Transition – The Great Crossing

I’ve recently been undergoing a lot of transition in my life. Love, job, home, family, friends—it’s all up in the air! When life goes through such phases, it’s really hard to find your way, to even make sense of everything that is happening.

I’ve sought solace in many ways, but one of the best has been asking questions to the “I Ching”. I have consulted the Book of Changes now and then for years, but around this time of change, one reading has felt more profound than any before—salient, powerful, and important.

I recently threw hexagram #64, the final hexagram. The allegory of this hexagram speaks volumes about transition. A fiery red fox stands at the bank of a great river. To cross, he must plan his way and adapt to the swift current as he carefully crosses. His fur flashes red above the cool, coursing water, a small patch of flame over this much greater deluge, threatened to be snuffed out by it. We all must make our great crossings at times. We, like the fox, can feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the obstacles, of the changes we face. It really does feel like any misstep could lead to us being overwhelmed and swept away by the water of flux.

Yet, like the fox, our strength is to be found in ourselves, and even the greatest obstacles are not too great. With patience and cunning, we foxes can see how best to get to the other side. With a swiftness of foot and an adaptability for plans, we can move gracefully through the turbulent flow. At the bank, it is a time to gather your strength, to find your path, and to brace yourself with the necessary courage to plunge in once you’re ready. This hexagram is titled “Not Yet Crossing” or “Not Yet Across”, but the title itself implies that the crossing is at issue and soon to come, so do it well!wp_20141003_16_22_56_pro

I think the deeper meaning of facing transition like this is expressed well in one book I have on the I Ching called “The Living I Ching” by Deng-Ming Dao. He writes of this hexagram as the ending of one cycle and the beginning of a new one. This is what great transition is: a crossing from the old to the new, a movement from one side to the other.  He speaks of the meaning for the person crossing through transition as such: “This, then, is the river we ford: the border between one cycle and the next. How amazing. How outrageous. All along, we have been striving to blend with change. We have used the river as a metaphor for natural and harmonious living. And yet here, now, is the crucial message: understand change not by riding the river, but by facing it, confronting it. Cross it.” In other words, gather your strength when faced by this kind of change. Break from one cycle to the next by really facing the river and finding your way across it through determination, cunning, courage, and adaptability. You are the hexagram’s fire over water, and you can make it to the other side. The only way to cross is to accept the risk of the journey. You have to believe in yourself and have faith in the process of transition. All is not lost, even though you are not across just yet. With proper action, this time holds the possibility within it of the completion of crossing (hexagram 63) and the birth of a new cycle.

I hope that this allegory and interpretation will help inspire you through any transition you are experiencing. Remember your strength and cunning when faced by the seemingly insurmountable. You have every ability to cross on into a new stage. You may just not see how yet. Be patient, look closely, and breathe deeply. Your path forward will soon be clear. Are you ready? Remember: you are just as cunning, curious, and swift as the fox.

Be Well!