678887 · 4.1Hexagram 4

Out of young ignorance.

Line image

When our intuitive feeling is not active (line 2) we do not have a gut knowledge of what the life flow is doing, and yet in this tao we are involved in outer activity (lines 4 and 3), without this feeling and without our inner being having awareness (line 6). The effect of this pattern is that we have to act in ignorance and learn from direct experience of the world by our “mistakes” when we take the world to be other than it is.

The common name for this hexagram is “youthful folly” because the young learn in this pattern; it has a spontaneous and dynamic flavor which is sadly lost when folly is not allowed.

Trigram image

There is no flow of our emerging energy (K’an) but a great flow outside (Chên) which continues in our accepting identity (K’un) while our inner being is watching (Kên) This trigram flow shows that our inner being is not merely unaware but is contemplating what is going on without involvement; the learning of our situation is out in the world, finding out what happens, not applying rules from our accumulated experience. We act, and learn from our actions, we may be clumsy and make mistakes but unless we act in this way, we cannot learn about an environment unknown to us.

The Chinese Oracle

Youthful, immature growth.
Good fortune.
I seek not the immature but if they come to me I answer them; if they continue with immature questioning I am silent.

Comments

The oracle wisdom is, like all religious exercises, about the sentient outer form of our being keeping in touch with its inner non-manifest counterpart. In this tao we face outwards (and are identified where we face) so that the wisdom is held in abeyance as we make a foray, so to speak, into this outer mode to fully experience it. We will be puzzled by the oracle and continue to try and make sense by further questioning, but it is not the time for making sense, it is time for trusting our senses. Few religious exercises allow us to be foolish and consider it to be good fortune.

Manifestations

The pattern
To reach from the fluid and unstable
for the heights
comes to a barrier,
or perhaps a peak.
For humans
Assuming ground beneath the feet.
Treading with confidence into pitfalls,
sometimes succeeds
with a grace and sympathy
it usually lacks.
In nature
Kittens catch shadows
knowing their solidity,
and learn.
In forms we make
Assumption of power
without humility
closes the gate of sympathy.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

In this tao our inner being is not influenced (line 6 is yang) and our intuitive feeling is inactive (line 2 is yang) so we cannot be aware of the life force (this moving line 1) and it appears to dry up. We are being over-sensitive to the tao and we allow it to inhibit our impulse to experience; we should allow ourselves more curiosity and freedom; there is no advantage in being so cautious that we cannot move.

The Chinese Image
Youthful growth requires disciplined experience.
Fetters should be removed.
Too much restriction is harmful.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

The opening of feeling in this tao means to become more sensitive to our immaturity in some respect; this makes for less errors of judgement, makes us more able to understand what is “other” to us, and by feeling our ignorance (this we have been ignoring) we become receptive to the experience we lack. By all this, we increase our dynamic experience of the tao.

The Chinese Image
To be gentle with the developing brings good fortune.
To understand the woman brings good fortune.
The son is able to run the household.

The son, elemental male offspring representing newly growing idea, takes over from the woman, elemental female representing our being in the flow of feeling. If he is to be successful, he needs to take account of feelings which he may not understand too well. In this tao, idea is growing out of experience but in this line feeling is opening, so gentleness and understanding is required.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Our outer activity is necessary for learning the ways of our environment, so if our outer activity is lessening, what are we putting in its place? Perhaps we are thinking there is someone or something that will do it for us. In this tao about young growth, doing is essential, and nobody can do it for us. It is our personal growth; if somebody else provides, we shall have missed learning how to provide for ourselves.

The Chinese Image
Do not marry a girl who cannot resist a strong, wealthy (bronze) man.
No advantage comes.

To marry is to be become one with. We should not become one with this feeling (girl) who needs someone to protect and provide for her—there is no development for us in this way.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Outer activity is dynamic in this tao and necessary to the movement of learning. Here we are taking our interest away from this because it is not being attractive (pleasurable). In a sense, we are not accepting that we need to experience what our circumstances have provided—we are not accepting our ignorance and so do not see the paramount need to learn.

The Chinese Image
Bound by ignorance. This is harmful.

We are bound by our ignorance when we are not aware of it.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

In this tao our intuitive state is not active. Our identity is more free to experience its life if it does not worry about this at this time because it needs to face its experience outwardly. This line shows us free to experience as separate identity, which is what the tao asks for.

The Chinese Image
Immature experience brings advantage.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

Here the inner being accepts, and this is “learning from experience”; it is also applying past experience to our learning. In this tao learning is by folly, which is by exploration and needs risk; we need to act without working out the consequences. By applying past experience to our present activity we perpetuate our errors.

The Chinese Image
Committing folly to learn control of his folly brings no advantage.
Advantage comes from separating him from his folly.

Applying past experience interferes with our dynamic witnessing of the present. Only by witnessing as we act do we have a dynamic learning experience without the need for regretful afterthoughts and promises to do it better next time.

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 24

Return and make new.

Line image

Our whole personal self is accepting and active in this tao where the outer is fully active but its source, line 1, is inactive. We are fully acting out and experiencing a phase of the life force which has now ceased to provide new impetus—we are carrying through something we have already begun. This heralds the end of a cycle of activity because all of our activity comes from the inner and is expressed outwardly. The hexagram is called “return” or “turning point”.

Trigram image

The impetus from the inner life force is great (Chên). It flows freely in our outer world, in our identity, and in our inner being (all K’un). The flow is fully outwards and fully accepted, a clearing out operation in which energy returns to its source, the inner, which makes it also a turning point in the cycle, an emptying out which makes room for the new to appear.

The Chinese Oracle

Return. Success.
Going and coming without distress.
Friends come without error
and he returns in seven days.
All directions are advantageous.

Comments

Here the cycle is pictured as a coming and going, its free flow being the success and harmony. He relates for the full cycle of identifying (7 symbolizes the cycle as seen in consecutive steps like the days of our week) and then returns to his centre, the inner, the non-identified state. When we go through the outer experience and allow it to finish when it has no more energy all directions are favourable because none are selected or grasped.

Manifestations

The pattern
That which arises
returns to its source.
For humans
To the place where we have been
we return.
To the mood we have lived
we return.
But returning is arising anew.
In nature
The nature of nature in the earth
at the moment of interchange.
In forms we make
Returning to a form we reform it
and make it new.
By this the form of society evolves.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

As the top line of the hexagram is accepting this line, it is not we who see the life force as becoming active, it is itself returning to an active phase already and we do not have difficulty in making things anew.

The Chinese Image
A return from a short journey
No regret.
Great good fortune.

Life force activity returns from a short journey, a short time away; there was not a great trough of inactivity to cause us regret and our normal urge to activity is in keeping with the tao, which brings harmony to our actions and is the great good fortune.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

When we do not interpret the life force in feeling we are not separated from it by our selection; this is in keeping with the free flow we are in.

The Chinese Image
A quiet, blessed return.
good fortune.

We react to the tao without fuss or stress. Whenever we can be one with the tao we are blessed with good fortune.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

In this situation of finishing off a cycle of activity it is necessary to completely finish or there are remainders, karma is made which will still need expression; these retained forms are habit.

The Chinese Image
Many returns. Danger.
No error.

The cycles come and go and if we are slaves to our habits we repeat ourselves; this is the danger. No blame because in habit we cannot see ourselves.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Here we project ourselves less into outer activity in a tao which is the end part of a cycle of the life force; this has the effect of centring us, making us more one in ourselves.

The Chinese Image
He moves in the midst of them
and returns alone.

By choosing the middle way, not identifying in the outer nor the inner, the multitude we are becomes a whole, returning alone is returning as one.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

At the turning point where old activity of the life force is spent and new is about to arrive we remove our involvement from the old, now silent and gone. This is in preparation for a new cycle.

The Chinese Image
A noble return. No regret.

The nobleness of this return is symbolic of the withdrawal of self interest, of priority to the way we are feeling, allowing it to die away with a readiness to take on something new. As this opens out into new activity in the coming cycle there is no regret.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

If we become less involved in the emerging tao when it is in an inactive phase we are likely to miss the next emergence of activity and be out of phase with it.

The Chinese Image
Confusion about return.
Misfortune.
Armies marching bring defeat.
Disaster for the ruler.
Ten years without return to order.

It is self-evident that if we do not recognize that we are at a turning point of the cycle and press on, we shall miss the changes that are taking place and all our responses will be inappropriate. We will be ruled by desire patterns of our already formed identity, so disaster is stated for the ruler (the identifying process is the ruler of identity). If the turning point of the cycle is completely ignored nothing can be done about it until the next turning point, a complete cycle away and symbolized by ten, the whole, and year, the cycle.