Only lines 2 and 5, which refer to feeling, are active; neither the inner nor the outer reality concerns us, only feeling. It is the nature of feeling to flow continually, but here it cannot flow inwards or outwards and this creates such difficulties as we have with this tao. Feeling is, however, very near to the life force, being our recognition of it, so it is full of vitality also. Vitality and stillness, or feeling the stillness, perhaps expresses the mood of this tao.
This flow is difficult to express to consciousness. It is the flow of stillness, if that can be thought; it is feeling, which is flow, being still (hence the hesitation shown in the two feeling trigrams, Li). Some difficulty arises because in outer consciousness realness is change and that which does not change attracts no attention. This tao is about feeling our inner awareness, so the outer flow is mature and gentle (Sun) and the life force only becomes active again as it enters our inner being in the top trigram Li, through a budding of identity in the third trigram, Tui.
The flow is difficult to experience as well as difficult to express, and for the same reason, it is an unaccustomed experience; this leads to a number of blunders which show in the moving lines.
The Chinese Oracle
The reward of continuing in the way (tao) is in this case feeling the essence of the reality that we know usually only by its effects. This is where the brilliance and the beauty are. The symbol of caring for cows involves us in the cycle of re-birth and feeding what is new; the cow brings fresh nourishment each day and being in life like that brings out the good fortune of the tao.
Line 1 goes yinlife force shows more change
Here, in the tao where feeling alone is active and accepted, the life force emerges. It will emerge into active feeling which will either feel towards activity or towards stillness. The first of these is outwards and against the flow of the tao while the second is inwards to its heart—to feel the stillness as alive, not an absence.
Reverence and respect are attitudes we adopt towards those things we do not fully understand, recognize as something great but somehow beyond us. Our directions are confused because the tao is asking us to change direction; the confusion is no error, the unknowing respect is no error, they are simply factors in our situation.
Line 2 goes yangintuitive feeling less active
A cycle of feeling is lessening.
The yellow light of late afternoon comes as the sun begins to set and the day (outer activity) is fulfilled in its completion. This gentle image is a beautiful symbol for the activity of stillness, the late afternoon sunlight has just that effect on us. Between high noon and night; at the peak of our eye’s sensitivity; yellow stands for activity of the middle way.
Line 3 goes yinouter world changes more
Here we only know outer activity and confuse this with the inner brilliance when it is time for this outer experience to give way to the realization of inner light.
The nourishment of the young and growing is in their experience (their cooking pot) but it has lost its original use, its sense of being real, and has become the rhythm of their song, the habit of it. The old sigh because the future has gone out of life, not being able to see life in stillness. We have a direction which does not continue; the beauty and the brilliance are not there if we see the outer activity as the only real.
Line 4 goes yinaccepting the outer state more
In this tao the outer is inactive and our attention is drawn to the inner which is difficult for identity to grasp; turning back to the outer in this line it is as though we turn our attention to something that is just disappearing.
Being unable to feel what inner activity is like, because it seems to the outer sense to be a void, we are out of phase with the life force. In this line which deals with outer activity this tao is naturally difficult.
Line 5 goes yangless awareness of intuition
Giving up our identification with intuitive feeling is to lessen the mind-reality side of feeling, the defining or imaging of it; when we give this up the feeling is left flowing for itself, the inner flows outwards unhampered by images of what it is.
The flow of feeling, an outflow of tears and signs, is dis-stress, this is seen by the mind as distress in its negative meaning of discomfort but for the feeling that is being expressed it is relief and good fortune.
Line 6 goes yinour inner being accepts more
Accepting the life force is accepting the tao most especially when the tao is about the inner flow of the life force. Here we overcome the separateness of identity in some way by becoming one with the flow—yet these words are not quite right, we include our separateness in the flow without rejecting it; only the separateness of our individuality is rejected. This seems odd to our minds because it is separateness that creates individuality; such paradoxes are common on the borders, where reality has two faces at once.
Rebels are symbolic of our divisive parts, or separate identification. Thus it is the separators and not the followers that are killed, it is the separation we are doing away with and this is no error.