I was considering pulling a random card from the deck, when I realized that I’d been thinking about the nature of being receptive. Hmmm… well then, I guess I should use I Ching hexagram #2 for today’s example. As I’ve stated before, this isn’t about me giving an interpretation of this or any other particular hexagram. I’ll leave that for those much more well versed in the I Ching than I. No, this is just me looking at a particular hexagram, in this case K’un, The Receptive, and writing what comes to mind when I think about it.
I’m using my own cards for this. These are the Inner Child I Ching Tarot and Oracle cards. What can I say? I like them, lol. And besides, this is a good way to get them out in the world individually over time. I still have to post the last half of the deck, which I should get to at some point in this next week or so. But enough of that, let’s take a look at Hexagram #2, K’un, The Receptive.
What I’ve been thinking about in terms of being receptive is mostly in relation to art. But I think that its also fairly universal across all things. For being receptive, in essence, is being open, being vulnerable. It also involves some prep work in terms of what Julia Cameron calls, “filling the well”. First, lets take a look the card for a moment…
Inner Child I Ching Tarot and Oracle Card for hexagram #2, K’un, The Receptive.
First thing to notice is that this hexagram is the exact opposite of hexagram #1, The Creative. K’un is made from the trigrams earth over earth. All yin (broken) lines. The yin energy is feminine. Receptive to the Creative. The colors, like all these tarot cards is black for the lines and the chakra colors for the background. On this card the colors are arranged as circles. What’s that mean? Maybe nothing, although for me the circle shape is a more “receptive” feeling shape than say, a square or a triangle.
But what about being receptive? For me, it does come down to creating a space within myself, a way of being, that allows for creative thought to emerge and take root. A space that gives the creative a chance. Its not dismissing an idea before exploring it at least a bit. It’s breaking patterns of thoughts. Sometimes the simplest thing to do, is walk away from the work, or the attempt at work. Get up, get out. This then becomes in my mind, “filling the well”.
The well is the place where we put all that creative thought, ideas, fragments. It’s where we store the snapshots of the world. All the input. And the goddess knows, there’s a lot of input. Sometimes to the point of overwhelm. The well is the place the creative energy goes. The well gets empty if we are constantly drawing on it but not taking the important time to put stuff in. And by stuff, I mean ideas, images, thoughts.
And there’s many ways to do that. To fill the well. To nurture the receptive. One of my favorites is idea books or visual journals. Collage journals. Not like a designer’s “swipe file”, which is a place that designers keep copies of things they come across that they think are cool designs and can steal or borrow from later. No an idea book is just fragments. A picture. A headline. The wrapper of a candy bar. Just the scraps. A color. A shape. All just thrown across the pages in no order. No reason. It’s a very handy thing when you’re feeling a little stuck in the creative process. When you’re not feeling receptive. Open it up and page through. Associations begin happening. Things begin connecting in new ways. The Receptive is at work.
One of the very best tools I’ve ever found for connecting with the receptive is walking. Walking has a magical power to it and you get the bonus of doing some healthy. There’s a meditative quality to walking, especially if you can get out in the woods or any type of nature. As you slip into the rhythm of walking, your mind starts to disconnect a bit, free associate. The movement of walking propels you into new ideas, as you see new things. As you fill the well. A good walk often leads to a refreshed state of being and a higher receptivity to the creative.
Being receptive also requires me to be willing to enter that beginner’s mind space. The new. Treat it all with a fresh perspective. Don’t slay the ideas before they’ve had a chance to come to fruition. Don’t worry about outcomes. Finished products or if any one else will like it. Just open up and be vulnerable. Create. Just create. I often stumble through a lot of crap, make a lot of so-so work before I hit a groove, before the Creative finds the Receptive and plugs in. And that’s often what it feels like, plugging in to a big electric circuit. Plugging in to the flow.
Being vulnerable is one of the traits of being a beginner. An essential trait to being receptive. Because when you’re vulnerable, your guard is down. And things can get in. You also aren’t afraid to fail. Aren’t afraid to try. And that is most helpful when trying to open, when trying to be receptive.
So that’s where I go when I think about hexagram #2. For a more classic interpretation, I’ve added a couple of links below.
I encourage you to explore the I Ching as it really is a great source of wisdom. Beyond the oracle or tarot nature of the Book of Changes, there is much to gotten from just reading it straight out. Insights will come based on the issues and challenges you’re facing in your life.
As always, I welcome comment, critique, opinion or just a click of the like button, lol. It’s all appreciated.
Yours in possibility,
P.S. To my most precious Zen Girl… it is so good, actually beyond good to have you back again.