777878Hexagram 5

Lack of a path.

Line image

All is stillness in the lower, manifesting half of the hexagram, and we accept this (lines 4 and 6) but not the feeling of stillness (line 5 does not accept line 2). We cannot make ourselves feel still and look for activity, a feeling which is not supported by the life force. In this situation we either have to await the return of active energy or to await our own stillness (the only stillness we can create by doing something is repression). The common name of this hexagram is “waiting”.

Trigram image

With Ch’ien in the position showing the emerging life force, there is no new manifestation of reality into relating parts—it is at rest and whole. Then with Tui in the place of outer activity there is a tendency to act, a feeling that activity is just about to come, but Li follows in the way personality acts and Li always clings to stillness. This makes for little change in the inner self which is shown by K’an in the top place.

When the manifesting aspect of the life force is still, yet we cannot feel ourselves to be still, we have impatience or imposed patience; for this tao to work peacefully we need to give ourselves to stillness while witnessing our impatience.

The Chinese Oracle

Intentional inaction.
Waiting with confidence produces results.
Perseverance is beneficial.
To cross the great water is progress.


Knowing that there is learning to be had in this process of waiting gives us confidence that we are not missing something; if we are to persevere in waiting we cannot be continually regretting our inactivity—we have to change sides, cross the great water, change our attitude so that we can experience waiting as the natural order as much as activity.


The pattern
From tranquil to fluid without course.
Intimations desire action.
No channel to guide the flow.
For humans
Mood for action slowly stirred
finds no path.
Danger of floundering,
do not run, swim gently.
In nature
There is no track,
just forest.
In forms we make
The wise do not listen
to the cries of their opponents.
Quench them with silence.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

When the life force is still and we are impatient to make it move, we shift our experience towards some activity and so miss the experience of actually waiting.

The Chinese Image
Waiting at the outer edges.
To maintain constancy
guards against error.

The “outer edges” are the boundaries of our personal self beyond which we project our pattern into the world. When we are awaiting outer events we should not project new activities but be constant in our waiting or we miss the experience of the tao. We live for our experience, not for our achievements.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

We are trying to feel the tao here, either looking for a flow or to feel the stillness. This is certainly not intentional inaction but it does absorb the energy of our impatience and keeps us alive to our intuitive feelings.

The Chinese Image
Waiting on the river sands.
There is gossip but eventual good fortune.

A river in this line represents a flow of feeling which, here, we stand beside and watch. Within us are urges to activity (the gossip against all this waiting) but as we are following the tao the end result is good fortune, which is the experience of what actually exists in the life flow.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

Here we cannot wait and have to act, yet acting does not result in the outer flow we seek because it is not supported by the life force. This results in an unclear and worrying state in which our action becomes a stress between us and our environment.

The Chinese Image
Waiting in mud invites evil.

Evil is always a narrowing of our reality, the outcome of unawareness. Mud is unclear and we get stuck in it as we also get stuck in these unclear and worried states of mind.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

The outer world is inactive in this tao (shown by yang line 3); here we are having difficulty with so much stillness.

The Chinese Image
Waiting amongst blood.
Emerging from the pit.

We wait amongst the unflowing life-fluid but we want to flow, we feel it ought to flow, and this waiting in inactivity feels both unhealthy and confined like the pit; In this line we turn our attention from it and so we emerge from this abysmal feeling.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Intuitive feeling is inactive in this tao and here we become more involved with this inactivity, we feel the reality of there being no way forward and so become more aware of our present, which nourishes us.

The Chinese Image
Waiting while eating and drinking.
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.

It is good fortune to be nourished by our circumstances rather than straining towards the future. Being alert and aware in the present also enables us to recognize the re-emergence of activity in the life force when this arrives.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

Here we close ourselves to the life force because it is inactive when we want activity; this will only make us insensitive to it when it changes into activity again. That which will come from the life force in the next phase will be unexpected and when we have fixed attitudes we miss the unexpected.

The Chinese Image
Entering the pit.
Three guests arrive unexpectedly,
honour them and good fortune comes.

The unexpected guests (three of them which shows change) are symbolizing a new flow of the life force. If we are aware and “honour” them, being attentive, good fortune comes. If on the other hand we allow our impatience to overcome our waiting for change, we are entering the pit.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 38

Opposition in time. (Taking turns.)

Line image

There is outer activity (line 3) but we are not accepting this (line 4); there is no activity of intuitive feeling (line 2) but we are looking for it (line 5). The other lines are all yang so such activity as there is here is in opposition to our circumstances, and “opposition” is the common name of the hexagram.

Trigram image

The very light emerging energy (Tui) is hesitant in the world (Li), stopped by doubt (K’an) in identity and our inner being is also hesitant to accept it (Li). Hesitation and doubt alternate and oppose the life force flow as we are divided as to whether we should be still or moving, observing or involved.

The Chinese Oracle

Success in small matters.


When there is opposition we cannot go far in any direction without being opposed, we can move about a little but this tao is restrictive and set against itself, we are set against our self.


The pattern
Forces of opposition
cannot coexist
without losing character,
so they take turns.
For humans
To move with the easy and rest simply
in harmony with others
allows his actions to be his own.
When the young realize taking turns
they can express fully without frustration.
In nature
The cosmos moves in cycles
of the active and tranquil.
In forms we make
To realize form
is to allow its innate character.
Wise government is not impaired.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

Here the source is changing towards active manifestation; if we wait peacefully it will reach the outside in time. It is the source that carries our activities.

The Chinese Image
Regret disappears.
Do not chase after the lost horse,
it will return.
Although there is evil company
he does not mix with it.

Regret disappears because activity (the horse which carries identity) returns of its own accord. The evil company is the narrow frame of mind which demands that it gets what it wants, and now, but we do not tangle with that, we let the tao unfold.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

When we feel the life force in this tao we feel opposition, the narrowness of a single-minded point of view. To become aware of such a situation within ourselves is not a mistake, but it is uncomfortable.

The Chinese Image
He meets his lord in a narrow street.
No mistake.

We come to realize something quite suddenly and cannot escape from it, there is nowhere to go (our lord is the one we must follow). We meet him coming the other way but it is good to see truth when, or particularly when, it is going the opposite way to the one we are facing.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Our present outer activity comes to the end of its energy and our attempts to proceed appear to be opposed.

The Chinese Image
They drag at the axle
and strike the oxen.
His head is shaved
and his nose cut off.
No good beginning
but a good end.

The good end comes because we give up futile effort and allow the tao. The trouble comes because we were insufficiently aware.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

Here we accept the outer world as our way of being. Participation is symbiotic relationship instead of opposition and this is no error; it does carry the danger of forgetting the tao and entering a narrow reality.

The Chinese Image
He stands alone amongst opposition.
He finds a companion with whom he co-operates.
Danger but no error.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

Here is a very inner act but it is occurring in our conscious identity. Our interest in the silence of intuitive feeling has been to enliven it, not to accept it, because no other activity was available. Now we cease this and so trust the life force even though it is not doing what identity wanted—it is a change in mind, a change of mind.

The Chinese Image
Regret disappears.
He and the one with whom he relates
bite through the barrier layer.
What error can there be then?

The one with whom he relates innerly is the “companion” (see section 1, page 2) but in outer life this may work through others. When the outer identity and the inner companion are not separated there is certainty and no question of error.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

In this tao the emerging life force is unchanging (line 1 is yang) and we have felt opposed to this. We now see things differently.

The Chinese Image
Lonely and opposed.
He saw a pig covered with mud,
a waggon-load of phantoms.
He drew his bow but then put it aside
seeing that this was not an assailant but a close relative.
As he goes gentle rain falls and good fortune comes.

The pig is nourishment but obscured by mud (confusion); the waggon-load of phantoms are frightening appearances. By ceasing to oppose we become unopposed, for the opposition in this tao is a misunderstanding of our situation which causes us to fear it.