|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.
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