~ Stick # 24 ~
Life is broken by meaningless quarrels,
Like fallen blossoms drifting over the ocean.
You will never find grace behaving like a fool.
All that can leave you is a heap of troubles.
Troubles lurk ahead, but you have no option but to put up with your
present difficulties. Remember that tolerance can be a lifesaver, and
avoid talking about others behind their back. Look after everything
carefully and avoid risks; just keep on working as hard as possible.
Only your own determination and willpower can bear you through the
problems that are coming, though it may be a good idea to move to a new
area if your problems seem totally insurmountable.
Something is keeping you from resolving a profound problem. The Bible
says never to let the sun go down on your anger. Resolve differences
quickly; otherwise they embitter you, twist you up, and waste your
energies, as well as of those of the person you are angry with. In the
end, disagreements must be solved - unless, of course, you want to ruin
everything you have worked for.
~ Stick # 31 ~
Two scholars went to the capital for examinations;
One passed and stayed, one failed and returned
Carrying a letter from his friend. He fell ill,
But eventually- thank Heaven! - came home.
You may be beset with worries at the moment, but your life will improve,
step by step, over time. There will be no miraculous solutions to your
problems but instead a gradual recovery. Old friends may soon arrive to
help you, and the time is ripe to make firmer commitments in your
personal life. In the long run, happiness really does lie ahead.
The aim of every scholar in China was to go to the capital to take the
final Imperial exam. Being successful opened the way to glory, power,
and wealth. But not to pass the exam meant failure and great
disappointment. This story, however, makes the following point. Although
the one who failed had to return home, the strain of failure made him
ill. Being ill made him realize how much he longed for the security,
love, and friendship of home - even if he did not come home in triumph.
Appreciate what you have.
Each day I sit down, take up the cup of sticks and ask the same
question, “What does the Keen community need to know or hear today?” I
shake the cup until a stick (or 2 or 3…) falls out. I then post the
stick number and the meanings for you to get what you can out of them.
The sticks themselves are a form of I-Ching. There are a total of 64
sticks in the set that I use* with a poem and small interpretation/story
to go along with each stick. The poems, meanings and reflections are
meant to be read and (as a good friend of mine once said) marinated in.
In our culture, we’ve grown accustomed to getting instant
gratification. In other words, we’re used to everything being given to
us with little or no work on our parts. These readings are the exact
opposite of that type of attitude.
Chinese Fortune sticks are meant to make us slow down and reflect on
what is being said. As each sticks’ meaning can be profoundly personal
to each person who reads them, it’s more important for you to read them
rather than have someone give you a watered down version. These
readings are meant to sing to a level of your consciousness and bring
you a measure of peace, or at least enlightenment.
The best way to get the most you can out of these readings is to
approach them with an open mind. Before sitting down to read that
morning’s reading, make some quiet time for yourself. Sit still for a
moment and clear your mind. Silence the chatter in your head and take a
few deep breaths, letting them out slowly. Once you feel yourself slow
down a little (or a lot), read through the reading of the day. Go over
it a few times if you feel the need. Then take a moment, sit back and
think about what that reading means for you. Some will be very
straightforward; others require a bit more thinking. Either way, let
the reading from the sticks guide you that day on the decisions or
experiences you have. These aren’t meant to tell you what to think, but
rather to help you look at things in a different way or to allow you to
access truths you already have.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me!!
* written by Zhao Xiaomin & Martin Palmer