878788Hexagram 40

Release from indecision.

Line image

Here is an absence of direct knowledge of the life force and an absence of interest in the outer world, lines 2 and 4 are yang while all the other lines are yin. Identity is aware of the quiet state of feeling (line 5) so we are not stressed either from inner feeling or outer activities.

Trigram image

The manifesting flow oscillates between K’an and Li and so does not have a direction; however the trigram about the inner being is Chên which has a decisive energy and great flow, this releases us from the indecision we have been in. The common name of the hexagram is “deliverance” or “release”; release comes from separating our being from the seeking and doing that was fuelling the see-saw.

The Chinese Oracle

The south and west are favourable.
If there is no activity to be accomplished
there is good fortune in returning.
If there is activity unfinished
a speedy end is favoured.


The south and west is where the sun traverses the sky as it goes from full activity to rest, so completing activity is favoured here if there is still something uncompleted.


The pattern
A new way leads out of
insecurity and vacillation.
Release from indecision.
For humans
Taking both.
Allowing tension through him,
not dodging it,
he comes to decision
and is released.
In nature
Torrential rain—mud.
Baking sun—rock.
Torrents again—mud.
between earth and heaven
flashes lightning and is no more.
Delicate tendrils, messengers,
can feel their way again.
In forms we make
Uncertainty of direction
is oscillation faster than complete action.
Taking both damps vibrations.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

When beset with polarity we are in stress, choosing yet unable to make a choice and changing our choice even before putting it into effect. Here in this line the life force becomes quiet and this gives choice a rest.

The Chinese Image
No error.

It is the life flow emerging more quietly and lessening the stress, it is not our doing and cannot possibly be an error, but when beset by choice we are always overconscious of error.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Greater activity of our intuitive feeling enables us to find direction in the life force.

The Chinese Image
He kills three foxes.
One yellow arrow.
Continuance in the way
brings good fortune.

Yellow is an active colour (almost in the middle of our visible spectrum), applied to an arrow which indicates a chosen direction—we have chosen an active direction; this direction is between extremes, being given as “one” which is the whole or middle way of unchoosing. This direction ends the vacillation of choice which deprived us of identifying, in the same way a fox deprives man of his nourishment (three foxes because continual change of choice was the problem).

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

To obtain freedom of flow identity needs to act out without identifying itself in the movement. Here in the line we seem to be confused about this and expect the life force to carry us out of stress without our taking part at all.

The Chinese Image
Riding in a carriage and carrying property he invites robbers.
Continuance brings misfortune.

We want to be carried yet we do not want to let go; not allowing activity is still controlling it.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

To become involved in outer activity is to make it our own; this gives entanglement, not deliverance. Only when we take ourselves out of the equation do we see that it balances.

The Chinese Image
Free yourself from your toes,
then the friend will come with trust.

The toes lead our steps and our steps are our personal way. The friend with trust is the life flow itself; willful activity causes the flow of circumstances to appear untrustworthy.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

We are no longer trying to discern the life force and so in a tao of release we allow it to be what it will.

The Chinese Image
The superior man alone
can free himself.
Good fortune.
Smaller men can only follow.

We cannot be released by following something, for we are attached to what we follow. It is necessary to be alone and open to be free; separating from attachment enables us to be free.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

Here identity chooses not to choose, which is release as the stress was in the choice.

The Chinese Image
The prince shoots an arrow,
kills a hawk on a high wall.
All is favourable.

The hawk sits on a high wall choosing what he will catch. High up is symbolically the head and a wall is a boundary and barrier, so we have been choosing from our position of defining which confines the choice; here the prince (identity) takes a direction (shoots an arrow) which kills the chooser.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 63


Line image

Outer activity is quiet and this is accepted (lines 3 and 4), inner life force activity is also quiet and is accepted (lines 1 and 6); there is active feeling but we are not making this our sense of reality (lines 2 and 5). So here is a stillness which, in the Chinese oracle is called “after completion”; it represents a phase where an activity has come to an end and in this phase we just exist in undefined feeling and there is no ongoing activity. It is the state in which we find ourselves after a change is completed.

Trigram image

The emerging energy clings to its source (Li) and is inactive in the outer world (K’an); it starts again tentatively in our identity (Li) and is again quenched in our inner being (K’an). We can hardly speak of flow here because the flow has been completed and is no longer accepted innerly or outerly; it is an end which signals a beginning. The change may be just a small part of our activity or it may involve our whole mode of experiencing, but it is a clear transition; it is expressed by hexagrams 63 and 64 together (after completion and before completion) and is a very useful concept arising out of these trigrams Li and K’an which is discussed further in appendix one.

The Chinese Oracle

After completion.
Success of the small.
Continuing in the way is rewarded.
Good fortune in beginnings,
misfortune in endings.


The great movement of a cycle is over and we are re-born, we are small again in a new environment as we were small when born in the world. This is not an end so continuance is necessary and its success is the development of a new cycle of experience. We should concentrate on beginnings because the old, the ending, is in dis-order, dis-integrating.


The pattern
Fire enters water.
Water enters fire.
Mutually they change
each other’s reality
forming what is different
after they have changed.
For humans
He may be surprised
to find himself
without the thing he has made
with such care.
He can rejoice in passing
from one reality to another.
In nature
Under the sun.
Through the sea.
The reality of rock
is sand.
In forms we make
Complete change is an end
and a beginning.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

Here is new activity developing from the inside; we need to await its development so that we act outside in phase with it.

The Chinese Image
He brakes the carriage wheels.
The tail is in the water.
No error.

The general rule when going through transition is to keep going, but here we are just in “after completion” and there are still parts which have not completed the change, or the tail is still in the water in the image of crossing the great water. It is no error to slow down so that these parts can catch up with the change.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

In a new situation, after transition, there may be feelings of insecurity which cause us to feel over-exposed and withdraw our feelings.

The Chinese Image
The lady in a carriage loses the blind to her window.
It will return after seven days, she should not go after it.

She feels vulnerable as we do at this time, but as the cycle completes itself (the seven days) the protection of confidence returns. This vulnerability is actually an advantage if we accept it as natural to our situation and not an error to be corrected, it gives us additional sensitivity which we need in new surroundings.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

If we have outer activity increasing directly after completion it shows that we have not yet changed our external mode of being; transition does not occur through making changes out there in the world, it is by change in the way we ourselves are.

The Chinese Image
The illustrious ancestor subdued the province of Kuei Fang (the devil’s country) after three years.
Men of inferior ability would have been useless.

Three is the number of transition or change, so it is this that creates the success. A devil or evil one in a situation of change is the narrow view which will not change and allow enlargement, and this is also the inferior man—the opposite of the great man so often referred to.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Our outer state (line 3) is inactive in this tao and we need to preserve that inactivity if we are to change out of our mind-desire mode of being—the mode of trying to make something “better”.

The Chinese Image
Amongst fine silks are ragged clothes.
Be careful all day.

Amongst our wide aspirations are narrow desires; all day is throughout conscious activity, and being always aware of them will itself change them.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Intuitive feeling is the basis of our knowing our circumstance and this line 5 is about the conscious interpretation of that feeling; when we become more involved here we consider how to use the life force.

The Chinese Image
Someone in the east sacrifices an ox with less benefit than one in the west who makes a spring offering.

The ox is the strength of outer activity and this is sacrificed at the beginning (the east where the sun rises).
The spring offering is the sacrifice of beginnings (a giving up before we start and so an offering, not a killing); this is made at the end of a cycle (the west).
So it is more beneficial to give up starting new things, which arises when the old are ended, than to kill off the outside activity after it has developed.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

If our inner being does not accept the end of a cycle the transition cannot complete.

The Chinese Image
His head is submerged in the water.

The head is the controller and here it is right in the liquifying process of change. For identity to emerge changed from transition it needs to flow in the momentum of being changed, not to get involved in controlling it.