By Ron Masa, Ph.D.
The I Ching talked me out of two jobs I really, really wanted to take. Saying yes or no to a job commitment has major life implications and this ancient Chinese method of conversing with the higher self lets one consult wiser guidance than our waking ego (“or village idiot of the psyche”).
When I was earning twin Ph.D.s at the University of Michigan, a friend offered me a rare job opportunity. Doctoral students could earn good money doing the same research we constantly did for free. With student loans mounting, I was eager to apply. The federal grant involved research on local law enforcement and did I mention, it paid really well? All I needed to do was check with the I Ching to get “permission” from my higher (wiser, bigger-picture viewing) self, then I would sign up.
Except–the I Ching advised strongly against the job! So I asked again, threw the coins and got more negative feedback. I had been convinced of the power of this method that I encountered in 1979, and did not want to dismiss what might be wise advice. Grumbling all the way, I recorded the I Ching’s objections to the job and turned it down.
This minor act of faith tormented me for months. My “interior inferiors” reminded me constantly of the salaries my friends were earning. Until, the day my friend called to say “Boy were you ever smart not to sign on to this bottomless pit of complications. You are so lucky!” Things were so bad that she was putting her doctoral studies on hold (for a year!) to fulfill the contract she had signed.
Her list of problems with the job matched the I Ching’s predictions perfectly. I felt so bad for her… and so embarrassed about my complaining up until that day. And she was wrong: I was not lucky at all. I was guided. And I was only smart enough to know I was not smart enough to trust my own judgment, when it differed from the I Ching’s.
Years later, it all happened again! I had boldly applied to teach at the Massage Institute, while working part time as staff psychologist for a Disability Program. This second, part-time job sounded so great I didn’t bother to consult the I Ching until the 100+ applicants had been narrowed to 8 and I was scheduled for interviews. To my shock the I Ching strongly advised against what looked fantastic to me.
So I asked again, (and again and again, etc); every time receiving strong adviceagainst proceeding. Well, how likely am I to be chosen anyway, I thought. Until they did choose me and I had to say, with tremendous embarrassment that I could not accept the job. But they had gone through such efforts to make the choice they would not take no for an answer called daily for a week, insisting I take the job! How distressing to fight so hard to refuse a job I longed to say Yes to–and should never have applied for.
Months later, I lead a staff revolt against the client-harming, oppressive leadership at the Disability Agency. I finally quit my job in protest and testified against agency authorities who were judged guilty in court. It was an exhausting stand on principle that took all my resources. Then is when I learned that an amazingly similar uprising was occurring at the Massage Institute; had I taken that job, I would have been caught in the middle of two all-out revolutions!
I obviously was drawn to, and needed, at least one such experience, but nottwo! I was deeply grateful for being advised against the job I wanted so very badly. Spiritual guidance often shows us where to go, but it is just as valuable when it shows us where not to go! And I can assure you I have never applied for another job or contract without first consulting the I Ching.
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Learn to use the I Ching with Dr. Masa’s Skillshare course “How The I Ching Saved My Life: Meet Carl Jung’s Favorite Oracle To Access Your Own Inner Wisdom,” available at http://skl.sh/1TOB89S.
Ron Masa, Ph.D. taught and used the I Ching extensively in his private practice for 25 years. Dr. Masa and his significant other, Debbie Hart co-lead the University of Yourself, “Helping You Hear the Guide Inside” at http://www.UniversityofYourself.com.