878668 · 7.4.5Hexagram 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 47

Exhaustion of activity.

Line image

Our outer responses (lines 4 and 5) are quiet and so is our intuitive feeling (line 2), so although there is activity to be experienced shown in lines 1 and 3 we are not responding to it. This pictures the common name of the hexagram, which is “exhaustion”. Our inner being is accepting the activity of the emerging tao so activity will return, but for now we have exhausted our responses to our circumstances.

Trigram image

Energy emerges into manifestation in the image of K’an; low energy, low flow. In the outer world it is tentative (Li) and enters a structured identity (Sun); all this is a weak energy flow, although in the inner being there is an expectation of activity (Tui) for future outer action.

The direction in which we have been going has lost its impetus, has become exhausted. Identity itself only feels exhausted when it is identified with an exhausted activity such as this and is not able to let it rest.

The Chinese Oracle

Exhaustion restricts,
leads to success
through continuance by the great man.
No error, but words spoken are not believed.

Comments

Continuing to see reality more widely and less restricted by the choices of desire is the way of the great man which opens to new ways where energy is flowing. We have identified ourselves in something where the life force is exhausted but words will not be believed because identification, by its very nature, restricts our sight in reality so that where we identify, that alone is real. Our conscious mind can understand but does not have much say in where we identify.

Manifestations

The pattern
Basic forces of opposition
change into the firm
through exhaustion
of their activity.
For humans
He misunderstands exhaustion,
“building walls” is exhausted
not the builder.
If he continues higher
he is pretending.
In nature
When the seas boil
in fissures of fire
this is too extreme
for the delicate tissues of life;
but when this force is spent,
life begins.
In forms we make
The completion of a form
is always the condition
for the start of another.
Exhaustion is its signal.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Here we have not changed our role, we see activity diminishing and our tiredness will not leave us until we can change. Resting is not for the purpose of allowing new efforts of the same sort we have been making, it is to empty ourselves of that effort so as to become new again; re-newed.

The Chinese Image
Entangled.
Naked branches in a dark valley.
For three years nothing happens.

The leafless tree is a winter tree and a dark valley is a night-time valley; the activity has gone out of the life force and until this changes, nothing can happen (the symbol three is of change and the year is a complete cycle).

Line 2 goes yin

intuitive feeling more active

When we are very tired we seek not only rest but also relief from tension and this leads us to relax restrictions that we normally impose upon ourselves—we indulge. When we open our feeling in this tao this is probably what we do.

The Chinese Image
Exhaustion and too much meat and drink.
The man with the scarlet sash is just coming.
Sacrifice furthers.
Activity brings misfortune
but there is no error.

Compensating ourselves for our circumstances is indulgence. If we are to benefit from the next turn of events (the man with the scarlet sash, an important one) this activity should be sacrificed or we miss, which is misfortune, but if we have not eyes to see it, it cannot be an error.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Here we withdraw from outer activity, but as our outer activity is our contact with the “other” we isolate ourselves; when we do this our circumstances appear to oppose us.

The Chinese Image
Exhausted by rock.
Leans upon thorns.
Enters his house and does not see his wife.
Misfortune.

Exhaustion by rock; rock underlies the surface soil as truth underlies appearances, and truth represents “what is”; here we are exhausted by battling against what is, not accepting our circumstances, and so pain ourselves unnecessarily. In our personal self, our house, we are not aware of our intuitive feeling (the wife) and so do not see our circumstances as the truth would see it.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

We turn our attention to outer activity to find something new, recognizing that what we were doing is exhausted.

The Chinese Image
A slow arrival, exhausted in a golden carriage.
Some humiliation but he arrives.

Gold is an outer value and here we are carried by outer values, always looking for the new within these same values and so always exhausted; but continually looking for the new will eventually lead us to new values, a change in us. This is why the arrival is slow.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

Here we come to experience our exhaustion of feeling; if we can witness this without trying to act upon it we may see that it is our chosen tao that is exhausted, not our being which belongs to the great tao and is never exhausted.

The Chinese Image
His nose and feet are cut off.
Opposition to the man with the scarlet sash.
Joy come slowly.
Sacrifice is needed.

The nose leads the direction we face and the feet lead the direction we take; both are frustrated, cut off. We are in opposition to a greater truth, our truth is too small and when we cease our attachment to it, joy, flow, will return.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

If we had let go earlier we would not be exhausted; here we are too exhausted to accept the energy of the life force.

The Chinese Image
Exhausted by entanglement with creepers.
Moves unsurely and says he regrets it.
If the regret is genuinely felt his movements bring good fortune.

The creeping plants hold us only because we entangle ourselves with them (we say of habits that they grow on us). Not knowing how our desires creep into actions we cannot act with decision to dissociate ourselves from them. Feeling the regret genuinely is to feel the actual situation, not just regretting the discomfort we are in.

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.