|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.
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.
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