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Shamanic Wisdom Meets the Western Mind

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Your Daily Companion
For Practical Guidance
Second Expanded And Revised Edition, 2015
By Peter Fritz Walter
Published by Sirius-C Media Galaxy LLC

113 Barksdale Professional Center, Newark, Delaware, USA

©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

This publication may be distributed, used for an adaptation or for deriva-
tive works, also for commercial purposes, as long as the rights of the author
are attributed. The attribution must be given to the best of the user’s ability
with the information available. Third party licenses or copyright of quoted
resources are untouched by this license and remain under their own license.

The moral right of the author has been asserted

Set in Palatino

Designed by Peter Fritz Walter

2nd Edition, Expanded and Revised, 2015

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Business & Economics / Leadership

Publisher Contact Information

Author Contact Information

About Dr. Peter Fritz Walter
About the Author

Parallel to an international law career in Germany, Swit-
zerland and the United States, Dr. Peter Fritz Walter (Pi-
erre) focused upon fine art, cookery, astrology, musical
performance, social sciences and humanities.

He started writing essays as an adolescent and received a
high school award for creative writing and editorial work
for the school magazine.

Upon finalizing his international law doctorate, he studied
psychology and psychoanalysis and started writing both
fiction and nonfiction works.

After a second career as a corporate trainer and personal
coach, Pierre retired as a full-time writer, philosopher and

His nonfiction books emphasize a systemic, holistic, cross-
cultural and interdisciplinary perspective, while his fiction
works and short stories focus upon education, philosophy,
perennial wisdom, and the poetic formulation of an inte-
grative worldview.

Pierre is a German-French bilingual native speaker and
writes English as his 4th language after German, Latin and
French. He also reads source literature for his research
works in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch.

All of Pierre’s books are hand-crafted and self-published,
designed by the author. Pierre publishes via his Delaware
company, Sirius-C Media Galaxy LLC, and under the im-
prints of IPUBLICA and SCM (Sirius-C Media).
In memory of Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930)

A German sinologist, theologian, scholar and missionary
who lived in China for twenty-five years, Richard Wil-
helm has made the first translation for the West of the
Book of Changes, in German entitled ‘I Ging: Das Buch der

This book, the result of a colossal scholarly achievement,
was translated to English by Cary F. Baynes and pub-
lished by Princeton University Press in the United States
in 1950 (Bollingen Foundation). It contains an important
Foreword by Carl Jung.

The author’s profits from this book are being donated to charity.
Preface 13
How this Book Can Help You!

Introduction 31
The I Ching and HeartMath® Research

The Technique 45
A Road Map for Your First Consultation
Watch Your Mood
Get Prepared
Ask Your Question
Make the Hexagram
The Moving Lines
Reading the Hexagrams

Base Structure of the I Ching 51

What is Right Action?
The Men of Old
First Line Yang
Second Line Yang
Third Line Yang
Forth Line Yang
Fifth Line Yin
Sixth Line Yin
Patterns of Change
Mastering Change
The I Ching and Morality
The I Ching and Emotions
The Reflection Pattern
The Karma Pattern
Action Patterns
Three Phases of Action
Non-Action vs. Bold Action

The Hexagrams 111
64 Hexagrams and 384 Lines

1 Qian 113
Yang / Creative Energy / The Active Principle

2 Kun 117
Yin / Adaptive Energy / The Receptive Principle

3 TUN 121
Difficult Begin / Birth Pangs / To Be Stationed

4 MENG 125
Immaturity / Lacking Experience / The Undeveloped

5 XU 129
Waiting Patiently / Stagnation / Hesitation

6 SONG 133
Dispute / Conflict / Inner Struggle

7 SHI 137
The Army / Military Leadership / Collective Power

8 BI 141
Fellowship / Unity / Togetherness

9 XIAO CHU 145
Small Accumulation / Limitation / Incremental Progress


10 LI 149
Conduct / Behavior / Attitude

11 TAI 153
Peace / Harmony / Success

12 PI 157
Obstacle / Adversity / Obstruction

13 TONG REN 161
Fellowship / Community / Uniting with People

14 DA YOU 165
Great Harvest / Power / Abundance

15 QIEN 169
Modesty / Humility / Moderation

16 YU 173
Enthusiasm / Harmony / Expansion

17 SUI 177
Compliance / Following / Diligence

18 GU 181
Correct Corruption / Improve Things / Act Against Decay

19 LIN 185
Advancing / Going Forward / Progress

20 GUAN 189
Contemplation / Stocktaking / Reflection

21 SHI HO 193
Biting Through Hardship / Correction / Reform

22 BI 197
Adornment / Beauty / Grace

23 BO 201
Erosion / Decline / Fragmentation

24 FU 205
Return / Renewal / Revival

25 WU WANG 209
Innocence / Unexpected Happening / Surprise


26 DA CHU 213
Great Potential / Creative Energy / Great Power

27 YI 217
Nourishment / Nutrition / Self-Cultivation

28 DA GUO 221
Critical Mass / Great Excess / Imbalance

29 KAN 225
Watery Depths / Danger / Abyss

30 LI 229
Fire / Synergy / Cooperation

31 XIAN 233
Mutual Attraction / Wooing / Marriage

32 HENG 237
Constancy / Continuation / Perseverance

33 DUN 241
Retreat / Withdrawal / Going Backward

34 DA ZHUANG 245
Power of the Great / Great Strength / Use of Strength

35 JIN 249
Success / Progress / Advancement

36 MING YI 253
Time of Darkness / Ignorance / Difficulty

37 JIA REN 257
Family / The Clan / Group Life

38 KUI 261
Contradiction / Opposition / Disharmony

39 JIAN 265
Obstruction / Obstacle / Difficulty

40 JIE 269
Dissolution of the Problem / Release / Liberation

41 SUN 273
Sacrifice / Decrease / Reduce the Excessive


42 YI 277
Benefit / Increase / Advantage

43 GUAI 281
Resolution / Decisiveness / Rushing Ahead

44 GOU 285
Contact / Encounter / Temptation

45 CUI 289
Congregation / Gathering / Harmonizing

46 SHENG 293
Rising / Progress / Going forward

47 KUN 297
Adversity / Exhaustion / Entrapment

48 JING 301
The Well / Water Hole / Reaching the Water

49 GE 305
Revolution / Reformation / Groundbreaking Change

50 DING 309
Cauldron / Harmonization / Stability

51 ZHEN 313
Force of Thunder / Shock / The Arousing

52 GEN 317
Keeping Still / Impediment / Non-action

53 JIAN 321
Gradual Progress / Step-by-Step Plan / Positive Development

54 GUI MEI 325
The Maiden / Marriage / Subordination

55 FENG 329
Peak / Abundance / Over-Capacity

56 LU 333
The Wanderer / Traveling / On the Road

57 XUN 337
Gentle Wind / Conformity / Submissiveness


58 DUI 341
Joyousness / Enjoyment / Contentment

59 HUAN 345
Scattered / Dispersion / Dissolution

60 JIE 349
Self-Restraint / Limits / Limitation

61 ZHONG FU 353
Inner Truth / Insight / Faithfulness

62 XIAO GUO 357
Predominance of the Small / Restraint / Minor Excess

63 JI JI 361
After Crossing the Water / Already Done / After Completion

64 WEI JI 365
Before Crossing the Water / Not Yet Done / Before Completion

Annex 369
Book Reviews
Books Reviewed

Bibliography 381
Contextual Bibliography

64 Hexagrams 399
A Synopsis

Personal Notes 401

How this Book Can Help You!

There is nothing constant in the universe. All ebb and flow,
and every shape that’s born, bear in its womb the seeds of

—Ovid, Metamorphoses

This book is not only about the I Ching or the age-old
Art of Divination, and it’s not just another interpretation. In
this case it would not bring something new and original to
you, dear Reader. There are now countless books on the
market that extensively explain, annotate and interpret the
ancient Book of Changes, as the I Ching is called by most

The present interpretation of the old wisdom book has
grown with me over the last twenty years. I have consulted
half a dozen of famed interpretations over the years start-
ing with the perhaps most classic one by Richard Wilhelm.

—Richard Wilhelm, The I Ching or Book of Changes, translated by
C. Baynes (1967).

Most of them left me with the discovery that a too nar-
row and ‘literal’ translation of the wisdom book results in
a sort of verbiage that is not of our time, and that can at
times be quite misleading.

In addition, some I Ching editions authored by famous
Taoist masters, such as Hua-Ching Ni, contain their par-
ticular teaching.


—Hua-Ching Ni, The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth

If one is a disciple of their philosophical school or doc-
trine, this may be agreeable, but when that is not the case,
the practical use of the I Ching for your daily divinations is
restricted because you are served a terminology that you
don’t understand.
Last not least, we are living in a modern society today,
and our thinking has switched from a moralizing mode, so
typical for former centuries, to a functional mode.
With the expression ‘functional mode’ I mean that we
today are more inclined to find moralistic reasoning a part
of ‘religious’ sectarian opinions and rather unfit for a per-
son who is spiritually awake, whereas we more easily wel-
come an empirical approach to life that is based on scien-
tific evidence and human experience.
The HeartMath® research that I am going to discuss in
the Introduction is such an approach: it is scientific, yet it
proves age-old wisdom traditions right that say we have
an intelligence of the heart that is different from the intelli-
gence of both our brain and our body. This ‘Heart IQ’ as it
is also called is in my opinion responsible for the fact that
divination works, for it’s our heart which knows what is
right in every moment and for each and every decision.
Thus when we divine, we are doing nothing else than
involving our heart in our decision-making process!


The I Ching has a clear and natural approach to moral-
ity, which means it does not embody a ‘moralizing’ ap-
proach. Taoism is based upon natural or genuine morality
which can be expressed in what has been termed the
‘golden rule’ of not doing to others what you don’t what
others do to you.
For example, the I Ching has nothing against wealth,
but it is not enamored with poverty either; it recommends
to remain simple and to see that our efforts should surpass
a mere striving for comfort, as comfort alone cannot give
meaning to our lives. However, this does not mean that the
I Ching suggests us to stay out of the world or to retire in
the forests. Not at all. The art of living the I Ching teaches
is to stay in the world without becoming entangled with
the world.
Negativity in interpreting the I Ching, which I found in
all and every I Ching edition I was using, even those from
famous scholars from the East or West got me to draft a
radically new and modern interpretation that is using the
vocabulary of our time.
In truth, the I Ching doesn’t divide life in black and
white, as our media so often do. The idea that a ‘punish-
ing’ destiny is looming or that there is a revengeful God
are not in accordance with the philosophical approach of
the old wisdom book. It has to be seen also that especially
for beginners, to receive one of those really negative lines
may cause fear and even shock to you, and this is certainly


not beneficial to your evolution, for we never grow in wis-
dom by fear or shock!
We simply do not learn through fear to better our lives,
and our behavior, but through correct assessment of our
motives of action, and the situation itself.
Also, as my own interpretation of the I Ching focuses
on leadership, the art of leading others through properly
leading self, it is essential to start with a positive mindset,
rather than a fatalistic and superstitious one.
We are far beyond the times when people were consult-
ing fortune tellers; today serious astrologers, numerolo-
gists, cartomancers, and life consultants are changing their
consultancy style from ‘predictive’ to ‘psychological.’

All learning is gradual, and when it involves a change
of basic behaviors, it is incremental. This means that evolv-
ing ‘from chaos to coherence,’ to quote the title of a book I
will be talking about further down, will not be possible

It’s a slow and gradual process; it starts with building
awareness of ‘what is’ in order to move toward a different
way of seeing the world.
In my long years of experience with I Ching editions
that are overly negative, my moving forward in life was of-
ten slowed because of the fear triggered by some really
negative readings; and in some notable extreme cases, I
lost huge amounts of money because the I Ching reading


was absolutely opposite to common sense and my clear intui-
I followed it nonetheless, addicted as I was at the time
to being ‘guided’ and that was a bad idea altogether—and
I tell you these stories not because I think my life is par-
ticularly important, but because they may serve you as a
warning to not do it the way I did it, and thus use divina-
tion to your advantage! In other words, divination has to
be done with reason, with common sense, not in a fatalistic
mood that believes there is only one right solution. Often
in life there are many more options for action than just one,
and many more modalities of how to act correctly.
All belief in ‘fate’ is outdated, based upon an archaic
magic-fatalistic worldview that has no place in a world
governed by science and reason.
For example, when I inherited my family fortune back
in 2000 and my main commercial tenant, an Italian Gelate-
ria, threatened me with not paying the rent for the next
sixth month—8,500 Euros/month—for out of the air if not
unlawful reasons, my first reaction was to go to a lawyer.
I was fortunate enough to have one right at the oppo-
site corner of the street where my property was. She was
not from our region, but from North Germany, a straight-
forward and tall woman with a firm intention and diction,
that you might call a tough career lawyer!
She was exactly what I needed, and I knew it immedi-
ately upon meeting her. She said:


—We have to strike hard, with a heavy blow to these
sunshine guys who want to play rolling skates with you
while they never spoke up against your mother as long as
she was the boss. You need to throw a stone, and a heavy
one! Please sign this form so that I can go to court and start
the action tomorrow morning at 8 am.
I hesitated, suddenly thinking, I will go home and con-
sult the I Ching before I make a decision.

She said okay, let’s talk about it again tomorrow morn-
ing at 7:30 am when I come to the office.
I went home and consulted the I Ching and it said that
to go ahead aggressively would end up on an impasse and
that I should conciliate. The next morning at 7:40 I called
her and told her to wait with the action. She replied that
she felt I was going to make a mistake but I did not listen.
At 10 am one of the two Italians came and asked for a talk.
We sat down and he said they were in trouble but would
not want me to lose out on rent. They could possibly not
pay for one or two months but would surely pay thereaf-
ter. I asked what happened and he confessed that he had
personal problems with his partner since quite some time,
that he had wanted to work for a local company and thus
break up with his partner but it had not worked out so far.

I more or less agreed, not sure what to do while before
consulting the I Ching I had a sure intuition that acting im-
mediately and aggressively was the right action!


And I knew why. I knew the troublemaker was not this
tall and honest-looking Italian from Venice, but his little fat
partner with the innocent-looking gray eyes.

And my intuition had been correct. About two weeks
later I got a letter from their lawyer. They had taken a law-
yer who had been one of my colleagues at law school, a
man who had a big mouth and was notoriously wrong with
all his legal work. But as I had revealed his real face sev-
eral times in class by correcting his mistaken replies, and
the whole class had laughed at him, he had a matter to set-
tle with me.
In his letter, he confronted me with an absolutely inso-
lent ultimatum. I supposedly had to let them stay for the
next six months without receiving rent, then they would
go, and all that on the shaky grounds that there was ‘water
running down the walls in the cellar’ and that the pipes
were clogged and they could not produce icecream.
I immediately got the plumber who told me nothing
was clogged, and that I should be careful with ‘those Ital-
I took another lawyer, again following the I Ching, in-
stead of staying with the tall lady from the North. It was
another university colleague of mine, a soft-spoken young
man who was very gentle and ‘understood my situation.’
But he did nothing that was in any way effective and when
I invoked a clause in the contract to change the locks and
shut those tenants out because they were more than two


months in debit with the rent, he had a hundred argu-
ments against the procedure.
Then, destiny gave me another option. One day eating
icecream in an Italian Gelateria in the capital, I got to know
the owner, an Italian from Genova. I told him the story. He
simply replied:
—That’s my opportunity. I know your place since long
and I have only waited for this day. I will pay you 11,500
Euros per month and want to take the place over as soon
as possible. With me you have a stable tenant!
Baffled, I told him how he was going to solve the prob-
lem with the two Italian shop owners? He smiled and said:
—Among Italians we have got easy solutions …

Upon which he took out a gun from his pocket and put
it on the table. I froze to ice, saying I would think about it
and call him up the next day. I asked the I Ching that same
night and it predicted great danger if I chose this option. So
I let it go.

To make a long and painful story short. It was impos-
sible to get any money from them while they were put out
by court order after one entire year.
A month before the final judgment, they had evapo-
rated to Italy and my lawyer was unable to find out their
address. While they had to pay the costs of the trial, I had
to pay my lawyer and had rental losses of 85,000 Euros.
I knew by then that I had done it all wrong and should
never have listened to the I Ching!


Then, during the financial crisis back in 2008, I made
another wrong assessment and financial decision following
the I Ching and lost another 70,000$. It was only after the
storm was over and the damage done that I discovered to
what point my readings at that time had been influenced
by my overall negative thoughts and emotions, and the mood
of panic I had been in.
As a result of this learning experience, I have used all
my diligence to render a new interpretation for those ‘criti-
cal’ hexagrams and lines in a way that You, the user of this
book, gets a signal that change is needed, without however
losing your spontaneity for decision-making in accordance
with your deeper intuition.

