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”.
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
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.
Line 1 goes yanglife 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 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 yangintuitive 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 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 yinouter 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.
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 yangaccepting the outer state less
Here we are no longer concerned about outer stillness, we just allow it to be still.
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 yangless 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 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 yinour inner being accepts more
When we accept stillness into our inner being the next expression of that being is perfectly still although in activity.