The I Ching and Tara
By Tara Faulkner
My first exposure to the I Ching happened a little over thirty years ago in my early twenties. I had just arrived in Eugene, Oregon, also known affectionately at that time as "The Berkeley of the North," a place so steeped in the counter-cultural vibe that it has more recently inspired the saying, "Old hippies never die, they just move to Eugene." Having fled the relatively conservative environment of the Midwest, I quickly, and with a grateful sigh of relief, fell in with a loose community of free-thinking spiritual seekers who introduced me to such oddities as bee pollen, alfalfa sprouts, astrology and everything written by Ram Dass. In that exotic mix, but somewhere on the periphery of my awareness, was the I Ching. I vaguely understood that it was a system of divination from ancient China that involved the tossing of coins or the throwing of sticks, followed by the reading of inscrutable hexagrams. Also, there was something about changing lines that I never fully grokked.
A couple of years later, as a Religious Studies major at the University of Oregon, I found myself in an introductory class on Chinese Religions. During one especially memorable class period, the discussion turned to the I Ching as an oracular extension of Taoist philosophy. Someone asked the very astute question, "How does divination work? How can the tossing of coins possibly tell us anything about ourselves?" The professor, a wise and gentle man with a thick Japanese accent who seemed equal parts sage and scholar, said, "It works because the microcosm is the macrocosm. It works because we live in a holographic world. It works because your birth was the result of the entire universe conspiring to give birth to itself." Oh, yes, he really did say that! And his words precipitated a light bulb moment of cosmic proportions for me. My mind exploded like a display of fireworks on the 4th of July and it was everything I could do to keep from sliding off my chair and into a blissed-out heap on the floor.
Fast forward twenty-five years to the summer of 2007, when a powerful dream in which I shape shifted into the Tree of Life sent me off on an obsessive/ compulsive hero's journey of discovery into the deepest possible meaning of that archetype. One thing led to another, as it always does, and the next thing you know I was contemplating the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching as one of several esoteric systems mysteriously related to the Tree of Life. My odyssey led me from John Major Jenkins' theories about galactic alignment and 2012 Mayan prophecy, to Drunvalo Melchizedek's Flower of Life, to the sacred geometry underlying Vedic Astrology, to Nassim Haramein's Vector Equilibrium, to Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero, to Jay Weidner's Cross of Hendaye, and on and on. (Please see my piece The I Ching and 2012 on this website for more details).
Finally, after sifting through a lot of very heady stuff in the last couple of years, I have arrived at a new appreciation of the simple profoundity of the I Ching (as a result of working with Doug and Janet on the Inner Sight iChing application). It goes like this: The world in which we live is defined by an unceasing balancing act between yin and yang, or feminine and masculine, polarities. This yin/yang dance occurs at every point and on every level of the third dimensional space/time continuum we call life. There are no exceptions. That's it! The most complex systems and scenarios we encounter as we go about our day can, ultimately, be reduced to this basic insight.
With this in mind, I've learned that I can make my life more complicated than it needs to be or I can check in with the I Ching and my own deeper knowing on a regular basis. When I do, the teeter totter quality of life becomes much more manageable and comprehensible. I find myself balancing in the middle more often than swinging between the highs and lows at either end. It's a much easier ride!