|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.
6. Arguing (sòng). Conflict
When approaching troubles be ready. During quarrels do not lose the face. Do not betray your beliefs for the sake of profit or because of cowardice.
Inital text of I Ching
Conflict. You are sincere and are being obstructed. A cautious halt halfway brings good fortune. Going through to the end brings misfortune. It furthers one to see the great man. It does not further one to cross the great water.
Heaven and water go their opposite ways:
The image of Conflict. Thus in all his transactions the superior man carefully considers the beginning.
- If one does not perpetuate the affair, there is a little gossip. In the end, good fortune comes.
- One cannot engage in conflict; One returns home, gives way. The people of his town, three hundred households, remain free of guilt.
- To nourish oneself on ancient virtue induces perseverance. Danger. In the end, good fortune comes. If by chance you are in the service of a king, seek not works.
- One cannot engage in conflict. One turns back and submits to fate, changes one's attitude, and finds peace in perseverance. Good fortune.
- To contend before him brings supreme good fortune.
- Even if by chance a leather belt is bestowed on one, by the end of a morning it will have been snatched away three times.
There are difficulties. Caution, restraint, prudence and ability to remain calm are essential. Strive for reconciliation; do not to escalate the conflict. Whatever happens, firmly insist on justice, and do not break the commandments and precepts. Do not hate your enemies. Do not pretend to absolute correctness, error can make blind. Listen to the enemy - his words can contain hidden truth. Ask for advice those who are wiser and see the situation from outside. Problems can last for a long time, but they do not last forever. It is time of spiritual growth: let the best in you, become measure for the trial yourself.
The upper trigram, whose image is heaven, has an upward movement; the
lower trigram, water, in accordance with its nature tends downward. Thus the
two halves move away from each other, giving rise to the idea of conflict.
The attribute of the Creative is strength, that of the Abysmal is danger, guile.
Where cunning has force before it, there is conflict.
A third indication of conflict, in terms of character, is presented by the
combination of deep cunning within and fixed determination outwardly. A
person of this character will certainly be quarrelsome.
Conflict develops when one feels himself to be in the right and runs into
opposition. If one is not convinced of being in the right, opposition leads to
craftiness or high-handed encroachment but not to open conflict.
If a man is entangled in a conflict, his only salvation lies in being so clear-
headed and inwardly strong that he is always ready to come to terms by
meeting the opponent halfway. To carry one the conflict to the bitter end has
evil effects even when one is the right, because the enmity is then
perpetuated. It is important to see the great man, that is, an impartial man
whose authority is great enough to terminate the conflict amicably or assure a
just decision. In times of strife, crossing the great water is to be avoided, that
is, dangerous enterprises are not to be begun, because in order to be successful
they require concerted unity of focus. Conflict within weakens the power to
conquer danger without.
The image indicates that the causes of conflict are latent in the opposing
tendencies of the two trig rams. Once these opposing tendencies appear,
conflict is inevitable. To avoid it, therefore, everything must be taken
carefully into consideration in the very beginning. If rights and duties are
exactly defined, or if, in a group, the spiritual trends of the individuals
harmonize, the cause of conflict is removed in advance.
While a conflict is in the incipient stage, the best thing To do is to drop the
issue. Especially when the adversary is stronger, it is not advisable to risk
pushing the conflict to a decision. It may come to a slight dispute, but in the
end all goes well.
In a struggle with an enemy of superior strength, retreat is no disgrace.
Timely withdrawal prevents bad consequences. If, out of a false sense of
honor, a man allowed himself to be tempted into an unequal conflict, he
would be drawing down disaster upon himself. In such a case a wise and
conciliatory attitude benefits the whole community, which will then not be
drawn into the conflict.
This is a warning of the danger that goes with an expansive disposition. Only
that which has been honestly acquired through merit remains a permanent
possession. It can happen that such a possession may be contested, but since it
is really one's own, one cannot be robbed of it. Whatever a man possesses
through the strength of his own nature cannot be lost. If one enters the
service of a superior, one can avoid conflict only by not seeking works for the
sake of prestige. It is enough if the work is done: let the honor go to the
This refers to a person whose inner attitude at first lacks peace. He does not
feel content with his situation and would like to improve it through conflict.
In contrast tot the situation of the nine in the second place, he is dealing with
a weaker opponent and might therefore succeed. But he cannot carry on the
fight, because, since right is not on his side, he cannot justify the conflict to
his conscience. Therefore he turns back and accepts his fate. He changes his
mind and finds lasting peace in being at one with eternal law. This brings
This refers to an arbiter in a conflict who is powerful and just, and strong
enough to lend weight to the right side. A dispute can be turned over to him
with confidence. If one is in the right, one attains great good fortune.
Here we have someone who has carried a conflict to the bitter end and has
triumphed. He is granted a decoration, but his happiness does not last. He is
attacked again and again, and the result is conflict without end.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
You feel disharmony. Becomes ripe any conflict. Try to behave it is constrained. Do not answer on challenged to you. It is not necessary to show too many requirements; also do not begin alone any enterprises until circumstances will not favour to you. Try to begin better work together with someone. Start up all goes the order, and you will understand, that vital problems sometimes can learn much, and not just deliver afflictions.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary