768896 · 3.2.5.6Hexagram 3

Difficulties in beginnings.

Line image

Here we accept our outer world activity (lines 4 and 3) while ignoring our intuitive feeling (lines 5 and 2), so we go into things without preparation and learn from experience. This is not a criticism but just a fact; as our inner being is receptive to this (line 6), and is changed by it. The emerging life force is not in change so this experience is outward-looking.

Trigram image

There is great energy in the emerging life force (Chên) and flowing in the outer world (K’un), but it is stilled by our lack of involvement (Kên); we are at a loss as to how to move (K’an). This situation occurs when we are in unfamiliar circumstances and have to find out how to respond; the common name of the hexagram is “difficulty in beginnings”.

The Chinese Oracle

Difficulty is followed by great success.
Continuance in the way is rewarded.
Remain in the existing, not seeking the new.
To appoint princes brings advantage.

Comments

When something starts, there is the energy of its inception; when this runs out, there is the temptation to seek a new direction, but the energy must now come from our own self. By continuing in our present circumstances we become strong, which is the success.

Princes are the sons of the ruler, the king, and in our reality of distinguishing things the identifying process is our ruler; so appointing princes is to adopt new ways of identifying, new ways of approaching our experience.

Manifestations

The pattern
When the young flows first
with little stamina,
it is overcome by obstacles.
By flowing on it overcomes them.
For humans
New things begin to move.
Difficulties arise in the path.
To halt at difficulty brings out danger.
Perseverance brings on flowing.
In nature
Young growths grow fast, sappy,
and easily hurt against obstacles;
but new shoots are ready
to follow up.
In forms we make
When they first come together
there is a honeymoon,
then a strength of will,
then a compromise
for the sake of travelling together.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

Here a need for activity stirs, appearing as a move of fate opening up activity. It is necessary to give strength to this and make it a force, otherwise we cannot gain experience (make mistakes and learn) and come up against the world.

The Chinese Image
The hinderance of hesitation.
Be firm in perseverance.
To appoint princes brings advantage.

The phrase about princes is interpreted in the oracle comments above. The hesitation comes from unawareness of our intuitive feeling of the life force shown in the yang line 5.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Our feelings are not recognizing that the challenge of individual activity is necessary and so we lose driving power. This is part of the birth of an individuality; there are still forces within us which are not ready to leave the great tao, the total parent, and become separate. Knowledge of this is not enough by itself, we need to woo the feeling towards taking part before we really join the dance. We are born and need to accept this fully; the beginning is difficult but as we continue it gets easier.

The Chinese Image
No advance.
Horse and carriage not connected.
A chaste maiden is wooed
but refuses; after ten years
she accepts.

The chaste maiden is our feeling which is not at this time accepting a challenge. There is no driving power because the horse, feeling, is not connected to our circumstances which are the carriage of our activity. When we refuse a challenge in this way we cannot advance until we meet a new challenge of this same sort, which is the symbol of a whole cycle of ten years before the maiden accepts.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Here we come up against outer world activity, find ourselves without guidelines, and desist. Indeed it is only prudent to do this while we assess the new activity—to rush in with newly-found ego energy is going to create problems.

The Chinese Image
If a hunter hunts without a guide he gets lost in the forest. The superior man sees danger and does not go into it; to do so would bring misfortune.

The superior man is our wide-seeing ability which comes from having many experiences and taking their essence or wisdom into our inner being. In this tao we are in unfamiliar experience but here we can use our existing wisdom to avoid entanglement.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Here we withdraw our identification from outer activity, perhaps for fear of consequences. To work through this difficulty we need to see our inner need for activity in order to have experience of the world which is what this tao is about.

The Chinese Image
Horse and wagon are disconnected.
Seek union.
Going forward brings good fortune
and actions prosper.

When growing some part of our identity, it halts our progress if we do not identify ourselves with our actions. This identification is part of all growing phases, so union between ourself and our action is needed for our manifestation to prosper.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

In this tao we are actively feeling a new situation; here we open ourselves to this because it is pleasurable in some way. In this learning tao, there is also learning in how to handle pleasurable situations; if we give ourselves to them like a tap fully turned on, the supply is soon exhausted. On the other hand if we confine our participation to a trickle, the experience is too mean. Here the flow of feeling should be open but not under the pressure of the need to develop self.

The Chinese Image
Difficulties with something that is fulfilling. A little perseverance is a good thing but great perseverance is disastrous.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

Here we do not accept a new situation into our ongoing self and so we separate this personal self from our circumstances.

The Chinese Image
Horse and carriage are disconnected.
Blood and tears.

We cannot flow in our experience so symbolically our life-blood (experience) overflows in regretful feeling.

Secondary HexagramHexagram 41

Failure of expectation.

Line image

There is activity outside (line 3) and acceptance of this (line 4); the emerging life force is quiet (line 1) and so is our feeling for this (line 2); so energy is flowing outside and not being replaced from within. In line 5 identity accepts the quietness of feeling, so the tao is about emptying ourselves of activity, not seeking the new.

Trigram image

We become one with the flow of activity outwards, shown by trigrams Chên and K’un, while our inner being (Kên) is observing and not creating new impulses out of this. It is as though we were breathing out without thought for our next breath to come, it will come but for now we need to be in the emptying out so that the new breath comes entirely of itself. It is important not to be goal-seeking here for this retains the old as a plan for the future, when we do this the tao becomes a failure of expectations.

The Chinese Oracle

Decrease with genuine involvement.
Greatest good fortune and no error.
A direction is of advantage.
Two small bowls for the sacrifice.

Comments

Really genuine involvement in emptying out is necessary to make the decrease complete so that it will fill of its own accord, and this self-filling of the life force is the great good fortune. Having a direction we do not need to seek for one, so we need to complete directions we have already started upon. When we sacrifice with two small bowls, one in each hand, we no longer choose, we sacrifice both, and only then is it possible to be empty.

Manifestations

The pattern
Starts with great promise,
grows with vigour,
has no offspring.
Makes way for the new.
For humans
No outcome.
After growth, no activity
of fertility.
No coming together of diversity.
Where has he gone?
Into the stillness.
How did he reach it?
Giving up both.
In nature
The crop fails.
Look what is growing.
In forms we make
Not to expect the unexpected
is the natural failure of those who plan.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

As this tao is about finishing off activity, now the emerging life force becomes active again we are talking about the beginnings of a new activity.

The Chinese Image
Going quickly when the work is finished is without error,
but consider the effects of this.

The work is done, the outgoing breath is finished so there is a new breath coming. In practical life there are many breaths taking place together and out of phase so that they interact. Our breathing out in one respect is the breathing in of somebody or something else and if we leave suddenly this is a shock to the shared experience.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

To feel for finishing off activity is following the tao, but if we feel for making a new course of action it would be out of place.

The Chinese Image
Continuance in the way brings good fortune but to attempt to advance brings misfortune.
Not decrease but increase.

Translators do not agree on the last line, making different sense of this basic idea that they have in common. Our intuitive feeling is normally looking for how to act in our circumstances, so a simple warning that we may be facing the wrong direction seems in keeping.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

The single aim of completing activity will make the way clear for a new flow.

The Chinese Image
Three going in company will lose one.
One alone finds company.

Three symbolizes transition, change. Change is what the journey is about and during it we may become polarized in choice and so become two and lose our wholeness, one. So if we are trying to be empty, and so whole and symbolically one, as well as choosing, which is symbolically two, we are three and we lose our wholeness, one. If, on the other hand, we are alone in our wholeness and do not choose we have the company of all things.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

The outer state shown by line 3 is active, so here we are accepting this activity less, identifying in it less.

The Chinese Image
Reducing the number of his mistakes,
others come to him in happiness.
no error.

When we are not always choosing our aims, our future, all the other futures we would not choose are available to us; these others arising spontaneously are happiness.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

Here we are no longer watching the feelings we have of the life force, we are trusting it and allowing it to be what it will.

The Chinese Image
There is one who gives him very many tortoise shells and who would not be refused.
Greatest good fortune.

Tortoise shells were used in China for oracle reading. When we are unconcerned whether we are feeling correctly, we feel naturally and flow in the tao; this is the same as having the oracle in abundance.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

Accepting the life force is genuine decrease of separate self; we do not choose and it is choice that separates the one who chooses.

