~ Stick # 10 ~
Disease afflicts all folk alike,
No matter how upright their conduct.
Even a faithful student of Confucius
Became a leper and died alone.
your personal conduct is good, troubles may lie ahead. Your personal
reputation is in jeopardy, and you should be aware that others may be
spreading rumors about you. Unless you are careful and restrained, you
may be faced with many creditors and lawsuits. This is not a good time
to start new projects; instead, you should try to defend what you
The story of the Confucian
student who died sick and alone is well known in China. Sickness was
often seen as a judgment meted out by the deities to those who had done
wrong. But what 'wrong' had the student of Confucius done? This is
rather like the Book of Job in the Bible which asks 'Why?' to the issue
of sickness and disaster. Ultimately this poem reminds us that wealth,
power, and fame are meaningless to disease. In the end, we are all but
human and weak.
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