For one thing is really important, and it’s not revealed
in any of the I Ching literature I consulted. When a reading
flagrantly opposes and contradicts your intuition about the
matter, and you are tense and scared by the situation at
hand, do not follow the I Ching reading!

Either ask again when you are free of fear, or if the
situation is such that you remain tense and afraid of future
events, by all means follow your intuition, and not the I
Ching for you have then impacted negatively upon the reading
because of your negative emotions!

It is important that you understand that the I Ching—
and generally all divination—doesn’t overrule your intui-
tion. What you get is a suggestion, not more, and not less.
You do not need to follow it if you feel it’s not in har-
mony with your intuition, or that the reading is against

common sense or impractical or completely disregards the
realities of life. In a case as with the Italians, it was clear to
me from all my life experience that hitting hard and right
away was the only correct thing to do. And I had had the
chance to get a good lawyer right away, but changed her,
again because of the I Ching, against a guy who had nei-
ther a brain nor balls in his underpants.
Then life gave me another chance to get a new Italian
tenant who paid me substantially more, was reputed as a
business person and had an ‘Italian only’ solution. Why
was I afraid? Why did I let him go?
Twice destiny offered me solutions and twice I let them
go because of the I Ching.

In 2008, the situation was even more clear-cut. I should
have left my money in the bank in Cambodia in the first
place for nothing happened to that economy during the
financial crisis, absolutely nothing, for they had no stock
market yet, while I following the I Ching got my money to
a bank in Singapore who against initial promise did noth-
ing to setup my portfolio, and paid me a lousy interest of
0.8% for my funds while in Cambodia I had got 8.25% in-
It was from the start the wrong decision but I was so
scared that I obviously influenced the readings, for in this
case I had made several, and they were all negative.
Hence, the importance of how you prepare for a read-
ing, how you set it all up, which mindset you have at that
time, and how you handle any kind of anxiety or anticipa-

tion. It is also important to not make too many readings for
the same question.
This brings me naturally to giving you some advice on
how to divine with the I Ching. The easiest manner to con-
sult the I Ching is to drop three coins on a flat surface six
times. Head counts 3 and tail counts 2, thus when you get
two heads and a tail, you get the number 7, which is a —
yang line, but no answer, or you get two tails and a head
which gives you the number 8, which is a – – yin line, but
equally no answer. However if you throw three heads, you
get the number 9, which is a — yang line and an answer
and when you throw three tails, you get 6, which is a – –
yin line and also an answer. Let’s say you throw 7-8-7-9-8-8
which results in Hexagram 55:

55 丰 FENG
Peak / Abundance / Over-Capacity

(— —) 8

(— —) 8

——— 9

(———) 7

(— —) 8

(———) 7


As we have seen, 7 or 8 are no answers, which is why I
have put these lines in parenthesis. While they are no di-
rect answers to your question, indirectly they are necessary
for composing the hexagram that provides the overall an-
swer. This overall answer is then to be seen under the lines
and for this hexagram reads as follows:

Things are at a peak or climax. A developed person uses
their full deployment for serving others and enriching the
world. According to the natural law of balance, when some-
thing reaches its point of fullness, decline is inevitable.
Everything in the universe follows this cycle. it’s like a
tidal movement. If one has more than enough, he should not
hold onto everything for himself, but be charitable. When
abundance becomes full, it’s like the sun being too strong:
the light is blinding one, vegetation dries up, the land be-
comes parched, and nothing can flourish. Feng teaches the
value of control in a situation of abundance so as to not
overstress the cycle.

We have also seen that you have drawn the 4th line as
your direct answer. This line reads as follows:

4—If you want to be useful, having learnt the lesson
indicated by the 3rd line, the universe will guide you and
you will attract an associate with whom you can work to-
gether to realize your goal.


Now you may ask how is it possible that by any means
the I Ching can know what’s going on inside of your mind
and even how it can help predicting your fate, or help you
in making a sound decision? That sounds almost impossi-
ble for anybody who first hears about it.
Joseph Needham writes in his Foreword to The Genius
of China (2013) by Robert Temple:

Francis Bacon had selected three inventions, paper and
printing, gunpowder, and the magnetic compass, which
had done more, he thought, than any religious convic-
tion, or any astrological influence, or any conqueror’s
achievements, to transform completely the modern
world and mark it off from antiquity and the Middle
Ages. He regarded the origins of these inventions as ‘ob-
scure and inglorious’ and he died without ever knowing
that all of them were Chinese. (Id., 10)

Just as the Chinese were the first to invent the magnetic
compass for navigating in the exterior world, they coined
the I Ching as a compass for navigating our interior world.
The wisdom of the I Ching is based upon the fact that
all changes in nature occur as a matter of cyclic change, but
while this may be conspicuous, it is less obvious how these
changes come about , and what the patterns of those changes
Based upon the binary code that was long unknown in
the West, the I Ching incorporates all of the dynamic pat-
terns of living that are resonance patterns of our thoughts,
and vibrational patterns of our emotions, together with the


actions we set in the world, which also have a certain
positive or negative resonance.
As we today know from systems research and quan-
tum mechanics, all we think and do creates interference
patterns in the energy ocean of the universe. The I Ching
somehow got the blueprint of it all, and that—5000 years
ago. It’s quite a feat! The Chinese worldview was a holistic
one in those olden times, just as our science develops it
now after its long ‘Newtonian Sleep.’ For an unbiased ob-
server it is obvious that nature is not a machine and doesn’t
function like a clockwork.
A good example is medicine. While modern medicine
uses a mechanistic approach and is focused upon symp-
toms, Chinese medicine is concerned with the underlying
causes of disease, and therefore has developed a valid ap-
proach to disease prevention. Using pulse reading and acu-
puncture, Chinese medicine is able to diagnose disease
long before it is actually manifesting in the physical body,
by examining the underlying energy field of the patient.
To understand how the I Ching works, we can actually
draw a comparison to acupuncture. The acupuncturist fo-
cuses on the energy flow in the body, detecting imbalances
or blockages in the flow, and then correcting the condition
by establishing harmony.
The I Ching deals in a similar way not with the body
but with the patterns of living; these patterns are energy
fields and the I Ching detects if they are harmonious and
thus beneficial or inharmonious and harmful.


Let me say a last word about how you benefit from this
book compared to a classical I Ching interpretation.
What I tried to do in writing this book is to help you as
a beginner to focus your learning efforts on the essential,
avoiding to ingest all the more or less tedious anecdotic or
historical details that those voluminous commentaries pre-
sent. This kind of information is not directly relevant for
consulting the I Ching while it’s of course of high interest
for the scholar. As I did not myself find a book that gave
me such a practical opening path for working with the I
Ching, I was for a long time wading through hundreds of
pages of material that confused me more than anything,
until I started to actually use the I Ching for divination. For
example, Richard Wilhelm’s world-famous first interpreta-
tion of the I Ching in history is divided in two parts, both
of which contain relevant information. But to this very day
I cannot see how the second part adds on to the first part
without giving a lot of non-essential and rather confusing
additional information?
Likewise, the Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
(1983) by Master Hua-Ching Ni consists of more than 650
pages; the first 215 pages are meant to be introductory yet
are highly difficult to understand!

My goal in writing this book was thus to present to the
reader a practical and modern interpretation of the I Ching
which has incorporated the important research on inner
coherence and success principles that HeartMath® research


delivered and that has been taken over by many business
leaders and Fortune 100 companies all over the world.

—See, for example, Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to
Coherence, Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary, 2004.

The I Ching and HeartMath® Research

The I Ching may well be the oldest book on the planet.
Like the Bible, the Book of Changes was a co-operative effort
spanning many centuries.

R. L. Wing, in his I Ching interpretation, makes the as-
sumption that the deepest ideas conveyed in the I Ching
were handed down orally from the elders of nomadic Sibe-
rian tribes. These early sages were great observers of na-
ture; they looked at the stars and tides, plants and animals,
and the cycles of all natural events. They also made out the
patterns of social life, government, warfare, and the rules
pertaining to the welfare of the family.
Contrary to Western philosophers who thought of the
cosmos as a static arrangement of atoms, ancient Chinese
scholars put their focus on the organic and systemic nature
of the universe; they looked at how things change in na-
ture, and how structures organically emerge.
Their idea of nature was of a fluid, ever-evolving or-
ganism in which everything is connected: an interconnected
system of relations, which is exactly what cutting-edge sys-
tems research now reveals to us, thereby falsifying hun-
dreds of years of speculative, and largely superfluous, phi-

—See Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi, The Systems View of Life:
A Unifying Vision (2014).

They then condensed their insights into the sixty-four
hexagrams of the I Ching. It is quite astonishing to see that
those sages had an acute awareness of the hidden parallelism


between agricultural cycles, social patterns, courtly man-
ners, warfare strategies, cosmic events, and the practice of

The authorship of the I Ching is attributed to the leg-
endary Fu Hsi, who ruled China during the third millen-
nium B.C. He is said to have created the arrangement of
the initial eight trigrams that are at the basis of all the sixty-
four hexagrams.

Another influential author and commentator of the I
Ching was King Wen, the founder of the Chou Dynasty
(1150-249 B.C.). He is said to have written his commentary
on the I Ching during the time of his imprisonment under
the tyrant Chou Hsin. The legend goes that a dream had
revealed to him a hexagram displayed on the wall of his
cell, upon which he began to describe his mental images in
After he was rescued from prison, King Wen took the
throne, and his son, the Duke of Chou, completed his fa-
ther’s work by writing complete commentaries on all the
lines of each hexagram.
At that time, and even later in ancient China, all great
scholars were devoting much time and energy to study the
I Ching and write their own commentaries for it. Among
them are Lao Tzu, Mencius, Mo Tzu, Chu Hsi, and Chuang
Tzu. Confucius (551-479 B.C.) made the perhaps most im-
portant contribution, known as the Ten Wings, which is a
collection of philosophical essays on the I Ching.


Confucius was among the first philosophers who con-
sidered the potential of the I Ching for self-development,
and especially the development of leadership qualities.

The anecdote goes that he consulted the I Ching so of-
ten during his later years that he had worn out three times
the leather thongs holding together the parchment upon
which it was written.

Another important I Ching scholar was Carl Jung. He
came across Richard Wilhelm’s celebrated translation for
which he later wrote an important Foreword. Jung saw in
the I Ching a brilliant mind map of human nature and
cosmic order, and the cosmic memory of archetypal forces
which he named as the ‘collective unconscious.’


R.L. Wing writes in The I Ching Workbook (1984) that the
search for a solution to the mystery underlying the con-
stant motion and change in the universe has spawned both
the science of physics and the earlier science of metaphys-
There is a line going through all the impending change
in the cosmos; it could be called a developmental energy,
or creational principle that the old Chinese called the Tao.

Modern science has revealed it through quantum me-
chanics and calls it the Quantum Field or Quantum Vacuum.
While this technical expression suggests that within this
field, there is nothingness, the exact contrary is true.
As Ervin Laszlo put it in his book Science and the Aka-
shic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything (2004), it’s actu-
ally a plenum. What the old Chinese called ch’i and in the
West used to be called pneuma or ether, is now considered
as obsolete by modern physics in the sense of a secondary

As Einstein put it, the field nature explains sufficiently
why electrons are entangled even over huge distances and
why there can be ‘spooky motion at a distance,‘ as a result.
But the very core of the I Ching is the principle of po-
larity which is an underlying reality in all of nature. The
old Chinese called it the dualism of ying and yang.
All the hexagrams in the I Ching are reflections of these
polar yet complementary energies. Carl Jung, known to
have studied and worked with the I Ching for many years,


actually explained its working with synchronicity or
meaningful coincidence.
When you throw the coins, the way they fall has mean-
ing; it’s not a random event.
The resulting hexagram reflects the content of your
subconscious mind which knows what the outcome of the
situation will be, so the I Ching, as any other divination
device, actually projects the content of your subconscious
mind. As we often today are afraid of change, we can learn
to become more change-friendly if we often consult the I
Ching and follow its advice. The good news is that the I
Ching will always counsel you to change in a non-hurtful,
smooth and predictable manner, so that the change is intel-
ligent and harmonious.
Following the I Ching you thereby become more flexi-
ble in your overall approach to life and to problem-solving.
In this sense, the I Ching is not just a manual for for-
tune telling, nor a substitute for your intuition!

Now, let me explain how the recent, quite revolution-
ary HeartMath® Research both confirms and explains how
our heart’s intuitive wisdom impact upon life and creates
reality. Honestly, I did not expect that once scientific re-
search would prove all my intuitive insights to be true. But
this has well been the case.
Stephen Covey reports in his book The 8th Habit (2004)
that controlled double-blind scientific laboratory studies
‘are producing increasing evidence of the close relation-


ship between body (physical), mind (thinking) and heart

—Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Great-
ness, London: Simon & Schuster, 2004, 51.

Before I go more into detail using the original research
report, let me outline here the quite far-reaching conclu-
sions that Dr. Covey drew from it, calling it our four intel-

‣ Our Physical intelligence (PQ);

‣ Our Mental Intelligence (IQ);

‣ Our Emotional Intelligence (EQ);

‣ Our Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).

The IQ is our classical intelligence concept as affirmed
by psychology and early brain research. It was widened in
the 1970s by the understanding of ‘emotional intelligence’
or EQ.

—See for example Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, New
York, Bantam Books, 1995.

Goleman writes in one of his later books, summarizing
his many years of research on emotional intelligence that
‘for star performance in all jobs, in every field, emotional
competence is twice as important as purely cognitive abili-

—Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence, New
York: Bantam Books, 1998, 31.


The intelligence of our body, namely our gut, and our
spiritual intelligence have been discovered only recently.
Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer write in their research report:

The human body is an incredible system—roughly 7 tril-
lion cells with a mind-boggling level of physical and
biochemical coordination necessary just to turn a page,
cough, or drive a car. When you consider how little of it
you have to think about, it becomes even more amazing.
When was the last time you reminded your heart to beat,
your lungs to expand and contract, or your digestive
organs to secrete just the right chemicals at just the right
time? These and a myriad of other processes are handled
unconsciously for us every moment we live. Intelligence
manages the whole system, much of it unconscious.

The notion that intelligence is a purely cerebral, aloof
activity uncontaminated and unaffected by emotions has
been shown in this and much other recent research to be
an outdated and misguided myth.

—Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence: The
Power to Change Performance, Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publish-
ing, 2004, 27-28, and 33.

What I was trying to point out in my own words, that
is, that self-regulation is built in our body and mind system,
and that peak performance is a result of inner peace is now
confirmed by HeartMath® research.
These scientists have termed the inner state that is con-
ducive to success ‘inner coherence.’ Based on this insight,
they are talking about the need for inner leadership and in-


ternal self-management as the starting point of all highly ef-
fective leadership.
HeartMath® research confirms what ancient mystics
knew, namely that the world is an ‘internally created phe-
nomenon.’ We all live in a different world as we process
the sensory date we receive according to our mental setup,
our beliefs and our emotions to create what each of us ex-
periences as ‘the world out there.’ The authors write in
their report:

Creativity, decision-making, health and well-being all
improve when mind and emotions are coherent and
relatively noise-free.

—Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence: The
Power to Change Performance, Boulder Creek, CA: Planetary Publish-
ing, 2004, 3.

From my several years of work experience as a corpo-
rate trainer in South-East Asia, I know that today organiza-
tions not just in Asia but everywhere in the world are chal-
lenged at a very high level. The mechanistic management
solutions most executives have learnt and believed in are
not working any longer because they disregarded the hu-
man element, which means the human being that has also
an irrational side, and is emotional, rather than always ra-
Under the old leadership paradigm and before globaliza-
tion, this was still quite workable, but with the networked
world economy and the relocation of producing markets to


virtually everywhere on the globe, the old model proves to be
increasingly insufficient.
It is not surprising, then, that the authors summarize
their research in these alarming terms:

In an age of chaos, emotional management or misman-
agement is more important in determining the long-term
success of an organization than product success or proc-
ess improvements. This is as true of start-up firms that
experience rapid success but are unprepared for its op-
erational realities as it is for the massive older organiza-
tion or institution affected by large-scale emotional tur-
moil and malaise of its workforce. It is also true that 80%
of the Fortune 500 companies of 1970 have disappeared
off the list.

—Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 34.

This is why the individual learning experience assumes
such importance. When executives and workers in a com-
pany are left alone to self-manage their emotions and learn
new knowledge, they will fall back on old memories, those
namely they had in school or even earlier.

Without conscious thought or choice, a person often
avoids learning environments and challenges because of
unpleasant feelings imbedded in neural tracks in our
brains during earlier learning experiences.

—Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 34-35.

What this research also revealed is that the cognitive
capacities of employees become far more sharp and effec-


tive as emotions become balanced, understood and inte-
grated. If organizations continue to leave people alone and
without professional support in handling their emotional
conflicts and challenges, they will not be able to help their
staff handle the enormous stress that today is part of or-
ganizational life everywhere on the globe. Abundant re-
search delivered the proof that millions of people today are
maladapted to handle the stress of life in our modern con-
sumer societies, both at work and at home.

—See, for example, Hans Selye, The Stress of Life, Revised Edition,
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978/1984, with many references.

Hans Selye was the first researcher who found that not
all forms of stress are harmful. He even asserted that some
basic level of stress is needed for advancing in life; in other
words, our emotional system can cope with stress if stress
levels remain within reasonable boundaries.
According to HeartMath® research it depends on the
person’s ability to handle their individual ‘stress response.’

In so doing, a person skilled in self-management can
actually take stress as an opportunity for personal growth.
Thus chaos is not the problem, but how long we need
to build inner coherence!

Research on emotional intelligence has shown that the
most successful people in life are the ones who have
learned to manage their emotional reactiveness, neutral-
izing or transforming negative emotions in the process
of gaining a new richness of experience.


—Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 43-44.

This research also demonstrated that when the electri-
cal patterns of the brain synchronize with the rhythmic
patterns of the heart people operate with greater physio-
logical coherence, resulting in increased conscious aware-
ness and greater intelligence.

The ability to self-generate feelings such as care, appre-
ciation, and compassion is key to greater brain efficiency,
enhanced learning, and a more emotionally balanced
life. This is one reason why heart intelligence is such a
powerful metaphor for increasing personal and organ-
izational effectiveness.

—Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 45-46.

One of the most cutting-edge findings of this research
is that, contrary to traditional neuroscience, people can
learn to ‘rewire’ neural tracks that inhibit learning, growth,
and emotional maturity, and that are necessary for achiev-
ing success. The brain has showed to have an enormous
plasticity for those processes of rewiring neural networks
and for changing preferred neuronal pathways that were
laid down in early childhood.

This fact alone opens enormous possibilities for assist-
ing us with mind and brain changing tools targeting at not
only boosting our performance level but changing our self-
understanding in virtually limitless ways. We need to stop
blaming our emotional nature for mismanaged emotions


and start to see the heart for what it is—the source of our
core power intelligence!
This is so much the more important as, although the
heart and brain each radiate electrical frequencies, the am-
plitude of the heart’s signal is 40 to 60 times stronger than
that of the brain!

A mind or organization without heart is scattered, im-
pulsive, and easily distracted. Emotions and organiza-
tions without the intelligent balance that comes from the
heart create flash fires of instability and waste, causing
people to stay locked in self-justified mental loops, miss-
ing a heart intelligent perspective that could offer deeper
understanding. Incoherences rules. People leave. Groups
operating only on instinct arising from gut feelings and
often based in fear stay constrained in modalities that
imprison the spirit and age prematurely. The heart puts
first things first, from the 7 trillion cells it nourishes to
the life it sustains to the vitality it ensures—intuitive,
intelligent, businesslike; core, fundamental; the first pri-

—Doc Childre & Bruce Cryer, From Chaos to Coherence, 51, 55. The
results measured after implementing this research are staggering. They
included reductions of 65% in tension, 87% in fatigue, 65% in anger, and
44% in intentions to leave the company.

Now let me explain how HeartMath® Research proved
the divinatory method of cognition right. The old science
of divination knew that there is an intelligence of our heart
and that the heart emits vibrations into the universe that
have an impact upon all of life and living!


This age-old insight, however, was denied or declared
‘epiphenomenal’ during the phase of positivistic science,
from the time of Bacon and Galileo until the upcoming of
systems research in the 1940s.
Both the systems view of life and HeartMath® Research
now clearly confirm the fact that when we are focused in-
ternally, and in a state of inner coherence, we have the abil-
ity to lucidly plunge in a state of cognition that is highly
aware of where we are steering and thus how our current
thoughts and projects will develop on the timeline into the
While most people are not consciously aware of these
patterns of lucid cognition, they can use divination, the I
Ching, the Tarot, the Runes or any other method to help
them in their decision-making. Fact is that it’s not the divi-
natory method as such that somehow ‘knows’ our future,
but our own heart’s lucid cognitive intelligence!
Throughout this book, for the interpretation of the 64
hexagrams, I have used the expression ‘build inner coher-
ence’ for indicating that the situation requires you to seek
your focused state, to make peace with yourself, overcome
any fears, face your future positively, and plunge into that
state of lucid cognition that, if not immediately, so the hours
and days following your reading, will signal you the way
to go, and thus to act properly, so that everybody involved
in the situation is benefited.

The Technique
A Road Map for Your First Consultation

Watch Your Mood
As I mentioned it already, it is very important that you
are in a relaxed and meditative state of mind before you set
out to consult the I Ching. If you are restless or anxious,
avoid consulting it and choose a quieter moment. It is also
important to avoid disturbance, to make sure your mobile
is turned off and you haven’t any closely approaching ap-
pointments. Allow your mind to be quiet, then focus upon
the question. Formulate the question clearly in your mind,
better: write it down. You may want to use a little ritual for
getting into the right mood, by burning an incense stick,
lighting a candle, and taking a few deep breaths.

Get Prepared
You need three coins, some paper, and a pen. You may
choose the coins according to your taste and preferences.

Some prefer the original Chinese coins that are round
with a square hole in the center. But any coins can do, the
only thing is that they are of the same kind, the same size
and the same weight!
Before using the coins for the first time, you may want
to dedicate them by washing them and holding them up a
moment in your closed hands in front of your frontal lobe
(6th Chakra).
This preparation may focus your internal energy. It is
important that you use these coins for no other purpose, so
by preference place them close to this book, in a dedicated


drawer where there is no other material, except, if ever you
also use the Tarot and the Runes. In such a case, you may
have all your divinatory tools in one and the same drawer.

Ask Your Question
In my experience it is of great importance to clearly
formulate your question. If it is ambiguous, you will get an
equally ambiguous reading. If you ask an either-or ques-
tion, you may get a totally off-track answer, so avoid from
the start to ask for two alternatives in one single question!
For example, if you ask ‘Will it be beneficial if I travel to
India for this next vacation,’ this is a fairly precise ques-
tion. But if you are asking ‘Should I travel to India or to
Bangladesh,’ you can’t possibly get a correct answer for
you put up two alternatives in the same question.. But you
can well ask about a problematic situation in the following
manner: ‘Why do I have constant problems with my boss?’
The answer you will get then will point you to the
most intelligent way to handle the confrontation; in most
cases the I Ching will tell you how you act in a way that is
either inappropriate or inflexible, and how you can learn to
deal with the situation constructively.

Make the Hexagram
Then shake the coins in your cupped hand and let
them fall onto a flat, uncluttered surface. To repeat it, you
get potentially four different combinations:

—Three tails, 6 (yin, — —, answer)

—Three heads, 9 (yang, —, answer )
—Two tails, one head, 7 (yang, —, no answer)
—Two heads, one tail, 8 (yin, — —, no answer)

Now compose your hexagram on a sheet of paper, or
memorize your sequence. For example, when you draw 6-
8-8-9-9-8, look at the Hexagram Guide below and you will
find it’s Hexagram 45, with Lines 1, 4 and 5 as answers. I
have found an easy way to write this down on your paper
without needing to write the broken and unbroken lines.
You simply write 45/1/4/5. This means it’s hexagram 45
with the lines 1, 4 and 5 changing.
What is a changing line?

The Moving Lines
Now the lines that are answers, the nines and the sixes,
these lines are changing. That means you can then imme-
diately compose the hexagram with the changed lines, the
one into which the present hexagram will change. You can
find that easily by taking your original sequence, 6-8-8-9-9-
8 and then change the moving lines to their opposite. You
will then receive 9-8-8-6-6-8 which is Hexagram 24 (Re-

Reading the Hexagrams
The first hexagram comments on the current situation.
To stay with our example, consult Hexagram 45 below in
the text. First read the GENERAL ADVICE, printed in SMALL


CAPS under each hexagram, then look up the text for lines
1, 4 and 5. Then you try to find a synthesis or a direction in
your reading. You can only do that intuitively, there is no
recipe for how to do that. Read if necessary all this infor-
mation over and over again until you get an inner hunch!
Then look up the changed hexagram by reversing the
yin lines into yang lines and vice versa, as I just explained
it. Do not look up the lines, however, they are not valid in a
changed hexagram, only the GENERAL ADVICE.
Then reflect how this additional information can be use-
ful to you for further analyzing your situation; then sum-
marize it all in a short and concise sentence and write it

Base Structure
of the I Ching
What is Right Action?

The Men of Old
Taoism is often misunderstood in our times of machin-
ery, the machinery of mind, the conceptual trap, the confu-
sion about the existential and the imaginary, the sensual
and the extrasensorial, the real and the imitated. As there is
today so much of unnatural conditioning, people are often
unable to recognize what is real, and what is fake. One of
the main points in this confusion is to associate Taoism
with Confucianism, while here in reality two worldviews
are opposing each other. Here freedom, there moralistic life
denial, here spontaneity, there artificiality, here abandon-
ment to intuition, there blockage of intuition by obsessive
scholarship and discipline.
The confusion starts with the very idea to design Tao-
ism as either a ‘philosophy,’ or a ‘religion’ while it’s none
of these. It’s pure wisdom.
Philosophies are systems of thought, religions are sys-
tems of worship. Taoism is the contrary of a system. Its
very essence consists in defying any kind of system.

The next point in this scholarly confusion about Taoism
is the point to say it was against desire, or the shaping of
desire by sensual perception. Some of the translations of
Lao-tzu are highly misleading in this respect, appearing to
give the impression of an approach to life which is dry and
scholastic, against the perfume of sensuality.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Yang Chu, a
Taoist who lived in the 4th century B.C. wrote:


Yang Chu
The men of old knew that life comes without warn-
ing and as suddenly goes. They denied none of the
natural inclinations, and repressed none of their
bodily desires. They never felt the spur of fame.
They sauntered through life gathering its pleasures
as the impulse moved them. Since they cared noth-
ing for fame after death, they were beyond the law.
For name and praise, sooner or later, a long life or
short one, they cared not at all.

This statement is true. But in our days of hero culture’s
pseudo values, such a worldview is highly difficult to un-
derstand. Ignorant folks are likely to jump to the conclu-
sion that, then, those ‘old men’ must have been criminals.
In truth, the confusion is one of values. Whereas those
men were living virtuous lives, the value of virtue is today
questioned with the result that ‘correct behavior’ is de-
fined as all behavior that is within the law.
In screwing down virtue to a mere conformity with
reigning laws, it was relativized, it became itself a concept.
As laws are constantly changing, under this modern
idea, virtue is to be considered as a rather fleeting, volatile
notion, something that has no absolute value.
Let me quote one of Lao-tzu’s poems to show what he
really means, while apparently this poem, as so many oth-
ers, appears to deny the value of sensuality or of the sen-
sual world.


The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.

Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and
not by what he sees.

He lets go of that and chooses this.

This poem is not a recipe for life-denial, not an abase-
ment of the senses, but the experience shared by somebody
who has indulged in sensual experiences and comes to a
point of satiation, a point where intuition says that wisdom
is flowering when one listens inside, at a moment when all
senses are satisfied. Only somebody who has had the expe-
rience of sensual abundance can know that after indulgence,
this voice of wisdom is the manna shared by our higher
self, which then comes as a profound insight.

This is meant when Lao-tzu’s says that the sage doesn’t
go for fame. What this means is not that he shuns the
world, but that he might be insulted anyway because he
thinks differently about what ordinary people call ‘the
law,’ simply because he knows that all human laws are ul-
timately deeply and grossly unjust.
That is why the sages of old advised to practice decon-
ditioning, to look at life with pure eyes, with eyes of won-


der, with a child’s eyes. That is why they, as we would say
today, promoted the values of the inner child, which can be
seen in the depictions of sages, and of Lao-tzu himself.

These men look childlike, innocent, and carefree, abso-
lutely the contrary of our modern heroes, with their hard
rigid mechanical bodies, and their squared stiff faces full of
hatred and violence.
The following shows that this childlike wisdom is not a
form of foolishness or numbness, or lack of a sense of reali-
ty—in the contrary. It shows that this mindset brings about
a keen sense for justice and political realities:

Why are people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take life lightly.

Having to live on, one knows better
than to value life too much.

This chapter is not about I Ching divination in the or-
dinary sense. If it was, it would not bring something new
and original as there are now countless books on the mar-

ket that extensively explain, annotate and interpret the an-
cient Chinese wisdom book.
If you wish to study the I Ching in depth, you should
either buy one of the traditional I Ching translations, such
as the one by Richard Wilhelm, that I myself used during
the first years of my diligent study of the I Ching, or you
should use a translation and annotation by a Taoist master.
For example, I am today using the I Ching translation and
interpretation by Master Hua-Ching Ni.

—Richard Wilhelm, The I Ching or Book of Changes (1967). See
also Helmut Wilhelm, The Wilhelm Lectures on the Book of Changes
(1995), and Hua Ching Ni, I Ching, The Book of Changes and the Un-
changing Truth (1999).

Studying the I Ching was not for me a form of l’art pour
l’art, but it had a practical purpose. I wanted to understand
the underlying patterns of living that are at the basis of all
divination, and the roots of human behavior. And indeed,
my understanding of life and living was uplifted through
practicing divination on a daily basis since twenty years.
These years also coincided to be those during which I
was beginning to coach groups, both in the corporate set-
ting, and privately. This uncanny kind of holistic learning
about emotions, behavior patterns, conditioning, on one
hand, and the wisdom of subtle cosmic guidance, on the
other, rooted me in my new profession as a coach and cor-
porate trainer; and with that decision, and the change re-
sulting from it, my former career as an international law-
yer had clearly found an end. My motivation for changing


my professional career was the outcome of a deep reflec-
tion about the sense of life, and my mission. I understood
that I am deeply interested in human beings, and in their
paths of life. The law profession, while it interested me in
some way, was not satisfying my desire to help people
grow, to facilitate their relationships, and to help them lead
happier lives. To be a lawyer meant, in daily practice, to
sustain people’s desire for conflict and ‘being right,’ for
fighting each other, and one was supposed to take sides
and defend interests.
The I Ching helped me on my way to find my true mis-
sion. This is, then, perhaps the value of this personal guide
about the I Ching, as it is the fruit of experience, and not
only of theoretical study. And it is destined to help you
better understand yourself and others.
Understanding yourself and understanding others is
however impossible without understanding the underlying
cosmic patterns of living. Human beings do not function dif-
ferently from the rest of life on earth. Besides that, they are
rooted in a universal scheme of cosmic interactions that is
little known or totally unknown to psychologists today.
The I Ching or Book of Changes is an ancient text that is
said to have been completed during the rulership of King
Wen in China, in the last generation of the Shang Dynasty
(1766-1121 B.C.). Master Hua-Ching Ni explains in his
thorough interpretation of the I Ching:


Master Ni
The system of hexagrams which we call the Book of
Changes or I Ching was one of the first great suc-
cesses in ancient man’s attempts to find the laws
which regulate all phenomena. Most significant was
the discovery that the laws of Nature are also the
laws of humanity and that since Nature and human-
ity are one, harmony is the key to life. This conclu-
sion was drawn after long internal and external
searching which revealed the balanced way of life as
the fundamental path. This integral vision of the
universe became the spiritual faith of ancient devel-
oped people. It was the broad and plain foundation
for their discovery of spiritual truth and secret
methods. Since life is the main theme in all useful
knowledge, the Book of Changes, the Tao Teh Ching,
acupuncture, internal medicine, and the internal
work of spiritual self-cultivation all make living in
harmony with nature their foundation.

—Hua Ching Ni, I Ching, The Book of Changes and the Unchang-
ing Truth (1999), p. 4. Regarding the Tao Teh Ching, mentioned in this
quote, see Hua-Ching Ni, The Complete Works of Lao Tzu (2003).

Regarding today’s modern culture, Master Ni pursues:

Master Ni
In contrast, our overgrown human population, com-
bined with modern city life, obscures the signifi-
cance of nature in the lives of people today. Great
Nature, however, always remains the true source of
life. To restore our understanding of this integral
truth, we can use the line system of the Book of


Changes to study the way in which people and
events develop. (Id., 3-4).

— Hua Ching Ni, I Ching, The Book of Changes and the
Unchanging Truth (1999), pp. 3-4.

There are countless studies on the base structure of the
I Ching and how it came about with its sixty-four hexa-
grams that are compositions of two trigrams each. We can
consider each hexagram or kua as an energy pattern that is a
unique mix and vibrational code of the two base energies,
yin and yang, represented symbolically by lines. Yang is
represented by a solid line, yin by a dotted line.
Each hexagram is composed of six lines. The first three
lines correspond to the lower trigram, the upper three lines
compose the upper trigram. Hexagrams are dynamic pat-
terns in that there is a down-to-up movement contained in
them, and a certain time-span inherent in that movement.
The lower trigram thus deals with matters that are in their
beginning stage, from the start of a project until about half
way into its realization. The upper trigram deals with the
culmination and the end of processes or projects, positively
or negatively.
All sixty-four hexagrams are combinations of the eight
base trigrams that Master Ni calls The Eight Natural Forces.
In nature’s harmonious and balanced Web of Life, there are
many cycles interwoven with each other that contribute to
giving flexible stability to every natural system or process.


