878777Hexagram 6

Conflicting opposites.

Line image

With the top three lines yang we cannot respond, and with the second line yang we do not intuitively feel what to do, so it is not surprising that this hexagram is commonly called “difficulty”. There is activity from the life force and in our outer world. The difficulty we have here is our inability to participate.

Trigram image

The alternate male and female symbols of the first two trigrams, each in their opposing form of first male surrounded by female and then female surrounded by male, shows vacillation with doubt and hesitation; this forms into a firm, perhaps obstinate structure in us shown by the third trigram Sun and a lack of involvement for our inner being in the top trigram Ch’ien.

Experiencing this difficult situation has a learning effect in our personality, our personal self, in dealing with the problems of our manifest reality; here we are very much out in the world and struggling with its inconsistencies.

The Chinese Oracle

Sureness of being right meets obstacles.
With care there is progress in the middle
but it is disastrous at the end.
It is beneficial to see the great man but not to cross the great water.


Sureness of being right comes to a developed identity who is sure of the rules (the restrictions in reality) that he lives by; this sureness meets obstacles at the boundaries of his restricted reality where the rules no longer apply. We develop by changing, which is to change the rules, so if we are very sure our rules are right this will serve us for a while (the middle) but later on, if we cannot change, this is disastrous to our growth or our ability to move with our environment which itself is changing all the time.

Great is wide; the great man sees widely, without restriction, and to do this will help, but the great water is a wide barrier between us and a changed way of being (the other country over the water) and to jump at change while we have narrow horizons would invite further difficulty.


The pattern
Alternate water fire
cannot grow together.
Opposing into firmness
is tranquility of solitude.
For humans
Conflict resolved by separation.
Internal conflict by distinctions.
In nature
Heat frustrates life functions of water,
water, the cleansing of fire.
when nature throws these together
life takes time to recover.
In forms we make
When an entity moves
in opposing directions
they each have need
of a single sphere.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

With our life energy moving into an inactive phase, and having the feeling of difficulties we wish to get out of, we may be persuaded to push some activity to make things better; this is not going to be useful when we are in a state where we do not see our way very well.

The Chinese Image
If affairs are not pushed forward to conclusion there is gossip but good fortune in the end.

The gossip comes from all those parts in us which think we can get out of difficulty by doing something but do not realize that the difficulty is an unawareness that we cannot help at present. Good fortune comes eventually because this state is itself part of change.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Here we become free of involvement in difficulty by a re-awakening of our intuitive feeling about our circumstances instead of trying to sort it out with our conflicting ideas.

The Chinese Image
The conflict is not resolved.
He returns home.
His kin, three hundred households,
are free of blame.

Resolving a conflict of ideas is not the only way of dealing with it, although when we are in conflict it may seem so. We can simply return to our observing centre and cease to project any idea on what we experience. Kin are those who are related, and within our personal self the related parts which were in conflict do not blame each other, instead they change their way entirely (symbolized by the number 3 for change and hundred for the entirety).

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Not taking sides in a conflict is sometimes quite difficult. Initially it is a hard course because participants within us wish to join in, but eventually it is rewarding as we understand more widely.

The Chinese Image
He nourishes himself on ancient virtues.
Continuance in the way brings danger
but eventual good fortune.
If in service of a king seek no office.

The middle way is the ancient virtue; it attains its ends because conflict is always temporary and fluctuating. If we are ruled by some identification (in service of a king) it is better not to further it now.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

Here we are accepting a world active in conflict. As we accept it, we do not fight to resolve it.

The Chinese Image
The conflict cannot be resolved.
He retreats from his position and accepts his circumstances.
Peacefully continuing in the way brings good fortune.

Here we can see the conflict from outside and so do not take sides. We see that the argument is fruitless.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

In this tao our feeling is closed to the “other” so conflict arises; here we recognize this closed feeling and see it as causing the conflict or as an important element in it.

The Chinese Image
Widely aware of the battle,
then good fortune comes.

There can only be conflict when views are narrow—when they are wide they overlap.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

The active life energy emerging into this tao becomes conflict due to lack of insight. Here we accept this as the tao, as our way of inner being, but conflict as a way of being resolves nothing and pushes identity further into its identifying isolation. In a wide sense, we lose when in conflict, whether we win or lose the contest.

The Chinese Image
If by chance we win a girdle (a token of position in the martial arts)${comma()} it will be taken from us three times before the day is over.

The situation in contest changes all the time and this (the number 3) takes our advantage from us. The gains are superficial and transitory.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 37

Nourishing relationships.

Line image

The activity here is in our intuitive feeling (line 2) and acceptance of an inactive outer world (line 4), so spontaneous feeling will be evident and it will be somewhat enclosed or protected. The common name of the hexagram is “the family” and it may refer to an enclosed unit of the external family or to our internal unit of different identifying parts in our personal self.

Trigram image

In the trigrams forming “the family” it is not surprising to find Li and K’an alternating and maturing at the top in Sun (Li is elemental female surrounded by elemental male and K’an is the converse). The energy flow is hesitant and with doubt as different elements try to merge together while keeping their separate identities, eventually maturing into a structure as a family does and also as our personal identity does.

The Chinese Oracle

The family.
The importance of the woman develops.


The central value of the female element is both growing and causing development in the whole, the family. It is the female attributes that become important, the feeling mode that creates the family as a unit, although of course the wife is central in the family also.


The pattern
Opposites alternate in harmony,
gently maturing.
For humans
The taming of fire made home.
The fire of opposites dancing together
becomes life rhythm.
The young and hesitant grow mature.
The fluid pattern of family life
grows firm, even rigid.
In nature
Sun and rain.
nature grows and ripens.
In forms we make
The ordering of things
so each plays its part
establishes order in the whole.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

Activity from within is the essence and harmony in relationship, it comes from the shared reality and so is not in contest. Here it is activity that is shared and so helps to develop relationship.

The Chinese Image
The family is enclosed (regulated).
Regret disappears.

Enclosure separates the unit from the “other”, it creates the unit. The search for “the other” is satisfied so regret disappears in the relationship of complementary parts.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

We are not looking for new feeling from the life force, not making feeling out of it but attending to daily matters.

The Chinese Image
She does not attend to separate matters
but to the preparation of food.
Continuance in this brings good fortune.

If intuitive feeling is active it is interpreting the life force to guide the growth of identity but here identity has all it requires within it (within the family) and attending to this brings the good fortune.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

Forming the whole, whether in family or personal self, requires activity to be within an enclosed structure. Here the activity tends to go outside.

The Chinese Image
When family members are at variance the confrontation may bring regret and danger but then good fortune.
If the woman and children do not take this seriously there is regret.

Confrontation comes when partners in relationship strengthen their separate role and relate outside. Only the separate can relate yet relating brings separate parts together, so confrontation is a basic need in relating; if, however, feeling does not take this fact seriously the structure of relationship is no longer enclosed and for the “family” this causes regret.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Here we are becoming less concerned with a lack of outer activity, we are not looking for nourishment there because it already exists inside. This is to be centred.

The Chinese Image
Enriching the family.
Great good fortune.

The enrichment is from turning inwards so it is not about external wealth but the flow of internal relationships in feeling.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Our intuitive feeling attracts our attention. There is a looking around for new identification which is threatening to the family.

The Chinese Image
The king’s influence comes to his family.
Do not be troubled.
Good fortune.

The king rules and holds the kingdom together, so here the worry of independent parts breaking up the unit of interrelationship is unfounded.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

The life force emerging into relationship (line 1) is yang, which is to say undefined energy, and here we are trusting in this, basing our being upon it. We trust the bonds which make the parts whole without questioning how or why, which lays the foundation for sound sharing of outer experience and makes it possible to share within ourself. It is necessary for sharing parts to recognize their common root—their part in it.

The Chinese Image
Arrayed like a king.
Good fortune in the end.

Sincerity being within the family it grows an identity, we identify within it, and this is like a king because it rules the way we are; when the parts identify in the whole (in this case the family) they no longer need to be stating their separateness and this is the good fortune at the end of the formation of the family.