The idea of using an oracle to help solve problems is absurd to the rational mind. But the intuitive mind has its own ways of plumbing the truth. And working with the I Ching brings this understanding home. Here is a decision aid that uses a random procedure to discover information relevant to a decision. The oracle technique offers an antidote to the pervasive deterministic attitude of our culture.
Synchronicity and Rationality
Carl Jung's writings on Synchronicity offer insight into oracle divination (Note 1). One of the great challenges to the western intellect is to acknowledge meaningfully related events that are not causally linked. The cause and effect rational mind has difficulty with the reality of this fundamental facet of human experience. But synchronistic experiences cannot be simply dismissed with "Oh that's just a coincidence."
We may try to explain meaningful coincidences. But these attempts are futile because cause and effect explanations require an absolute relationship between time, space and the phenomena. And this relationship is absent for psychic events. The rational mind seems to know better about everything. But to enter the magic moment, we have to loosen our rational grip on reality. This is usually difficult since most of us are brain washed by years of rational education.
In the rational world view, concepts are used to explain things. But in the intuitive view, terms represent recurring phenomena that are sufficiently frequent that we need a label to recognize them. When we try to explain an I Ching experience, we cannot do it - they just are! The way out of this paradox is to realize that learning about intuition comes from direct personal experience. They are unexplainable, non-repeatable phenomena that have to be taken at face value.
As a child, we lived in a matrix of synchronicity but did not have the mental capacity to reflect on those experiences. The imposition of the space, time framework on childhood experience and the implied fabric of causality is the objective of socialization. If we do so and so, this and that will happen, and we have to deal with the consequences. This learning does not encourage harmony with the synchronistic matrix of life.
Psychology of the I Ching
Carl Jung was so captivated by the I Ching that he wrote the Foreword to the Richard Wilhelm version (Note 2). For someone who is at home with their intuition, his thoughts make sense, but for the novice the ideas seem strange. Jung spent his life traveling outside the mainstream. In his eighth decade, he said "the changing opinions of men scarcely impress me any more." His observation can inspire our quest off the beaten path beyond the blessings of friends and colleagues.
A major reason we are not aware of these magical moments is that our mind is preoccupied with rehashing the past or fantasizing about the future. When occupied in this way, there is little room for what is happening in the moment. Although the title of Ram Das's Be Here Now has resonated in the minds of many down through the years, it is difficult to practice the precept (Note 3).
However when we harmonize with synchronicities, we are at one with what we "observe." But since the observer judges, we have to step away into the witness where the observer and observed are united. The key is living with the revelation of the moment. However when a synchronicity presents itself and the action oriented observer takes charge, its judgment often invalidates an insight.
By complementing causality with the acausal intuitive, we move from doing to being. Our rational mind plans and controls for life while our intuitive mind envisions and participates in life. The haunting refrain, "the way to do is to be," from the Tao Te Ching hints at this knowing (Note 4). This suggests planning and control that flows from our insight into and vision of life. Such acausal awareness is reflected in this excerpt from Richard Bach's Illusions (Note 5):