4/10/20

Hex.40-27, smiling

Jiě (hex.40) and Yí (hex.27)

A week ago I was depressed. Not severely, just a few days. After a lot of stress, when everything is solved and fine again, your mind still has to process a lot, and it rollercoasters up and down, from relief to sadness and back again. I asked Yi for advice. I got 40 lines 5 and 6 - 27.

I started to ponder about those lines. But then I looked at 27, and there in my website I had put a small note about a word with yi, jaws, in it: jieyi.
Smiling. That is what jieyi means. But I was smiling as well. 

No need to look any further. The spell of the depression was broken, and in the days after that, I have been working hard on the Yi-website, with a lot of joy. And in the garden, also with a lot of joy. And in general been living with a lot of joy.
One word can change a lot.

The magic turtle of hexagram 27


Hex.27, jaws

Hexagram 27 is about sustenance. The food you need, both physically and spiritually, but also all those things you need in order to stay alive and healthy. They can be 'things', but also intangible stuff like joy or motivation. You have to fight for all those things, because you are the one who is responsible for your own life. But you also have a responsibility for the lives of those you are connected with. Nobody is an island.

The bottom line of 27 says: "The magic turtle abandons you and you contemplate me moving jaws. Pitfall."

A hexagram pair has lines which have some connection. They are each other upside-down, so the bottom line of the first has a connection with the top line of the second and so on. But when you turn 27 upside-down, you get 27... And that means that the bottom- and top line of 27 are connected.

The top line of 27 says "The source of jaws: danger. Auspicious. Fruitful to wade the great stream."

Where can you find your magic turtle? In your spirit, your mind, your feelings. The bottom line is close to the earth. Your feet, impulses, the strength to act, nothing very spiritual. You have to look for it high up in your mind, or maybe even beyond that. The tortoise is 'magic', not tangible, like thoughts and inspiration are 'magic'. Invisible and yet very powerful.

When you turn 27 upside down, the bottom line moves to the top. And there you find the answer for the whereabouts of your motivation. Your mind or spirit or feelings are the home of magic.
Fruitful to cross the great stream - new impressions, people or landscapes are a great help in finding inspiration.

Turtles live in the water, but the magical ones can ascend to the moon, which is also connected with water. It is the element of your feelings, which is also the home of motivation and inspiration.

Shenshu poem 053 The moon-toad
You have to put forth effort
Not travel far
With a long rod you fish in the cave of the moon-toad 
With dedicated desire you catch the giant turtle Áo in the center of the clouds

41, decrease and non-decrease

Not decrease increase it

In the second and the top line of hexagram 41 it says 弗損益之 "not decrease increase it". Fu, 弗, is a different 'not' than 無 or 无 (wu, without) or 不 (bu, not).
Fu is more like 非, fei, 'non-'. Non-decreasing, like the absence of decreasing. If you want something to grow in a healthy way, you should obviously not decrease it.

An exception is when things grew in a wrong way. Usually because 'something' increased or decreased them in the past. Then it is sometimes posible to mend the damage by reversing this.

On the other hand, when you try to help nature along a little bit, like helping a chick to come out of its egg or a butterfly out of its chrysalis, you will harm it.

So 'increase' is not right either. Non-decreasing is letting things happen by themselves. The way they do it naturally.

Non-decreasing gives nature the power to increase things. They can grow the way their inborn capacities demand them to. A tree can spread its branches, make strong roots, adapt to the spot where it happens to germinate. But when you water it daily, it will not send its roots deep enough to survive a dry hot summer on its own.

When you increase or decrease you carry out an act, you interfere with the nature of things.

Non-decreasing is being reverent. Giving things the freedom to grow the way they are meant to grow. 

Zhong, center, hitting target


Zhong means center, to be in the center, middle, among, medium, halfway. Pronounced as zhòng: to hit the target, to be struck. It is a picture of a pole with a banner, or maybe an arrow, in the middle of a circle.

In the Yi zhong is part of the name of hexagram 61, but in the other hexagrams there are only six places where it occurs. Two of them refer to the sun in the center of heaven: noon.
Center of the forest in hex.3 line 3 is its most simple use.

Three occurences are about 'moving central': 24 line 4 and 42 lines 3 and 4. Moving central can be 'going halfway', 'avoiding any excess', but also 'moving in the center'

Moving in the center is being one with what one does, or following the 'road of the mean', a combination of 'being one with what one does' with 'avoiding any excess'.

China is 'The Middle Kingdom', Zhongguo: the country situated in the center of the earth. Where you are is always the center of the earth: it stretches in all directions around you.

Very interesting is the meaning of 'hitting target' (see Kunst 1985), which expands 'moving central'. You are not only staying in between two extremes, but 'hitting target' while doing it.

Zhong on Oracle Bones

The maiden of hexagram 54

歸 妹


Nobody wants to get hexagram 54. The poor maiden who has has no say whatever in her life, who has to adapt to things which have nothing to do with her own wishes. They are wrong!

The younger sister of emperor Yi in hex.11 line 5 is also a 'marrying maiden'. She married Wen, and became the mother of a dynasty which lasted for centuries.
She linked the two families together, bringing the ancestors of the powerful Shang dynasty into the small clan of the Zhou. She was an important reason of their success.

Right from the start an important task is assigned to her. She has to care for the succession of the generations. One of her tasks is to look after the house-altars. Making sure the ancestors are well cared for, so they will be beneficial for the family and its successors.
It is a token of her importance. She is an essential link in the succession from one generation into the next. She brings the new family members but she also brings the support of the ancestors into the happiness and success of the family, she connects her own ancestors with those of the family.

The lower trigram of 54 is trigram Lake. It also can be a marsh, where innumerable creatures connect, exchange, fight for space and depend on each other.
The upper trigram is Thunder, the lifegiver, energy, birth and impregnation. The start of a new time is very important for the success and endurance of everything which comes after.

For every big idea or enterprise you need a creative beginning. Most things or ideas already exist, but sometimes someone puts two things together and creates a third. It is the basis of big firms, of art, of a family, of anything you bring into the world which can last for a long time.

Hex.54 tells you to listen and to adapt. To examine and care for what came before and to nurture what grows. If this small beginning is treated right, it can grow beyond your own scope.
"The noble one, through the eternity of the end, understands the transitory."

Hexagram 43, "Raise your staff"

The judgment of 43 in Wilhelm's translation:
Break through. One must resolutely make the matter known at the court of the king.

A more literal translation: Breakthrough raise at king's court. This sounds as if Guai is an object. Another pronunciation of this character is jué.
The oracle-bone character seems to show two hands holding a large U shape. Such an almost circular jade ring was called a 玦 jué.

In ancient times the jué symbolized authority, or cutting off a relationship. An archer’s thumbring was also called a 玦 jué.
Meanings: the finger which loosens the bow: cutting loose or cutting off, resolute, decisive. Karlgren: “the bursting loose of the bow string”.

This token of authority, of the right to decide, was "raised at the King's court". 庭 This character is c omposed of  廴 ‘journey’ and 壬, which represents a 人 person standing on the 土 ground.

At the court is the assembly where people with authority can speak up, where the king speaks and listens and where decisions are made.

'Breakthrough' is both the decision (the river breaking through a dam, the bowstring being released), and also the authority to do so.

"A person standing on the ground"

Standing your ground can be the moment of making yourself heard or of making the decision. It can also be of a more durable kind: living your life the way you decide to, making your own decisions, being who you are despite influences.

It is often not easy to find the right way. Many situations are difficult to evaluate. There are no rules about when to be resolute and when to withdraw for the time being.

Trigram Heaven below or inside means, you know the rules of Heaven, they can guide you.
Trigam Lake or Marsh above means it is a matter of social rules or surroundings. Your decisions define your place in them.

12/7/19

The pattern of hexagram 29

I was browsing through a book, which had been recommended to me. "In search of excellence", by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman. Just opening it at random, a page here, a page there, to figure out if it would make sense to start reading. It seemed such a huge amount of words, and there is so much else to do...

On one of the pages, I got intrigued. Someone, who was in search of artificial intelligence, studied the problem of programming computers to play chess. He started out assuming that it could be played on a rational basis, but had to abandon that idea. The computer would need something like a century to calculate all possible moves.

So instead, he investigated what good chess players do. He asked them to look at a half-way chess game, just for a very short period, like 10 seconds. They could recall the locations of virtually all the pieces. Players of one rank below the best players scored a lot lower. But the masters could not remember where the pieces were, if they were placed on the board at random. So something else than short-time memory had to be at work.

He believed that the 'something else' was, that the masters had highly developed long-term memories, in the form of subconsciously remembered patterns. He called it chess "vocabularies". The class A players had a memory of around 2,000 patterns, but the masters of around 50,000 patterns.

The mark of the true professional in any field is the rich vocabulary of patterns, developed through years of education and especially through years of experience.

I had to think of hexagram 29, water repeated. The character translated as 'repeat' also means skill, routine, learning something by training or exercise.

Hex.29
 The great image says:
君子 noble one
以 use
常德 constant virtue 
行 move, perform
習 repeat, exercise, habit, expertise in a certain field
教事 teach events

 repeat, is the character at the top. A pair of wings (= to fly) and sun (or day). 

Years ago I read another book, "Das sensible Chaos" by Schwenk. It seems that water has a memory for patterns. That goes for the streams in the oceans, but just as well for the water in our bodies. 

The pit, a place of danger, but maybe also the huge reservoir of everything we learned through 'repeating', seeing or doing it again and again, experience.

"The noble man moves according to principles and virtue", both might have a lot to do with patterns which proved effective, and which make up that reservoir. 


And finally it might be the answer to 'how' people read the Yijing for others. Some know the rules, what comes first, what then. Others have developed patterns. And for working with patterns, the thinking mind has to be silent, and let the memory do the talking.