The Wise Words of Confucius
64: Nearing Completion
General Meaning: The situation is incomplete, but the chaos of the past is slowly giving way to order, and the goal is in sight. Nevertheless, you are still treading on thin ice — the way ahead is unobstructed, the goal is clear, but a cautious and careful attitude is essential, lest you slip and fall.
Nearing Completion is the last hexagram of the I Ching. It suggests that the ever-spinning wheel of life never reaches an absolute conclusion. Just as a hidden sadness resides in the heart of true euphoria, just as the seeds of great achievement often sprout first in a cauldron of adversity, so too no end is ever really complete without a new beginning stirring inside it. Though we divide life into categories in order to understand and master it, experience itself is seamless. With this reading, the 64-spoked, timeless wheel of change is ready to spin onward, ever evolving, ever staying the same.
A situation that is represented by this reading can be compared to that of taking a lengthy trek over a high mountain. At some point before reaching the peak, you can see in detail exactly how much farther you must travel. You will have a good idea what it will take to reach the top, because of the climbing experience you’ve accumulated thus far. However, when you do reach the peak, which has been in sight for quite a long period of sustained effort, you will have done only that. You will have reached the top — achieving your initial goal — but you must still descend the other side. This last critical segment is what remains before completion.
You may have little information and no experience of what it’s like descending the other side of the mountain. All your attention may have been focused on the route up. The coming cycle may seem very strange to you, unlike anything that you have experienced before. The backside of the mountain is where all of the true mysteries reside. Proceed carefully, cautiously and alertly — then you will reach your goal.
General Meaning: Holding together brings success. But high-level teamwork is achieved only when the right players on the right team share a clear goal at the right time. A team forms its relationships in a delicate manner; chemistry is brewed in the vat of shared experiences. Latecomers cannot share the same depth of union as earlier members. Whole-hearted commitment is required for team success.
All successful teams have a shared vision and a leader. If a team’s leadership is up to the challenge, the team will prosper. In personal and business affairs, just as in basketball, it is hard to win without a strong center.
Accept the structure of the team or partnership if you wish to receive its benefits — otherwise go off on your own. In holding together with others, cling to your own principles, but be willing to subordinate your personal desires for the good of the group. Perhaps you are contemplating becoming a leader of some group; remember that to become the center of influence binding people together is not only a considerable challenge but a serious responsibility. Assess yourself carefully first to see if you are up to the task. If not, it would be better not to commit rather than to go forward without proper preparation.