It is into the outer world that we project our identity, and this tao shows, with its one yang line in the place of outer activity, that we are accepting our circumstances including an inactive outer world; so we also accept that there is no projection, no outer activity for us to own. This hexagram is called “modesty”; we are modest when we accept our circumstances and are not trying to manipulate them towards some image we have of how they should be.
The emerging energy is still and contemplative (Kên) so there is little or no flow outside (K’an); being in this stillness has a forceful effect upon identity (Chên) and brings acceptance to our inner being (K’un). The forceful effect upon identity comes in the realization that personal action is inappropriate.
The Chinese Oracle
Modesty is about the proportion of importance we attach to the personal self and the “other”. Viewed rationally, the “other” is so vast and the personal self so small that modesty is the only possible attitude that accords with our circumstances; as we see the “other” as many distinguished parts, however, we are able to avoid this conclusion. According with the circumstances we find ourselves amongst is the way of experiencing reality which widens our point of view, so here the superior man (the one with the wider point of view) carries our actions through the narrow gap of our point of view into the openness of a wider reality.
Line 1 goes yanglife force shows less change
In this tao we (personal self) are accepting, the top three lines are all yin so we are recognizing our circumstances; here in this moving line the activity of the life force diminishes naturally in its cycle, and to follow the inner light even when it appears to go out is great modesty. Identity is light-seeking, activity-seeking, it exists in the contrasts made by defining. This modesty of following even in the inactive part of the cycle brings a great change to our sense of reality.
Here our ordinary sense of modesty, of the self in relation to other selves, leads to modesty of a different dimension, modesty of the inner self regarding the great self or whole. This is a great change or crossing of the great water.
Line 2 goes yangintuitive feeling less active
In the context of modesty this lessening of feeling comes to mean “making less of” the life force, not imposing our view on it.
Manifesting modesty is the same as diminishing our manifestation of self and its separate desires; it has to do with realizing that the stronger our personal self becomes, the more our experience holds itself away from wholeness.
Line 3 goes yinouter world changes more
Acting out of modesty is allowing action to take place, like unfolding something that is already there rather than thinking that our acts create. This action completes itself and leaves no karma, no part of it attached to the personal self.
Line 4 goes yangaccepting the outer state less
To identify less with the outer world is modest whether it is active or passive; modesty is about finding an approach to reality where we ourselves exist less, consider ourselves less rather than consider ourselves to be less; this has to be done without purpose or we exist in our purpose. True modesty is to be found at the centre of our being where we are not separate, where the life force flows through without being held.
Line 5 goes yangless awareness of intuition
Modesty is the non-involvement of self, not its denigration, so when we become less involved in our feelings of modesty, we are claiming less of reality to be our own. This maturity of identity leads to the decay of its separateness, but this separateness is what the personal self identifies as itself and so resists its decay.
The feelings requiring our separateness are the rebels, rebelling against the cycle which is now about becoming more whole.
Line 6 goes yangour inner being accepts less
Here in this moving line our inner being does not accept the modesty that is being expressed. Modesty that is expressed is trying to achieve something by the expression.
The expression of modesty is manipulative; the essence of modesty is not to notice itself.