An unusual interpretation of the I Ching, devised to aid modern-day readers caring for loved ones.
The I Ching is an ancient book of divinations which provides spiritual guidance. According to pioneering psychologist Carl Jung, writes Norup (I Ching for Wise Living and Aging, 2015, etc.), it’s “based on the principle of synchronicity or meaningful coincidence.” To use the I Ching, one asks a question, tosses three coins six times, records the result in a particular manner, and then uses a “hexagram key” to locate the response that corresponds to those results. What distinguishes this book is the fact that Norup was inspired to write it with his daughter because they were caring for his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, the I Ching guidance here targets the special challenges of caregivers. The author urges readers to use this manual as a tool to address one question at a time, and as such, it’s quite ingenious; it’s divided into 64 “hexagrams,” each based on an ancient metaphor; for example, “Sun and rain from heaven create changes and nourish life on earth.” Every hexagram features a brief but meaningful section of text that offers contemporary guidance, followed by “Changing Lines” (featuring more detailed advice, such as “Hold fiercely to your vision and goals for your patient and yourself, and refuse to be sidetracked by what is not essential”), plus additional questions to think about. Generally, the hexagrams are positive and uplifting, but at times, they take on a note of caution. In “Resolving Conflict,” for instance, the text advises, “As a caregiver, try to avoid open confrontations.…Stay balanced, listen to your opponents, and try to find out what motivates them.…Listen with goodwill, and consciously look for something positive to emerge from the situation.” If read in sequence, the hexagrams largely offer well-crafted doses of common-sense wisdom. However, as the author points out, the purpose of the book is to offer counsel with regard to specific, not general, questions. Overall, this guide should provide solace and inspiration, particularly to caregivers who believe in its precepts.
A unique, engaging problem-solver, although skeptics may see it as merely a novelty.