|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.
20. Viewing (guān). Contemplation
You may work day and night long, but no fruit can be grown without spiritual work.
Inital text of I Ching
Contemplation. The ablution has been made, but not yet the offering. Full of trust they look up to him.
The wind blows over the earth:
The image of Contemplation. Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the world, contemplated the people, and gave them instruction.
- Boylike contemplation. For an inferior man, no blame. For a superior man, humiliation.
- Contemplation through the crack of the door. Furthering for the perseverance of a woman.
- Contemplation of my life decides the choice between advance and retreat.
- Contemplation of the light of the kingdom. It furthers one to exert influence as the guest of a king.
- Contemplation of my life. The superior man is without blame.
- Contemplation of his life. The superior man is without blame.
It is time of external harmony. Much has been achieved. It is time to step back and look at its movement through the eyes of a stranger - you need objectivity. Do not seek to cover all with common eye - gradually learn about the essentials, learn the essence. Most of all, concentration and inner truth are needed. Self-deception is dangerous! It is time of active inner work, evolving, soul-searching.
A slight variation of tonal stress gives the Chinese name for this hexagram a
double meaning. It means both contemplating and being seen, in the sense
of being an example. These ideas are suggested by the fact that the hexagram
can be understood as picturing a type of tower characteristic of ancient China.
A tower of this kind commanded a wide view of the country; at the same
time, when situated on a mountain, it became a landmark that could be seen
for miles around. Thus the hexagram shows a ruler who contemplates the
law of heaven above him and the ways of the people below, and who, by
means of good government, sets a lofty example to the masses.
This hexagram is linked with the eight month (September-October). The
light-giving power retreats and the dark power is again on the increase.
However, this aspect is not material in the interpretation of the hexagram as a
The sacrificial ritual in China began with an ablution and a libation by which
the Deity was invoked, after which the sacrifice was offered. The moment of
time between these two ceremonies is the most sacred of all, the moment of
deepest inner concentration. If piety is sincere and expressive of real faith, the
contemplation of it has a transforming awe-spiring effect on those who
Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen in the fact that natural
occurrences are uniformly subject to law. Contemplation of the divine
meaning underlying the workings of the universe gives to the man who is
called upon to influence others the means of producing like effects. This
requires that power of inner concentration which religious contemplation
develops in great men strong in faith. It enables them to apprehend the
mysterious and divine laws of life, and by means of profoundest inner
concentration they give expression to these laws in their own persons. Thus
a hidden spiritual power emanates from them, influencing and dominating
others without their being aware of how it happens.
When the wind blows over the earth it goes far and wide, and the grass must
bend to its power. These two occurrences find confirmation in the hexagram.
The two images are used to symbolize a practice of the kings of old; in making
regular journeys the ruler could, in the first place, survey his realm and make
certain that none of the existing usages of the people escaped notice; in the
second, he could exert influence through which such customs as were
unsuitable could be changed.
All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality. On the
one hand, such a man will have a view of the real sentiments of the great
mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the other, he will
impress the people so profoundly, by his mere existence and by the impact of
his personality, that they will be swayed by him as the grass by the wind.
This means contemplation from a distance, without comprehension. A man
of influence is at hand, abut his influence is not understood by the common
people. This matters little in the case of the masses, for they benefit by the
actions of the ruling sage whether they understand them or not. But for a
superior man it is a disgrace. He must not content himself with a shallow,
thoughtless view of prevailing forces; he must contemplate them as a
connected whole and try to understand them.
Through the crack of the door one has a limited outlook; one looks outward
from within. Contemplation is subjectively limited. One tends to relate
everything to oneself and cannot put oneself in another's place and
understand his motives. This is appropriate for a good housewife. It is not
necessary for her to be conversant with the affairs of the world. But for a man
who must take active part in public life, such a narrow, egotistic way of
contemplating things is of course harmful.
This is the place of transition. We no longer look outward to receive pictures
that are more or less limited and confused, but direct out contemplation upon
ourselves in order to find a guideline for our decisions. This self-
contemplation means the overcoming of naive egotism in the person who
sees everything solely form his own standpoint. He begins to reflect and in
this way acquires objectivity. However, self-knowledge does not mean
preoccupation with one's own thoughts; rather, it means concern about the
effects one creates. It is only the effects our lives produce that give us the
right to judge whether what we have done means progress or regression.
This describes a man who understands the secrets by which a kingdom can be
made to flourish. Such a man must be given an authoritative position, in
which he can exert influence. He should be, so to speak, a guest-that is, he
should be honored and act independently, and should not be used as a tool.
A man in an authoritative position to whom others look up must always be
ready for self-examination. The right sort of self-examination, however,
consists not in idle brooding over oneself but in examining the effects one
produces. Only when these effects are good, and when one's influence on
others is good, will the contemplation of one's own life bring the
satisfaction of knowing oneself to be free of mistakes.
While the preceding line represents a man who contemplates himself, here
in the highest place everything that is personal, related to the ego, is excluded.
The picture is that of a sage who stands outside the affairs of the world.
Liberated from his ego, he contemplates the laws of life and so realizes that
knowing how to become free of blame is the highest good.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
You should be to ready to probable and unexpected troubles. Try to consider and analyse a state of affairs easy and judiciously. Probably, that to you it will be necessary to replace a residence and work. Try anything important to not miss, you need to be now especially attentive. You can receive the help therefrom, whence least wait, for this purpose it is necessary to think over carefully only all the actions. Your desires will be executed, maybe, not so quickly as you would like. It is necessary for you to consider opportunities of realization of your plans well. Well, and if your business will go successfully do not forget to assist another.
39. Limping (jiǎn). Obstruction
Happy is one who knows when to stop and change direction. It is impossible for a person to argue with a will of Heaven.
Inital text of I Ching
Obstruction. The southwest furthers. The northeast does not further. It furthers one to see the great man. Perseverance brings good fortune.
Water on the mountain:
The image of Obstruction. Thus the superior man turns his attention to himself and molds his character.
- Going leads to obstructions, coming meets with praise.
- The king's servant is beset by obstruction upon obstruction, but it is not his own fault.
- Going leads to obstructions; Hence he comes back.
- Going leads to obstructions, coming leads to union.
- In the midst of the greatest obstructions, friends come.
- Going leads to obstructions, coming leads to great good fortune. It furthers one to see the great man.
The situation creates an obstacle for further progress. It can be overcome after an unfortunate situation is resolved. If you try to get around it now – you will wastee energy, expose yourselves to more danger. Your advantage is to anticipate the danger and stop. Beware the wiles of enemies, do not enter a fight. Ask for help from a great man. Be firm. Accept the will of Heaven, and everything will change.
The hexagram pictures a dangerous abyss lying before us and a steep,
inaccessible mountain rising behind us. We are surrounded by obstacles; at
the same time, since the mountain has the attribute of keeping still, there is
implicit a hint as to how we can extricate ourselves. The hexagram represents
obstructions that appear in the course of time but that can and should be
overcome. Therefore all the instruction given is directed to overcoming
The southwest is the region of retreat, the northeast that of advance. Here an
individual is confronted by obstacles that cannot be overcome directly. In
such a situation it is wise to pause in view of the danger and to retreat.
However, this is merely a preparation for overcoming the obstructions. One
must join forces with friends of like mind and put himself under the
leadership of a man equal to the situation: then one will succeed in
removing the obstacles. This requires the will to persevere just when one
apparently must do something that leads away from his goal. This
unswerving inner purpose brings good fortune in the end. An obstruction
that lasts only for a time is useful for self-development. This is the value of
Difficulties and obstructions throw a man back upon himself. While the
inferior man seeks to put the blame on other persons, bewailing his fate, the
superior man seeks the error within himself, and through this introspection
the external obstacle becomes for him an occasion for inner enrichment and
When one encounters an obstruction, the important thing is to reflect on
how best to deal with it. When threatened with danger, one should not strive
blindly to go ahead, for this only leads to complications. The correct thing is,
on the contrary, to retreat for the time being, not in order to give up the
struggle but to await the right moment for action.
Ordinarily it is best to go around an obstacle and try to overcome it along the
line of least resistance. But there is one instance in which a man must go out
to meet the trouble, even though difficulty piles upon difficulty: this is when
the path of duty leads directly to it-in other words, when he cannot act of his
own volition but is duty bound to go and seek out danger in the service of a
higher cause. Then he may do it without compunction, because it is not
through any fault of his that he is putting himself in this difficult situation.
While the preceding line shows the official compelled by duty to follow the
way of danger, this line shows the man who must act as father of a family or
as head of his kin. If he were to plunge recklessly in to danger, it would be a
useless act, because those entrusted to his care cannot get along by themselves.
But if he withdraws and turns back to his own, they welcome him with great
This too describes a situation that cannot be managed single-handed. In such
a case the direct way is not the shortest. If a person were to forge ahead on his
own strength and without the necessary preparations, he would not find the
support he needs and would realize too late that he has been mistaken in his
calculations, inasmuch as the conditions on which he hoped he could rely
would prove to be inadequate. In this case it is better, therefore, to hold back
for the time being and to gather together trustworthy companions who can be
counted upon for help in overcoming the obstructions.
Here we see a man who is called to help in an emergency. He should not seek
to evade the obstructions, no matter how dangerously they pile up before
him. But because he is really called to the task, the power of his spirit is strong
enough to attract helpers whom he can effectively organize, so that through
the well-directed co-operation of all participants the obstruction is overcome.
This refers to a man who has already left the world and its tumult behind
him. When the time of obstructions arrives, it might seem that the simplest
thing for him to do would be to turn his back upon the world and take refuge
in the beyond. But this road is barred to him. He must not seek his own
salvation and abandon the world to its adversity. Duty calls him back once
more into the turmoil of life. Precisely because of his experience and inner
freedom, he is able to create something both great and complete that brings
good fortune. And it is favorable to see the great man in alliance with whom
one can achieve the work of rescue.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Alas, but this one of the worst hexagrams. The more efforts you apply, the appear rejected back further. It is difficult to tell, why, but at present fate your destiny does not interest. Is better to plunge now into study, reading, scientific activity, it is simple in whirlpool of house affairs, and in them to find calm. Probably, that a little your friends will support to you. Try to track the charges: during this bad period you can remain without means.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary