|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.
38. Polarising (kuí). Opposition
Strife is always connected with the community. Loneliness is more dangerous than hatred.
Inital text of I Ching
Opposition. In small matters, good fortune.
Above, fire; below, the lake:
The image of Opposition. Thus amid all fellowship the superior man retains his individuality.
- Remorse disappears. If you lose your horse, do not run after it; It will come back of its own accord. When you see evil people, Guard yourself against mistakes.
- One meets his lord in a narrow street. No blame.
- One sees the wagon dragged back, the oxen halted, a man's hair and nose cut off. Not a good beginning, but a good end.
- Isolated through opposition, one meets a like-minded man with whom one can associate in good faith. Despite the danger, no blame.
- Remorse disappears. The companion bites his way through the wrappings. If one goes to him, how could it be a mistake?
- Isolated through opposition, one sees one's companion as a pig covered with dirt, as a wagon full of devils. First one draws a bow against him, then one lays the bow aside. He is not a robber; he will woo at the right time. As one goes, rain falls; then good fortune comes.
There is no clear understanding of what the good is and what harm? Until you understand, you will stagnate or fail. The differences are everywhere: there is no coordinated work; the initial idea contradicts the ultimate goal. There is misunderstanding among the relatives. Junior need advice of senior, otherwise there may be dangerous errors. Intervention of a wise man, head is necessary. Success is possible only in small and insignificant things.
This hexagram is composed of the trigram Li above, i.e., flame, which burns
upward, and Tui below, i.e., the lake, which seeps downward. These two
movements are indirect contrast. Furthermore, LI is the second daughter and
Tui the youngest daughter, and although they live in the same house they
belong to different men; hence their wills are not the same but are
When people live in opposition and estrangement they cannot carry out a
great undertaking in common; their points of view diverge too widely. In
such circumstances one should above all not proceed brusquely, for that
would only increase the existing opposition; instead, one should limit oneself
to producing gradual effects in small matters. Here success can still be
expected, because the situation is such that the opposition does not preclude
In general, opposition appears as an obstruction, but when it represents
polarity within a comprehensive whole, it has also its useful and important
functions. The oppositions of heaven and earth, spirit and nature, man and
woman, when reconciled, bring about the creation and reproduction of life.
In the world of visible things, the principle of opposites makes possible the
differentiation by categories through which order is brought into the world.
The two elements, fire and water, never mingle but even when in contact
retain their own natures. So the sutured man is never led into baseness or
vulgarity through intercourse or community of interests with persons of
another sort; regardless of all commingling, he will always preserve his
Even in times when oppositions prevail, mistakes can be avoided, so that
remorse disappears. When opposition begins to manifest itself, a man must
not try to bring about unity by force, for by so doing he would only achieve
the contrary, just as a horse goes farther and farther away if one runs after it.
It it is one's won horse, one can safely let it go; it will come back of its own
accord. So too when someone who belongs with us is momentarily estranged
because of a misunderstanding, he will return of his own accord if we leave
matters to him. One the other hand, it is well to be cautious when evil men
who do not belong with us force themselves upon us, again as the result of a
misunderstanding. Here the important thing is to avoid mistakes. We must
not try to shake off these evil men by force; this would give rise to real
hostility. We must simply endure them. They will eventually withdraw of
their own accord.
As a result of misunderstandings, it has become impossible for people who by
nature belong together to meet in the correct way. This being so, an accidental
meeting under informal circumstances may serve the purpose, provided
there is an inner affinity between them.
Often it seems tot a man as though everything were conspiring against him.
He sees himself checked and hindered in his progress, insulted and
dishonored. However, he must not let himself be misled; despite this
opposition, he must cleave to the man with whom he knows he belongs.
Thus, notwithstanding the bad beginning, the matter will end well.
If a man finds himself in a company of people from whom he is separated by
an inner opposition, he becomes isolated. But if in such a situation a man
meets someone who fundamentally by the very law of his being, is kin to
him, and whom he can trust completely, he overcomes all the dangers of
isolation. His will achieves its aim, and he becomes free of faults.
Coming upon a sincere man, one fails to recognize him at first because of the
general estrangement. However, he bites his way through the wrappings that
are causing the separation. When such a companion thus reveals himself in
his true character, it is one's duty to go to meet him and to work with him.
Here the isolation is due to misunderstanding; it is brought about not by
outer circumstances but by inner conditions. A man misjudges his best
friends, taking them to be as unclean as a dirty pig in and as dangerous as a
wagon full of devils. He adopts an attitude of defense. But in the end,
realizing his mistake, he lays aside the bow, perceiving that the other is
approaching with the best intentions for the purpose of close union. Thus the
tension is relieved. The union resolves the tension, just as falling rain
relieves the sultriness preceding a thunderstorm. All goes well, for just when
opposition reaches its climax it changes over to its antithesis.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
This hexagram speaks, that now your life is deprived harmony. It seems to you, as if all around carp at you, are set up aggressively. You are deduced from themselves even with the most insignificant events. Take itself in hands, be not nervous, position will soon change. Sympathizing people to you now to find difficultly. A certain woman gets on to you nerves. Supervise the words, acts, and be not accepted for what new. Those events, things which are now in a field of your interests, in practice at all does not correspond to your true desires.
