Small World
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Card #23 – Small World


This is an auspicious time to pay great attention to detail. For some, particularly introverts, it’s easy to lose track of details while cognitive energy is spent lavishly in inner worlds. Meanwhile, details of the mundane physical world are neglected or missed until they bite us in sensitive areas. At other times, the inner world is dominated by what Jung called psychic entropy, looping negative thought tapes, volatile emotions, and obsessions, which causes dangerous neglect of the details of the outer world. It can be a grounding practice of mindfulness to sometimes give your attention to detail, which is often a practical necessity. Transitional times — when, for example, you are about to leave your house and an inner dialogue about such and such is in the foreground of your mind — put that inner dialogue on hold for a few moments and check the details — did I turn the stove off? Did I bring my wallet and everything I need for the next destination? Also, when psychic entropy is dominant, the small world can be a way to resist the dark undertow. There is a very useful principle:If in doubt, focus out. Pick a somewhat mechanical task, that you have already mastered, but that requires attention to detail — a small home repair for example, and give yourself to doing that task with complete focus and efficiency. It’s true that we shouldn’t “major in the minors.” But that means we shouldn’t let minor priorities dominant all our time. But there are specific types when the minors should be in the foreground.

If you got this card concerning a relationship, opportunity, or issue — check the details. Negotiation of the difficulties may require a moment-to-moment attention to the minutiae of what’s happening. Conversely, there are some people whose natural focus is always on the details and mundane minutiae and not enough on what really matters in life. Those people need to stop, take a deep breath, and ask themselves: Will I remember this well on my deathbed? For that sort of person, focus on urgent but unimportant minutiae (a ringing phone, etc.) needs to give way to spending more time on that which is essential but not urgent.

This card relates to Hexagram 62 of the I Ching — Preponderance of the Small. In Sarah Denning’s superb The Everyday I Ching she calls Hexagram 62, “attention to detail” and states, “Nothing of the great significance can be accomplished at this time. Do not even attempt to undertake important matters. You do not have enough power to achieve as much as you would like to. You will benefit from keeping a low profile and attending to the business at hand. Go calmly about your daily routine. Occupy yourself with ordinary, everyday matters. Do not consider any task as being beneath you. You cannot be too thorough in your attention to detail. Know your limitations. Do not over-extend yourself or try to take on more than you are capable of. If you try to fly too high, you will lose control. Keep your feet on the ground and enjoy the simple things of life. Take no risks. Do not be too proud or ambitious. This will set people against you. Whereas if you are modest, they will be willing to help you.”
For a practical orientation to the day see:
Pathfinding/Day Mapping
See writings on the Warrior Stance

When it seems like the small things are driving you crazy:
Mechanical Resistance Matrix

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