|There were "old" features in your gua (hexagram). It means that you have two hexagrams. The first one — is something that the Book tells you at the moment, the second is something it warns you about.
17. Following (suí)
Knowing the way, go on, but spend energy carefully.
Inital text of I Ching
Following has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. No blame.
Thunder in the middle of the lake:
The image of Following. Thus the superior man at nightfall goes indoors for rest and recuperation.
- The standard is changing. Perseverance brings good fortune. To go out of the door in company produces deeds.
- If one clings to the little boy, one loses the strong man.
- If one clings to the strong man, one loses the little boy. Through following one finds what one seeks. It furthers one to remain persevering.
- Following creates success. Perseverance brings misfortune. To go one's way with sincerity brings clarity. How could there be blame in this?
- Sincere in the good. Good fortune.
- He meets with firm allegiance and is still further bound. The king introduces him to the Western Mountain.
Having good things, learn to use them properly. Restrain yourself, follow a wise man, experience the joy of learning, trust the inner voice - then you will find what you want. Dark follows light, low - high seeking to transform – the same is in your soul. Strive to maintain a balance in everything: alternate work and rest, do not take on too much, and do not give unrealistic promises. Obey objective circumstances, and live according to reality.
The trigram Tui, the Joyous, whose attribute is gladness, is above; Chên, the
Arousing, which has the attribute of movement, is below. Joy in movement
induces following. The Joyous is the youngest daughter, while the Arousing
is the eldest son. An older man defers to a young girl and shows her
consideration. By this he moves her to follow him.
In order to obtain a following one must first know how to adapt oneself. If a
man would rule he must first learn to serve, for only in this way does he
secure from those below him the joyous assent that is necessary if they are to
follow him. If he has to obtain a following by force or cunning, by conspiracy
or by creating faction, he invariably arouses resistance, which obstructs
willing adherence. But even joyous movement can lead to evil
consequences, hence the added stipulation, "Perseverance furthers" --that is,
consistency in doing right-- together with "No blame." Just as we should not
ask others to follow us unless this condition is fulfilled, so it is only under
this condition that we can in turn follow others without coming to harm.
The thought of obtaining a following through adaptation to the demands of
the time is a great and significant idea; this is why the appended judgment is
In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests. Here it is
the thunder in the middle of the lake that serves as the image--thunder in its
winter rest, not thunder in motion. The idea of following in the sense of
adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image. Thunder in
the middle of the lake indicates times of darkness and rest. Similarly, a
superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and
recuperation at night. No situation can become favorable until one is able to
adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance.
There are exceptional conditions in which the relation between leader and
followers changes. It is implicit in the idea of following and adaptation that if
one wants to lead others, one must remain accessible and responsive to the
views of those under him. At the same time, however, he must have firm
principles, so that he does not vacillate where there is only a question of
current opinion. Once we are ready to listen to the opinions of others, we
must not associate exclusively with people who share our views or with
members of our own party; instead, we must go out and mingle freely with
all sorts of people, friends or foes. That is the only way to achieve something.
In friendships and close relationships an individual must make a careful
choice. He surrounds himself either with good or with bad company; he
cannot have both at once. If he throws himself away on unworthy friends he
loses connection with people of intellectual power who could further him in
When the right connection with distinguished people has been found, a
certain loss naturally ensues. A man must part company with the inferior
and superficial. But in his heart he will feel satisfied, because he seeks and
needs for the development of his personality. The important thing is to
remain firm. He must know what he wants and not be led astray by
It often happens, when a man exerts a certain amount of influence, that he
obtains a following by condescension toward inferiors. But the people who
attach themselves to him are not honest in their intentions. They seek
personal advantage and try to make themselves indispensable through
flattery and subservience. If one becomes accustomed to such satellites and
cannot do without them, it brings misfortune. Only when a man is
completely free from his ego, and intent, by conviction, upon what is right
and essential, does he acquire the clarity that enables him to see through such
people, and become free of blame.
Every man must have something he follows--something that serves him as a
lodestar. He who follows with conviction the beautiful and the good may feel
himself strengthened by this saying.
This refers to a man, an exalted sage, who has already put the turmoil of the
world behind him. But a follower appears who understands him and is not
to be put off. So the sage comes back into the world and aids the other in his
work. Thus there develops an eternal tie between the two.
The allegory is chosen from the annals of the Chou dynasty. The rulers of
this dynasty honored men who had served them well by awarding them a
place in the royal family's temple of ancestors on the Western Mountain. In
this way they were regarded as sharing in the destiny of the ruling family.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Now not time to involve in itself supporters; you need to become stronger more likely on the positions. And if suddenly even your purposes will change be not receded from the principles. Do not pursue at once loud success and a large victory: be content while small, and it and will cause big. It is not necessary to go against the stream, and all will come in the order. It is very probable, that your desire will be executed, but be ready to big vital changes.
3. Sprouting (zhūn). Difficulty at the Beginning
Benefit is in expecting changes. Only having realized necessity and inevitability of cataclysms during transition from one state to another, it is possible to man and overcome difficulties – stop dawdling and spinning the wheels.
Inital text of I Ching
Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success, furthering through perseverance. Nothing should be undertaken. It furthers one to appoint helpers.
Clouds and thunder:
The image of Difficulty at the Beginning. Thus the superior man brings order out of confusion.
- Hesitation and hindrance. It furthers one to remain persevering. It furthers one to appoint helpers.
