888787Hexagram 35

Primal forces create change.

Line image

The manifesting, lower, half of the pattern is active throughout and the upper, receptive half is manifested by feeling (line 5); so the tao is about activity of manifestation which we join in feeling but we do not attach ourselves either outwardly or inwardly (lines 4 and 6 are yang). This is developing our outer-inner relationship; we stand between them and feel.

Trigram image

We hesitate to identify our inner being in this tao (Li) and our identified self cannot take advantage of our circumstances (K’an). This slows our response and stills our outer flow of activity (Kên). The common name of the hexagram is “progress”; when we have doubt and hesitation in our being the question of progress arises.

The Chinese Oracle

The prince who achieves tranquillity is given many horses.
He is granted audience three times in one day.


This image tells us what the progress is about. Our reality is ruled by what we distinguish or identify, so this process is the king and ruler and his progeny the prince is our identified self. Having audience with the king is being privy to the process of identifying, so our reality here is not in what we identify but in our being part of the cyclic process that rules our reality. The cycle is symbolized by “one day” and its changes by the number three; here is the progress, and without tranquillity we cannot be part of this; the many horses symbolize that many directions become available at one time when we do not identify in the process of the cycle.


The pattern
Primal forces
in the making of things.
For humans
He makes himself anew,
his karma moving
into a new relationship
accomplishes his growth.
In nature
The earth heaves restlessly,
reshaped by its own power
of the depths.
In forms we make
Control of change
occurring of itself
is the hinge of power.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

This tao is about being in the flow and not manipulating it. Here the life force ebbs and this is not our doing, so if we just continue to be, the flow will come back.

The Chinese Image
Progress is held back.
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.
Calm confidence in the face of disbelief is no error.

By remaining alert amongst small activity we will not only see its first signs of regrowth but also experience awareness with no objective. This change in experience is itself progress although we cannot conceive it until it happens.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Our intuitive feeling of the life force diminishes while we are attached to progress outside in the world. In this tao outer activity is stilled (in trigram Kên) so looking for activity here is disappointing.

The Chinese Image
Progress with sorrow.
Continuance in the way
brings good fortune.
Blessing is received
from the grandmother.

The grandmother symbolizes an old generation of feeling, past feeling, and past feeling coming into the present is emotion; so as we feel less of our present circumstances, past feelings find their release; they needed release so this is a blessing.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

We normally make activity in order to control our circumstances; here we do not do this but trust in the tao of progress itself.

The Chinese Image
All are trusting.
Regret disappears.

To live without manipulating requires giving up our hoping; we can only regret if we have been hoping for something.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

The progress of being in the flow is towards balancing the inner and the outer; if we keep returning to our outer reality for a sense of realness we repeat habit tracks.

The Chinese Image
Progress like the movements of a rodent.
Continuance brings danger.

The rodents have typically quick, darting movements, running for cover, and here it is as though we were using the outer reality as safe cover. We feel unsafe when we cannot distinguish and identify our circumstances but the greater danger lies in our being trapped in distinguished reality as the only way of being that we can recognize.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

In this tao progress is toward the balance of inner and outer (the non-defined and the defined), so in this moving line we are following the tao as we become less involved in identifying our feelings—we still feel but our mind does not take over the feeling.

The Chinese Image
Regret disappears.
Heed not gain or loss,
it is movement that brings good fortune.
Everything is furthered.

The choice between gain and loss is something we experience by going out from our centre into definition; without this there is no regret, no hope to be dashed. When we act in the movement of the moment everything is furthered, not just that which would lead to a particular outcome.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

In this tao the inner being holds back from identifying itself, but here it does accept responsibility for its circumstances, which has dangers in a tao of not having particular identification.

The Chinese Image
Progress with the horns
to overcome the rebels.
Correct. Dangerous.
There is regret.

To move out of the centre to any identified state involves regret, but to deal with identified parts of our being, a stance is necessary—it is necessary and so correct and it is also dangerous in case we lose the centre again.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 39


Line image

Our identity accepts an inactive outer world (lines 4 and 3) while it does not accept our active intuitive feeling (lines 5 and 2); this does not favour our taking new directions, but acceptance by our inner being (line 6) creates change there, so although the tao restrains outer activity we are furthered by experiencing it.

Trigram image

The life force seeks to be still (Kên) and there is little flow in our outer world (K’an), so we are unable to act effectively; we hesitate (Li). The K’an, Li, K’an sequence on top of the stillness of Kên contradicts itself, giving the hexagram its common name of “obstruction” as no direction can be usefully taken.

The Chinese Oracle

South and west are favourable.
North and east are unfavourable.
There is advantage in seeing the great man.
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.


The sun traverses the south and west from midday to night; the north and east is traversed through darkness to morning; so the south and west is activity becoming tranquil and the north and east is tranquility becoming active, so it is better to complete works rather than start new ones. It is an advantage to experience widely (the great man) when obstructed and work through the situation so that our inner experience is enriched.


The pattern
The life force halts
when each tries to take
the other’s place.
For humans
They fight around him.
He does not take part,
Knowing other ways.
In nature
In upheaval.
The water is upon the land.
The mountain in the water.
Fire springs from chasms.
The life force waits its time.
In forms we make
When the outside forces
are attacking one another
form is overthrown.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

When the life force is inactive less activity is possible, especially when we are in the tao of obstruction.

The Chinese Image
Going meets obstruction.
Remaining brings praise.

Remaining involves being still, being alert, being aware; more being, less doing.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

The natural reaction of feeling to troubled times is to become less sensitive; it is an instinctive move to balance sensitivity with aggravating circumstance.

The Chinese Image
The king’s minister meets
obstruction upon obstruction.
He is disadvantaged but
he is not at fault.

The minister supplies the king with advice and information, as feeling does for identifying. Feeling is suffering under the stress of our circumstances but this is not a fault in the way we feel.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

Here we act out to overcome our frustration although there is no path there; our objectives cannot be reached so we will then give up the attempt.

The Chinese Image
Goes and meets trouble.
Turns back.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

The unflowing state of outer action appears to us to be an obstruction. By becoming less involved in this we can be more aware of what is actually going on around us.

The Chinese Image
Going leads to obstruction.
Remaining connects together.

Connecting things together is a state of awareness, not of outer activity; here we try to understand our situation instead of battling against it.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

The obstruction is so great that we turn to our intuitive feeling, which we have been ignoring.

The Chinese Image
When obstruction is at its height,
friends come.

Feeling our circumstances helps as a friend would, be relating innerly. Our ignorance of this feeling was part of the obstruction so this improves matters.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

The obstruction in this tao is about our not being able to be still nor to act. Here our inner being becomes still, which is helpful.

The Chinese Image
Going outward meets obstruction.
Remaining is good fortune.
To see the great man brings advantage.
Good fortune.

Remaining is also keeping still and to see the great man is to see widely, not narrowing our view by choice; this is the good fortune.