The emerging life force is active and so is our feeling of it (lines 1 and 2), the rest of the lines are yang so there is no support for going forward in outer activity and also no acceptance of our situation. Inasmuch as we cannot accept circumstances which do not allow progress the tao follows its first common name, “retreat”, but if we are able to go with its movement the second name, “yielding” gives a better description.
The emerging energy seeks stillness (Kên) and this turns into unflowing structure in the outer world (Sun). Our identity is inactive and unconcerned (Ch’ien) as also is our inner being; this lack of involvement is part of the yielding aspect of the tao.
The Chinese Oracle
When it is unsuitable to go in one direction we can go in another only if we are not totally locked into the desire for the first. Small matters or large ones are classified according to our choices and desires, so the direction in which we wished to go, and are prevented from advancing towards, is a large matter for us and other directions which hold no desire are small matters.
The advantage in continuing movement in these other directions is that they too contain experience; the success in this tao is in yielding to our circumstances and so finding new worlds we had not noticed because of our singleness of purpose.
Line 1 goes yanglife force shows less change
If we have no active life energy even retreat is impeded, slow, or left too late.
If we identify ourselves with the rearguard of retreat we are clearly retreating from something we still desire; it is dangerous because this goal is not attainable.
Line 2 goes yangintuitive feeling less active
When we attach our identity too firmly to a direction and cannot advance there is shock which turns retreat into defeat in our minds. When in shock identity retreats into itself, shortens its boundaries to consolidate its realness.
Oxhide is tough and strong; yellow is active, being near the peak of our eye sensitivity; the desire for activity is so strong it holds us bound in our desire for certain results from our circumstances.
Line 3 goes yinouter world changes more
Our desired outer activity is identity-forming and here yielding is not desired by identity and is held up by our activity. Identity is too fixed in its ideas to accept retreat.
Our identity is served by our intuitive feel of our circumstances and our definition of these feelings; when we are focused upon a particular outer activity these servants are neglected sometimes, but it is they who distinguish our situation so that we do not act inappropriately.
Line 4 goes yinaccepting the outer state more
Here we accept the inactivity shown by line 3, so we are recognizing our circumstances.
The superior man has a wider view and inferior is narrowing; following the tao by accepting our circumstances despite desire widens our view of our situation, but if our view were narrow we could not feel the sense of this.
Line 5 goes yinmore awareness of intuition
We have come to recognize the feeling of the life force and being open to this enables us to yield willingly, seeing it as right and not only necessary.
Line 6 goes yinour inner being accepts more
When we identify ourselves with the life force we become one with our circumstances and so yield perfectly where appropriate without opposition anywhere.
The noble is well-bred; the well-bred is perfectly balanced.