888999 · 12.4.5.6Hexagram 12

Standstill.

Line image

The top three lines, representing our outer attention, our identity and our inner being, are all yang; we are not very aware therefore of the life force as it manifests. Where we are not aware, we are not changed, and this tao is commonly named “standstill”.

Trigram image

Activity is stilled in the outer world, structured in our personal self and leaves the inner being unchanged, so the activity of this tao makes for rigid rules which inhibit change—our structure becomes so firm that the life force does not flow in it and stagnation occurs. The flow shows that it is not strictly the tao enforcing standstill in identity, it is equally the rigidity of our identity, roles we play, stances we habitually take up. To be free of these is to have freedom.

The Chinese Oracle

Standstill.
The evil obstructs the superior man.
The wide goes, the narrow comes.
He needs perseverance.

Comments

The narrowing of awareness in this tao cannot but obstruct the superior man, for he is our aspect of widening awareness. Becoming aware of our unawareness, which is persevering with being in our circumstances, makes this a constructive experience.

Manifestations

The pattern
Separation between the potential
and the field of activity
is standstill of flow.
For humans
How does he steer his boat
when there is no wind?
He does not blow on the sail,
he contemplates the stillness
and how it strengthens him.
In nature
When the sun
sinks behind the mountain
the earth sleeps.
In forms we make
When he raises laws
between the good and the bad
he imprisons rebirth.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

The ignoring of activity shown by lines 4, 5, and 6 results in silence; so the manifesting life force seems to disappear.

The Chinese Image
When grass is pulled up
earth comes with it.
Perseverance brings good fortune.

The activity of the life force is attached to our ability to react to it, or so it seems to our experience, so we need to keep going about our business. We have no way to directly influence the karma of our inner being; our ignoring needs to be as it is and will then change.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

In line 2 we interpret the life force in feeling, and in this tao of ignorance of the life force, we easily lose our ability to interpret it. In this moving line this happens and our narrower desiring mode of being is favoured by it; we feel that reality needs to be made what we desire (better) and we work for this, but this means that in this tao of experiencing our separation from the flow of the tao, we replace this experience with our desire and striving.

The Chinese Image
Fortune now favours the mean,
but the superior man looks to the stagnation to create success.

Our wide-seeing (superior) aspect can see that experiences such as this which distress our identified aspect are necessary and also wholesome.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

In this situation where we are not aware of the energy flowing from inner to outer we cease to act; this shows that we do not take account of activities outside our immediate awareness and we take the standstill as being our own responsibility—this in turn makes us feel blame for what is happening.

The Chinese Image
He hides his shame of purposes.

Blaming ourselves is a point of view we have adopted; blaming is not accepting.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

Here identity opens itself to what is going on around it in the outside world and we become aware of the effects of our involvement there. We see that we act even when we are not aware, acting out of our greater self, and that we can simply follow this with our conscious identity.

The Chinese Image
To act from the highest is without error and his companions share the blessing.

In an inner interpretation the companions here are our separate parts of identity. The wider our view of reality becomes, the more our various aspects can take part and become a whole.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Here we become aware of our intuitive feelings, and as these are active (line 2) we become aware of the activity of the life force. The characteristic of this tao is our lack of flow due to a lack of awareness, so this move towards feeling opens the identity to possibilities of flow once more.

The Chinese Image
Standstill is giving way.
There is still danger needing attention like the binding of mulberry shoots.

The danger is of taking the flow to be our own and so still not opening ourselves to wider reality. The image of mulberry shoots probably arises out of the habit of mulberry bark to form sprouting burrs which take the strength from the tree; these were then bound tightly to contain them. In the same way, we need to strongly contain the urge to define and take possession of our feelings now or we will remain as separate as ever.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

As our being becomes one with the active emerging life force (line 1) the cycle is completed and we flow once again, released from our isolate position of unawareness.

The Chinese Image
Standstill is finished and a joyful flow takes its place.
Secondary HexagramHexagram 2

Choices amongst activity.

Line image

Here all is activity and acceptance. Everything moves according to its place and there is no question, no complication of hesitation or aim, no attitude is taken up and no stance is maintained. This is a symbolically female mode, not shown in relationship with male as in trigram Li but the elemental female itself of K’un, which flows according to the forces within it in a spontaneous acceptance of movement as its reality.

Structure is not very real to this element, its reality is in the changing flow of the moment as identity experiences where it is but never knows it; to know where you are, you have to stop the movement with an idea, knowing takes an extension of time whereas the purely yin element rides reality in the present, which is time but has no time sequence.

Identity in this mode does not abstract ideas from its experience so it has no structure of idea to confront the experience. We go from one thing to another as it happens, participating in primary manifestation.

