The I Ching

Periodically over the next year, we’ll be publishing some of the work Sheila Heti and Ted Mineo have done on an adaptation of the I Ching.

The way to read it is:  think of a problem in your life (especially an intractable issue, one you cannot solve) then look at the picture and read below… 

Hexagram #9: The Small 

Dense rainclouds fill the sky, but no rain falls. This is a time of potential being restrained. The best one can do when the rains threaten to fall but do not is to nurture the smallest things—whatever glitters in the soil, whatever expects rain but isn’t being watered. Big things cannot happen now. You have to attend to the smallest sprouts, though you may wish to climb to the tops of trees. One cannot force the rains to come. So spend your energies nurturing the things which still need help. 

Display only your best qualities at this time and hide from the world your worst. Refine your environment and settle debts. Familial loyalty is the most prized virtue; display it if you can. Be as gentle, agreeable and pliant as possible. You can only influence people subtly, through gentle penetration, or possibly not at all. You cannot win great victories for your side.

It is an emotionally unsatisfying time; full of stifled expectancy. Heaven’s possibilities can be felt all around you, but heaven cannot be inhabited. The sky remains dark with clouds. 

This time has been brought about by the smallest things, which have accumulated and are expressing themselves now. It is because of the small things you have nurtured—in your environment, in yourself, and others—that the clouds are full to bursting. Keep inside your heart your highest goals for yourself and the people around you, while remaining quite silent. Set aside your greatest hopes, gestures, and ambitions for the moment. Such contemplation will only compel you try and force things ahead of their time. To do that would only cause conflict, not real change. Yet keep those visions within sight of your heart.

Make everything smaller. Tend to children, small animals, or to those activities which are like the tending of the smallest sprouts, animals, children. Help other people. Spend your energy on productive refinement, not upheaval.