886676 · 8.3.4.6Hexagram 8

The Diverse.

Line image

The fifth line is the only one that is yang, showing that we are not noticing our intuitive feel of our situation. The intuitive feel is there actively (line 2), and we are not interpreting it, judging it, making consequences from it.

As all the other lines are yin or actively carrying out their functions, this is the state of “witnessing” where we experience naturally—including experiencing ourselves—but we do not make consequences (which come from interpreting what we feel and so taking up an attitude). The common name of the hexagram is “union” or “unity” which is the effect witnessing has upon our personal self; no part has the opportunity to take charge of identity.

Trigram image

The effect of witnessing is to lessen further growth of our separate individuality because, as the trigram flow shows, we participate in activities of feeling and doing but do not relate these to our feelings of self—we witness that these things happen although we do not do them with intention. This halts the growth of our separate reality as the trigram K’an shows in the top place.

Witnessing is an act of active meditation whose only characteristic is that the feelings we have of reality are not taken as our own person but as something that is happening; allowing this, we change the perspective of our reality—yet it is not an aim, it is experiencing the life flow without aim.

The Chinese Oracle

Unity, coalescence.
Good fortune.
Enquire again for signs. No error.
The troubled join together,
those who are too late have misfortune.

Comments

In the process of witnessing, no part is allowed to take charge, the absence of acting out consequences makes sure of this. The result is an equality in the different aspects of our identity—all become equally available and as there is no contest, this is unity or collection of the parts into an effective whole. Here is the good fortune.

Making this unity is a very individual act depending upon our make-up so a new enquiry is needed for advice on how to proceed; this is natural and not due to an error.

In this process of unification, the parts which are coming together are troubled, worried at losing their right to possess identity each in turn as they have been used to; however, by witnessing they are joined. Any that stay separate must be lost to this new unified whole.

Such is the basic inner interpretation. This is of course reflected in our outer happenings, which bear a symbolic likeness; it is this likeness that causes us to say that the outer world is a projection of the inner, but it is more that it happens in sympathy, in resonance.

Manifestations

The pattern
Activity from the indivisible one
becomes high and low,
the still and the flowing.
For humans
Where we are diverse
we have need to complement one another.
Where we need to overcome an obstacle
we co-operate.
When divided in ourselves
we need to ask for guidance.
In nature
A mountain rises from the land,
beyond is water in the deep.
In forms we make
He who sits on high
is able to see land and water
and provide what is lacking
from one to another.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

We witness our life energy as being inactive and this inactivity is rather irksome to us, so at first our witnessing is not very fulfilling; we need to have confidence however because not only will our energy become active as the cycle moves but we will also find that witnessing the silence is something great in itself.

The Chinese Image
Unity with confidence is without fault, like a bowl that is full.
Good fortune will be added.

The good fortune that appears as a bonus is our realization of stillness; this happens when we have enough confidence in our inner being existing like a bowl that is full without overspilling into outer projections.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Our witnessing is about not acting on feelings, just letting them be there, and here feeling becomes less when it is not stimulated by interest.

The Chinese Image
Unity originates from the inner.
Continuance in the way brings good fortune.

The action of the life force in this lower half of the hexagram is from inner to outer, which is the process of distinguishing or manifesting; the normal channel of this flow is feeling followed by distinguishing the outer consequences. As we are forgoing these consequences we concentrate on their inner source, and even when this is inactive we need to continue to witness it, for witnessing is to see what exists without choosing to have or reject.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

Here we stop outer activity in order to witness, and see through the distinguishing mind which stops experiencing in order to look. By stopping what we witness, we do not witness with our whole self and so we form a point of view, which is different from witnessing. Witnessing allows everything to be witnessed without consequence so we do not need a point of view.

The Chinese Image
He joins with the wrong people,
with evil.

Evil is the outcome of narrow awareness always, so here we are joining things together in a narrow way to make unity; externally we will join with people who do the same. It is not necessary to stop activity in order to witness the silence, which is inner, so we are looking in the wrong place.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

We witness by being less involved in the outer world; if this is done without changing the activity, it brings unity to it—it is seen as a whole.

The Chinese Image
Seeking unity outside.
Continuance in the way
brings good fortune.

Continuing to follow the tao brings the good fortune of learning to join without manipulating. As long as we are trying to make something in our outer world “better” we cannot join it—we can observe it but not witness it.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

This opening ourselves to intuitive feeling is the only moving line that also permits the freedom of witnessing, all the others are traps of the mind that are doing witnessing. In feeling, we flow with activity and this shows that witnessing is not an observation of reality but a unity with it.

The Chinese Image
The kings of old in China used beaters on three sides only when hunting game: the game on three sides were trapped but those in front ran free. The citizens need no warning.

The king is the ruler, and our ruler is the identifying process. The process of identifying captures all the ways we try to witness by doing, but not this one which requires no doing, no trapping of the life force. The act of flowing without doing requires that we take no precautions, so the citizens need no warning.

Line 6 goes yang

our inner being accepts less

If we do not witness, there is no realization that although we are separate, we can experience whole. Witnessing is the first learning experience of this.

The Chinese Image
There is no head to the process of unifying. Misfortune.

No head symbolizes no co-ordinating function between our inner being and the outer world; creating unity, or witnessing, is the act of seeing that these are one by dropping our habit of having identity as a separate judge of reality. The misfortune is that we miss unity with a greater reality by keeping our own separate one.

Secondary HexagramHexagram 33

Withdrawal.

Line image

The emerging life force is active and so is our feeling of it (lines 1 and 2), the rest of the lines are yang so there is no support for going forward in outer activity and also no acceptance of our situation. Inasmuch as we cannot accept circumstances which do not allow progress the tao follows its first common name, “retreat”, but if we are able to go with its movement the second name, “yielding” gives a better description.

Trigram image

The emerging energy seeks stillness (Kên) and this turns into unflowing structure in the outer world (Sun). Our identity is inactive and unconcerned (Ch’ien) as also is our inner being; this lack of involvement is part of the yielding aspect of the tao.

The Chinese Oracle

Yielding. Retreat.
Success.
Continuance in small matters
brings advantage.

Comments

When it is unsuitable to go in one direction we can go in another only if we are not totally locked into the desire for the first. Small matters or large ones are classified according to our choices and desires, so the direction in which we wished to go, and are prevented from advancing towards, is a large matter for us and other directions which hold no desire are small matters.

The advantage in continuing movement in these other directions is that they too contain experience; the success in this tao is in yielding to our circumstances and so finding new worlds we had not noticed because of our singleness of purpose.

Manifestations

The pattern
There is no movement outward.
Restraint where action might be
and a quiet withdrawal.
Outside forces are not opposed.
For humans
There is no judgement on retreat.
It is the natural flow.
To oppose now
is opposing our own pattern.
To fight is weaponless.
In withdrawing
the return is creative.
In nature
Deer grazing in a clearing.
Prowling cats.
There are more shadows in the forest.
In forms we make
When we have not the means
we cannot seek ends.
Rather use what is at hand.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

If we have no active life energy even retreat is impeded, slow, or left too late.

The Chinese Image
The tail of withdrawal.
Danger.
No goal has advantage.

If we identify ourselves with the rearguard of retreat we are clearly retreating from something we still desire; it is dangerous because this goal is not attainable.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

When we attach our identity too firmly to a direction and cannot advance there is shock which turns retreat into defeat in our minds. When in shock identity retreats into itself, shortens its boundaries to consolidate its realness.

The Chinese Image
Held fast.
Yellow oxhide.
Cannot be released.

Oxhide is tough and strong; yellow is active, being near the peak of our eye sensitivity; the desire for activity is so strong it holds us bound in our desire for certain results from our circumstances.

Line 3 goes yin

outer world changes more

Our desired outer activity is identity-forming and here yielding is not desired by identity and is held up by our activity. Identity is too fixed in its ideas to accept retreat.

The Chinese Image
Constrained retreat.
Distress and danger.
Nourishing those who serve
is fortunate.

Our identity is served by our intuitive feel of our circumstances and our definition of these feelings; when we are focused upon a particular outer activity these servants are neglected sometimes, but it is they who distinguish our situation so that we do not act inappropriately.

Line 4 goes yin

accepting the outer state more

Here we accept the inactivity shown by line 3, so we are recognizing our circumstances.

The Chinese Image
Retreat despite desire.
Good fortune for the superior man.
The inferior man cannot achieve it.

The superior man has a wider view and inferior is narrowing; following the tao by accepting our circumstances despite desire widens our view of our situation, but if our view were narrow we could not feel the sense of this.

Line 5 goes yin

more awareness of intuition

We have come to recognize the feeling of the life force and being open to this enables us to yield willingly, seeing it as right and not only necessary.

