676666 · 7.1.3.4.5.6Hexagram 7

Many forms within one.

Line image

The only inactive line in this hexagram is that concerning intuitive feeling, direct awareness of our circumstances; without this awareness of the “other” we are insensitive to feelings other than our own, which is necessary to the way the tao operates. The common name of the hexagram is “the army” and an army could not fight if it was aware of and sensitive to the feelings of the other, its enemy; we do not have any real awareness of another’s feelings unless we can share them. This single yang line 2 also gives conditions for dispassionate, pragmatic judgement such as the professional soldier has.

Trigram image

At the base of the hexagram we have doubt and an inability to flow outwards and then a forceful outer action which overcomes this obstruction and permits movement again. The outcome of this is often unpleasant and disruptive but this violence is compensating for a lack of ability to flow.

Whether this effect is showing in our personal or collective identity, our difficulty with this pattern is that by its nature, its movement goes too far; an army that rights wrongs and then stops is rare, more often there is vengeance, so to control the situation, discipline is necessary.

The Chinese Oracle

The army.
Perseverance.
Strong leadership.
Good fortune not error.

Comments

For individual or social identity to maintain itself these qualities are necessary. As in an army, there has to be an indisputed leader and coherent action. That this is good fortune and not error needs to be said because so much strict dominance has a bad name, its power being abused throughout the whole history of identities. Power and dominance are not in themselves evil (narrowing) but may easily be used by the narrow; perseverance in following the tao makes the leader a vital link in a chain instead of the despot he may otherwise become.

Manifestations

The pattern
An appearance everywhere
of activity without rest.
A rising,
collecting together of like.
many effects without a single cause.
For humans
Pervaded by one motivation
all fields of our activity
take their form.
In nature
From pressure in the earth
out of every crevice
growth comes.
In forms we make
From a single control
the mass obeys.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

In this tao of forceful outer action, it is important that we assess the outer situation correctly or the force we use will be destructive only. The outer situation depends upon inner energy emerging in this line so we note that this energy is becoming inactive.

The Chinese Image
The army requires correct orders or there is disaster.

The “orders” or the ordering of our action need to take account of the life force. With the life force creating less change, we need to be in firm control of our forcefulness so that it does not go beyond what the situation requires.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Here we expand our awareness of the tao by feeling both inner and outer, both the life force and its outer effects (as the three top lines are all accepting).

The Chinese Image
The general is in the centre of his army.
The king makes three awards.

The number three, meaning change, here shows that a change in our approach is the outcome, or award, of this moving line.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Here we become less active in a situation which requires activity. We are perhaps applying a rule we have learned which is against aggressive action, some conditioning. No rule applies to all situations and what we need in action is spontaneous response as well as experience to guide us. Experience comes from the dead past whereas the present is alive and changing.

The Chinese Image
The army waggons carry corpses.
Misfortune.

The past is dead, it cannot change to meet circumstances and the warrior requires spontaneous reactions to avert disaster. This is our situation also; our progress depends upon our present awareness, not rules we have learned.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Identity withdraws its interest from the outer world. This is not to say that our activity ceases but that our identification in the activity lessens.

The Chinese Image
The army withdraws.
No blame.

It may serve us better if we are not immersed in the outer battles. We may see more clearly if we are not.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

A difficult situation arises as we become less aware that our intuition is not active so that our present reading of our situation is governed solely by rules we learned in the past.

The Chinese Image
Wild beasts in the field.
There is advantage in catching them.
No error.
The elder leads the army and the younger carries corpses.
Continuing brings misfortune.

For the inner interpretation, the wild beasts are rampant autonomous feelings which we need to bring under control so that we do not commit errors. The elder is our older (past) experience which is in control of the situation while the younger and present experience is saddled with all these dead ideas or feelings. Continuing in the old way will bring misfortune.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

When our inner being, our ongoing self, changes less in this tao the forceful reaction to being blocked has completed itself.

The Chinese Image
A prince builds up his domain.
A man of low ability would be useless.

In this context, the man of low ability is one who has little control so that not much cohesion comes to the inner self. The prince, or young king symbolizing new identifications, has to be able to bring our various aspirations into one picture after the disruption.

Secondary HexagramHexagram 1

Responses to creative potential.