—See Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life (1997) and The Systems View
of Life (2014).

Now, in every cycle, there is what Master Ni calls the
balancing force. In the case of pure yang and pure yin, the
balancing force is expressed in the central line of the hexa-
gram, which is always the 5th line.
In general, this line signifies a position of leadership,
and it holds the whole hexagram together; it is also the
most influential line or decisive factor in the hexagram. In
most cases, and without considering the divination result,
when you draw the 2nd and the 5th line of a hexagram, you
can almost be sure that you got a favorable reading for
your project or idea. The 6th line, in most hexagrams, deals
with some or the other form of excess and thus signals a
setback or failure to expect in the future, except in a few
hexagrams where the 6th line is entirely positive, as for ex-
ample in Great Amassment (26) where the top line is inter-
preted as Heavenly Blessing.

Let me explain the base structure of each hexagram us-
ing Great Strength (34) as an example. The guiding advice
of this hexagram is: USE YOUR STRENGTH PRUDENTLY. The
structure of the hexagram is yang-yang-yang-yang-yin-yin.

First Line Yang
The 1st line, in all hexagrams, expresses a beginning. If I
am excessive at the start of a project, I risk early failure. In
all new endeavors it is wise to use the first time of a new


project for gathering knowledge, exploring opportunities,
and getting familiar in a new environment.
In Great Strength (34), the first line reads as follows:

Too much strength in the toes. The beginning stage
makes moving ahead difficult. Such strength will surely
lead to misfortune.

— Hua-Ching Ni, I Ching, The Book of Changes and the Un-
changing Truth (1999), p. 304. All further references in this
chapter are taken from Master Hua-Ching Ni’s I Ching edition.

This means that when I am in an environment I am not
yet familiar with and walk in the room with proud flair,
when I am the new one in a team and have the biggest
mouth, when I come over as the person who believes he
knows all, then I might be rejected or encounter failure.
The right attitude at the start of a new project is caution
and respectful humility as well as watchfulness so as to
get, as early as possible, the feedback of the environment
regarding my impacting upon things and people.

Second Line Yang
The 2nd line represents a more advanced stage in the
realization of a project. I may have gathered enough in-
formation and experience so as to go ahead in my en-
deavor in a more decisive and forward-looking way than
at the start. This line reads:

Caution in using strength brings good fortune. (Id.)


Third Line Yang
The 3rd line represents the end of the lower trigram. It
is sometimes showing some form of excess, frequently be-
ing negative in its meaning, or it may contain a warning to
correct one’s attitude. This line reads for hexagram 34:

Those of self-development do not display their strength.
Inferior people willingly show their strength and thus
create a dangerous environment. Such a display of
strength is like a goat attacking a fence. Because of its
stubborn persistence, its horns become weakened. (Id.,

Forth Line Yang
The 4th line represents a strong position. It is the first
line of the upper trigram and thus can be said to play the
role of a senior manager for leading the project to its final
realization. As this line corresponds with the 1st line, it can
be said to be the higher octave of the beginning line, and

Continue marching in the right direction. All obstruc-
tions will disperse. Use strength correctly, in the proper
place and at the right time. (Id.)

Fifth Line Yin
The 5th line represents the central line in every hexa-
gram. It is therefore sometimes also called the ruling line.
You can say that when you get the 5th line in any divi-
nation, you are on the right track in some way. The 5th line


shows that there is a strong point in your project or en-
deavor that bears some chance for success:

One subdues oneself in order to end all confrontations.
No remorse. (Id.)

Sixth Line Yin
The 6th line represents the final stage of a project or en-
deavor, or its final result. In most hexagrams, the 6th line
expresses some or the other kind of excess and therefore
gives a negative reading. Or it gives a warning and shows
a way out of a possible dangerous turn of events. This line
reads, again for hexagram 34:

The stubborn goat attacks the fence, but can neither
achieve its goal nor retreat. No benefit. If one learns
through one’s difficulties, trouble will not last and there
will be good fortune. (Id., 405)

To summarize, in hexagram 34 we see the 6th line oper-
ating more like a warning. When you compare this line
with the 5th line, you see that the good turn of events
(abandoning stubborn behavior) did not happen, probably
because the person did not understand that she was be-
having in a rigid, stubborn and aggressive manner.
And yet the 6th line still sees a possibility for the person
to change and turn things in a positive direction.
In other hexagrams, such as, for example, in hexagrams
1, 11, 28, 63 or 64, however, the 6th line predicts a negative
turn of events regardless of further action or retreat from


action. It’s as if in these hexagrams, things have developed
to a more condensed state of reality than in other hexa-

Patterns of Change
Nothing in life is static. All is movement. The universe
is a dance. In death processes, the relentless movement of
life slows down and comes to a point of profound stillness.
However, in this stillness is contained the grain for fur-
ther movement, for new life. In every condition is con-
tained its opposite. In stillness is contained movement, in
movement is contained stillness, in hot is contained cold,
in male is contained female. In the small boy is contained
the great general, in the small girl is contained the famous
film diva. In yin is contained yang and in yang is contained
What is contained is smaller as what bears it because it
is in growth. However, by the same token, what bears the
smaller is decreasing in size to become small itself. With
culmination and fullness decay sets in, and a new cycle of
growth is put in motion.
When we observe changes, we learn that if things are
kept within reasonable boundaries and the balance of yin
and yang is maintained, they will last. Endurance and last-
ing success thus are the result of balance, and not of unlim-
ited strength, of flexible adaptation to circumstance, and
not of rigid willpower put into one-pointed action.


When yin and yang are in balance, this is called the
middle way. But the middle way is a dynamic, not a static

Let me use an image to exemplify this truth. When you
film a man who steers a car on a straight highway and then
review the video and put the playback speed to very slow,
you see that the firm static position of the steering wheel is
a mere illusion. You then become aware of the fact that for
the man to steer the car in a straight manner, he needs to
make constant little movements to the left and to the right.
What appears to be stillness, then, is actually the result-
ing line of a movement from left to right and from right to
left, and, consequently, the car does not really move in a
straight fashion but more in a wave-like manner. With the
same logic as there is no straight line in nature, there is no
car driver who ever would steer a car in a straight line. It is
only because of the rapidity and the smallness of the con-
trolling steering movements that we perceive the position
of the steering wheel as still.
For the same reason, the direction of the car appears to
us as straight and only by slowing down the film, we be-
come aware of the wave-like movement of the car on the
straight highway.

When you take this as a metaphor and apply it to daily
life, you see for example that when you design a web site,
you need to be picky about every inch of space; however,
being as picky as that in relationships lets you come over
as a stodgy jerk, or a stingy nerd.


Rather, it is recommended to show latitude with peo-
ple, a form of well-meaning generosity that is founded on
inner peace and high self-worth. When you treat life and
people as straight lines, you actually show that you see the
world as a dry arrangement of ideas, and not as an organic
and energetic whole that is in a process of constant and
dynamic change.
This latitude you should show with people comes from
the insight that all our weaknesses and what you may find
obnoxious in others are but temporary stages or phases of
development in a continuous cycle of change and growth.
This is true for our fears and worries as well. Most
progress in life we make by overcoming fears. Fears are
guideposts to what lies ahead to be explored for further
self-expansion. The biggest mistake we can do in life is to
stay away from what we are afraid of, and procrastinate.
When you see a small child facing a dog she is afraid of,
you will see that the child in most cases does not just run
away, but gets into some kind of back-and-forth dialogue
with the dog. Run away, come back—run away, come back
—and wait and see further …
This behavior is very intelligent because the dog will
respond to it. The amazing thing is that the dog’s own fear
will decrease because of the game-like toggle approach of
the small child. And to the extent that the dog’s fear de-
creases, the dog becomes potentially less and less harmful
to the child. A dog that is in peace is not a dog that bites.


The child does not say: run away forever and see this
dog never again. No, the child enters a nonverbal dialogue
with the dog which says:

—I am interested in you but I am careful not to make
you afraid. This is how I want to lower my own fear, in
lowering your fear as well! So let’s play a little swing …
which will help us to get acquainted with each other.
When you have a new and daring project, you may in-
tuitively practice the same approach—and perhaps judge it
You may swing back-and-forth and go ahead a little
step and the next day step back a mile. Or your steps for-
ward and backward are of equal length, which is already
better. But let me assure you: there is nobody who always
goes forward. The natural way when starting something
new is to swing toward your project and away from it for a
certain while. The I Ching expresses this truth with ‘he lin-
gers for a while and eventually gets settled.’

—Hexagram 3 (Difficult Begin), First Line.

Of course, your intuition always is watchful and each
time when you swing forth or back, it will give you little
hints. The encouraging hints you get and the ones that
hold you back of going further are battling within you, and
you will be clear, at the end, what the right way to go is for
you. It’s the way that feels good.
The most dangerous moments for your peace of mind
are not those where you are busy, and not even those when


you are tired, overworked or exhausted. It’s the moments
when you feel bored because all is working so smoothly;
you got used to your comfort and safety and have nothing
to worry about.
Sun Tzu, in The Art of War quotes the general Pan Lo
who said that for holding on to peace, we should prepare
for war! This laconic dictum means to be mindful all the
time, and especially in moments where you think you can
just whistle and hang around doing nothing. Nonaction is
certainly most creative, but only if you keep your mind
unspoiled by destructive or nihilistic ideas. This is so be-
cause nonaction favors change as life patterns typically
change when we are in a poised, relaxed condition, and
when we sit back a little from our daily duties.
However, this positive condition for change is spoiled
when we worry. When we are at rest, destructive thought
infiltrates like a bunch of cockroaches creeping in a lone-
some house. It starts with the more general worries, that I
call the 3F-worries, future, fortune, fate—and if you allow
these general worries to erode your peace of mind, the
worry pattern will get stuck with one or the other specific
worry issue that acts like a worry-trigger every time you
get back thinking about it.

Positive thought is a funny thing because all speak about it
when they are anyway positive. The only time you need posi-
tive thought is the time when you are not positive, but
caught in the trap of boredom and comfort. The I Ching


does not help you being more positive, but it helps you to
understand why you are negative.
It asks you why you worry when there is nothing to
worry about. But it also tells you when you should worry,
because danger stares you in the face while you are run-
ning forward like a blind hen. And it shows you when
your success is going to turn into failure because you try to
hasten growth, and thus burden yourself with stress. And
stress, in turn, is a primary source of worry.
Here, you can see how practical the cyclic principles
are that the I Ching teaches. There is a dynamic process in
all growth; first there is an effort, and this effort is most of
the time so consuming that there is simply no space for
worries; then a phase of achievement and success occurs,
and that is, as Pan Lo noted, the first dangerous abyss. Or
as some philosopher put it: there is nothing to defeat great
and lasting success but small success. The small petty suc-
cess is a danger because complacency tends to set in and
effort decreases. And with it, worry increases. And doubt.
Positive thought can be built into a habit, but for this to
happen, you need to invest considerable time and effort.
Before you reach this state of consistency in controlling
your mind, you may apply positive thought as a remedy in
all those moments when you feel your comfort, your
safety, your success and your riches are suffocating you.
We are most happy at a meal when we start the meal in
a really hungry condition. Hunger is the best cook, not a
luxurious setting and a bored mind. And the motor of crea-

tivity is pure enjoyment that comes from a different kind of
hunger, sexual hunger or our fundamental human hunger
for art, or for religion.

When you read the autobiographies of famous crea-
tors, painters, actors, singers or pianists, you will see that
they invariably are most productive in the first years of
their careers, at a time when they were still struggling in
all possible ways to make a living and propagate their art
to find an audience. Klaus Kinski, a famous Polish-German
actor, tells in his autobiography that during his childhood,
his family was so poor that he frequently was sent to steal
food in the market, and as he could run very fast, he never
was caught. And still when he was learning his art and got
his first roles as an actor, he was so poor that sometimes he
had to repeat eighteen hours per day for a role without
having anything to eat for one or two days.

—Klaus Kinski, Kinski Uncut: The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski

Our human nature is such that the surest death blow to
creativity is total satiation. You may have known this state
when you look at another, and more common, form of
creativity: sex. When have you been most happy in your
sexual affairs? Was it not during the times when you could
have sex only once in a while and when you had to use
one or the other form of creativity to find a good partner?
It is interesting to see the parallels between the life of
individuals and the life of companies. You will then under-


stand why the I Ching invariably applies for the life of in-
dividuals, companies or even countries: it is because life
patterns are universal and not bound to human nature. I
am talking about growth processes.
All life is growth, and growth can be healthy and con-
structive, or unhealthy and destructive. Cancer is a growth
process as well, but a destructive one. The lesson to learn
from nature is to not desire blind or excessive growth, but
organic and natural growth. Excessive growth is destruc-
The I Ching expresses this truth with ‘Hastening growth
lets the plant shoot up, but it destroys the fruit.’ When you
measure growth only in terms of speed or what I call for-
ward direction, you disregard the cyclical nature of life.
Standstill and backward direction or retrogradation are
essential movements in natural growth processes, and they
have within the cycle the same importance as the forward
direction. Every planet spins for several months in a year
in the opposite direction. This is called retrogradation in as-
tronomy and astrology. In astrology, the energy of a planet
is interpreted also depending on its spin. When the energy
of the planet is in forward direction, it is expressed more
on the outward level, and its effects are immediate and
mostly also visible. When the planetary energy however is
in retrogradation, the effects of the energy upon our life are
delayed and they are for the most part felt on the inward
level only. Thus, the effects of retrograding planets are in-


visible. Some astrologers, for this reason, speak of inverted
planetary energy during the phase of retrogradation.
Similar to planets, the energy of human beings, in the
growth process, goes through three different phases: for-
ward direction, stagnation and backward direction.
Western scientific thought and philosophy, ignorant
about action patterns, considers positive only the forward
direction, denying to credit the validity of the two other
essential movements of life. But this statement is of course
valid only regarding mainstream culture and mainstream
As I have shown in other publications, even in times of
the most fundamental repression of holistic pro-life wis-
dom in Europe, the original holistic life science was taught
and practiced in the underground by alchemists such as
Paracelsus, to name only the most famous among them.
Today, mainstream science is like a lazy school boy,
timidly learning lessons in dim afternoon classes it should
have learnt, long ago, in the bright morning hours. In last
resort, life can only reward those who have really contrib-
uted to the progress of humanity, even if it happens hun-
dreds of years after their physical death. Truth cannot be
veiled for long: it will eventually appear and shine through
even the thickest layers of ignorance and malevolent de-
nial of reality.
Picasso was creative in his younger years, as he was
creative in his older years, but when he was young he was
very poor and had barely the amount of food he needed

for his subsistence. Picasso, as all great artists, lived apart
from consumer culture, but he had to pay the price for it.
He had to suffer for his art, and it was his passion for art
and the pleasure to be creative that saved Picasso from the
ultimate failure of giving up and exasperating before he
was famous, acclaimed and financially rewarded.

Mastering Change
The danger I am talking about is our need for change.
When I was at the end of my twenties, I felt I needed a big
change, but at the same time was very afraid of it. I became
more and more aware that by marrying early in life, I had
put myself in a golden cage and that, in addition, my com-
fort was not based upon a real foundation. I was still fi-
nancially dependent on my mother and I had stressed the
relationship with her up to a breaking point, asking her for
more and more money.
She was not minding the money; my mother’s fine in-
tuition was that my marriage was not going to hold for
long, and this not because of any material reason, but be-
cause of the simple truth that I had married too young for
a stable partnership and that my wife and me had very dif-
ferent characters. I stubbornly rejected my mother’s point
of view, only to admit later that I had wasted the best years
of my life in a deeply problematic relationship that left me
angry and frustrated. I had resisted the necessary change
of a relationship pattern I was caught in and that later, in


psychotherapy, was identified as a non-resolved Oedipus
Without wanting to expand too much about my own
little life, I tell these anecdotes as examples for how we
may suffer from a resistance to change more than from ac-
tual change. Some coaches today specialize on what they
call change management, yet I think we should not separate
this skill from the other skills we need in order to master
Managing change is managing life. It’s as basic as that.
Life is change and resistance to change is always a trap.
When you observe growth processes in nature you become
aware very quickly that life essentially is change.

When I speak about change, I do not mean only out-
ward change. The changes in the external settings of your
life are of lesser importance. The really important changes
are those inside of you, in your mindset and belief system.
All what you change here has a direct impact on your ex-
ternal life circumstances.
When you change a pattern inside of you before you
change it in your outward life, the change actually will feel
organic when you incarnate it outwardly in your life. It’s
like flowing with life, as if nothing special had happened.
It’s what we use to call the welcome change. When you resist
change, however, and more so if synchronistic events show
you ways to change and you repeatedly disregard them,
life may force you to change. Then something rather unde-
sirable may happen, an accident, sickness or a backlash in


one or the other of your endeavors, a social or professional
downfall or a tragedy in the family.
Flexibility is the single most important virtue or skill
we need in order to live through changes with an open and
childlike attitude.
Flexibility is somehow an Eastern value. It has always
been taught by sages as the foremost quality for mastering
life, but in the West, because of a basically moralistic life
paradigm, flexibility was never considered as an important
life skill. That is why today, in a world that changes faster
than ever before, Asian cultures live through the profound
changes modern life brings in a more dynamic and less
hurtful manner than cultures that follow a pervading mor-
alistic paradigm.
In fact, both Taoism and Buddhism are religions that
teach observation of life as the prima materia for the acquisi-
tion of wisdom.
To learn from direct observation or to study scriptures
in which people have told their observation are two differ-
ent pairs of shoes. When I am immersed in what others
think about life, I am out of focus for my own observation
of life. When I study scriptures, I study the past. When I
directly observe all around me, including my impact upon
others, I am dynamically involved with the present, and I
move in the present. Flexibility and observation go to-
gether in the same way as rigidity and principle-based liv-


It is not a historical hazard that the principle-based life
paradigm is presently the one most successfully taught
and propagated by famous coaches in the United States.
It’s because it fits the principle-ridden and inflexible Chris-
tian mindset. But it is definitely not the best teaching for
managing change in a non-hurtful, positive and open way!
It was not before reaching my thirties that I began to
observe life instead of following one or the other religion
or philosophy. I had resisted change so long that life forced
me to change. But I welcomed this change because I felt I
was returning to my own true being and realizing my own
nature. I saw my basic intuition confirmed that life is un-
endingly flexible and adaptable, and that this quality is
built into our human setup because life has created us.
Many of our collective human tragedies are the direct
consequence of our life-denying religions and philosophies
that teach us to be stubborn and rigid instead of flexible,
principle-ridden and moralistic instead of open and lov-
ing, and static instead of dynamic.
It was in some way a benediction that the moment I
acquired wealth, I had already gone through many fun-
damental changes, and had suffered quite a bit of misfor-
tune. I also was at that time ready to accept responsibility
for my life instead of blaming parents, childhood or the
whole world for my trials. With this basically disillusioned
mindset, I could manage without hurt the challenge with
our family business.


The I Ching and Morality
The I Ching never is moralistic. It has nothing against
wealth, nor is it enamored with poverty. It recommends to
remain basically simple and to see that our efforts should
surpass a mere striving for comfort, as comfort alone can-
not give a sense to our lives. However, this does not mean
that the I Ching recommends us to stay out of the world or
to retire in the forests. Not at all. The art of living the I
Ching teaches is to stay in the world without becoming
entangled with the world.
The I Ching teaches to focus upon what we are inter-
ested in, what we consider as our mission. As a result, the I
Ching does not recommend a fatalistic, procrastinating at-
titude but encourages personal growth.

I would say, after years of experience in divining, that
the wisdom book shows us the difference between greed
and commitment, as for building commitment, we have to
warp against over-commitment in the form of greed. When
you are merely greedy, and your base intention is just to
amass more riches, when you are lacking a more outgoing
commitment to your profession or activity, then the I
Ching will disadvise you to proceed.
What is greed? Let us have a closer look. There is no
doubt that the powerful motor of capitalism is greed.

Greed is an effective drive because it is fed by emotional
flow. However, greed is not for this reason a natural human
characteristic; it is rather a compensation longing for mate-


rial goods that comes about through the repression of our
natural desires. To put it shortly: prohibit sex and you will
breed greed in people! Greed is a longing for pleasure, and
constant pleasure, and it compensates for the prohibited
natural body pleasure. Greed is not just a sort of hunger
for wealth. What’s wrong with hunger for wealth? What’s
wrong with being clean, comfortable, joyful, wealthy and
powerful? Greed is not that.

Webster’s dictionary defines greed as ‘excessive or rep-
rehensible acquisitiveness’ and it thus bears an element of
excess in it. Interestingly, in the Western culture where ma-
terialism has come about in the first place, greed is judged
very severely as negative and destructive by the Bible.

Does that mean that every Western businessman who
follows and practices Christian religion will be caught in a
deep conscience split? I think that this would be a misun-
derstanding of what greed is. In Buddhism, there is per-
haps no single other characteristic that is so harshly judged
as destructive for human development as greed. And yet I
have never seen a Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese business-
man who was in the least bothered with being strongly
focused upon acquiring wealth and social status.
I think that when we talk about greed, we really talk
about excessiveness. Following the Eastern principle of bal-
ance and harmony in all doing, which is recognized as one
of the fundamental life principles in Chinese philosophy,
we would not need to blacklist greed because it would be


held as a signal for negative growth because of its excessive-
This makes much more sense in my opinion than the
moralistic judgment against greed that is to be found in
Christian faith, in Buddhism and in Islam regarding greed.
In fact, moralistic judgments have barely a rational ba-
sis, as they are often arbitrary. But it makes sense to avoid
behavior that, because of its excessiveness, brings about
strife, conflict and backlashes in all ways.
To be more correct on the meaning of words, we could
then conclude that a free economy is not based upon
greed, but upon the natural striving for comfort and wealth,
which is just another form of striving for pleasure, but that
capitalism in its extreme form is well based upon greed.
Such a position gives us headway out of the dichotomy
capitalism-communism and a new landscape in which we
may build an economic system for the future that is based
upon the pleasure principle, and that avoids to breed greed
in the first place through a naturally permissive education.
When you look at permissive cultures, you very sel-
dom find greed among people, whereas for example in the
very repressive Protestant or even Calvinistic culture, you
find greed very strongly developed in people while para-
doxically, the religious dogma harshly condemns it. Need-
less to say that this produces a schizoid split in conscience
that more or less strongly marks this kind of culture. These
people are not very agreeable to have around; their lips are


tightly closed or even perversely distorted, and they tend
to do exactly the opposite of what they are preaching.
An intelligent society must avoid moralism as it’s against
human nature, and bring about a human being that is
whole as much as possible; this is so because fragmentation
brings strife, conflict and violence in human society and in
the long run perverts the human nature.
Now, after this somewhat scholarly explanation, you
may want to ask what in fact you can do, in your life, to
avoid greed and still develop commitment and a healthy
focus upon the acquisition of wealth using positive growth
cycles as a motor?
The answer is in the question. When you follow the
principle of balance and harmony, you will avoid greed be-
cause you are aware of the fact that greed produces hurt,
and you don’t want and need hurt for yourself, your fam-
ily, your friends or your business partners. If you really
wish the best for all people you are in touch with, and you
go for what Buddha called The Middle Way, you can’t be
greedy. Your natural striving for wealth, status and power
will come to a standstill in the moment you see that it pro-
duces hurt, short-term or long-term, to any creature. You
will apply what the I Ching calls self-restraint, and what I
call standstill as one of the three main directions in human
Example. You may stay longer and longer in the office
in order to maximize your revenues, but there will be a
moment you have to acknowledge that you see your chil-


dren only at weekends for a few hours, and you become
aware that a child needs a father as a human being and not
as walking money purse.

You don’t need anybody to tell you that, you know it,
and you will know it when the moment arises. And then
you may ponder the standstill option or even the back-
ward option, as the forward option then would clearly re-
veal as destructive for the wellbeing of your family and in
the long run for yourself as well.
In the education of your children, when you are too
strongly focused on eradicating greed in your child, you
will create conflict in your child’s mind. This conflict is ac-
tually counter-productive to your goal and will make your
child still more greedy. There is only one effective way to
avoid children becoming greedy; it is to raise them permis-
sively and thus to ensure they have real opportunities to
live our their emotions. At the same time, you need your-
self to not be a bunch of greed for you teach by example—
we all do!
You cannot bring about qualities in your children that
you do not yourself cultivate. And yet, most parents try to
do exactly that, and later wonder why they are so ineffec-
tive with their educational measures.

Educating your child means in the first place educating
yourself. This is actually true for all leadership. The best
and most effective way of leading others is by leading self,
by being yourself, by incarnating the example.


The I Ching and Emotions
The I Ching has often been found to be too Confucian
in its overall attitude toward life. However, we should be
careful using such statements. The I Ching has existed long
before Confucius, and when scholars state that the I Ching
was Confucian in some way, they speak about the interpre-
tation of the wisdom book, not about the original text that
is written in a poetic language.
While it is true that Confucian philosophy puts high
stress upon restraining emotions, I cannot make out this
bias in the original text of the I Ching. But again, excess
should in any case be avoided. To repeat what I said above,
being excessively emotional would run counter to the I
Ching’s general stress upon balance and harmony.

With this general knowledge in mind, let us see how
the I Ching’s stance would be regarding anger, the quintes-
sential hot emotion. Let me first clarify that anger surely is
not a negative emotion, as so many religions and philoso-
phies declare. Anger shows us where we do not bestow
enough latitude upon ourselves. We may respect others,
and the whole world, but often we lack self-respect.
The I Ching does not advise against emotions, but it
recommends to stay centered despite of emotions. Even in
the midst of my anger, I can make sure to not insult any-
body, and to guard against over-reacting. And perhaps
most importantly, I can accept my anger and refuse to fight
against it. In situations of anger, when I asked the I Ching
what to do, it recommended to simply leave the place and

change the environment. And the anger was gone on the
spot when I had turned my back to the place where I had
been angry.

When you see that anger signals us a certain change in
behavior, in attitude, or in direction, you see that it is actu-
ally a very useful emotion.
The I Ching, when you ask it for help in a situation of
anger, will not advice you to handle your anger well: it
will directly go to the cause and look at what in the first
place caused your anger.
And it will tell you what you should do to change the
situation so that further anger is avoided. And here you
can see how fundamentally different the I Ching is when
you compare it with religious scriptures such as the Torah,
the Bible or the Koran.
In these scriptures, anger is invariably declared to be a
very destructive emotion and the only thing these books
do about it is to admonish us to not be angry. But that is
stupid because it not only is ineffective, but it completely
disregards the higher logic of life that has given us emo-
tions with a purpose, and with a good reason: all our hot
emotions are signals that trigger change!
Much to the contrary to religious texts, I argue that the
lack of emotions is worse than the presence of emotions. I
mean with lack of emotions, boredom. Boredom is the worst
that can happen to you.


It is worse than imprisonment, malady and death. It is
a real plague. Boredom is the result of losing your soul or
being disconnected from your soul. It is an absolutely un-
natural condition, while I know that most young people
today think that it was a normal condition of modern life.
It may be a normal condition of modern life, but this only
proves that modern life is a perversion of real life. In real
life, there is no boredom.

The I Ching does not talk explicitly about boredom. It
does not use that word. And when you think about it,
there might be a reason for it.
The I Ching seems to handle boredom in The Undevel-
oped One (4), a hexagram that concerns education and self-
The guiding advice of this hexagram is:

Go ahead to enlighten undeveloped ones, but it should
be the undeveloped one who makes the request, not the
teacher. He should approach with sincerity. (Id., 238)

The 4th line reads:

Stubborn and ignorant, one is helpless. (Id., 241)

The I Ching holds education in high regard. It seems to
suggest that every true and lasting success if based upon
proper education, and that education means a constant ef-
fort and commitment to learning.


Many parents experience their adolescent children be-
ing bored, and see daily how destructive this condition is
for their children, and even the whole family.

That this happens is in most cases not the fault of
teachers but of highly boring curricula. And boring curric-
ula, in turn, are the outcome of a lack of care, of commit-
ment from the side of politicians and policy makers; they
show a deep lack of creativity. Most schools are not the
fruit of love and care for children, but the inevitable result
of child neglect. Education is always given the last priority
in budget considerations, while it is of the first and fore-
most importance for the future of society.
If you are in this position as a parent, you should try all
to help your children lead more meaningful existences. To
leave it over to schools and school administration boards
to educate your children shows more than all that you ne-
glect your children, that you imprison them in institutions
that have no regard for the soul of the child, and his or her
individual destiny.
To revolt against it does not lead to alternatives as long
as parents don’t stick together and pressure politicians and
educational authorities to take action for changing things
positively in the future. To make your children’s lives more
meaningful implies first of all that you make your own life
more meaningful, and that then you share as much as pos-
sible of your meaningful life with your children.
You may have plenty of money but your day-to-day
reality may look devoid of meaningful moments and ap-


pear dull and repetitive. I have known children of artists
who were quite poor but who shared with their children
truly meaningful existences. I found the children invaria-
bly to be mature, happy, autonomous and intelligent, and
they were very gentle and considerate in their relation-
ships with others.
It seems to me today that there is nothing more impor-
tant in life than our soul being nourished with meaning. Noth-
ing in our materialistic modern societies can compensate
for our collective lack of meaning as a culture. Where are
the cultural and religious foundations that give us mean-
ing? It seems that we have lost them, or that anyway, when
they seemed to exist in the past, they may have been a part
of a rather oppressive cultural system?
I found meaning in my own life only after rejecting
many of the false beliefs that I saw the majority of my col-
leagues in school and university were holding. They be-
lieved in a one-pointed form of success that consisted of
becoming wealthy, having a family, and a secure job. That
was it. When I was bored in my class as a law practitioner,
and instead learnt English, my colleagues looked at me
strangely and asked me, flabbergasted:
—Why the hell are you learning English? What is this
good for? Are you not interested to spend your life where
you were born?
I replied that under the circumstances I was not sure
where I was going to spend my life, where I was going to
find a meaningful profession, as I knew that the law pro-


fession was not what I really liked. I further told them that
I was doing a masters degree in European Integration for a
career in the European Community, and they found me
And indeed, I did not know what I really wanted, in
my younger years, and I had to wait for many years to
pass to have clarity in this respect. Believe it or not, only
twenty years later I got an idea what I wanted, and only
thirty years later I began to realize it. Perhaps I went the
hard way, or, as an astrologer once put it, I had to slow
down my spin and become more single-focused. That was
very hard for me as I was interested in so many things.
And yet, simply looking at what I liked to do in school,
I could have seen very early what it was. But I did all and
everything to look away from myself, took others as ex-
amples, wanting to be like this famous artist or that inter-
esting writer, or again wanted to live like a saint, or a Gan-
dhi, or engage in philanthropy, or change the world as a
revolutionary. And when sitting at the piano, I just wanted
to mesmerize my audience with sounds they have never
heard before.
Astrology helped me tremendously on my way from
the periphery to my center, my true being, avoiding the
pitfalls of certain karmic conditions that made me overlook
myself constantly.
I was reading books about overcoming the ego, and yet
I had no ego, and thus all these books were not written for
me. I needed twenty years to find out that I was hardly


ever thinking of myself and that others, and their lives,
had a much too important place in my life. I was in fact
concerned too much about others instead about myself,
while I realized that most people were spinning in the op-
posite sense. They only had themselves in mind, and oth-
ers were for them something to keep up with, at best.
I would not say that per se, when you are rich, you are
more at pains to realize meaning in your life. To say that
poor people have a richer life on a soul-level is a nice illu-
sion that I was holding for many years. I think that this
dream alleviated me the pain to accept that human life on
earth is ingrained with misery. The problem with being
poor is that when I work too hard to join both ends, I have
no time for myself. The problem with being rich is that
when I have too much time for myself, and for maintain-
ing comfort and safety on a daily level, I am too much con-
cerned about myself and life may appear to me as a mere
reflection of myself. And then I miss meaning because I
reduce life to what appears to be my own boundaries, the
bounds of my ego. I then also tend to exclude others from
my ego-centered world, or give them a place at the periph-
ery only, instead of letting their soul-being penetrate and
enrich me.

I do not say that when we are rich, we are per se more
materialistic, while this is a tenor that goes through almost
all religious scriptures. I believe rather in the contrary and
my life experience confirmed me in that view. The moment
I had sold the bothersome family property and put the


money in the bank, I felt free of all sorrow and began to
eventually focus on what I felt was giving meaning to my
life. Never before had I felt such a deep inner peace! I was
beginning to pray every day for guidance to engage in the
profession I was really talented for, and to enrich other
people’s lives with my gifts and talents.
In my experience, tabula rasa thinking, the idea that you
can start from page zero, does not really bring progress.
When you create without a foundation, you risk to be off-
track, off-soul, so to say. Tradition is not a trap, but a pool,
a pool for creative development. This is, for example, how
Maurice Béjart, the famous French choreographer, de-
scribed his artistic paradigm.

Béjart, being known as a culture-destroyer, was in real-
ity a culture-builder. He was very conscious of the tradi-
tion he was building his art upon, and he admired it and
studied it with incredible diligence and unending com-

He was, like Picasso, a master in the tradition that had
born him to be what he was. But he went beyond that mas-
tership and explored into the unknown. This requires not
only a lot of courage, but also a lot of modesty. You are not
sure you will be the star because you create novelty. You
build a new universe and you cannot know who or what
will be the center of that universe. It’s perhaps not you, the
creator of it, but a star that is better qualified than you to
parent and develop what you have given birth to? This is


what life teaches us, and when you consider this reality,
you might be humbled.
When you study the biographies of creators, you see
that they gravitated around their mission as planets gravi-
tate around the sun. They might have done little jobs for
joining ends, but you will not see a painter ending up as a
car manufacturer or a pilot. And if he does, you can be
sure that the painter in him was not really gifted for his art,
because otherwise he would have been more committed to
his art than just ‘getting a job.’
I believe that what we are naturally gifted for is like a
magnetic field that attracts all that is needed for realizing
that gift. But of course, you can use your willpower also
for halting when you’ve made half of the way, jumping
from a bridge and destroying not only your mission, but
also yourself. Human history abounds of this kind of sto-
ries, and that again might humble us to acknowledge that
nothing is given over to fulfillment when it is not cared for,
but taken for granted. This is one of the pitfalls wealth
might represent for you. You may begin taking things for
granted, success for granted, fulfilled love for granted, and
happiness for granted. And then you are off-the-road again
and life will teach you that instead of being at an advanced
stage of development, you are again in the starting holes.
My mother having been suicidal early in her youth,
was not less suicidal once she inherited the family fortune
and was rich and comfortable. She was not happy before,
and she was not happy thereafter. She had not learnt to be


happy. She had taken all and everything for granted, and
yet was longing for one single true and fulfilled relation-
ship with a man. But life did not give it to her, probably
because she did herself not really commit to this longing.
Truly, life is more beautiful and more exciting when we
are hungry, and the most part of the magic is gone when
we are satiated! It might be more difficult to attract your
soul mate when your thoughts are constantly gravitating
around trivial matters, or when you are absorbed in your
worries and lose a lot of energy because of sorrow.
Tabula rasa thinking means that you cut off the Ari-
adne thread that led you to the point where you are now,
and try instead to explore the labyrinth of life without a
guide. It’s more difficult, and there is a certain chance that
you do something that is not really connected with your
The I Ching teaches that every true progress is gradual.
Gradual progress means that we build upon what we built
before, and so forth.
One step after the other, one brick upon another. No
matter how slow we are, as long as we remain focused and
committed, we do make progress.

The Reflection Pattern
You may know that old parable of looking at a glass of
water as half-full, or as half-empty.


You fill a glass half with water, and then contemplate
that strange kind of object. Then you wonder about how
you should see that object, as a glass half-filled or as a
glass half-unfilled, as a glass half-happy or as a glass half-
unhappy, as a glass half-useful and half-useless, and so on
and so forth. Needless to mention that positive-minded peo-
ple tend to see that glass as half-filled, whereas negative-
minded people tend to make the glass down as half-empty.

We learn from this simple experiment that reality is not
to be taken for granted, and rather depends on our way of
looking at it!
Or to speak with quantum physics: reality is creatively
interacting with the one observing it. Light can be seen as a
wave or as a particle. Einstein found this already at the be-
ginning of the 20th century, and before the establishment of
what today we use to call quantum physics.
When I see life as order, I tend to see order in all-that-
is, whatever occurs to me. When I consider life as nothing
but chaos, I tend to make out chaos in the cosmos, and ac-
cordingly I experience my own life as chaotic. My internal
belief system thus conditions my perception. This explains
why reality is far from being the same for all of us. Why do
I perceive life so differently from you? Because our percep-
tion of reality is a result of the reality we live in and that
we have created by our mind. Is that tautological? It is. Be-
cause reality is tautological. If I interact with processes by
observing processes, if I change flow by flowing myself, if I
let the universe dance to my music by dancing with the


universe, then, for heaven’s sake, I must admit that I have
no reason to complain for I am responsible for my world!
Then I become aware that all I see is the result of my
choice. I want to see roses. So I see roses. I want to see gar-
bage, so I see garbage. I want to see happy children, so I
see happy children. I want to see abuse, so I see abuse.
I want to be different, so I see difference everywhere,
while difference per se is not a value, but only in relation-
ship to something that is same. If I want to be different for
any price, I am just a naughty child who likes to put every
toy upside down, to have the clown vomit and the woman
her pants down. I want to be conformist, so I see sameness
everywhere and all life seems to me carved from one and
the same wood. Then, when I see what really appears to be
a difference, I tend to argue:
—These two things are not really different, they only
appear to be different. In reality, they are same. Their dif-
ference is infinitesimally small and thus can be neglected.

However, when I see that I am limited, I cannot but
practice modesty, according to Modesty (15), as I will abhor
faking to be all-powerful which is the way of the worldly
and political forces in place. I will then recognize with ease
that I simply harvest what I sow, and this without regret,
without sorrow, without a bitter taste on my tongue.
I throw a handful of sand against the wind and wipe
my eyes as a result. Like a toddler playing on the beach.
That is how the sage evaluates reality. By direct perception
as well as trial-and-error.

When I look in the eyes of a small child, I perceive
what is true and what is not true. This truth is so strong
that it penetrates in my heart and changes things forever.

When I judge life, I cannot perceive the responsiveness
of the universe. When I judge, I implicitly have a measure
to base my judgment upon. What is this measure other
than the length of a fantasy ruler?
Can we know how high the next mountain is that na-
ture creates, or how high the next wave is at the beach
when there is heavy sea? Can we know how far the cricket
will jump? Approximately yes. But not exactly.
By the same token, all truth is approximate and not ex-
act. In hindsight we can measure all. But that means to
measure death! We cannot measure life because that would
mean to know exactly the details of things to come. All divina-
tions are approximations. There are good reasons to put
away with all fortune telling as it is as approximate as liv-
ing is. When I live without inquiring into the nature of fu-
ture events, I am accepting the approximate nature of
things, and I live more carefree than when divining all day
long. Wallenstein can tell a story. He was not a happy man.
Nor was Nostradamus.
When I really understand the nature of living, I see that
there are no dreams that eternally have to remain dreams,
but that every dream is the creative contemplation of a fu-
ture reality.


The Karma Pattern
When I see that not values, which are creations of the
mind, but dynamic exchanges with all-that-is, which are in-
tuitive dialogues with the universe, bring me closer to per-
ceiving reality more objectively, and less with putting my
personal stink, I will avoid values.
If you admit or not that the universe is responsive, you
will experience karma, the dynamic feedback created by action,
a stone or rose thrown back to you.

Please note that the notion of karma is not a creation of
Hinduism, but a reality in a universe that communicates in
an organic multi-vectorial manner.
Karma means action, nothing more and nothing less,
and it is part of all religions, because it is part of our dy-
namic and responsive universe. Hinduism has the merit to
have put a very peculiar stress upon karma, and for good
reasons. But when I know to dialogue with the universe in
a dynamic manner, such as the universe itself dialogues
with us, I can handle karma creatively and do not need to
be trapped by it. As the proverb says: For the sage, karma
means liberation.
In the West, the notion of karma has been largely mis-
understood. It is often taken as a religious theory related to
Hinduism or Buddhism. As if the Western part of the globe
obeyed to different laws or could abide by different cosmic


To repeat it, karma, literally in Sanskrit means action; it
simply means cause-and-effect, or in the terminology of
modern systems theory, karma is the law of a responsive,
feedback-looping system. I shout in the forest, in a canyon.
I hear my voice resonating in space. You can also say that
karma is the natural condition in a responsive universe. I
kill life and thus raise chances that I am myself killed, be-
cause I set an action of that kind, and create a negative
resonance. All actions create a resonance according to their
nature. I nurture life by being kind and taking care of oth-
ers, or feedback to them their beauty, their strength, their
originality. I support others in the realization of their origi-
nal nature.

Then, I create a karma of positive resonance that sup-
ports me in realizing my own original nature.
There is no god, no savior and no punishment. There
are no wrong acts, no right acts. There is karma only, feed-
back given by the universe.

By observing that feedback and recognizing its nature,
positive or negative, I can evaluate the outcome of my ac-
tions. There is no other way.
You can’t do that by thinking about your behavior.
Thought is circular and inbound within my own con-
tinuum. I cannot abstract from my thought and become an
observer-thinker, despite the fact that great sages such as
Krishnamurti told us we could develop this ability.


Let’s assume I have not reached that stage of develop-
ment and thus am still caught in the ego-based structure.
Then I have the option to observe the nature of my actions
by evaluating the feedback they create in the universe. In
being careful and observing what happens around you be-
fore you take any major action, you can avoid fatal mis-
takes and setbacks and act in accordance with the steering
power of the universe. This power is of a higher intelli-
gence, and considers not only your actions but the actions
of all other humans, of all other beings, and even the ac-
tions of natural forces.
How does a particular action you are going to take fit
in the universe? What kind of waves will it create? What
kind of responses will it trigger? All this can be evaluated
before the action is taken. And the I Ching has been cre-
ated precisely for assisting us in that quest.
Once you understand this, you will agree that to take
blind actions is foolish behavior. And yet, most people, es-
pecially in the modern world, take blind actions all the
time, and even think that it was normal human behavior. It
is ignorant human behavior.
Educating children to take blind actions is irresponsi-
ble education, or no education at all.

Most Western people will reply that it was through a
set of firm behavior rules, so-called ‘morally correct behav-
ior’ that positive karma could be created.
However, moral correctness is on the same line as po-
litical correctness. It is totally volatile as moral rules are

volatile and change from country to country and in some
countries even from village to village, and they change
over time as well, and they change when economic condi-
tions change. Hence, morality is a fiction; moralism has been
seen throughout human history as one of the most sordid
ways to blindfold the masses and keep them from educat-
ing themselves about the universal laws and rules that really
regulate action and reaction.

How much morally correct behavior triggered wars
and genocide all over human history! How many massa-
cres have been committed in the name of well-sounding
moralistic slogans, how many millions of people were
killed for politically and morally correct principles!?

When I maintain a rigid principle-ridden mindset, I act
from an arrogantly fixated ego position. By contrast, when
I am humble and flexible, I do not overestimate the powers
of my ego and instead rely on the intelligence of the uni-
verse to help me finetune my actions.

Then I remain open for help and support and admit
that I need help and support in the first place. The universe
sends help, but only to those who are open to receive it.

Action Patterns
As already mentioned, the I Ching teaches flexibility as
a foremost value for constructive and positive action, ac-
tion that creates good and beneficial karma for self and
others. When I am flexible, I am ready to go not only for-
ward, but at times also backward, and once in a while, I am


even putting things on hold, a movement that I call stand-
Note that I consider standing still, in this dynamic sys-
tem of positive and constructive action, as a movement. Just
as nonaction, from the same perspective, is a form of ac-
tion, standstill is a form of movement. It is the movement
that avoids wrong action by standing still. Wrong action is ac-
tion that brings about strife, tension, or hurt, to others and,
as a karmic reaction, to self as a karmic boomerang.
The I Ching teaches a gradual interplay of different move-
ments, such as, for example, moving forward, standing still
for some time, and then moving forward again. This is de-
pending on the lines you receive, and it also depends on
the structure and hierarchy of the particular hexagram you
are contemplating.
Let us first consider the more clear-cut divinations,
those that show an unambiguous move in either of the
three directions. Moving forward is clearly expressed by
hexagrams such as Progress (35), Rising (46) or Gradual Pro-
gress (53). Moving backward is advised by Retreat (33), and
this unconditionally as all six lines recommend to retreat
from the condition in question, and differ only by the fact
that such retreat is more comfortable and easy or less com-
fortable and bothersome.
Standstill is clearly advised by Keeping Still (52), and
here, like in Retreat (33), the different lines only inform
about the easiness or uneasiness of the halt, but they do
not recommend any movement other than standstill.


Thus, when you get any line of Retreat (33) or the hexa-
gram without lines, this is a clear indication that you are
advised to take a distance from the action or endeavor, or
relationship, you intend to engage in, or intend to continue
engaging in. The same is true for Keeping Still (52). All the
lines indicate standstill as the right action for that moment.
Note that it is difficult to know how long a particular
hexagram is valid. I do not think that the I Ching invaria-
bly advises to retreat from a certain action forever, but in
most cases just for a certain time. It is only through repeated
divinations that you may get to know the reason why you
should retreat and how long, or else if you should defi-
nitely stop action for that particular purpose. All advice on
divination that says I Ching readings to be valid for either
three months or six months is a matter of personal opinion,
not to be found in any serious interpretation of the Book of
I have had situations where the reading was valid for
just one day, as the next day a new cycle set in that was
foretold by a totally different reading later that same day.
This, by the way, is true for all divinatory practices. Books
on the interpretation of the Tarot that say a particular read-
ing is valid for six months are expressing personal experi-
ence at best, if they are not just repeating the balderdash
they themselves learnt from others.
In truth, there is absolutely no rule that says that a cer-
tain divination is valid for one minute, for one day or for


one lifetime. This is exactly the uncertainty factor in all
You may know all in advance, but you will not know
the time when events set in. I have had readings where an
event set in the next day, and I had readings where an
event never set in, probably because I was heeding the ad-
vice and changed the parameters of my behavior in time.
There is a subtle interplay between your intuition and
the I Ching. You know intuitively when you should consult
the book again. To disregard your intuition and wait six
months for the next reading is foolish.
The universe communicates you not only the nature of
your karma, but also the time when you should consult the
I Ching again. Of course, you may return too often to divi-
nation, and for reasons of stress or fear.
And when you consult the I Ching in a negative mood,
you may get a negative reading. But then the I Ching will
tell you what’s wrong with you. It will tell you that you
lack decisiveness, that you need to put first things first,
that you should be firm in following your original pur-
pose, that you worry too much, that you should be persis-
tent or that you should advance despite your anxiety. Or it
may tell you to meditate and put things on hold for a mo-
ment, to free your mind and get new creative inspirations,
or to consult a friend or expert for finding the solution. Or
it may advise you to do things in cooperation with others,
and not single-handedly.


As a beginner, you should first become familiar with
the idea of action being naturally threefold, and not con-
sisting only of marching forward. When you look at hu-
man history, you see that our old-fashioned and somehow
extremely violent tradition has created evil, sorrow and
misery by ignoring the simple fact that action is three-
directional. Marching forward was seen as the only right

In a way, marching forward can be seen as the identi-
fier of the total madness that is so characteristic for patriar-
chy. And the madness of today’s worldwide consumer cul-
ture is the logical historical and psychological follow-up of
patriarchy with its ignorance of systemliteracy.

We can see the three base movements equally in the
way the I Ching entered the soil of Western culture. There
was first a forward movement, during Antiquity, then a
long retreat during the Dark Age, and then a period of
standstill. The I Ching could be discovered by a wider
range of people only after the horror regime of the Church
had found its end, thus from about the Renaissance. When
the Church declared the I Ching, together with so many
other jewels of human wisdom as diabolic knowledge, we
can clearly see a phase of Retreat (33). But for various rea-
sons, the I Ching became popular in Western culture only
within the new age movement, from the second half of the
20th century.
Today, the I Ching is clearly again in a forward move-
ment, in Western culture. From the Renaissance until to-


day, the I Ching was going through a period of Keeping Still
(52). It could be consulted without danger, but was given
attention only by a small range of Western scholars, among
them the German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von
Leibniz (1646-1716) who found that the I Ching implicitly
uses the binary code that today is used in every computer.
In the near future, during the Aquarius Age, the I Ching
will receive an honorable and important position within a
greater range of wisdom devices that are constantly reach-
ing wider circles among the educated classes of interna-
tional society, and foremost the young generations, which
is one of the main reasons why I wrote this book.

Three Phases of Action
Action is what I call forward movement within a posi-
tioning that sees action together with nonaction and retreat
as one of the three phases of action. After having introduced
the notion of three base movements in the previous para-
graph, let me now have a regard on the various phases
within the forward movement.

The I Ching deals with action in most hexagrams. As
already mentioned, there are only a few hexagrams that
recommend action through and through, while most are
mixed in the sense that within a course of action, diligent
attention and careful inspection is recommended to avoid
excess, and a setback or failure as a result of overacting.
Let me explain this using Yang/Creative Energy/The Ac-
tive Principle (1) as an example. The first line of this very


powerful hexagram that consists of six yang lines recom-
mends nonaction.
The second line recommends to seek advice. The third
line predicts danger, but says there will be no harm. The
forth line, eventually, sets action completely free and the
fifth line predicts great success. However, the top line is a
quintessential example for excess and is generally inter-
preted as a painful setback through an arrogant and in-
flexible attitude, or a rigidly forward-moving behavior.
Let me now give a few examples for hexagrams that
end in a positive 6th line. I think it is important to consider
that not after every culmination point follows a negative
spiral. Such a conclusion would be a misunderstanding of
the I Ching. Flexibly intelligent action uses the time after
completion, as hexagram 63 teaches us, for securing what
has been achieved, and for rest and meditation.
It is short-sighted to interpret the I Ching as a set of
patterns that ‘predict the future.’ The truth is that no future
can ever be ‘predicted’ because every moment a different
thought and emotional pattern can be put forward that
changes the present state of events, thereby changing the fu-
ture by changing the present. The future is but an extrapo-
lation of a vibrational pattern set in the present. When I
change the present pattern, logically the future pattern will
be different as well. That is why, as I mentioned earlier, a
particular reading can be superseded in a day, an hour or a
week, but not in any time intervals determined in advance.