Trigram image

Manifestation is all flow and for this to be so, there has to be acceptance of all the circumstances in which we find ourselves. When we accept everything, nothing is held up in the flow and it remains in dynamic balance without stress. Identity does not know itself; it experiences itself but has no concept of what that means—it means only what is experienced

This flowing mode is nearer to our inner source of manifestation than the mode of concepts—we know without knowing why we know—it is an unencumbered way to be and intensely real, being so near to the source of manifestation.

We meet the paradox here that this source of manifestation which we approach in feeling has the male symbol of the creative—the ultimate extreme of idea that arrives at idealessness or non-manifestation. The paradox is resolved when we see the dynamics of yin and yang where the energy flows in and out between the male and female modes; it is one mode really, which manifests in a cyclic form.

The patterns which we humans choose in this flow by our individual natures are the 64 qualified tao or hexagrams. This hexagram of K’un trigrams bears these particularly deep symbolisms because it is one of the extremes of the cyclic movement, but it is nevertheless one of the 64 patterns that we make, and it refers to minor happenings in our lives as well as our very existence itself. We need sometimes to allow ourselves its influence.

The Chinese Oracle

The receptive element brings sublime success. The symbol of a mare.
At first he leads and loses the way, then he follows and is supported.
Friends in the west and south, not in the east and north.
Peaceful continuance is beneficial.

Comments

As in hexagram 1 there is inevitable success in the receptive, but if we start to lead, we lose this tao of being receptive. To be receptive is to allow the self to resonate with the other (the friend). To befriend the height of activity (south, midday, warmth) gives life to the resonance whereas to seek passivity of action (north, night, cold) kills the resonance.

A mare bears the foal, carries man, and is one with nature in a natural and gentle manner—in the receptive, we reject nothing.

Manifestations

The pattern
Simple flow of activity:
unquestioning,
moves unjudged
accepting all things.
For humans
Born from the earth
of its elements.
Return sometimes unprotesting,
resting in the flowing juice of life.
In nature
Onto the earth
warm and chill.
Into the earth
seed, root, love
moving in the magic of water.
In forms we make
The only form he can make
is an empty tube.
The only government
the will of the people.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

The life force itself is going into a quiet phase and this will become more evident to us as its manifestation grows outwards. We need to accommodate this, to accept it in this tao of the receptive.

The Chinese Image
Hoarfrost underfoot, ice then comes.

Cold is symbolic of inactivity, so this is to say that inactivity will become more manifest.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

In this tao, change occurs whether we are feeling it or not—if we feel it, we are aware of our involvement and may even think that we cause the activity, but it is not so except in a very narrow sense; the great tao moves us and accomplishes itself.

The Chinese Image
Straight, wide, great.
Purposeless yet it achieves.

There is no choice of ways so our way is straight, awareness is not limited so it is wide (has a lot of scope) and it is the great tao that is purposeless, yet it achieves (manifests) in everything.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

In this tao which is all activity there is no chosen coming and going—it encompasses all coming and going. The activity is seen rather as a flow of energy from one part to another—a wider view of many cycles operating. The outer reality expressed by line 3 is our outer world, however, and here in this line the activity is felt as being withdrawn; withdrawn from us and continued elsewhere. We are receptive in this tao, so we are not concerned so much with our part as the activity of the whole.

The Chinese Image
Concealing possibilities is correct.
Outer activities will eventually prosper.

Possibilities, or our own personal aims which we may exercise in the world, are not relevant here in this tao where all are equally received—in other circumstances we can attend to these and bring them to manifestation, but not now when we can experience without choice.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Cycles of free manifestation flow in phases of activity and tranquility. Our identity does this also and in this tao it does not indicate any manipulation on our part.

The Chinese Image
A tied up sack.
No praise, no blame.

There is no praise or blame because it is the natural state of affairs for cycles to have closed phases.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

Here everything is seen carried in the great tao. We remove our attention from our feelings and they continue to affect the way we are but, as we say, unconsciously.

The Chinese Image
A Yellow undergarment.
Greatest good fortune.

Yellow is active (being near the middle of our visible range of light frequencies) and the undergarment is our unseen clothing or unconscious form; this is what carries us here, so we flow naturally without conscious effort.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

Line 6 is about our inner acceptance of experience, and in this moving line we separate from the great flowing tao and identity believes that it creates and destroys. We have here a birth into identity in some way and we choose and take sides and enter mind reality with our being. We move into the contest between being active or passive and must choose.

The Chinese Image
Dragons fight in the wilderness.
Their blood is black and yellow.

Black is the colour of night and inactivity, while yellow is our most noticeable and so active colour, so this is the nature of the contest.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 53

Persistence.

Line image

The active emerging life force (line 1) leaves our inner being unchanged (line 6); our active intuitive feeling is ignored by our identity (lines 2 and 5), while we accept an inactive outer world (lines 4 and 3). This is not a structure to carry much flow or achievement but rather a stubborn, almost perverse, obstruction to outer change. An attitude of patience and continuation of effort is required to produce results; with this is a desire to find a place to rest from the continuing effort, shown by line 4.

Trigram image

As the life force emerges it is stilled in the image of Kên and has little flow outside (K’an). We are hesitant to act (Li) and our structured inner being is difficult to change (Sun). This unflowing tao is most usefully experienced in a docile manner; it is strong and we do best to comply with it, moving where and how it will allow. We can learn from it the strength of necessity and also that our own necessities have the strength to make progress without our forcing them. Its common name is “gradual progress”.

The Chinese Oracle

Gradual progress.
Like a maiden’s marriage,
bringing good fortune.
Continuance in the way
brings advantage.

Comments

Circumstances are too stubborn for much movement to take place, but feeling is active and is a movement we can benefit from if we can become one with it, hence the symbol of a maiden’s marriage; this will serve us better than continually reassessing our situation. Continuance is of course necessary to harvest the fruits of gradual progress.

The image common to all the lines which move is the progress of a wild goose. The goose migrates over great distances and the various images show the vicissitudes of his arrival—our own arrival in wholeness where flow is neither resisted nor pressured and so is harmonious.

Manifestations

The pattern
Clinging to the firm
avoids being swept away;
allows progress
where there is opposition.
For humans
Endurance gives time
for achieving ends.
A presence continued
acquires influence.
Amongst uncertainty
he remains calm and firm.
In nature
The tree on the mountain
grows tenaciously,
refusing to be uprooted.
In forms we make
That which continues
while changing
to meet circumstances
has the art of endurance.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Here the life force comes to a state of rest, so activities that we are just beginning may run into difficulties as their energy peters out. If we do not push forward we may seem weak to those who do not recognize the situation but we do best to go at the pace that circumstances allow.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose
gradually approaches the shore.
The son has difficulties.
There is criticism but no error.

The wild goose approaches land and so a place to rest; renewal, however, (the son) has difficulties, young or new efforts are not supported by the life force. The lack of progress towards any completion leads to criticism but it is not our fault, it is time for gradually finishing a journey, not starting a new one.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Here our feelings become stilled by the tao and we can relax efforts towards activity. There is no need and no profit to be gained from pushing forward towards what we desire, there is enough nourishment here in our present situation to rest and renew us.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose gradually approaches rock.
Contented eating and drinking.
Good fortune.

Rock is what underlies the surface and so is symbolic of underlying truth. The truth of our situation is that we can relax and enjoy what nourishment our circumstances provide—there is no need to continue the journey at present.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

In a tao that has so little flow it is not an advantage to set out on new activity because it is not supported by the life energy and will not reach completion. Identity’s need for activity tempts us to move, activity is its food, but here it will lead us astray.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose approaches a dry land.
The man goes out and does not return.
The woman is with child but does not give forth.
Misfortune.
It is time to ward off evil.

The goose has gone too far, its natural habitat is near water and here it approaches dry land; we identify too far into a defined world where values are fixed, dry so unflowing, so the defining element in us (the man) is projected into our circumstances and is lost there. The flowing and feeling element in us could give birth to new experience but cannot bring it forth because we identify our outer self as the source of action and ignore the womb where growth occurs “of itself”. The evil is this narrow attitude.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

In this line we are less interested in holding off activity, we allow it to be what comes, so we may find that there is a way, in which case we can take advantage of it, or we may find that there is not and we must be prepared to carry on. Persisting in this mode of being we ride life, allowing it to take us on its way, and we learn lessons about our desire for security.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose approaches a tree.
It may find a branch to land on.
No error.

Geese do not live in trees; identity may visit identified places but they are not its home either. This visiting is not an error but neither is it a home-coming.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

As our intuitive state is active (line 2) this recognition of it restores the flow of feeling to our conscious self.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose approaches the crest of a hill.
Three years the woman has no child, then success comes.
Good fortune.

For a goose the crest of a hill does not mean home, it is something to rise over. This images an effort and then success and the three years the woman waits for her child is a period of change, change to new feeling which allows the natural processes to complete themselves.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

By accepting the tao in our inner being we give up trying to force the pace and so we become part of this phase of gradual progress. In our bodies if a part calls attention to itself it is taken as a sign that something is wrong, it is no longer part of the organic whole but has become separate. Similarly identity is part of our whole being and the being is healthy when identity is not demonstrating its separateness.

The Chinese Image
The wild goose gradually
approaches the heights.
Its feathers are used in ritual.
Good fortune.

Heaven and spirituality are imaged as “above” so the heights are towards heaven or the inner whole reality, the state of wholeness. The goose (our identifying) disappears into this unmanifest reality leaving just an outer appearance, the feathers, as indicators of where it has gone.