57: Gentle Penetration
General Meaning: The general situation here points to subtle penetration. Reeds bend softly in the wind, symbolizing flexibility and endurance, symbolizing quiet, relaxed effectiveness in action. A gentle influence is at work, but just as the wind is ceaseless in its efforts, so too small forces can persist to produce lasting results.
Gentle penetration bodes well for new relationships of all kinds. Just as a summer breeze slowly penetrates the woods to cool the forest, the brilliant ideas of gifted leaders or the sincere feelings of warm-hearted lovers slowly penetrate the minds and hearts of others. In personal relationships, a gentle beginning is often linked to a long-lasting union.
When employing a force that is weak but persistent, careful aim is necessary, for only when a small force continually moves in the same direction can it have much effect. In human affairs, this kind of influence comes more through strength of character than by direct confrontation or seduction. It’s important to have, and stick to, clearly defined goals. Maintaining a strong vision and following a steady course of least resistance often brings good fortune.
Monday, June 11th, 2012
Personal resolution points to a breakthrough, but decisive action is required. As long as you diligently hold your ground and ward off negative tendencies and influences, the good will prevail.
The persistence of negativity, which is that which opposes the good, is a constant in human affairs. Just when it is thought to have been eradicated, up it will pop again, sprouting through some crack in the pavement of civilized society. Evil need not take dramatic or extravagant forms, such as those exhibited in Nazi Germany. Garden-variety lies and deceit are much more common and persistent, but should be rooted out just as diligently. One must be determined to not accidentally feed negativity — either in one’s social or professional life, or in one’s own soul. In either case, definite rules must be followed for the struggle to succeed.
The first rule: do not compromise with evil. Destructive or exploitive actions must be identified openly for what they are, and discredited. The second: one cannot successfully resist negativity on its own terms. New, positive alternatives that lead away from the source of the problem are generally more successful, and appropriate than trying to counter negativity with raw power. The third rule: the means used to counter negativity must be consistent with the end to be achieved. One cannot stop the spreading of lies by spreading more of them
60: Limits and Connections
General Meaning: Limits are necessary to give purpose and direction to life. Swimming in a sea of boundless opportunity would eventually lead to exhaustion and drowning. Winging it alone in a sky of boundless opportunity would lead to being lost. In human affairs, the making of choices, and alliances, implies limitation, for in choosing one path another must be abandoned.
One key to a successful life is to select your limits consciously and carefully — to be discriminating in the setting of personal boundaries and knowing when to join in formation. Thrift, for example, often precedes prosperity; just as the letting go of selfish interests leads to greater personal reward. Only by consciously accepting useful limits can one’s energy be channeled to good purpose, and lead to lasting accomplishments.
Point yourself toward a middle way between discipline and freedom of spirit. Limits will come of their own accord; but to be able to consciously select your own affiliations in life — that’s knowing how to fly! At the same time, don’t go overboard with discipline. Even self-correction must be limited, so that in attempting to bring order and direction into your life you do not choke off vital sources of enthusiasm and spontaneity.
Similarly, in groups and partnerships, agreed upon rules or regulations should strike a balance between being too strict and too soft. If too strict, they build frustration and ultimately become destructive. If too lenient, sloppiness becomes acceptable, and positive energy is dissipated. The best path is one that allows for the fulfillment of individual potential, while supporting self-discipline and focus.
General Meaning: Fellowship. When communal bonds unite people, great success is possible. But such bonds can develop only when personal interests are subordinated to goals that serve the greater good of all. The broader the basis for action, the greater the benefits that can be achieved. And conversely, the greater the potential good, the more powerful the support behind it. A spirit of cooperation steadies the boat, but it helps to have a beautiful island to row towards.
Learn to respect the strength in diversity, for a community’s true power lies not in its numbers, but in the diverse skills and resources of its members. Just as the stoutest walls are reinforced with many different materials, so the strongest groups allow differences to co-exist inside the whole.
With a unified group solidly behind you, even difficult enterprises can be attempted without great risk
49: Revolutionary Change
General Meaning: According to Chinese symbolism, the juxtaposed elements of this hexagram are fire under water. Fire evaporates water, and water puts out fire. Change can cause conflict; conflict brings about change. This hexagram refers to that time in the cycle of human affairs when things need stirring up, and when the hint of dramatic change is in the air.
In order to succeed, revolutionary change must be in alignment with certain unchanging laws. The process must begin at the right moment, gather support from a broad base of people, be guided by sincere and capable leadership and — most important of all — must address a real need. The strength of the forces of change will always be in proportion to the urgency of the need being championed. This is true whether the revolution is in government, in business, in education or in one’s personal affairs.
Revolutionary change points to a time when chaos arises from order. It is important to realize that not all order is good, not all chaos bad. Chaos, in fact, is an integral part of the way of things — as any parent (and modern science) will confirm. Have the courage to radically change and renew the way you present yourself. In this way, you can summon chaos to your cause, and you will unleash a new power on your behalf. If engaging in a negotiation, change the rules; if composing a piece of music, add the unexpected; if courting a lover, dare to be unconventional.
In periods of drought, even wild storms are preferable to yet another sunny day.
30: Clinging Like Fire
General Meaning: Flames cling to their source of fuel in order to keep the fire burning. Likewise, in the human world, emotional attachment results from everything that radiates light or warmth is dependent upon something else. Through these dependencies we can see that all things are related, each thing to the other. Awareness of your own dependency on others is the key that unlocks the door to your true place in the world. No woman is an island.
Fire is also a symbol of liberation — sending out crackling molecules that fly away from home. Paradoxically, by clinging to what is balanced and true, we gain inner freedom.
Given perseverance on your part, this hexagram indicates success. In spite of challenges, cling to what is luminous in yourself, in others, and in life itself, never forsaking your belief in what is right. When events seem foreboding, or people seem oppressive, remember the good that has been and is yet to be. Holding to this idea is to cling to the power of the light and love within you.