Life is infinitely flexible. After a thunderstorm, a hurri-
cane or an earthquake, there may be a certain level of de-
struction, but it’s not the end of the world. Nothing in na-
ture can cause the end of nature—except human ignorance
and willfulness. This is an unwritten law pervading all liv-
ing in the cosmos.
The first example of a hexagram that ends in a positive
6th line is Great Harvest/Abundance (14), which is called by
some I Ching experts as the most lucky of all hexagrams.
Here, the 6th line simply reads in Hua-Ching Ni’s interpre-
tation: ‘Heavenly blessing. Good fortune. No problem.’

—Hua-Ching Ni, I Ching, The Book of Changes and the Unchang-
ing Truth (1999), p. 295.

Another example is Modesty/Humility/Moderation (15)
where the 6th line reads:
He uses modesty instead of aggression with outsid-
ers to correct the confusion within his territory. (Id.,

Other examples are:

‣ Obstacle/Adversity/Obstruction (12);

‣ Advancing/Going Forward/Progress (19);

‣ Contemplation/Stocktaking/Reflection (20);

‣ Adornment/Beauty/Grace (22)

‣ Great Potential/Creative Energy/Great Power (26);


‣ Nourishment/Nutrition/Self-Cultivation (27);

‣ Critical Mass/Great Excess/Imbalance (28);

‣ Mutual Attraction/Wooing/Marriage (31);

‣ Retreat/Withdrawal/Going Backward (33);

‣ Family/The Clan/Group Life (37);

‣ Contradiction/Opposition/Disharmony (38);

‣ Obstruction/Obstacle/Difficulty (39);

‣ Dissolution of the Problem/Release/Liberation (40);

‣ Sacrifice/Decrease/Reduce the Excessive (41);

‣ The Well/Water Hole/Reaching the Water (48);

‣ Revolution/Reformation/Groundbreaking Change (49);

‣ Cauldron/Harmonization/Stability (50);

‣ Gradual Progress/Positive Development (53).

In all these hexagrams, the 6th line is positive and con-
structive. Now, if almost one third of all hexagrams of the I
Ching give a positive reading for the 6th line, it cannot be
said, as some scholars erroneously do, that the 6th line in
every hexagram of the I Ching invariably predicts misfor-


Non-Action vs. Bold Action
Nonaction is action, Lao-tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching.
And this wisdom is part of the I Ching as well. You can
find nonaction in the I Ching in two different ways:

‣ As a general standstill, as indicated by Keeping Still (52);

‣ As a tactical standstill, as part of various action-hexagrams:

• The 1st line in Yang (1);

• The 1st line in Dispute (6);

• The 6th line in Small Accumulation (9);

• The 1st line in Great Harvest (14);

• The 1st line in Great Potential (26);

• The 4th line in Fire (30);

• The 3rd line in Mutual Attraction (31);

• The 1st line in Power of the Great (34);

• The 1st line in Resolution (43);

• The 4th line in Contact (44);

• The 5th line in Adversity (47);

• The 3rd line in Revolution (49);

• The 3rd line in Gradual Progress (53);

• The 1st line in Before Crossing the Water (64).

As mentioned earlier, when nonaction appears as a line
in an otherwise dynamic hexagram, and contrary to the
general advice given in Keeping Still (52), interpretation is


Typically, one of these critical lines is drawn together
with other lines of the same hexagram. When this happens,
a temporary halt is indicated or the line can be said to indi-
cate a very careful way to proceed. If the line is drawn as a
single answer without any other line, this means that in-
deed nonaction is the best for a certain time.
The time-span cannot be predicted, as I pointed out
earlier, but from a systemic point of view I would argue
that the time-span of rest or nonaction indicated by Keeping
Still (52) is certainly more extended as the one indicated by
any of the lines that recommend a temporary halt. That is
all I can say on the time matter.
For all those who are caught in the erroneous belief the
I Ching was but a textbook on Confucianism, and that it
did not favor any form of bold and spontaneous action, let
me advance the following arguments to put things in the
correct light:

‣ The I Ching is much older than Confucian thinking;

‣ Confucius is said to have studied the I Ching most diligently
and never pretended to have developed any knowledge or
system that superseded or surpassed the wisdom of the I

‣ The I Ching contains a number of lines that advise bold and
massive action, and to prove my point, I will line them up in
full detail here, and exhaustively so:

• The 4th line of Yang (1);

• The 5th line of Yin (2);

• The 4th line of Difficult Begin (3);


• The 1st line of Peace (11);

• The 6th line of Obstacle (12);

• The 2nd line of Great Harvest (14);

• The 2nd line of Modesty (15);

• The 2nd line in Advancing (19);

• The 5th line of Return (24);

• The 1st line of Innocence (25);

• The 6th line of Great Potential (26);

• The 6th line of Nourishment (27);

• The 1st and 2nd lines of Fire (30);

• The 2nd line of Power of the Great (34);

• The 3rd line of Success (35);

• The 6th line of Contradiction (38);

• The 1st, 2nd and 6th lines of Dissolution of the Prob-
lem (40);

• The 5th line of Sacrifice (41);

• The 1st, 2nd and 5th lines of Benefit (42);

• The 2nd, 4th and 5th lines of Congregation (45);

• The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th lines of Rising (46);

• The 4th, 5th and 6th lines of The Well (48);

• The 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th lines of Revolution (49);

• The 5th and 6th lines of Cauldron (50);

• The 2nd, 4th and 6th lines of Gradual Progress (53);

• The 1st line of The Maiden (54);

• The 1st, 4th and 5th lines of Peak (55);


• The 5th line of The Wanderer (56);

• The 5th line of Gentle Wind (57);

• The 1st and 2nd lines of Joyousness (58);

• The 1st line of Scattered (59);

• The 5th line of Inner Truth (61);

• The 5th line of Before Crossing the Water (64).

If more than half of all hexagrams of the I Ching rec-
ommend unbridled action in one or several lines, the opin-
ion sometimes expressed in the literature that the wisdom
book was an action-breaker and led people to procrastina-
tion seems to be unfounded. In fact, having studied and
practiced both the Tarot and the I Ching for almost thirty
years, I find the Tarot more difficult to interpret because it
uses psychological archetypes for describing circumstances.
By contrast, the language of the I Ching is rather precise,
and its advice to the point.
It is perhaps more difficult to get to bold action when
using the Tarot for divination as this is the case with the I
Ching. Let’s not forget that in the past, in China, many
great generals have used the I Ching for war strategy and
for gathering precise information about when and how to
advance or retreat the army in order to win the battle.
After all, what the I Ching definitely cannot do is to act
for you! There is a moment when you have to cease reflect-
ing and start acting. And in that moment, the I Ching has
to be laid aside.

The Hexagrams
64 Hexagrams and 384 Lines

1 Qian


Yang / Creative Energy /
The Active Principle
Work steadily. You will achieve favorable results.

Traditionally, pure yang energy was considered auspicious
for the realization of any project. Most of the lines are fa-
vorable except the first and the sixth. In the first the energy
is not yet ready and the sixth line indicates a possible ex-
cess that needs to be avoided.

1. The time is not ripe for outer action, but it’s a good
time for self-development and working on inner clarity for
your plans and goals.
2. Seek out the advice of a knowledgeable person in
your field. It will be good to work together to achieve your
3. You are now in a situation to attract others to your
ideas and social advancement is possible. But you need to
be prudent in such a time for your creative energy may
lose focus and get scattered through too much exposure
and input. If you hold your vision, focus and integrity, you
can pass safely through this period of time.
4. This is a moment of choice. You can either seek pub-
lic fame or work for your own inner advancement and
personal development. Follow your deepest intuition, lis-
tening to the inner voice that knows what is true for you.
When you affirm and have faith in your guidance, this


guidance will manifest in your life and you will make the
right choice.
5. This is a line of great potential and leadership. You
can realize an important project now and the outcome will
be beneficial for all parties involved. If you are not sure
about the why and how of the realization, consult a
knowledgeable person. You will receive help and support!
6. This line shows a need for moderation. Any extreme
action should be avoided for it may have a counterproduc-
tive effect. You may be too ambitious or you may over-
stress your possibilities. Restrain yourself to avoid any un-
desired consequences.


2 Kun
— —
— —
— —

— —
— —
— —

Yin / Adaptive Energy / The
Receptive Principle
Adapt. Go with the flow.

This hexagram was traditionally associated with a female
horse. It represents soft and gentle characteristics. This
hexagram is generally very positive, except the sixth line
which indicates the illusion one could achieve success
single-handedly. The overall stress of this hexagram is col-
laboration and communication with others.

1. To understand all means to forgive all. Be open-
minded. In the beginning stage of a project or relationship,
you should be gentle and cautious. Your knowledge is not
broad at this point and you should proceed with care and

2. This line indicates that you act in accordance with
the universe now and that your endeavors will be natu-
rally successful. Be honest and upright, and do not worry.
You can advance gracefully now!
3. This line traditionally speaks about a government
official who is not paid for his work, yet what he does
serves the public good. This means that what you do now
in a public, unselfish spirit will be rewarded later on. For
the moment, keep your talents and ideas for yourself and
proceed in this spirit, then you act in accordance with the

KUN (2)

4. This is a time for prudence. Run a low profile and be
self-contained. You can advance at this time more on the
inner level than outwardly. Be faithful to your highest
guidance and restrain your impulsiveness in order to
avoid unnecessary disturbance; confrontations may lead to
undesired obligations.
5. This is a position of leadership. Your modest attitude
and humility in a position of power and influence lead to
great success. The traditional interpretation assigns the
color ‘yellow’ to this line, which was associated with intel-
ligence. It said that if leaders were willing to follow the
natural virtue of this line, there would be nothing wrong in
the world.

6. You will gain the insight that the hallmark of success
is not competition but cooperation. If you insist on your
way in a matter where more people are involved, you may
cause losses for all, and nobody wins. The traditional in-
terpretation speaks of dragons fighting in the wilderness.
However it also says that their blood blends together,
which connotes a blending of yin and yang. Thus, if you
are able to ‘blend’ your energy with those of your collabo-
rators, your project may still succeed, but you need to real-
ize this truth and change your attitude.


— —
— —

— —
— —

Difficult Begin / Birth
Pangs / To Be Stationed
Be stationary and firm. Do not move. Reorient yourself.

This hexagram teaches a need for careful thought before
starting a new venture. It indicates a potentially confused
beginning which is why treading carefully and seeking ad-
vice is recommended. There is however a chance that persis-
tence leads to later success.

1. You cannot advance alone in this position. Be faithful
to inner guidance; you will attract the right helpers.
2. You need to be patient, for there are difficulties and
obstacles in your way. The traditional interpretation speaks
of a girl mounted on a horse but at a standstill. This is be-
cause she declines to marry and will wed only in ten years.
This means metaphorically that you should not collaborate
with others when the time is not right or when such col-
laboration is against your principles. In such a case it is
better to wait until you attract the right people to help you.
3. The traditional interpretation speaks of a person who
is hunting in a forest without a guide, unable to find deer
and in addition losing his way. This means that if in your
isolated position you push forward, you will experience a
setback. The right action here is to stand still and wait until
your inner guidance shows you a way out. You may also

TUN (3)

want to check out your goals and intrinsic motivation; it
may be necessary to adjust your goals to the situation.
4. Now the way begins to open for you, but not for act-
ing single-handedly. You need to cooperate with others,
but stay your course and be faithful that you will see the
light at the end of the tunnel.
5. This line advises to not granting favors to others and
to not realize big projects. This means you should do a step
at a time, avoid any form of corruption, and proceed with
a humble attitude. Doing small steps toward your goal is
after all a form of advance; sometimes slowness is the cor-
rect response in certain situations. The most important is
that inwardly you stay your course and be faithful to your
ultimate success at a later time.
6. This line traditionally is associated with a person
mounted on a horse, but at a standstill, weeping uncontrol-
lably. This means that when you encounter a blockage on
your way, this may cause you momentary sadness. How-
ever, this line also teaches that if you change inwardly, the
outward situation will also change. This is a good time for
introspection, meditation and self-cultivation. Stop your
course of action for a while and ask for inner guidance.
You will receive it!


— —
— —

— —
— —

Immaturity / Lacking Expe-
rience / The Undeveloped
Be willing to learn and educate yourself.

It may be needed to educate yourself as the situation may be
confused because you are lacking inner coherence. You may
thus be at pains to make an informed decision. In such a
case, patience and inner strength are needed to gain clarity
for advancing at the right moment, relying on your inner

1. Restrain yourself and practice self-discipline. Set
yourself strict guidelines for action and you’ll avoid hav-
ing regrets later on. A stoic attitude and strict principles are
the path toward happiness; while leading an unregulated
life is not a recipe for success.

2. This line traditionally announced a good marriage.
While such an interpretation may be too narrow, what is
indicated here is that collaboration with others brings good
results. In all human affairs, judgment is short-sighted be-
cause we never know all the factors that motivate human
action in others. Hence, tolerance and benevolence with
others, even if they act inappropriately, is the correct atti-
tude and brings success.
3. This line traditionally speaks of one attempting to
marry a women who seeks a wealthy man. More generally,
what the I Ching advises here is to not be blinded by desire

MENG (4)

and to avoid excess. Thus, wait patiently for a better mo-
ment and avoid action.
4. This line warns of ignorance. It may be a matter
where you need more background information before you
go on. If you do not heed this advice, you may suffer a
painful setback. Spiritually, if your inner mind does not
support your project, there will be conflict. Right action
here is to check if your intended action is in accordance
with your conscience and to affirm that you are guided by
correct principles. Affirm this over and over and your sub-
conscious mind will pick up on it and will give you feed-
back, through dreams and premonitions, how you should
act in this situation. Until you receive this inner guidance,
hold on and do not persist.
5. Being faithful to your inner guidance, you shall
achieve your goal and advance in your life. It will bring
you advantage to seek another’s advice and support.
6. This line traditionally speaks of punishing an igno-
rant child. A modern interpretation would see the ‘child’ as
a metaphor for your own inner child. If this inner energy is
too boastful and neglects proper guidance you should re-
strict it by considering the matter from the perspective of
your inner adult (rationality) and your inner parent (re-
sponsibility). The inner child is your most creative im-
pulse, but sometimes creative solutions are hurting social
traditions, and thus you need to apply wisdom to the way
how you proceed in life.


5 XU
— —
— —


Waiting Patiently / Stag-
nation / Hesitation
Be patient and bide your time. Overcome stagnation.

This hexagram teaches the importance of time in all matters
that need a growing energy for realization. When you need
to wait, rushing ahead only results in restlessness without
bringing a real advance. The wisdom of this hexagram is to
teach creative adaptation to a situation where quick pro-
gress is not possible.

1. Do not rush into things. Do not exhaust your energy
at this point. Wait until you see a safe way to proceed.
2. There are difficulties ahead. To be aware of danger is
a good way to avoid it. When you are faithful to your inner
guidance, you will see a way out and you can advance
3. You are in a vulnerable position. You may have got
into this position by having been too reckless in your re-
cent past. Now be cautious and hold still so as to not invite

4. The situation is such that retreat is the best action
here. Keep your inner light and be faithful to be guided
when the moment is right. You may find help and support
to get out of this situation if you are faithful to your inner

XU (5)

5. This is a time for relaxing and getting a good new
perspective of the situation at hand. There is much more to
do for realizing your goals; thus remain focused and do
not become restless. You will be guided to advance when
the time is right.
6. You’ll receive a blessing in disguise. The traditional
interpretation speaks of three uninvited guests who need
to be properly treated for everything being alright. This
symbolizes that in some form or another, you receive a
helping hand from the universe, but you need to recognize
the blessing which may not be obvious. Often in life, when
we do good to others, it comes back to us not from the
same people and at a later time, but it does come back to



— —
— —

Dispute / Conflict / Inner
Tension. It may indicate contention. It may be an inner struggle.

This hexagram traditionally is about conflict with others, a
state of contention or a litigation. But it can as well apply
for an inner struggle. You are likely to receive it in a read-
ing when you have two ‘talking’ voices within you, one that
wants to go ahead, and the other that wants you to stop. In
such a case, you need to develop good judgment.