The Chinese Image
Increase that does not diminish others.
No error.
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.
Having a direction is beneficial.
He has followers but no home.

When we choose we increase what we choose and diminish others, but this increase in acceptance does not do this. If we have a direction we have no need to choose one so it is easier for us. Our home is where we identify and here we do not identify and so have no home, but if we are just part of the life force this is where people identify and we will appear to have followers.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 23

Solitude.

Line image

The only yang line is in the place of our inner being where we are not accepting all the free flow of the other lines. Our inner being is standing apart, separated from outer experience. Outer identification is not accepted.

Trigram image

All is freely flowing (K’un) until we reach our inner being where Kên shows silence and meditation on events, not participation.

The Chinese Oracle

Splitting.
No objective is favourable.

Comments

It is not favourable to have objectives when identity is divided from the inner self because all the directions that can attract us involve us more in the separate outer reality which is not being accepted by the whole personal self; any identification we make causes us to split further. There are however important chances of change and discoveries to be made in this tao about the way we are identifying.

Manifestations

The pattern
When inner reality
forsakes all outer activity
We contemplate in solitude.
For humans
When there are no bonds
things do not remain together.
In nature
To spin a cocoon
heralds inner change
and chrysalis.
In forms we make
Each into himself,
each unto himself,
leaves nothing to share.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Because our outer identifications are not being accepted by our inner self, the source, the emerging life force, withers away.

The Chinese Image
The leg of the bed breaks.
Not continuing in the way
brings misfortune.

The bed is where we enter the great unknown and sleep. Here the leg of the bed breaks, which is its connection with the rest of reality. Our identifications, our conscious interests, are somehow at variance with the way or out of tune with our circumstances, too narrowly based.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Here we become separate from the flow by ceasing to feel it. Feeling is our meeting with the flow so if we lose feeling in this tao we do not identify in the whole but only in the outer part.

The Chinese Image
The bed frame or edge is broken.
No continuance in the way.
Misfortune.

Here it is the bed frame, its structure, that comes apart. Our feeling of the life force is the base construction of our world reality; without a feeling of manifesting whole reality, our personal reality becomes isolated fragments. This feeling of whole reality we are lacking is the continuance in the way of the great tao.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

By decreasing outer activity we become more in tune with our inner being which has rejected our identifications out in the world.

The Chinese Image
He separates from all.
No error.

All our identifications are out there in the world, and here we discard them. In this way we separate ourselves from the factors that divided us.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

The most obvious danger in this tao about how we identify is our becoming too externalized and here we seem to realize this and cut off our involvement outside. As our being is at present concentrated in identifying, however, this now slips into identifying the boundary of the inner and outer self.

The Chinese Image
The bed and skin is split.
Misfortune.

The surface of the bed is the layer or skin between the outer reality—where we (identity) lie—and the inner; if consciousness penetrates this boundary it damages the function of identity in manifestation.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

In this tao our identifying leads us astray and our intuitive feeling which is the basis of our identifying is rejected by our inner being. Here our identity gives up following the feeling, seeing it as being in error.

The Chinese Image
A string of fishes.
Favour alike to being at court.
All is advantageous.

Fish are often used to symbolize our identifications (which nourish identity) in the uncharted waters of the whole reality. Here is a string of fishes, on a common thread and the fish are caught, so our identifications threaded together are captured. A court is where the ruler is ruling, and the ruler of identity is the identifying process, so here this act of catching identifications brings favour and advantage in every way.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

Here is a change in the separation depicted by the tao. The inner self witnesses and we have a possibility of realizing the tao, the experience of our self as separate from any identification.

The Chinese Image
A ripe fruit is not eaten.
The superior man has a carriage.
The inferior man loses his habitation.

To see whole we have to leave what we were doing, our identifications, however incomplete they seem to be; this ripe fruit could be eaten but we leave it. Wide-seeing superior man is carried in this, and allowing ourselves to be carried in our circumstances we find that there is more order in our lives, not less; if we do not grasp at life our inner needs take care of themselves. The inferior or narrow reality of chosen identifications has no place to be after this realization, he is not needed.