~ 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.
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.REFLECTION
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.
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.
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
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