Line image

Here there is no activity to be experienced, all the energy of the life force is in a quiet state which we call potential (or potentially active as we feel activity to be more real and important). The non-active is, however, not only an absence of activity, it is a real state in its own right, an expansion of what we consider to be real; activity on the other hand contracts and sharpens what we experience to be real until we “actualize” a reality, making experience.

This selectivity which is the action of having a point of view forms our identity which in turn selects; thus out of the nothingness of Ch’ien creation comes.

Hexagrams 1 and 2 picture unselective non-doing and unselective doing and so neither has a point of view or pattern; these come from selected mixtures of doing and non-doing.

When we cast this hexagram, we are in a tao of unselective non-doing, so our situation is not cast in a shape and has great possibilities which are not at present actualized. The tao is to experience this state as a real way of being so we should not create activity so as to get out of it as soon as possible. Action will follow of its own volition; here we can experience and practise non-doing and see what it creates.

Trigram image

We cannot distinguish the flow of Ch’ien because there is no point of view here, which is needed to distinguish anything, yet it contains flows in their unmanifest form, or formlessness. It is like the raw material from which our world is formed, or the whole reality in which identity selects paths to travel upon.

Before we make a new path for ourselves, we will do well to savour this time in Ch’ien. We can see from the trigram flow analysis that each of our normally active-seeking functions need to relax their effort; from this silence, we may be able to hear things that our noise would otherwise obscure. In this way, Ch’ien creates without any effort and produces no stress.

The Chinese Oracle

The creative principle.
Sublime success.
Continuance furthers.

Comments

The sublime success of the creative element is its inevitability, so when we are one with this tao there is an inevitability about our actions also. Perseverance is needed in following the tao or we may think that we are creating (indeed we usually do think this) and then we try to lead events instead of following the life force with our actions. Following the tao is a constant theme of the oracle. Following creates the wholeness, leading creates the ten thousand things, but in either case we do not stand aside—we take part in creation.

Manifestations

The pattern
The creative power is ready.
Awaits your sympathy
like a new page.
For humans
His decision, what form evolves.
He is the king,
head of his household.
The world awaits the karma
which is his endowment.
In nature
The sun warms the earth.
What will grow?
Everything there is to flow
and overflow.
In forms we make
The form is not yet.
Riches are liquid, uncrystallized.
The state has power.
Its will is to be something.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

It is the deep emerging life force that is showing activity, so it is not yet time for us to manifest this—that will come in due course. Having deep knowing that this activity is there helps us to restrain our impatience for action, and holding this like a secret love in our heart is part of the richness of this tao.

The Chinese Image
Hidden dragon. Do not act.

The dragon is an ominous symbol, it is a dynamic expression of the life energy which, here, is still hidden from conscious manifestation.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Here, activity begins to show in our feelings, which are our earliest manifestation of the life force, but we need to avoid narrowing this down to action too soon; keep it open and feel, for this is the tao of creation itself and if we do not interpose with our own pattern, we are privileged to know ourselves as part of the inevitable. In practice, we keep our options open.

The Chinese Image
Dragon in the open. It is an advantage to see the great man.

The life energy is in the open because it is manifesting in our feeling and it benefits us to experience this widely; to see the great man is to attend to our greater awareness. In terms of the oracle greatness is always wideness, including more—it is not power.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

In the tao of the creative there is great power and when this comes to manifestation, we may feel overburdened by it if we think it is we who are doing it. This only brings on unnecessary worry, but if we remember that taking part is not taking possession, there is no danger in this line.

The Chinese Image
All day the superior man is busy and at night his mind is active. Danger, no error.

The day symbolizes the activity in the world and the night a withdrawal of activity to the inner. The superior man is the one who follows the tao, and the danger to him (to our following the tao) is over-involvement, yet we have to be involved. There is no dividing line here to observe, hence the danger.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

Here we interest ourselves in the inactivity of line 3 and we may be tempted to be intentionally inactive, but this is doing and not in keeping with this tao of the creative doing itself. It is necessary to fall effortlessly into the activity of the creative, which is neither being active nor withholding activity.

The Chinese Image
To and fro on the brink of a chasm.
No error.

The chasm is this void that happens when we discount ourselves, trying not to do. Here we hesitate to relax because we feel the need to control even our inactivity. Identity feels threatened by not doing and this is part of its nature, not an error or failure on our part.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Here we are identifying ourselves with unchanging feeling (line 2). We have difficulty in identifying with the non-active as there seems to be nothing there.