The Chinese Image
Admirable retreat.
Continuance brings good fortune.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

When we identify ourselves with the life force we become one with our circumstances and so yield perfectly where appropriate without opposition anywhere.

The Chinese Image
A noble withdrawal.
Everything is favourable.

The noble is well-bred; the well-bred is perfectly balanced.

Nuclear HexagramHexagram 23

Solitude.

Line image

The only yang line is in the place of our inner being where we are not accepting all the free flow of the other lines. Our inner being is standing apart, separated from outer experience. Outer identification is not accepted.

Trigram image

All is freely flowing (K’un) until we reach our inner being where Kên shows silence and meditation on events, not participation.

The Chinese Oracle

Splitting.
No objective is favourable.

Comments

It is not favourable to have objectives when identity is divided from the inner self because all the directions that can attract us involve us more in the separate outer reality which is not being accepted by the whole personal self; any identification we make causes us to split further. There are however important chances of change and discoveries to be made in this tao about the way we are identifying.

Manifestations

The pattern
When inner reality
forsakes all outer activity
We contemplate in solitude.
For humans
When there are no bonds
things do not remain together.
In nature
To spin a cocoon
heralds inner change
and chrysalis.
In forms we make
Each into himself,
each unto himself,
leaves nothing to share.

Changing Lines

Line 1 goes yang

life force shows less change

Because our outer identifications are not being accepted by our inner self, the source, the emerging life force, withers away.

The Chinese Image
The leg of the bed breaks.
Not continuing in the way
brings misfortune.

The bed is where we enter the great unknown and sleep. Here the leg of the bed breaks, which is its connection with the rest of reality. Our identifications, our conscious interests, are somehow at variance with the way or out of tune with our circumstances, too narrowly based.

Line 2 goes yang

intuitive feeling less active

Here we become separate from the flow by ceasing to feel it. Feeling is our meeting with the flow so if we lose feeling in this tao we do not identify in the whole but only in the outer part.

The Chinese Image
The bed frame or edge is broken.
No continuance in the way.
Misfortune.

Here it is the bed frame, its structure, that comes apart. Our feeling of the life force is the base construction of our world reality; without a feeling of manifesting whole reality, our personal reality becomes isolated fragments. This feeling of whole reality we are lacking is the continuance in the way of the great tao.

Line 3 goes yang

outer world changes less

By decreasing outer activity we become more in tune with our inner being which has rejected our identifications out in the world.

The Chinese Image
He separates from all.
No error.

All our identifications are out there in the world, and here we discard them. In this way we separate ourselves from the factors that divided us.

Line 4 goes yang

accepting the outer state less

The most obvious danger in this tao about how we identify is our becoming too externalized and here we seem to realize this and cut off our involvement outside. As our being is at present concentrated in identifying, however, this now slips into identifying the boundary of the inner and outer self.

The Chinese Image
The bed and skin is split.
Misfortune.

The surface of the bed is the layer or skin between the outer reality—where we (identity) lie—and the inner; if consciousness penetrates this boundary it damages the function of identity in manifestation.

Line 5 goes yang

less awareness of intuition

In this tao our identifying leads us astray and our intuitive feeling which is the basis of our identifying is rejected by our inner being. Here our identity gives up following the feeling, seeing it as being in error.

The Chinese Image
A string of fishes.
Favour alike to being at court.
All is advantageous.

Fish are often used to symbolize our identifications (which nourish identity) in the uncharted waters of the whole reality. Here is a string of fishes, on a common thread and the fish are caught, so our identifications threaded together are captured. A court is where the ruler is ruling, and the ruler of identity is the identifying process, so here this act of catching identifications brings favour and advantage in every way.

Line 6 goes yin

our inner being accepts more

Here is a change in the separation depicted by the tao. The inner self witnesses and we have a possibility of realizing the tao, the experience of our self as separate from any identification.

The Chinese Image
A ripe fruit is not eaten.
The superior man has a carriage.
The inferior man loses his habitation.

To see whole we have to leave what we were doing, our identifications, however incomplete they seem to be; this ripe fruit could be eaten but we leave it. Wide-seeing superior man is carried in this, and allowing ourselves to be carried in our circumstances we find that there is more order in our lives, not less; if we do not grasp at life our inner needs take care of themselves. The inferior or narrow reality of chosen identifications has no place to be after this realization, he is not needed.