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In the Moves: the Yi Jing

Anyone who’s been on my table getting a treatment knows that I’m sort of a movie junkie. Maybe I should clarify that: I am a junkie for the movies I love. One of those movies is Big Trouble in Little China. Me, Jack Burton!

At one point, as Gracie is getting impatient to go get their friends, Egg Shen tells her, “We must gather our strength, because now there is clouds and thunder.” Uncle Chu then chimes in, “The image of difficulty in the beginning.” What we find ourselves in the middle of is a reading from the Yi Jing(I Ching), or Book of Change.

The Yi Jing originated in the Zhou dynasty(between 10th and 4th century BCE). The text lays out a system of cosmology as it relates to the changes in the world around us, along with laying the foundation for the philosophical ideas of the Chinese culture, especially as it relates to Chinese Medicine(Yin and Yang, the 5 Phases, and the nature of Qi). In its contents, yin and yang form the eight principles of existence(trigrams), and these eight principles produce the 64 hexagrams, which are used to give guidance and direction on the changing world.

At the core of all we do, whether in the world, our life, or medicine, is change. This is because it is at the core of the universe. Stars and planets move through the skies; they expand, explode, and then make new stars. In our world, night turns to day, and the seasons move forth, as we now get to watch the drastic change from the life and growth of summer to the falling leaves of autumn.

On our daily life level, we see change in our family, friends, society, work, and health. During acupuncture treatments, we are expecting something to change. We always want that change to be easy and enjoyable. Of course, sometimes that change is difficult and not expected. The nature of yin and yang, however, shows that neither is necessarily positive(good) or negative(bad); this comes by way of dealing with change in the proper rhythm...whatever that may be for that person, at that time.

So, what are Egg and Uncle Chu discussing? Egg is describing the make up of the hexagram with his statement. Clouds and Thunder are represented with the Water trigram(☵) over the Thunder trigram(☳). This hexagram is called Chun(䷂), which is translated, as Uncle Chu says, as difficulty at the beginning. The hexagram continues, as does Egg Shen, that through perseverance, the superior man brings order out of confusion. And that's what they do, regroup and battle on to save the day!

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