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.
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 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.
Line 1 goes yanglife 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 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 yinintuitive 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.
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 yangouter 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 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 yinaccepting the outer state more
Here we are accepting a world active in conflict. As we accept it, we do not fight to resolve it.
Here we can see the conflict from outside and so do not take sides. We see that the argument is fruitless.
Line 5 goes yinmore 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.
There can only be conflict when views are narrow—when they are wide they overlap.
Line 6 goes yinour 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 situation in contest changes all the time and this (the number 3) takes our advantage from us. The gains are superficial and transitory.