The Chinese Image
Dragons flying in the heaven.
It is an advantage to see the great man.

Dragons are the flow of earth energy—things we normally identify with—and here our identifications are out of place unless heaven itself (Ch’ien) can be felt.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

To accept ourselves as the life force and tao is to confuse ourselves with the whole—in the tao of the creative we then think we are the creators.

The Chinese Image
Arrogant dragon. Regret.

It is particularly contrary to this tao for us to take charge of things. We are then deprived of the experience of the creative itself; we only experience ourselves.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 24

Return and make new.

Line image

Our whole personal self is accepting and active in this tao where the outer is fully active but its source, line 1, is inactive. We are fully acting out and experiencing a phase of the life force which has now ceased to provide new impetus—we are carrying through something we have already begun. This heralds the end of a cycle of activity because all of our activity comes from the inner and is expressed outwardly. The hexagram is called “return” or “turning point”.

Trigram image

The impetus from the inner life force is great (Chên). It flows freely in our outer world, in our identity, and in our inner being (all K’un). The flow is fully outwards and fully accepted, a clearing out operation in which energy returns to its source, the inner, which makes it also a turning point in the cycle, an emptying out which makes room for the new to appear.

The Chinese Oracle

Return. Success.
Going and coming without distress.
Friends come without error
and he returns in seven days.
All directions are advantageous.

Comments

Here the cycle is pictured as a coming and going, its free flow being the success and harmony. He relates for the full cycle of identifying (7 symbolizes the cycle as seen in consecutive steps like the days of our week) and then returns to his centre, the inner, the non-identified state. When we go through the outer experience and allow it to finish when it has no more energy all directions are favourable because none are selected or grasped.

Manifestations

The pattern
That which arises
returns to its source.
For humans
To the place where we have been
we return.
To the mood we have lived
we return.
But returning is arising anew.
In nature
The nature of nature in the earth
at the moment of interchange.
In forms we make
Returning to a form we reform it
and make it new.
By this the form of society evolves.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

As the top line of the hexagram is accepting this line, it is not we who see the life force as becoming active, it is itself returning to an active phase already and we do not have difficulty in making things anew.

The Chinese Image
A return from a short journey
No regret.
Great good fortune.

Life force activity returns from a short journey, a short time away; there was not a great trough of inactivity to cause us regret and our normal urge to activity is in keeping with the tao, which brings harmony to our actions and is the great good fortune.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

When we do not interpret the life force in feeling we are not separated from it by our selection; this is in keeping with the free flow we are in.

The Chinese Image
A quiet, blessed return.
good fortune.

We react to the tao without fuss or stress. Whenever we can be one with the tao we are blessed with good fortune.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

In this situation of finishing off a cycle of activity it is necessary to completely finish or there are remainders, karma is made which will still need expression; these retained forms are habit.

The Chinese Image
Many returns. Danger.
No error.

The cycles come and go and if we are slaves to our habits we repeat ourselves; this is the danger. No blame because in habit we cannot see ourselves.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

Here we project ourselves less into outer activity in a tao which is the end part of a cycle of the life force; this has the effect of centring us, making us more one in ourselves.

The Chinese Image
He moves in the midst of them
and returns alone.

By choosing the middle way, not identifying in the outer nor the inner, the multitude we are becomes a whole, returning alone is returning as one.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

At the turning point where old activity of the life force is spent and new is about to arrive we remove our involvement from the old, now silent and gone. This is in preparation for a new cycle.

The Chinese Image
A noble return. No regret.

The nobleness of this return is symbolic of the withdrawal of self interest, of priority to the way we are feeling, allowing it to die away with a readiness to take on something new. As this opens out into new activity in the coming cycle there is no regret.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

If we become less involved in the emerging tao when it is in an inactive phase we are likely to miss the next emergence of activity and be out of phase with it.

The Chinese Image
Confusion about return.
Misfortune.
Armies marching bring defeat.
Disaster for the ruler.
Ten years without return to order.

It is self-evident that if we do not recognize that we are at a turning point of the cycle and press on, we shall miss the changes that are taking place and all our responses will be inappropriate. We will be ruled by desire patterns of our already formed identity, so disaster is stated for the ruler (the identifying process is the ruler of identity). If the turning point of the cycle is completely ignored nothing can be done about it until the next turning point, a complete cycle away and symbolized by ten, the whole, and year, the cycle.