|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.
63. Already Fording (jì jì). After Completion
Weight your efforts, act gradually, and show self-possession and self-control. Value something you have but be ready to sacrifice it for sake of great aim achieving.
Inital text of I Ching
After Completion. Success in small matters. Perseverance furthers. At the beginning good fortune, at the end disorder.
Water over fire:
The image of the condition in After Completion. Thus the superior man takes thought of misfortune and arms himself against it in advance.
- He brakes his wheels. He gets his tail in the water. No blame.
- The woman loses the curtain of her carriage. Do not run after it; On the seventh day you will get it.
- The Illustrious Ancestor disciplines the Devil's Country. After three years he conquers it. Inferior people must not be employed.
- The finest clothes turn to rags. Be careful all day long.
- The neighbor in the east who slaughters an ox does not attain as much real happiness as the neighbor in the west with his small offering.
- He gets his head in the water. Danger.
Start with small steps, hope for favorable result and do not complain of fate. Do not wait for quick results and profit. Small has been achieved and, if following the natural course of things, it will turn into something great. On the whole, the situation is favorable but it should be lived carefully. Expect some sudden changes, chaos in future. But it is for the good: destruction of old creates conditions for new, chaos precedes new creative inspiration.
This hexagram is the evolution of T'ai PEACE (11). The transition from
confusion to order is completed, and everything is in its proper place even in
particulars. The strong lines are in the strong places, the weak lines in the
weak places. This is a very favorable outlook, yet it gives reason for thought.
For it is just when perfect equilibrium has been reached that any movement
may cause order to revert to disorder. The one strong line that has moved to
the top, thus effecting complete order in details, is followed by the other lines.
Each moving according to its nature, and thus suddenly there arises again the
hexagram P'i, STANDSTILL (12).
Hence the present hexagram indicates the conditions of a time of climax,
which necessitate the utmost caution.
The transition from the old to the new time is already accomplished. In
principle, everything stands systematized, and it si only in regard to details
that success is still to be achieved. In respect to this, however, we must be
careful to maintain the right attitude. Everything proceeds as if of its own
accord, and this can all too easily tempt us to relax and let thing take their
course without troubling over details. Such indifference is the root of all evil.
Symptoms of decay are bound to be the result. Here we have the rule
indicating the usual course of history. But this rule is not an inescapable law.
He who understands it is in position to avoid its effects by dint of unremitting
perseverance and caution.
When water in a kettle hangs over fire, the two elements stand in relation
and thus generate energy (cf. the production of steam). But the resulting
tension demands caution. If the water boils over, the fire is extinguished an
its energy is lost. If the heat is too great, the water evaporates into the air.
These elements here brought in to relation and thus generating energy are by
nature hostile to each other. Only the most extreme caution can prevent
damage. In life too there are junctures when all forces are in balance and
work in harmony, so that everything seems to be in the best of order. In such
times only the sage recognizes the moments that bode danger and knows how
to banish it by means of timely precautions.
In times following a great transition, everything is pressing forward, striving
in the direction of development and progress. But this pressing forward at
the beginning is not good; it overshoots the mark and leads with certainty to
loss and collapse. Therefore a man of strong character does not allow himself
to be infected by the general intoxication but checks his course in time. He
may indeed not remain altogether untouched by the disastrous consequences
of the general pressure, but he is hit only from behind like a fox that, having
crossed the water, at the last minute gets its tail wet. He will not suffer any
real harm, because his behavior has been correct.
When a woman drove out in her carriage, she had a curtain that hid her
from the glances of the curious. It was regarded as a breach of propriety to
drive on if this curtain was lost. Applied to public life, this means that a man
who wants to achieve something is not receiving that confidence of the
authorities which he needs, so to speak, for his personal protection.
Especially in times "after completion" it may happen that those who have
come to power grow arrogant and conceited and no longer trouble
themselves about fostering new talent.
This as a rule results in office seeking. If a man's superiors withhold their
trust from him, he will seek ways and means of getting it and of drawing
attention to himself. We are warned against such an unworthy procedure:
"Do not seek it." Do not throw yourself away on the world, but wait
tranquilly and develop your personal worth by your own efforts. Times
change. When the six stages of the hexagram have passed, the new era
dawns. That which is a man's own cannot be permanently lost. It comes to
him of its own accord. He need only be able to wait.
"Illustrious Ancestor" is the dynastic title of the Emperor Wu Ting of the Yin
dynasty. After putting his realm in order with a strong hand, he waged long
colonial wars for the subjection of the Huns who occupied the northern
borderland with constant threat of incursions.
The situation described is as follows. After times of completion, when a
new power has arisen and everything within the country has been set in
order, a period of colonial expansion almost inevitably follows. Then as a
rule long-drawn-out struggles must be reckoned with. For this reason, a
correct colonial policy is especially important. The territory won at such bitter
cost must not be regarded as an almshouse for people who in one way or
another have hade themselves impossible at home, but who are thought to
be quite good enough for the colonies. Such a policy ruins at the outset any
chance of success. This holds true in small as well as large matters, because it
is not only rising states that carry on a colonial policy; the urge to expand,
with its accompanying dangers, is part and parcel of every ambitious
In a time of flowering culture, an occasional convulsion is bound to occur,
uncovering a hidden evil within society and at first causing a great sensation.
But since the situation is favorable on the whole, such evils can easily be
glossed over and concealed from the public. Then everything is forgotten and
peace apparently reigns complacently once more. However, to the thoughtful
man, such occurrences are grave omens that he does not neglect. This is the
only way of averting evil consequences.
Religious attitudes are likewise influenced by the spiritual atmosphere
prevailing in times after completion. In divine worship the simple old forms
are replaced by an ever more elaborate ritual and an ever greater outward
display. But inner seriousness is lacking in this show of magnificence;
human caprice takes the place of conscientious obedience to the divine will.
However, while man sees what is before his eyes, God looks into the heart.
Therefore a simple sacrifice offered with real piety holds a greater blessing
than an impressive service without warmth.
Here in conclusion another warning is added. After crossing a stream, a
man's head can get into the water only if he is so imprudent as to turn back.
As long as he goes forward and does not look back, he escapes this danger.
But there is a fascination in standing still and looking back on a peril
overcome. However, such vain self-admiration brings misfortune. It leads
only to danger, and unless one finally resolves to go forward without
pausing, one falls a victim to this danger.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
If suddenly you now with someone will quarrel, it is better to address to you to somebody to the third who could mediate between you. If you once have excelled - it is not necessary to give in to desire again to repeat it. Think of this: if will follow to this advice the award will be to you full realization of your desires. It is not necessary to throw now all forces on new business; it will not lead to success. Of what you dream and to what aspire - will be executed, but eventually, not at once.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary