The I Ching and Teaching

One of the things that I’ve adopted as part of my magical workings is a daily I Ching reading.  The Book of Changes, as it’s sometimes known, is a collection of sixty-four mysterious texts, arranged under headers called hexagrams.  The hexagrams are similar to Geomancy’s four-bit binary characters, except that they are six-bit binary characters.  Each hexagram is composed of broken or solid lines, which can be designated as mobile or stable.  The result is either one hexagram, or one hexagram bounding into two.

Each morning that I remember to do the I Ching (today was one such day), I ask the same question: “What is the best advice I can follow for today?”

My results came back: The Abyss (29) becomes Decrease (41).  Today is the last day of school before our winter break.

It’s a useful reminder that as the school year comes to its natural pause at the end of the secular year, there’s a vast amount of work to be done, and a massive amount of craziness associated with the season.  For our students, it’s like gazing into the abyss, and then following with amazed joy afterward.  The burdens of the school year are laid down for a while, followed by the amazement and wonder of the holy season.

But the crazed mindset comes first.  In interpreting this, I take it to mean that today is going to be crazy-difficult, and that it’s important to keep my head, and help out my colleagues through the challenges of winter concert, end of school excitement, parties and program.  Very little is going to go the way things are expected to go.

And then, there will be a rest, before the real busy-ness of the holidays starts.

Water flows on, uninterruptedly, and continues toward its goal:
Thus the superior man walks in lasting virtue,
And carries on the business of teaching.

We still have work to do, even as the abyss yawns at our feet, and the decrease of the holiday approaches.  As teachers, we always have work to do.  Teaching is a constant mindset.

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