12. Obstruction (pǐ). Standstill
Learn how to overcome difficulties. Seek harmony in the relationship, while not neglecting.
Inital text of I Ching
Standstill. Evil people do not further the perseverance of the superior man. The great departs; the small approaches.
Heaven and earth do not unite:
The image of Standstill. Thus the superior man falls back upon his inner worth in order to escape the difficulties. He does not permit himself to be honored with revenue.
- When ribbon grass is pulled up, the sod comes with it. Each according to his kind. Perseverance brings good fortune and success.
- They bear and endure; This means good fortune for inferior people. The standstill serves to help the great man to attain success.
- They bear shame.
- He who acts at the command of the highest remains without blame. Those of like mind partake of the blessing.
- Standstill is giving way. Good fortune for the great man. What if it should fail, what if it should fail? In this way he ties it to a cluster of mulberry shoots.
- Nine at the top means: the standstill comes to an end.
First standstill, then good fortune.
The great leaves and the little will come. State of affairs is deplorable, relations are violated. Dissatisfaction of senior takes place. There are illusion and delusion. But everything is temporary. The future will bring change. Accumulate experience, watch out - what happens now will affect the future. Do not waste your strength of mind, take the trouble with dignity. Pay attention to people, do push off supporters.
This hexagram is the opposite of the preceding one. Heaven is above,
drawing farther and farther away, while the earth below sinks farther into the
depths. The creative powers are not in relation. It is a time of standstill and
decline. This hexagram is linked with the seventh month (August-
September), when the year has passed its zenith and autumnal decay is setting
Heaven and earth are out of communion and all things are benumbed. What
is above has no relation to what is below, and on earth confusion and
disorder prevail. The dark power is within, the light power is without.
Weakness is within, harshness without. Within are the inferior, and
without are the superior. The way of inferior people is in ascent; the way of
superior people is one the decline. But the superior people do not allow
themselves to be turned from their principles. If the possibility of exerting
influence is closed to them, they nevertheless remain faithful to their
principles and withdraw into seclusion.
When, owing to the influence of inferior men, mutual mistrust prevails in
public life, fruitful activity is rendered impossible, because the fundaments
are wrong. Therefore the superior man knows what he must do under such
circumstances; he does not allow himself to be tempted by dazzling offers to
take part in public activities. This would only expose him to danger, since he
cannot assent to the meanness of the others. He therefore hides his worth
and withdraws into seclusion.
The text is almost the same as that of the first line of the preceding hexagram,
but with a contrary meaning. In the latter a man is drawing another along
with him on the road to an official career; here a man is drawing another
with him into retirement form public life. This is why the text says here,
"Perseverance brings good fortune and success," and not "Undertakings bring
good fortune." If it becomes impossible to make our influence count, it is
only by retirement that we spare ourselves humiliation. Success in a higher
sense can be ours, because we know how to safeguard the value of our
Inferior people are ready to flatter their superiors in a servile way. They
would also endure the superior man if he would put an end to their
confusion. This is fortunate for them. But the great man calmly bears the
consequences of the standstill. He does not mingle with the crowd of the
inferior; that is not his place. By his willingness to suffer personally he
insures the success of his fundamental principles.
Inferior people who have risen to power illegitimately do not feel equal to the
responsibility they have taken upon themselves. In their hearts they begin to
be ashamed, although at first they do not show it outwardly. This marks a
turn for the better.
The time of standstill is nearing the point of change into its opposite.
Whoever wishes to restore order must feel himself called to the task and
have the necessary authority. A man who sets himself up a capable of
creating order according to his own judgment could make mistakes and end
in failure. But the man who is truly called to the task is favored by the
conditions of the time, and all those of like mind will share in his blessing.
The time undergoes a change. The right man, able to restore order, has
arrived. Hence "good fortune." But such periods of transition are the very
times in which we must fear and tremble. Success is assured only through
greatest caution, which asks always, "What if it should fail?" When a
mulberry bush is cut down, a number of unusually strong shoots sprout from
the roots. Hence the image of tying something to a cluster of mulberry shoots
is used to symbolize the way of making success certain. Confucius says about
Danger arises when a man feels secure in his position. Destruction threatens
when a man seeks to preserve his worldly estate. Confusion develops when a
man has put everything in order. Therefore the superior man does not forget
danger in his security, not ruin when he is well established, nor confusion
when his affairs are in order. In this way he gains personal safety and is able
to protect the empire.
The standstill does not last forever. However, it does not cease of its own
accord; the right man is needed to end it. This is the difference between a
state of peace and a state of stagnation. Continuous effort is necessary to
maintain peace: left to itself it would change into stagnation and
disintegration. The time of disintegration, however, does not change back
automatically to a condition of peace and prosperity; effort must be put forth
in order to end it. This shows the creative attitude that man must take if the
world is to be put in order.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
You are not indifferent to that happens around, much to you is not clear. To you the people unworthy you last. Try to be vigilant and provident, it is not necessary to begin now any serious affairs. You often do not understand; quarrel with one of your friends, and even without the sufficient bases is probable on that. Your desires in the majority will be executed, but not at once. The State of affairs will soon change; try to listen to advice of the heads, but decisions accept under own discretion.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary