676866 · 7.1.3.5.6Hexagram 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 9

Using what is small.

Line image

In line 4, the only yin line, we are accepting that there is quietness in our outer world—we experience it directly, physically, and so accept it as real—but we are not experiencing the inactivity of inner energies and our absence of feeling about them so we are prone to expect more than there is available to us.

Trigram image

The emerging flow is tranquil (Ch’ien) but there is a hope or expectation of outer action (Tui). Identity is hesitant to act on this (Li) so our inner being is structured, unflowing (Sun). We learn to change our expectations to suit circumstances in this tao and the common name for the hexagram is “nourishment of the small”; it is part of the maturing of the personal self when the activity of its growth is no longer the only thing that matters.

The Chinese Oracle

Nourishment of the small.
Success.
Dense clouds but no rain
from the west.

Comments

When we are aware that we are nourished by what is small, the success is that we take that nourishment instead of rejecting it for something we see as more important (larger). The clouds presage rain (relief, flow of activity) from the west (maturity, sunset) but this relief is something we are looking for, the effect of maturing has not reached us yet and we are to be content with what progress (success) our situation provides

If we feel disappointed with this it indicates that we are using our energy in anticipation to the detriment of our present experience.

Manifestations

The pattern
Creative tranquility
feels for activity.
Hesitates to move.
A little movement
soon matures.
For humans
To expect more than there is
will lose the value
of what we have.
To savour this little
gives nourishment.
In nature
The sun breaks through the clouds
late in the day,
giving a mellow evening.
If a small fire is blown
it is soon ashes.
In forms we make
Wise government
and good craftsmen
attend to quality.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yin

life force shows more change

At this first sign of activity in this restricting tao, we should not move, the emerging energy that is available will turn out to be too small; so we need to return to the tao of accommodating ourselves to it and thus we learn how to manage this situation.

The Chinese Image
The return to the way is beneficial and blameless.

This may seem to be a setback or error just as we thought we were free to be active, but this is the separate view of identity and not wide enough to take in the situation.

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

Here our feelings open to the tao instead of being in it with resentment; we are willing to play the game that small is beautiful instead of always looking for more.

The Chinese Image
We comply with a need to go back and that is beneficial.

Here, going back is from the point of view of outer identity in which going on means creating more of itself—more clarity of separateness by definition. Here, after hexagram 8, growth takes more subtle forms.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

When we create outer activity that the tao (our circumstances) will not support, this makes a stress in our situation. We are attempting to drive our vehicle but there is no driving power.

The Chinese Image
A carriage or spoked wheel, separated.
Man and wife with eyes averted.

The spokes of a wheel join the inner and the outer, the hub and the rim. The chariot is separated from the wheel, the rim is separated from its hub, the man is separated from his wife. The inner is separated from the outer here because we identify outwards without awareness that our activity is not supported by the life energies.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

If we do not accept the stillness of our outer world (line 3) we itch for activity and lose confidence in following the tao.

The Chinese Image
Confidence.
Blood and fear are no more.
No error.

Confidence in the inner energies, in the tao. Blood is the life flow and if we have confidence we do not lose this energy needlessly and our fear of not having enough disappears. To a part of ourselves, we may seem to be doing too little, so this is answered by the addition of “no error”.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

In this tao intuition is quiet; by accepting this quietness of feeling we also feel the quietness of acceptance. Quiet feeling is open to its environment in a way that active feeling can never be because it already has direction, so our acceptance of what is small in importance to us makes us at one with our situation.

The Chinese Image
Genuine involvement binds his heart to others and enriches his neighbour.

“Bind” is used here not in the sense of restricting but of making a very close relationship. Our neighbours are the circumstances we find ourselves amongst.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

When we accept the lightly manifest energy of this tao it is almost to accept the non-manifest as real. This has dangers to our manifest identity which still has its active cycle to run. We should witness without entanglement.

The Chinese Image
Rain and rest come. Virtue increases.
Even natural action brings peril to women.
The moon is nearly full.
Persistence by the superior man would bring misfortune.

The essence of virtue is that the whole is not led astray by the part. Here the part rests in the whole which is an increase of virtue. For the part to persist in its separate activity, whether of feeling or of distinguishing, will diminish the virtue and we will miss the peak of restfulness (the moon is nearly full); so we do not pursue our situation but simply rest in it.

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.