|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.
33. Retiring (dùn). Retreat
Before a big leap think and make the run, departing from the starting line a few steps.
Inital text of I Ching
Retreat. Success. In what is small, perseverance furthers.
Mountain under heaven:
The image of Retreat. Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance, not angrily but with reserve.
- At the tail in retreat. This is dangerous. One must not wish to undertake anything.
- He holds him fast with yellow oxhide. No one can tear him loose.
- A halted retreat is nerve-wracking and dangerous. To retain people as men- and maidservants brings good fortune.
- Voluntary retreat brings good fortune to the superior man and downfall to the inferior man.
- Friendly retreat. Perseverance brings good fortune.
- Cheerful retreat. Everything serves to further.
If we talk about the great, then now it is the moment of transition between the willingness to act and action itself. Prudence, balance, clarification of objectives and its comparison with internal need (higher aspiration) are necessary - a temporary escape from the action itself. Feel free to act - according to your will, without coercion. Intentions must be kept secret. It is time for positive solution of only minor problems, but even here caution is necessary.
The power of the dark is ascending. The light retreats to security, so that the
dark cannot encroach upon it. This retreat is a matter not of man's will but of
natural law. Therefore in this case withdrawal is proper; it is the correct way
to behave in order not to exhaust one's forces.
In the calendar this hexagram is linked with the sixth month (July-August),
in which the forces of winter are already showing their influence.
Conditions are such that the hostile forces favored by the time are advancing.
In this case retreat is the right course, and it is not to be confused with flight.
Flight means saving oneself under any circumstances, whereas retreat is a
sign of strength. We must be careful not to miss the right moment while we
are in full possession of power and position. Then we shall be able to
interpret the signs of the time before it is too late and to prepare for
provisional retreat instead of being drawn into a desperate life-and-death
struggle. Thus we do not simple abandon the field to the opponent; we make
it difficult for him to advance by showing perseverance in single acts of
resistance. In this way we prepare, while retreating, for the counter-
movement. Understanding the laws of a constructive retreat of this sort is
not easy. The meaning that lies hidden in such a time is important.
The mountain rises up under heaven, but owing to its nature it finally comes
to a stop. Heaven on the other hand retreats upward before it into the
distance and remains out of reach. This symbolizes the behavior of the
superior man toward a climbing inferior; he retreats into his own thoughts as
the inferior man comes forward. He does not hate him, for hatred is a form
of subjective involvement by which we are bound to the hated object. The
superior man shows strength (heaven) in that he brings the inferior man to a
standstill (mountain) by his dignified reserve.
Since the hexagram is the picture of something that is retreating, the lowest
line represents the tail and the top line the head. In a retreat it is
advantageous to be at the front. Here one is at the back, in immediate contact
with the pursuing enemy. This is dangerous, and under such circumstances
it is not advisable to undertake anything. Keeping still is the easiest way of
escaping from the threatening danger.
Yellow is the color of the middle. It indicates that which is correct and in line
with duty. Oxhide is strong and not to be torn.
While the superior men retreat and the inferior press after them, the
inferior man represented here holds on so firmly and tightly to the superior
man that the latter cannot shake him off. And because he is in quest of what
is right an so strong in purpose, he reaches his goal. Thus the line confirms
what is said in the Judgment: "In what is small" --here equivalent to "in the
inferior man" -- "perseverance furthers."
When it is time to retreat it is both unpleasant and dangerous to be held back,
because then one no longer has freedom of action. In such a case the only
expedient is to take into one's service, so to speak, those who refuse to let one
go, so that one may at least keep one's initiative and not fall helplessly under
their domination. But even with this expedient the situation is far from
satisfactory--for what can one hope to accomplish with such servants?
In retreating the superior man is intent on taking his departure willingly and
in all friendliness. He easily adjusts his mind to retreat, because in retreating
he does not have to do violence to his convictions. The only one who suffers
is the inferior man from whom he retreats, who will degenerate when
deprived of the guidance of the superior man.
It is the business of the superior man to recognize in time that the moment
for retreat has come. If the right moment is chosen, the retreat can be carried
out within the forms of perfect friendliness, without the necessity of
disagreeable discussions. Yet, for all the observance of amenities, absolute
firmness of decision is necessary if one is not to be led astray by irrelevant
The situation is unequivocal. Inner detachment has become an established
fact, and we are at liberty to depart. When one sees the way ahead thus
clearly, free of all doubt, a cheerful mood sets in, and one chooses what is
right without further thought. Such a clear path ahead always leads to the
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Try to constrain itself a little; believe, that you only will win from this. At present persistence and persistence will not bring any advantage. This hexagram is very favorable for interesting rest and entertainments; take advantage of this time to consider the plans for the future. However do not hasten to carry out them, the present period of uncertainty yet will not end. Use it for meditation, quiet contemplation and reflection is better.
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.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary