7 of Cups – Dreams
A person stares in awe at the vision before him – seven cups emerging from a cloud, each beholding a great source of desire: beauty, power, wealth, glory, wonder, knowledge and even immortality. These are all the things he has ever wanted.
The 7 of Cups represents our dreams. Dreams can be most beneficial when we use it as the foundation of our goals. However, it can also be dangerous if we refuse to wake up. This card warns against being clouded by imaginations and delusions. While it is nice to have dreams, we can’t accomplish anything if our heads are constantly stuck in the clouds. We must be willing to act upon them in our waking hours because, otherwise, they are nothing more than wishful thinking and indulgences. Perpetual day dreaming without action is a form of addiction and escapism.
In some severe cases, we may even find ourselves so caught up in our daydreams that we are utterly unattuned to the real world. Such a state is not only irresponsible but potentially hurtful because we are not giving our loved ones our full attention. If we ever discover that we are constantly distracted by the idle thoughts in our heads, we need to truly examine ourselves. We need to understand why we are obsessing over fantasies instead of working towards fulfilling ourselves with genuine achievements. Is it because we don’t know what we want? Is it because we are afraid we won’t be able to attain our goals?
Such questions can be frightening. It may force us to see ourselves in unpleasing ways and tear us away from our comfort zone. This is, however, absolutely necessary. Only when we can be honest with ourselves can we use dreams as a tool of motivation instead of allowing it to distract us from being the person we are capable of becoming.
But before taking action to turn dreams into reality, contemplate upon them to determine which ones serve as motivation and which ones have no place in reality. Obsessing over fantasies that can never be fulfilled will only lead to disappointment.
Hexagram 62 – Small Crossing
The direct translation of the I Ching has many passages about crossing rivers. To cross a river means to take on a task, to face a danger or a challenge. This hexagram advises small crossing, meaning that it is good to focus on small gains.
Small does not equate to unimportant. It can mean paying attention to the details and making sure that the unexciting but necessary tasks receives the same amount of attention and care as the fun and exciting ones. If feelings of boredom and frustration arise, remember that no great action is possible if one has not yet mastered the art of the small. Great distances are traveled one step at a time and great buildings are built by laying down bricks one by one. Likewise, a big project is completed through a series of small actions done with the understanding of the greater good.
Another way to translate ‘crossing’ is going beyond. What this means is that, no matter how small we may feel, there are ways in which we can improve. We can go above and beyond in our respect for others and in our mourning of loss and injustice. We can challenge ourselves to do just a little better than we did the time before. In this way, even though we are currently small, we can gradually learn to behave like the superior person.
The image of this hexagram, thunder high up in the mountain, is a good analogy of this lesson. The thunder being so much higher above the villages in the valleys below, people can barely hear its roar. And, yet, its beauty and magnificence is no less because it is not celebrated or heard. Likewise, focusing on the small may not result in accolade but it is glorious and noble all the same.
Six on line 1:
Premature action will result in failure. Always think before acting and be assured that the proper skills and resources are available before committing to a project.
Six on line 2:
There are things we want and then there are things we are capable of attaining. Concentrate efforts on what is attainable and work with what we have. In this way, we are constantly making small accomplishments and, thus, still getting closer to our ultimate goal.
Nine on line 3:
While progress is desirable, there are times when it is best to stay where we are and prefect what we have. Make sure our foundation is solid and look for ways to improve. Know when to focus our efforts in advancing and when to reserve our efforts and fortify what has already been built.
Nine on line 4:
To carry on the same as always is not the same as progress. When the way is blocked, find other paths that produce less resistance. Engaging in conflict when it can be avoided is not courage but mere foolishness.
Six on line 5:
When there are things that need to be done, it is better to use methods that will likely accomplish a task rather than something fancy. While creativity is a most valuable quality, there is no need to reinvent the wheel every time you build a carriage.
Six on line 6:
By not heeding the advice of the previous five lines, we have over extended ourselves and attempted to attain more than what we are capable of. This is a failure due to hubris. So focused on personal glory, we have failed to understand what is needed of the situation and provide the required support.
Dreaming is the starting point for greatness. All great things happen because someone dares to dream of a world in which things are better than they currently are. Technology, medicine, peaceful societies – and everything glorious about our modern world – has been achieved through the meeting of dreaming and reality.
Unfortunately, there is a major problem that prevents many of us from building the bridge that connects the two. The trouble is that we don’t know how. Everyone talks about great achievements in terms of their result but no one focuses on the process. History books write about great men and women and the results of their deeds, but hardly any attention is given to the hundreds of failures they’ve committed before their final achievement. Nor do they waste any space documenting the thousands of uneventful steps and all the other people involved that led up to their success.
Once a dream turns into a goal, we need to switch our focus from the great to the small. Concentrate on the details; break the project down into bite size; plan and execute. This may involve countless hours of mundane work and many frustrating failures. It may be a long time before the tiniest results are seen. This may feel pointless and unrewarding but it is only by enduring these times that any goal can be achieved.