877877Hexagram 57

Where is identity?

Line image

In line 4 we accept the outer quietness of line 3; in lines 5 and 2 we ignore the lack of activity our intuitive feeling has; in line 6 we also ignore the emerging life force. There is very little activity in this structure; the outside, where our interest is centred, has no activity so we will be feeling a lack of progress.

Trigram image

The emerging flow of the life force (Sun) is reflected by our inner acceptance (also Sun), both being maturing and structuring. With the outer world hardly active (Tui) and our response here hesitant (Li) it is the inner maturing that is the main influence. When we make inner structure in reflection of the tao it widens the focus of our identity.

The Chinese Oracle

Gentle penetration.
The small succeeds.
It is an advantage to have a direction
and see the great man.


The gentleness of the emerging tao penetrates our being and there is very small show outside. To have a direction, and so not to be searching for one, allows this to proceed smoothly; to see the situation widely (the great man) prevents us getting entangled in our doing, our direction. This is an inner tao where inner influences penetrate identity and it needs a quiet environment.


The pattern
The mature,
more knit together,
starts to fragment,
then returns to wholeness.
For humans
He sees his flame.
His independence kindles him.
Separation knows a lesser reality
and clings
to its part in the whole.
In nature
Creation has separateness.
It hungers for wholeness.
Taking part is this food.
In forms we make
The part serves the whole
when it knows it is itself
yet inseparable.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Without change from the emerging life force, our own inner changes are smaller, more gradual; when the life force is in an active phase we are moved more quickly, more actively.

The Chinese Image
Advancing and retreating.
Continuance like a warrior
is advantageous.

The warrior does not give up when there is a need for retreat, he is firm, alert, and not indulgent; then he is ready for advance when conditions permit.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Submerged parts of the personal self need experience through feeling when they have been unable to manifest in consciousness; this is so even though that consciousness may have a bad opinion of them. No part can be left out when we seek wholeness; how could it be otherwise?

The Chinese Image
Under the bed.
Many priests and magicians.
Good fortune. No error.

The bed is where we lie to sleep, so under this is under the sleep consciousness; identity cannot reach this directly, its distinguishing mode is not suitable, but priests and magicians work at the borders of awareness; bringing these forces out is good fortune and no error.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

Outer experience is not the cause of identity but its projection, if it is increasing then identity is increasing its separation from the whole and entering the outer world more.

The Chinese Image
Penetration is repeated.

Here is habit. There is bound to be regret sooner or later when we repeat continually. In this tao about the penetration of identity by the inner we are distracting ourselves and missing what is on offer.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Here we are able to let go our involvement in outer matters; we find that inner change brings nourishment and a widening of horizons.

The Chinese Image
Regret disappears.
Three kinds of game are caught.

Three stands for change and the change is in the kind of game or mode of being that we can catch. This is a real inner change, not an outer show, so the regret disappears.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Intuitive awareness of the life force feeds identity with feeling to identify amongst; in this tao it is inactive (line 2 is yang) so here identity becomes aware of feeling that is in its quiet phase and pays attention to it.

The Chinese Image
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.
Regret disappears, everything brings advantage.
Not a beginning but an end.
Three days before and three days after.
Good fortune.

To recognize the tranquil as worthy of notice is the beginning of the end of the separateness of identity, so continuing brings good fortune, regret disappears together with separate ambition. Everything brings advantage as nothing is rejected—this is the process of change, the middle of it, three days before it and three days after.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

The life energy acts of itself in our dissolution as a separate whole, so how can this be furthered by our taking a hand? It is a trick of mind reality to lend a hand here, the outcome of which can only be the perpetuation of mind in the identified form.

The Chinese Image
Under the bed.
He loses his valuables and his axe.
Continuing brings misfortune.

Under the bed is the unconscious drive where identity is trying to lend a hand, in here our identifications are lost (valuables and axe) but we do not lose our separateness; instead of going through a cycle by letting it change us we seek its source, return to the womb.

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.