35: Easy Progress
General Meaning: The general situation is one of easy, natural progress. That which had been weak is now steadily rising up, and by gaining a prominent position, becomes a stronger force. The image is the light of the rising sun, which at first appears dimly through the mists. But this relatively weak light later radiates with powerful clarity once the sun has reached a high position in the sky.
Progress is made when those in subordinate positions create harmony with those above, and in so doing create a natural means for their collective talents and abilities to blossom. It is by recognizing and riding with the natural course of events — by hitching our wagon to the rising sun, as it were — that we advance our position and earn respect.
Goodness in human nature is like the dim but beautiful early morning light. It can easily be obscured — by greed, hatred and other forms of self-absorption — just as the morning light can be swallowed by fog. Be reminded that progress is achieved most effortlessly when right action is taken without concern for immediate reward, and when the path of the weaker elements aligns with the strong.
34: Great Vigor
General Meaning: Congratulations! There is strength and vigor in this situation — like a ram who has knocked down a fence to free himself from captivity. This points to a time when a powerful force comes into its own and achieves influence.
When a leader finally comes into power, his or her personal strength usually has peaked. Great strength is required in climbing to the mountaintop, but once at the summit, the support of others is needed to maintain that lofty position. A shift in attitude becomes necessary. Raw strength must be tempered by wisdom; to maintain power, a strong leader must learn to give it away, to share it with others. Only then will his or her position be secure, for she will not only be the possessor of power, but the source of it as well.
If you find yourself in a high or strong position, it is especially important to act responsibly and react with care. Your personal power must not be allowed to degenerate into raw force that rides roughshod over everything in its path. A strong sense of responsibility to the collective good of all is the key to the successful exercise of strength. By following what we intuitively know to be for the greater good, we avoid reckless abuses of power that in the end undermine the source of our strength. Arrogance always contains the seeds of its own undoing.
26: Containment of Potential
General Meaning: This hexagram points to the containment of great power that increases as it is wisely stewarded. Like a river that has been dammed, or a boiling pot with a lid on, holding and containing power produces enormous energy. During normal times, daily ritual and habit help keep life ordered and serene; but in times of great opportunity, great fortitude is required. Focused attention is what will be required to channel this great potential and achieve supreme success.
In a current situation you have considerable reserves of energy and support to draw upon. This is the right time to channel creativity by collecting and organizing good ideas and plans. In this way, even large or extremely challenging undertakings can be successful.
A hidden source of power for the great is the study of the past. The lives of wise and successful men and women are like buried treasures of wisdom. Great good fortune comes to those who unearth these valuable treasures by applying the lessons of the ages to current events
10: Treading Carefully
General Meaning: People of ability find their way and make progress even in difficult circumstances. Consider your steps carefully when you are surrounded by changing forces. Weak and strong forces (or people) can co-exist when the weaker element does not impose upon the stronger, when the weaker maintains good humor and avoids taking bold action. When treading among sleeping tigers — or slippery stones — step gingerly and don’t stumble.
In the company of strong, brash people, rushing wildly ahead brings misfortune. Now is not a good time for taking the initiative; rather, try getting by with a little grace and good humor. In the court of a powerful king, the jester often has more power than the prince.
A joy that is shared is symbolized by a group of friends playing, or a carefree young girl singing to herself while engaged in her work. Happiness is rising within, and spreading out into the world.
Joy arises through gentle means, but springs from a solid inner base. The power of pure joy should not be underestimated. The enjoyment of learning and discovery, for example, has let to great innovation and much material progress. Accordingly, that which brings the most joy into the world — love — is the source of life itself.
If happiness is supported by personal stability, it will eventually wear down the stiffest barrier and win over the hardest heart. True joy is a beacon in the world, and though it is indeed rare, its presence is an indication of great good fortune, both now and in the future. How could it be otherwise?
38: Diverging Interests
General Meaning: An image of estrangement is indicated here. One example used in ancient Chinese texts is how when brothers and sisters marry, they grow apart, since their allegiances now lie with new family groups. Though they will remain close enough to successfully deal with problems and share minor interests, they will be unable to undertake anything big together. Simply put, when people grow apart — even for the most natural of reasons — their points of view, values and interests start to diverge.
Diverging interests bring opposition into the world of human affairs. And when differences morph into alienation and enmity, no good results. But when opposition takes the form of healthy competition, or when contrasting energies or positions are seen as part of the natural order of things, good fortune is still possible.
Even when diverging energies make a situation seem stagnant or futile, there are always creative possibilities inherent in polarities. One is reminded of the yin-yang interplay that is fundamental to the creation of life itself. But when opposition arises from issues of principle, you must hold to your integrity and individuality. And avoid becoming involved with vulgar or base people who do not share your values. With both people and companies, one measure of stature is the quality of the competition.