- Difficulties pile up. Horse and wagon part. He is not a robber; He wants to woo when the time comes. The maiden is chaste, she does not pledge herself. Ten years-then she pledges herself.
- Whoever hunts deer without the forester only loses his way in the forest. The superior man understands the signs of the time and prefers to desist. To go on brings humiliation.
- Horse and wagon part. Strive for union. To go brings good fortune. Everything acts to further.
- Difficulties in blessing. A little perseverance brings good fortune. Great perseverance brings misfortune.
- Horse and wagon part. Bloody tears flow.
Interaction of two opposite origins creates difficulties. Transition from the original state is entailed by difficulties. No rest, no pacification. There is feeling of coming danger. There is chaos, confusion in things, mental turmoil. There is no way seen: no way forward, no way backwards. It is necessary to wait, keep energy to overcome chaos. It is not time to show firmness and persistence. New ideas are appearing, but they have no shape. Rashness and haste are dangerous. Will is necessary not only for moving forward but also to restrain oneself sometimes. At the moment no undertakings are good as all efforts will be useless.
The name of the hexagram, Chun, really connotes a blade of grass pushing
against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth--hence the meaning,
"difficulty at the beginning." The hexagram indicates the way in which
heaven and earth bring forth individual beings. It is their first meeting,
which is beset with difficulties. The lower trigram Chên is the Arousing; its
motion is upward and its image is thunder. The upper trigram K'an stands
for the Abysmal, the dangerous. Its motion is downward and its image is
rain. The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; thunder and rain fill
the air. But the chaos clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward
movement eventually passes beyond the danger. A thunderstorm brings
release from tension, and all things breathe freely again.
Times of growth are beset with difficulties. They resemble a first birth. But
these difficulties arise from the very profusion of all that is struggling to
attain form . Everything is in motion: therefore if one perseveres there is a
prospect of great success, in spite of the existing danger. When it is a man's
fate to undertake such new beginnings, everything is still unformed, dark.
Hence he must hold back, because any premature move might bring disaster.
Likewise, it is very important not to remain alone; in order to overcome the
chaos he needs helpers. This is not to say, however, that he himself should
look on passively at what is happening. He must lend his hand and
participate with inspiration and guidance.
Clouds and thunder are represented by definite decorative lines; this means
that in the chaos of difficulty at the beginning, order is already implicit. So
too the superior man has to arrange and organize the inchoate profusion of
such times of beginning, just as one sorts out silk threads from a knotted
tangle and binds them into skeins. In order to find one's place in the infinity
of being, one must be able both to separate and to unite.
If a person encounters a hindrance at the beginning of an enterprise, he must
not try to force advance but must pause and take thought. However, nothing
should put him off his course; he must persevere and constantly keep the
goal in sight. It is important to seek out the right assistants, but he can find
them only if he avoids arrogance and associated with his fellows in a spirit of
humility. Only then will he attract those with whose help he can combat the
We find ourselves beset by difficulties and hindrances. Suddenly there is a
turn of affairs, as if someone were coming up with a horse and wagon and
unhitching them. This event comes so unexpectedly that we assume the
newcomer to be a robber. Gradually it becomes clear that he has no evil
intentions but seeks to be friendly and to offer help. But this offer is not to be
accepted, because it does not come from the right quarter. We must wait until
the time is fulfilled; ten years is a fulfilled cycle of time. Then normal
conditions return of themselves, and we can join forces with the friend
intended for us.
Using the image of a betrothed girl who remains true to her lover in face of
grave conflicts, the hexagram gives counsel for a special situation. When in
times of difficulty a hindrance is encountered and unexpected relief is offered
from a source unrelated to us, we must be careful and not take upon
ourselves any obligations entailed by such help; otherwise our freedom of
decision is impaired. If we bide our time, things will quiet down again, and
we shall attain what we have hoped for.
If a man tries to hunt in a strange forest and has no guide, he loses his way.
When he finds himself in difficulties he must not try to steal out of them
unthinkingly and without guidance. Fate cannot be duped; premature effort,
without the necessary guidance, ends in failure and disgrace. Therefore the
superior man, discerning the seeds of coming events, prefers to renounce a
wish rather than to provoke failure and humiliation by trying to force its
We are in a situation in which it is our duty to act, but we lack sufficient
power. However, an opportunity to make connections offers itself. It must be
seized. Neither false pride nor false reserve should deter us. Bringing oneself
to take the first step, even when it involves a certain degree of self-
abnegation, is a sign of inner clarity. To accept help in a difficult situation is
not a disgrace. If the right helper is found, all goes well.
An individual is in a position in which he cannot so express his good
intentions that they will actually take shape and be understood. Other people
interpose and distort everything he does. He should then be cautious and
proceed step by step. He must not try to force the consummation of a great
undertaking, because success is possible only when general confidence already
prevails. It is only through faithful and conscientious work, unobtrusively
carried on, that the situation gradually clears up and the hindrance
The difficulties at the beginning are too great for some persons. They get
stuck and never find their way out; they fold their hands and give up the
struggle. Such resignation is the saddest of all things. Therefore Confucius
says of this line: "Bloody tears flow: one should not persist in this."
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
This hexagram represents one of the most unhappy combinations. All will fall from hands, not allowing result, for what you undertook. There is nothing how to wait more for an opportunity. Try to conduct the closed way of life, at least month three; it, certainly, at all does not mean, that during this period it is not necessary to think over carefully plans for the future. Be patient, listen to advice of the woman. But now about luck, about success in affairs cannot be and speeches.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary