Here we, identity, are involved in only one direction, which is in feeling. There is a need to feel something from the life force yet there is no emerging energy to be felt (line 1) and we do not accept the outer activity of line 3 (line 4 is yang). The top line shows that we are not accepting the inner silence so we continue to feel for something inner that we cannot quite arrive at. The common name of the hexagram is “gnawing” or “biting through”.
A great energy flow from the inner (Chên) is stilled in the outer world (Kên) which halts our identifying (K’an) and creates hesitancy (Li) in our inner being.
This is not an easy flow to experience, it is too blocked to be pleasant. We need to get at the root of some matter but we do not have the right energy flow to do so. Our struggle with it will eventually and indirectly give us the endowment we need.
The Chinese Oracle
That it is time for following the law comes from our inability to see the essence of our problem so that we have to follow the rules laid down by experience rather than act spontaneously. Following the law is restraining; biting through might seem to indicate disregarding the convention, but we are now following it instead because we have lost our touch and it is to this that we are biting through, innerly, not outwardly.
Line 1 goes yinlife force shows more change
It might seem that if the life force became active in biting through, our troubles would disappear, but the tao is the experience of being restrained by circumstances and there being no alternative. It is natural for identity to try to avoid this, so restraint is imposed by our greater being.
The toes lead our step so if they are hidden we see no way forward. We step with our feet so if they are shackled we cannot go forward. This is no error but intentional restraint.
Line 2 goes yangintuitive feeling less active
If we cannot bear an experience we lessen our feeling of it; we should not try to take more stress than we can stand, yet we should not in these circumstances avoid experience or we lose our way in the tao. Here we are tending to avoid.
The tender meat is the “best” part, the most comforting, and by indulging in it we lose our directing sense, the nose. This is an instinctive reaction and so no error of identity.
Line 3 goes yangouter world changes less
In these circumstances where we are held fast by our ignoring of the life force no new experience comes to us and we use what we already have.
Old experience that we have in our identity memory is like old dried meat; it contains things we did not wish to experience and repressed, and so we come upon these, which is uncomfortable but helpful to our biting through.
Line 4 goes yinaccepting the outer state more
We identify ourselves more in outer world activity as a way of biting through, we try to take the bull by the horns.
Trying to bite through outer circumstance is tough and not too rewarding, but searches for the core of the matter, the bone. We have taken a firm direction (the metal arrow) but the difficulty is not out there, it is inner, and realizing this brings us to the tao.
Line 5 goes yangless awareness of intuition
We are less involved in feelings of the tao; there is less interference from identity and also less compliance.
Nourishing ourselves on old experience (dried meat) we find the value (gold) of the middle way (yellow), in this case between interfering and complying with the tao; the danger is from being precariously balanced.
Line 6 goes yinour inner being accepts more
This top line represents our inner involvement in the flow of the life force, the tao. The tao shows our inability to understand what we are feeling and this line shows that we are accepting this as a way of being.
A cangue is a wooden board worn round the neck, used as a punishment in China at one time, so we bring upon ourselves a burden which stops us from hearing what the tao, our circumstance, is saying to us.