People in touch with their original state of innocence are "rich in virtue and in harmony with the time, [and can] foster and nourish all beings" (I Ching Book of Changes, Wilhelm/Baynes trans).  

Questions for Reflection

Consider the 12 Step slogan "Expectations are premeditated resentments."
  • Where might you be expecting things of others or yourself that set you up for resentment and dissatisfaction? 
  • Scan your current plans. Are you depending on some outcome? How does that feel? Is it nourishing to you and to others?
  • What, specifically, might you be expecting of yourself today? What would it be like to drop that expectation, to see it as only a passing thought-form?
  • What would it be like to enter your next activity wholeheartedly, just to do it, without concerning yourself with evaluating how you're doing or what comes next?

Want a reading about innocence and expectations in some area of your life?  
So, did you think of a topic related to this that you're curious about?  
And did you pick a number between 1 and 6?
Now, read the message below corresponding to your number. 
(Or, read them all and see which resonate for you). 
Keeping an open mind, do you see how these pointers might apply to your situation?
  1. Follow the original impulse of your good heart with confidence. Remain detached about outcomes, making no plans to influence what might happen. Everything will work out for the best for all concerned.
  2. Keep doing every task for its own sake, in a flexible way appropriate to the time and place. Don't divert attention into speculation or planning about possible results. As you keep your eyes on the needs of the moment and the task right at hand, your work turns out well and your undertakings succeed. 
  3. Sometimes things happen that we don't like and which are not our fault. Act with care and integrity in even the smallest transactions; coming from your center doesn't mean you ignore the context you're in. Accommodate yourself with acceptance to the demands of the actual situation.
  4. You can't lose what is really yours, so you can relax. Attend only to remaining true to your own nature. Don't pressure or distract yourself with opinions, desires or fears. Stay with what's essential and immediate and you'll know when and how to be helpful. 
  5. If something unwanted comes along by accident, don't combat it with external means. As long as it isn't rooted in some fixated confusion within you, it will naturally improve by itself.
  6. If the time is not ripe for further progress, it's best to wait quietly, without planning, scheming or explaining. It won't work to try to push ahead in opposition to the way things are going. Give others space to come to understanding for themselves and just tend to what's in front of you now. 

Mat for Tossing I Ching Coins On, fabrics, by Jude Spacks
I doubt I'll get to posting about all 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, but here some others, which also invite you to connect with the oracle on a topic :#3 Difficulty at the Beginning,  #5 Waiting  #12 Standstill #57Gentleness and #60 Limitation.

Enjoy the creative courage of your natural innocence today!