|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.
52. Bound (gèn). The Keeping Still
Moving slowly, we can achieve more. Unhurried ride provides an opportunity not only to reach a distant goal, without riding a horse to death and breaking the wagon, but also allows much to see and learn.
Inital text of I Ching
Keeping Still. Keeping his back still so that he no longer feels his body. He goes into his courtyard and does not see his people. No blame.
Mountains standing close together:
The image of Keeping Still. Thus the superior man does not permit his thoughts to go beyond his situation.
- Keeping his toes still. No blame. Continued perseverance furthers.
- Keeping his calves still. He cannot rescue him whom he follows. His heart is not glad.
- Keeping his hips still. Making his sacrum stiff. Dangerous. The heart suffocates.
- Keeping his trunk still. No blame.
- Keeping his jaws still. The words have order. Remorse disappears.
- Noblehearted keeping still. Good fortune.
Forces were set in motion. But this is only the beginning. Do not hurry time and events – way will be long, motion will be unhurried. Know how to wait patiently. Difficulties would be overcome if the effort is made. In relations with other be well-balanced, cautious. Keep the fight by the rules, look for peaceful solutions, do not be lazy to long negotiations - and then prevail over a rival. Personal relations are developing smoothly, in love - harmony.
The image of this hexagram is the mountain, the youngest son of heaven and
earth. The male principle is at the top because it strives upward by nature; the
female principle is below, since the direction of its movement has come to its
In its application to man, the hexagram turns upon the problem of
achieving a quiet heart. It is very difficult to bring quiet to the heart. While
Buddhism strives for rest through an ebbing away of all movement in
nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that
always posits movement as its complement. Possibly the words of the text
embody directions for the practice of yoga.
True quiet means keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and
going forward when the time has come to go forward. In this way rest and
movement are in agreement with the demands of the time, and thus there is
light in life.
The hexagram signifies the end and the beginning of all movement. The
back is named because in the back are located all the nerve fibers that mediate
movement. If the movement of these spinal nerves is brought to a standstill,
the ego, with its restlessness, disappears as it were. When a man has thus
become calm, he may turn to the outside world. He no longer sees in it the
struggle and tumult of individual beings, and therefore he has that true peace
of mind which is needed for understanding the great laws of the universe
and for acting in harmony with them. Whoever acts from these deep levels
makes no mistakes.
The heart thinks constantly. This cannot be changed, but the movements of
the heart-that is, a man's thoughts-should restrict themselves to the
immediate situation. All thinking that goes beyond this only makes the heart
Keeping the toes still means halting before one has even begun to move. The
beginning is the time of few mistakes. At that time one is still in harmony
with primal innocence. Not yet influenced by obscuring interests and desires,
one sees things intuitively as they really are. A man who halts at the
beginning, so long as he has not yet abandoned the truth, finds the right way.
But persisting firmness is needed to keep one from drifting irresolutely.
The leg cannot move independently; it depends on the movement of the
body. If a leg is suddenly stopped while the whole body is in vigorous
motion, the continuing body movement will make one fall.
The same is true of a man who serves a master stronger than himself. He is
swept along, and even though he may himself halt on the path of
wrongdoing, he can no longer check the other in his powerful movement.
Where the master presses forward, the servant, no matter how good his
intentions, cannot save him.
This refers to enforced quiet. The restless heart is to be subdued by forcible
means. But fire when it is smothered changes into acrid smoke that
suffocates as it spreads.
Therefore, in exercises in meditation and concentration, one ought not to
try to force results. Rather, calmness must develop naturally out of a state of
inner composure. If one tries to induce calmness by means of artificial
rigidity, meditation will lead to very unwholesome results.
As has been pointed out above in the comment on the Judgment, keeping the
back at rest means forgetting the ego. This is the highest stage of rest. Here
this stage has not yet been reached: the individual in this instance, though
able to keep the ego, with its thoughts and impulses, in a state of rest, is not
yet quite liberated from its dominance. Nonetheless, keeping the heart at rest
is an important function, leading in the end to the complete elimination of
egotistic drives. Even though at this point one does not yet remain free from
all the dangers of doubt and unrest, this frame of mind is not a mistake, as it
leads ultimately to that other, higher level.
A man in a dangerous situation, especially when he is not adequate to it, is
inclined to be very free with talk and presumptuous jokes. But injudicious
speech easily leads to situations that subsequently give much cause for regret.
However, if a man is reserved in speech, his words take ever more definite
form, and every occasion for regret vanishes.
This marks the consummation of the effort to attain tranquillity. One is at
rest, not merely in a small, circumscribed way in regard to matters of detail,
but one has also a general resignation in regard to life as a whole, and this
confers peace and good fortune in relation to every individual matter.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Now progress in affairs is very problematic. It is necessary for you to wait some time, and only then again to start to work; if you will plan a trip or travel, refuse them is better. Try to reconcile to circumstances and well consider the position before to undertake something. Do not despond. Difficulties and intrigues of ill-wishers you will overcome all, the victory will be for you, and is very fast. That desires were granted, now your efforts should be especially persevering.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary