898667 · 4.2.4.5Hexagram 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 12

Standstill.

Line image

The top three lines, representing our outer attention, our identity and our inner being, are all yang; we are not very aware therefore of the life force as it manifests. Where we are not aware, we are not changed, and this tao is commonly named “standstill”.

Trigram image

Activity is stilled in the outer world, structured in our personal self and leaves the inner being unchanged, so the activity of this tao makes for rigid rules which inhibit change—our structure becomes so firm that the life force does not flow in it and stagnation occurs. The flow shows that it is not strictly the tao enforcing standstill in identity, it is equally the rigidity of our identity, roles we play, stances we habitually take up. To be free of these is to have freedom.

The Chinese Oracle

Standstill.
The evil obstructs the superior man.
The wide goes, the narrow comes.
He needs perseverance.

Comments

The narrowing of awareness in this tao cannot but obstruct the superior man, for he is our aspect of widening awareness. Becoming aware of our unawareness, which is persevering with being in our circumstances, makes this a constructive experience.

Manifestations

The pattern
Separation between the potential
and the field of activity
is standstill of flow.
For humans
How does he steer his boat
when there is no wind?
He does not blow on the sail,
he contemplates the stillness
and how it strengthens him.
In nature
When the sun
sinks behind the mountain
the earth sleeps.
In forms we make
When he raises laws
between the good and the bad
he imprisons rebirth.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

The ignoring of activity shown by lines 4, 5, and 6 results in silence; so the manifesting life force seems to disappear.

The Chinese Image
When grass is pulled up
earth comes with it.
Perseverance brings good fortune.

The activity of the life force is attached to our ability to react to it, or so it seems to our experience, so we need to keep going about our business. We have no way to directly influence the karma of our inner being; our ignoring needs to be as it is and will then change.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

In line 2 we interpret the life force in feeling, and in this tao of ignorance of the life force, we easily lose our ability to interpret it. In this moving line this happens and our narrower desiring mode of being is favoured by it; we feel that reality needs to be made what we desire (better) and we work for this, but this means that in this tao of experiencing our separation from the flow of the tao, we replace this experience with our desire and striving.

The Chinese Image
Fortune now favours the mean,
but the superior man looks to the stagnation to create success.

Our wide-seeing (superior) aspect can see that experiences such as this which distress our identified aspect are necessary and also wholesome.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

In this situation where we are not aware of the energy flowing from inner to outer we cease to act; this shows that we do not take account of activities outside our immediate awareness and we take the standstill as being our own responsibility—this in turn makes us feel blame for what is happening.

The Chinese Image
He hides his shame of purposes.

Blaming ourselves is a point of view we have adopted; blaming is not accepting.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

Here identity opens itself to what is going on around it in the outside world and we become aware of the effects of our involvement there. We see that we act even when we are not aware, acting out of our greater self, and that we can simply follow this with our conscious identity.

The Chinese Image
To act from the highest is without error and his companions share the blessing.

In an inner interpretation the companions here are our separate parts of identity. The wider our view of reality becomes, the more our various aspects can take part and become a whole.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Here we become aware of our intuitive feelings, and as these are active (line 2) we become aware of the activity of the life force. The characteristic of this tao is our lack of flow due to a lack of awareness, so this move towards feeling opens the identity to possibilities of flow once more.

The Chinese Image
Standstill is giving way.
There is still danger needing attention like the binding of mulberry shoots.

The danger is of taking the flow to be our own and so still not opening ourselves to wider reality. The image of mulberry shoots probably arises out of the habit of mulberry bark to form sprouting burrs which take the strength from the tree; these were then bound tightly to contain them. In the same way, we need to strongly contain the urge to define and take possession of our feelings now or we will remain as separate as ever.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

As our being becomes one with the active emerging life force (line 1) the cycle is completed and we flow once again, released from our isolate position of unawareness.

The Chinese Image
Standstill is finished and a joyful flow takes its place.
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.