19. Nearing (lín). Approach
Nothing is accidental in life. Learn to see the causal connection, to distinguish truth from error.
Inital text of I Ching
Approach has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. When the eighth month comes, there will be misfortune.
The earth above the lake:
The image of Approach. Thus the superior man is inexhaustible in his will to teach, and without limits in his tolerance and protection of the people.
- Joint approach. Perseverance brings good fortune.
- Joint approach. Good fortune. Everything furthers.
- Comfortable approach. Nothing that would further. If one is induced to grieve over it, one becomes free of blame.
- Complete approach. No blame.
- Wise approach. This is right for a great prince. Good fortune.
- Greathearted approach. Good fortune. No blame.
Past approaches the future. Survivals and obstacles are removed. You can look at the updated situation. Try to perceive the world on the whole, using all the senses. Correctly choose the direction, follow the higher destiny, or the motion will result in flight. Become closer to people, but be careful. Be human, do not give empty promises, and do not cheat others. Learn from the wise people. Learn to distinguish between the wisdom of senior from their mistakes.
The Chinese word lin has a range of meanings that is not exhausted by any
single word of another language. The ancient explanations in the Book of
Changes give as its first meaning, "becoming great." What becomes great are
the two strong lines growing into the hexagram from below; the light-giving
power expands with them. The meaning is then further extended to include
the concept of approach, especially the approach of what is lower. Finally the
meaning includes the attitude of condescension of a man in high position
toward the people, and in general the setting to work on affairs. This
hexagram is linked with the twelfth month (January-February), when after
the winter solstice, the light power begins to ascend again.
The hexagram as a whole points to a time of joyous, hopeful progress. Spring
is approaching. Joy and forbearance bring high and low nearer together.
Success is certain. But we must work with determination and perseverance
to make full use of the propitiousness of the time. And on thing more:
spring does not last forever. In the eighth month the aspects are reversed.
Then only two strong, light lines are left; these do not advance but are in
retreat (see next hexagram). We must take heed of this change in good time.
If we meet evil before it becomes reality-before it has even begun to stir-we
can master it.
The earth borders upon the lake from above. This symbolizes the approach
and condescension of the man of higher position to those beneath him. The
two parts of the image indicate what his attitude toward these people will be.
Just as the lake is inexhaustible in depth, so the sage is inexhaustible in his
readiness to teach mankind, and just as the earth is boundlessly wide,
sustaining and caring for all creatures on it, so the sage sustains and cares for
all people and excludes no part of humanity.
The good begins to prevail and to find response in influential circles. This in
turn is an incentive to men of ability. IT is well to join this upward trend, but
we must not let ourselves be carried away by the current of the time; we must
adhere perseveringly to what is right. This bring good fortune.
When the stimulus to approach comes from a high place, and when a man
has the inner strength and consistency that need no admonition, good
fortune will ensue. Nor need the future cause any concern. He is well aware
that everything earthly is transitory, and that a descent follows upon every
rise, but need not be confused by this universal law of fate. Everything serves
to further. Therefore he will travel the paths of life swiftly, honestly, and
Things are going well for a man: he achieves power and influence. But in
this lies the danger that he may relax, and confident of his position, allow the
easygoing, careless mood to show itself in his dealings with other people.
This would inevitably be harmful. But there is possibility of a change of
mood. If he regrets his mistaken attitude and feels the responsibility of an
influential position, he frees himself of faults.
While the three lower lines indicate rise to power and influence, the three
upper lines show the attitude of persons in higher position toward those of
lower rank for whom they procure influence. Here is shown the open-
minded approach of a person of high rank to a man of ability whom he draws
in to his own circle, regardless of class prejudice. This is very favorable.
A prince, or anyone in a leading position, must have the wisdom to attract to
himself people of ability who are expert in directing affairs. His wisdom
consists both in selecting the right people and in allowing those chosen to
have a free hand without interference from him. For only through such self-
restraint will he find the experts needed to satisfy all of his requirements.
A sage who has put the world behind him and who in spirit has already
withdrawn from life may, under certain circumstances, decide to return once
more to the here and now and to approach other men. This means great
good fortune for the men whom he teaches and helps. And for him this great
hearted humbling of himself is blameless.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
You are expected with success in everything, for what you have undertaken now. And in the further circumstances that will be more favorable for you, than you will achieve greater success. Time when successes in the most different affairs are probable is necessary. Be resolute in achievement of the purpose, but do not forget and about friends: do not cause envy or insult, be cautious and circumspect. Obviously, you will be forced to change the relation to one of relatives to you people whom you very well know.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary