18 I Ching
I Ching

Ever since my devastating trip on LSD when I came close to falling from the castle ruins, I found it impossible to climb out of depression. I was desperate for someone to help me and turned to one of my British housemates for support who in turn latched onto me and took control of my life. He persuaded me to move to a house with some of his pals who were “on the dole,” supplementing their income selling drugs. My third-floor room overlooked Bridewell Prison.

As school ended, he persuaded me to abandon L’Abri and travel with him to San Diego. His charter flight had one seat left, so I took it. When I got home from mailing a check to the airlines, I recognized a motorcycle and sidecar parked in our yard belonging to a man I secretly admired. He had come to barter potatoes for drugs. He lived in the country with his girl friend and baby. I thought maybe that kind of life would make me happy.

I told him I was relieved to have decided not to go to “that convent” in Switzerland. “What convent?” he asked. “No one’s heard of L’Abri,” I said. But his face lit up with a grin. His brother had just spent six months at L’Abri and was even part of Frankie Schaeffer’s wedding party.

Now I was really confused. Had I just made a huge mistake? What should I do? I went to my room to throw coins to consult the I Ching, an ancient Chinese book of wisdom. The hexagram for L’Abri (#4) said:

The image is a fresh Spring at the foot of the Mountain . . . . The Sage does not recruit students; the students seek him. He asks nothing but a sincere desire to learn. This is a time of interchange between a mentor and pupil and we are reminded of youth and folly. The youth himself must be conscious of his lack of experience and must seek out the teacher.

The hexagram for my housemate, on the other hand, was Temptation (#44):

The image is a playful Zephyr dancing. . . . a strong, addictive temptation, much more dangerous than it seems. You are ignoring a clear and present danger to your well-being . . . . This danger comes to you in the form of a seduction . . . that is eating away at the fiber of your secure little world. You underestimate the tribute this dalliance will demand. This hexagram indicates a situation in which the principle of darkness . . . furtively and unexpectedly obtrudes again from within and below. It is an unfavorable and dangerous situation, and we must understand and promptly prevent the possible

Even to me the hexagrams were clear. I told the airlines to tear up my check. On the night before I was to leave for L’Abri, two high-level drug dealers from London arrived at our house to spend the night. They were the most evil and frightening men I’d ever met. I felt so threatened I barricaded myself in my room and didn’t buy any drugs. The next morning they had already left when I lugged my suitcases downstairs into a taxi. I said goodbye to my housemates and opened the door to leave England for good, only to find half a dozen policemen—including a policewoman—standing outside.

They brought in my bags and searched every item of clothing while the policewoman strip-searched me in the kitchen. Because I did not have drugs on me, they let me leave and I got to the train on time. My housemates all went to jail.

Throwing Coins