|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.
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