It shouldn’t have been difficult to choose a stone to hold in my hand during the check-in ritual for my qigong class. The check-in ritual isn’t a big deal—and there were only about a dozen stones, all mine, brought by me and seen beforehand my me.
But there I stood, dithering.
I picked up a 1×1-inch chunk of vaguely sooty-looking rock with a face of gray and white crystals.
Then I saw that one of my students had chosen a piece of warm pink quartz, and I noted that there were also yellow and blue stones in the basket. I could hear a voice saying, “Oh, Barbara, there you go again. You wear too much black and you’ve let your hair go gray. You need more color in your life!” It was, of course, my mother’s voice, a voice which lives on in my head although she is gone.
I looked again at the piece of rock I was holding, felt a little tug at my heart, and decided, “No, I like this one. This is a stone of the earth. It has depth.”
And in that moment of choosing the dark stone, I realized I had reached another decision, a decision I had been putting off making for weeks about teaching a particular qigong class in the fall. My head had been listing all the reasons why I should do it, but now I felt something deeper saying I didn’t want to, and needed to say no.
I felt enormously relieved and grateful to the little piece of rock that I held in my hand.
I’ve been thinking and writing about signs from the universe lately. Was this another one, another indication of the interconnectedness of everyone and everything in the energetic web of all existence?
Hmmm….. Or was it just something that served as a pivot for my thinking—and if it hadn’t been that piece of rock, it would have been a caramel macchiato or a telephone call from a friend?
In other words, how much was me and how much was the rock?
I don’t know—but the hearing and dismissing of my mother’s voice in choosing a rock she wouldn’t have liked, plus the realization that I had simultaneously made a decision about teaching, seemed like a tidy package with the rock at its center.
Let me also add that my experience with the rock seems to relate to the I Ching reading to which I’ve referred in my last three posts.
I had tossed three pennies, asking how I should proceed in my practice and teaching of qigong, and then I’d gone through a process my friend Karl showed me to determine which of the I Ching’s 64 hexagrams I should consider with regard to my question. Because of some changing lines, the reading actually yielded two hexagrams—#18 (“Corruption”) and #61 (“Inner Truth”).
(Don’t worry if you’re not into the I Ching and don’t understand any of this: Some people don’t bother with the penny process; they just close their eyes, open the book and pick a hexagram with all its related readings at random. You can think of me as doing this if you like.)
At any rate, it seemed fairly clear to both Karl and me that #18 (“Corruption”) related to my teaching practice and #61 (“Inner Truth”), to my personal practice. Number 18, according to the Hilary Barrett translation of the I Ching that we were using, asks you to examine the nature and source of negative patterns lurking beneath the surface, whether ancestral, cultural, or from your own past experience—and then to move on.
In truth, I hadn’t thought much about hexagram 18 since the reading—but what does it mean that three or four weeks later, I dismissed my mother’s disapproval in choosing a piece of rock and simultaneously made a completely separate decision about teaching qigong?
Was this just a string of curious coincidences, or was it “score one!” for the I Ching and the possibility of signs?
My head is beginning to hurt again….