887887Hexagram 52

A wider view.

Line image

In this structure neither the inner (lines 1 and 6) nor the outer (lines 3 and 4) have activity with acceptance; feeling (lines 2 and 5) becomes the dominant mode, it is the function linking the inner and outer and the primary distinguisher of the life force. We find ourselves feeling without acting inside or outside. The common name of the hexagram is “keeping still” or “contemplation”.

Trigram image

As the life force emerges it tends to become still (Kên) so there is little outer activity (K’an). This stillness causes activity of the identified self (Chên) which itself seeks stillness (Kên). So the flow of the tao is one that causes great change in our personal self, an activity directed at achieving stillness. This is a reversal of the role identity has in its growth phase which has been about action outside in which we identified ourselves and so built our point of view in reality. Here we internalize the identity we have grown, we seek that inner space which is neither identified outside nor inside, where we can be ourselves without noticing it.

The Chinese Oracle

Keeping the back so still
there is no feeling of body.
Walking in the courtyard
he does not see the people.
No error.


Stillness relates to the idea of an unmoving central core like the centre of a rotating wheel which does not move but is the essential reference point of movement. It is an element in activity which we cannot distinguish and tend to see as unreal. Our backbone is such a reference point for our body, if no message goes out from it no movement arises. The courtyard surrounds the house; instructions from the house cause activity in the courtyard; here we walk in the courtyard, our being is in the place of activity, but we see no people which is to say that we have no concern about what goes on there. It is no error to be with activity while being innerly still; it is the act of dynamic relaxation and perfect poise.


The pattern
Seeking to return
to a peak once known.
The completion
that contains the beginning.
The start that is the end.
For humans
Resisting movement
he avoids beginnings.
Knowing that in the beginning
there was no end
he seeks no end.
Thereby he arrives
at a wider beginning.
In nature
The low reaches upward.
The confines seek to spread.
The fruit of the seed
seeks to become seed.
In forms we make
Cycles begin and end.
Their beginning and ending
has no ending
and no beginning.
This has the form
of encompassing a wider view.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

The emerging life force is the source of outer activity, so here we are stilling the beginning of movement. If we continue this throughout the flow, inner and outer, we will remain with our centre.

The Chinese Image
Keeping the toes still.
No error.
Continuance in the way
brings good fortune.

The toes lead the body when we walk, so this stilling of the toes is the beginning of keeping still, we stop the first part to move. This is the way to create stillness, right at the beginning before movement actually starts, so continuing in the way brings good fortune and there is no error.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

When experience comes to us we taste it with our feeling and then we follow this with decisions about how to behave in our circumstances. Here the stilling effect of the tao is in our feeling so that our usual flow or zest for life lessens; this is only a problem if we resist being still.

The Chinese Image
Keeping the calves still.
He is sad;
cannot assist the one he follows.

The calf muscles lift the body so that we fall into the next step; keeping them still we take no step. If we, identified self, follow something we cannot be still, we cannot assist the stillness by doing something.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

Here we act out in the tao of keeping still, we are using outside means, outside ideas, to create stillness. When we do this it is like damming a stream; the flow is from inner to outer so outside action cannot create stillness except by restricting some flow.

The Chinese Image
Keeping the loins still.
Stiffening the sacrum.
The heart suffocates.

In our animal world the prime life priority is of the species, a great identity of which all its members are a part. Here we keep the loins still and sacrum stiff and this is the cradle of our reproduction; we stop the flow the “heart” creates. So our way of trying to create stillness from the outside prevents manifestation, the flow of life, and misunderstands stillness; stillness has no wish to move.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Here we are no longer concerned about outer stillness, we just allow it to be still.

The Chinese Image
Keeping the body still.
No error.

It is the whole body, not a part, that we keep still. If we concentrate on keeping this or that part still the other parts will move unnoticed by us. It is the whole that is still when stillness is achieved.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

Our intuitive feeling is active in this tao. Here we, as identity, are less involved in these feelings so we do not project them on to our circumstances. We project when we express what we feel about things.

The Chinese Image
Keeping the jaws still.
Words are in order.
Regret disappears.

The words are not said, yet they are in order. Our words are the outflow of our meaning and if our meaning is in perfect order it cannot be said—we only speak out of incompleteness, then there is something to be said. Here there is no care or regret because there is nothing left over, nothing to be said.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

When we accept stillness into our inner being the next expression of that being is perfectly still although in activity.

The Chinese Image
The most genuine stillness.
Good fortune.
Nuclear HexagramHexagram 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.