1. Avoid dispute and make peace. If you are bothered
by gossip or if others treat you with lacking respect, for-
give them, but go your way and believe in your inner val-
2. Pure willpower is often in life not a good recipe for
success. Here, patience and tolerance are needed for dis-
solving a dispute outwardly, or within yourself. You may
need to make concessions in a dispute, or you may gain
clarity about what you really want. Retreat is a good action
for now!

3. The advice here is to run a low profile and avoid
public prominence. If you heed this advice and you remain
cautious, you may eventually succeed. But do not start
new undertakings now!
4. The traditional interpretation of this line is that one’s
grievance has been rejected. It is thus recommended to

SONG (6)

avoid the conflict altogether by not insisting and making
peace. A favorable response may then occur.
5. In this position, you may well proceed with a griev-
ance or litigation. As you are guided by correct principles,
you will be successful and dispute can be dissolved. This
line may also indicate that you have found inner peace by
dissolving conflict within. It is thus favorable to go ahead!
6. The I Ching always advises against competition.
Your position here is that while you have won the dispute,
you have stirred up an envious reaction in others. Thus to
insist until the end is not favorable. The traditional inter-
pretation of this line speaks of a leather belt that was be-
stowed because of winning a litigation, but that will be
snatched away many times. This metaphor teaches the im-
portance of inner poise, harmony and peace of mind,
which have higher values than the momentary winning of
a dispute. Hence the need for inner reflection and, if neces-
sary, of wistful retreat.


— —
— —

— —
— —
— —

The Army / Military Lead-
ership / Collective Power
Learn the art of leadership.

This hexagram indicates that great things can be achieved
with cooperation and a good sense of leadership. The impor-
tance is to take responsibility and to have a non-selfish atti-
tude for making things happen by firing others up with re-
spect and enthusiasm.

1. This line teaches that selfish motives are not appro-
priate in a position of leadership, hence the need for self-
restraint and for building an ‘orderly’ mindset and atti-
tude. This means that you need to be organized from the
start in order to avoid failure for yourself and those who
are close to you.
2. This line predicts a favorable result because there is
good communication. The traditional interpretation speaks
of being empowered by the King. This means that yin and
yang are in correct balance, so you can advance toward
your goal.
3. This line speaks of the defeat of an army. Psychologi-
cally, this indicates that one lacks leadership skills. While
your intentions may be good, you need to control any lofty
ambitions by making sure you have the ability to carry
things through to the end. If you see that this is not the
case, retreat is the best thing to do.

SHI (7)

4. This line is an extension of the 3rd line in that it
teaches the way how to retreat safely. It indicates that the
situation is such that in your present position you cannot
win and should thus retreat. The traditional interpretation
emphasizes that one should never feel humiliated by re-
5. Here, the I Ching consults to appoint an experienced
leader for handling the situation. Thus assignments should
be clearly given, and the leader must carefully match the
right person with the appropriate duty—otherwise you
may run into failure. If you are not in a situation of leader-
ship outwardly, this line may also apply to your inner
‘team’ in that you may be advised to take a leadership po-
sition in the face of contradicting inner voices, and take a
responsible action based upon self-reflection.
6. Take special care in delegating duties. You have basi-
cally made it through but you need to be careful what kind
of people you are sharing your success with. Avoid petty
people and give rewards only to those who have deserved
it. This line may also be interpreted as reflecting a person
who as a leader needs to be a good manager as well, thus
fulfilling two roles in one person.


8 BI
— —
— —

— —
— —
— —

Fellowship / Unity / To-
A time for union and cooperation. The undecided will join in.

This hexagram indicates a situation where even when you
think you are absolutely right, you should consult others by
communicating effectively. Success is indicated but it will
come only through joint effort and cooperative action.

1. This line indicates success while one may not have
done anything special, thus a lucky situation. This is the
result of your inner coherence which makes that on the
outward level you come over as honest and trustworthy.
2. This line teaches that the achievement of good part-
nership outwardly is the result of inner values, integrity,
coherence, sincerity, and focus. The traditional interpreta-
tion speaks of ‘unity from within’ which bodes well. Thus
perseverance brings a positive result!
3. The traditional interpretation speaks of fellowship
with an unvirtuous person. Thus, make sure to align your-
self with the right people. If you link up with people of
shadowy reputation, it may negatively affect your own
social standing later on.
4. You have made it to a position of some influence or
leadership. You may be in the role of support for a person,
or persons, with whom you can cooperate. Thus while be-

BI (8)

ing prudent, you may graciously support others, as this
will bring advancement for the partnership.
5. The traditional interpretation of this line speaks of a
leader who engages in a hunt. He practices self-restraint in
that when an animal achieves to escape the hunting circle,
he will not persecute it. Likewise, a good leader uses only
those who approach by their own volition and doesn’t
force himself or herself on people. When this is achieved,
great success is possible for all parties involved!
6. Here a situation is indicated where one has failed to
cooperate with others because of a tendency to isolate one-
self or because the time of unity has passed, and another
cycle has set in. A historical example here is the French
Revolution. If the nobility had seen the necessity to make
concessions when the time was still positive for reform and
moderation, much bloodshed and still greater corruption
by Robespierre’s brutal revolutionary regime would have
been avoided. In daily situations, this line teaches the im-
portance of using time effectively in a leadership position
as everything is cyclic in life.

— —


Small Accumulation /
Limitation / Incremental
Small successes are at the basis of abundance.

The traditional picture of this hexagram is that clouds are
moving across the sky but no rain is falling. This indicates
a situation where one should be outwardly flexible but in-
wardly determined and focused. Others will realize that
you are open to compromise. All success under this hexa-
gram will be incremental and slow.

1. As so often at the starting point of a new situation,
the I Ching advises prudence. You have the choice here to
proceed or retreat. If you focus on inner guidance, the right
way will be shown to you. Avoid reckless actions!
2. You may notice that somehow you are dragged away
from a problematic situation. This kind of involuntary re-
treat is auspicious for it leads to a reevaluation of the situa-
tion. Trust your inner guidance and you will know how to
act appropriately.
3. There may be some contention or struggle. It doesn’t
bring you advantage to insist on your point of view or go
ahead with too much self-confidence. The situation cannot
be mastered through single-handed advance, but through
proper cooperation and communication. Inner coherence


and harmonious thoughts will assist you in bringing about
positive results.
4. When you sincerely communicate with others, you
can be influential in this position. The traditional interpre-
tation of his line is ‘Be confident. Wipe away the blood and
avoid danger. No more trouble.’ This means that your un-
derstanding of the situation, your moderate attitude, and
your honesty will help you to cooperate effectively with
others so as to master this situation and bring about a suc-
cessful outcome.
5. Here your cooperative attitude attracts even more
important people and you can make good connections. Be
willing to share and have a charitable intention, then eve-
rything will bode well!
6. This line cautions you to consolidate your gains in-
stead of pressing further ahead. Adversity may be on the
increase and you are advised to not lose your cooperative


10 LI

— —

Conduct / Behavior / At-
Pay close attention to your conduct. Do things appropriately.

This hexagram is all about conduct, who people behave in
society, and which attitude is appropriate in different situa-
tions. It is an important hexagram in that peace and order
flow out from good human conduct, while even the strictest
criminal law will not be able to prevent, let alone eradicate
criminal behavior. Sometimes a bad attitude can spoil the
best cause.

1. Conduct yourself simply and naturally. Do not as-
sume obligations in this position for you depend too much
on the goodwill of others. The I Ching teaches throughout
that when neither honor nor disgrace are imposed on a plain
good life, one achieves happiness.
2. Simplicity and modesty (moderation) are safeguard-
ing a tranquil life. Do not get entangled in other people’s
dreams and do not expect favors from others, nor any high
position or honor. Then you preserve your inner peace.
3. This line traditionally speaks of a person who steps
on the tail of a tiger and is bitten. It’s a situation of danger
caused by lacking foresight, arrogance or excessive ambi-
tion. The advice in this situation is to be flexible and avoid
a rigid stubborn attitude. It is also important to maintain

LI (10)

inner coherence and avoid being misled by hot temper or

4. In this situation, you have mastered the danger indi-
cated by the 3rd line, because one has been prudent and
flexible. Now you can proceed with your project or en-
5. There is danger in this position but if you can muster
self-discipline and you have a true understanding of the
situation, you can go prudently ahead. If you feel that it’s
not worth the effort, you may want to change your goals.
Here advancement means to have gained wisdom through
understanding one’s past.

6. Check out your conduct now and in the past. The
law of karma is but cause and effect depending on the na-
ture of our actions. If you are able to gain a certain objec-
tiveness in assessing your behavior, you can achieve high
in your life, for you will see that you reap what you sow.
Hence the need to refresh your attitude from time to time.


11 TAI
— —
— —
— —


Peace / Harmony / Success
Good opportunity. Proceed.

This is an overall positive hexagram. When you receive it
in a reading, it indicates that you are basically on the right
path and act in alignment with the cosmos. The I Ching
teaches that inner coherence and harmony are the keys to

1. The law of attraction works positively in your life
now. You can establish good connections now with others
and proceed toward your goal. Especially when you work
for the common good, you will attract people with similar
goals and you can establish successful cooperation.
2. Harmony means that you keep to the middle way,
avoiding extremes. Being non-judgmental, and taking a
position of latitude by accepting both the good and bad
elements you see in the world is beneficial. When you have
the courage to harmonize all opposites in this way, you
bring more harmony into your life, thereby achieving
more. Broadmindedness will increase coherence within
yourself and others around you and you can accomplish
great achievement in alignment with your higher purpose
in life.
3. Your present situation undergoes a change. It may
not yet be visible but there will be a turning point. This
doesn’t mean defeat. You can contribute to a smooth con-

TAI (11)

tinuation, despite change, by being faithful and focus on
the attitude that has brought you success; then, you will
have more successes in your life. It is important not to re-
act to change with fear because that will close your oppor-
tunity window. Fear negatively affects inner coherence; it
comes up only if you resist change. Being open to change
but seeing the potential for growth, both spiritually and
financially, helps you to steer your ship successfully
through this time.
4. When you trust others from a genuine position of
broad-mindedness, you will receive their help and coop-
eration. You are now at a point to experience how your in-
ner coherence positively influences the people around you,
and you may be surprised how much support you will re-
ceive for achieving your goal. Many great achievements
require more than one person to be accomplished, so be
open to receive the help that is offered to you.
5. This is a position of leadership that has the potential
of great accomplishment. You enjoy the broad support of
those around you by being upright and modest in your
attitude, and by so doing, you can share your success with
more than one person, and can benefit many. This is a true

6. When you encounter obstacles, do not resist them on
the mental and emotional levels, for this would make them
appear bigger to you as they really are. After the peak of
prosperity has been passed, there is a time of consolidation
when you need to care for maintaining your success. In


such a time you need to be both positive and prudent,
avoiding any hazardous actions or investments. It is also
helpful in such a time to strengthen the bonds with those
who support your cause.


12 PI

— —
— —
— —

Obstacle / Adversity / Ob-
Keeping still and remaining upright is favorable.

This hexagram depicts a situation of confusion. Tradition-
ally the picture was one of scattered sand which cannot
bind together. It is hard to know which direction to take. A
strong will and patience are needed. Be faithful to your in-
ner guidance.

1. Do not get involved in anything that is not in align-
ment with your highest principles. Do not go forward with
your undertaking or relationship, but wait and keep to
yourself. This time will pass. You can use it for strengthen-
ing your resolve and preparing for later success. Remain-
ing upright in times of adversity is the recipe for great
2. Do not compromise with the mass mind and be un-
affected by flattery. There is potential success waiting for
you if you keep uninvolved and trust the correctness of
your cause. The most important is to keep your smart in
such a time and to not divulge your motives or strategy.
3. Do not attempt to please those who you find are
lacking integrity or honesty. Instead, keep to yourself and
maintain your dignity. On the other hand, assess how you
have contributed to bringing this compromising situation

PI (12)

about. Thorough self-reflection will help you to correct the
situation and go out unharmed.
4. The cycle is about to change and adversity now be-
gins to wane. Having faith in a good delivery brings you
blessings. This is the result of your inner coherence, and
your faith in the positive nature of cyclic development.
5. You can now pull through the crisis and turn danger
to safety. A cautious and prudent attitude will help you,
while you should not slacken your efforts to achieving
your goal. Success is waiting for you!
6. After adversity comes rejoicing. Remain mindful to
reach your goals through correct and timely action, and try
to minimize dependence on others. The more you accept
others’ favors, the more you need to repay to them at a
later time. If you trust your inner guidance, you will see
that this guidance takes on every possible help and sup-
port in your outer life.


— —

Fellowship / Community /
Uniting with People
Work hand in hand with people.

This hexagram refers to a group of people working in har-
mony. However, there are different situations of uniting
with others, some appropriate, others not. The overall value
to be discussed here is trust, and trust-building in all kinds
of relationships.

1. This is a time to leave your familiar surroundings
and get into the open. Let others know about your projects
and ideas and be impartial in sharing with others. It brings
you and those you are sharing with advantage to meet in a
spirit of communion and with a positive mindset.
2. When you lose your impartial spirit and adopt par-
tial views, you will end up in a clique, not a real commu-
nity. This is the result of narrow-mindedness. You may
later regret your selfish motives, and you will realize that
you have only created limitations for everyone involved.
3. You may not be entirely clear about your motives.
You also may lack a public spirit and hold narrow views.
Your ambition may be greater than your potential for reali-
zation: this brings about inner friction and works counter
to coherence. You may realize that those around you have
an agenda and do not really cooperate with you. Thus for a
certain time not much can be achieved.


4. To be obsessed with certain personal goals may iso-
late you from others in the long run. However, you are
now in a position of going forward through introspection
and inner change. The achievement of your goal is possi-
ble, but not through any kind of forceful action. When you
realize that, you are heading toward the light. Then true
communion with others will be possible and bring advan-
tage for all parties involved.

5. Your inner coherence brings positive resonance from
others who are in a similar situation. Together you can re-
move the obstacles that were in the way to achievement
and great victory is in sight!
6. There is potential for community with others, but
this relationship will be limited in some ways. You will re-
alize that you have little influence upon those you wish to
cooperate with.

— —


Great Harvest / Power /
Make good use of your wealth of experience.

This is an overall very positive hexagram. Some traditional
I Ching interpretations stress that it was the only hexa-
gram of the I Ching where all lines are positive. The stress
here is upon accomplishment by using one’s wealth of expe-

1. Your idea or project may have great potential but the
situation is still in its beginning stage. You may be too iso-
lated still or anxious, and you should overcome such nega-
tive feelings by building positive faith in your cause. This
awareness will help you to advance!
2. You have abundant resources now and can under-
take an important task. This line indicates that your ambi-
tions will be rewarded with great success!
3. Do not indulge in ego-driven pursuits but share your
wealth to benefit others. If you have charitable ambitions
at this time, your public spirit will be recognized and re-
warded. There may be losses in some field, and unex-
pected gains in other areas of your life. The most impor-
tant is that you keep your heart open, and have the com-
mon good in mind, then you pass safely through this time
of change.

DA YOU (14)

4. Instead of competing with others, try to cooperate.
Instead of displaying a boastful and ostentatious attitude,
try to conciliate. You can only realize in life what you have
an equivalent for in your mental domain; thus keep fo-
cused and visualize your goals. If you do not force things,
you won’t be harmed.
5. As a leader, you don’t need to be superior in every
detail. When you are honest and open, but also dignified
and serious, nobody will take you lightly. This is a position
of successful leadership; being receptive and sincere while
maintaining power results in high achievement.
6. If you live rightly and benefit those who have helped
you to this position, the universe will help you and great
blessings will follow for everyone! The great art of leader-
ship is to achieve balance inwardly and outwardly, which
results in coherence within yourself and all those who help
you achieving your goals.


— —
— —

— —
— —
— —

Modesty / Humility / Mod-
Modesty and moderation bring success.

This is another hexagram in the I Ching where all six lines
are positive and beneficial. According to Richard Wilhelm,
this shows ‘how great a value Chinese wisdom places in
this virtue.’ When you are in a position of authority, con-
sideration of others is particularly important. Besides, you
should be humble especially when you are praised.

1. With a modest and disciplined attitude, much can be
achieved and you can get a lift from a lowly position into a
higher sphere of responsibility or realm of being. If some
travel is connected with your project, do the trip and it will
bring you advantage!

2. Your attitude of moderation brings you advance in
all affairs. It is beneficial to be to the point and carry out
your duties mindfully. Your proper conduct will bring you
3. Do not distinguish between pleasant and unpleasant
tasks and duties. Embrace all you do with diligence and
keep an attitude of modesty, then you will achieve high.
Once you are widely successful, do not let fame get into
your head.
4. A good reputation is not a goal in itself, thus remain
modest even when you meet acclaim. Ultimately, this re-

QIEN (15)

quires you to keep inner balance in all you do, both pri-
vately and in public. Then you will be able to maintain
moderation and keep to the middle way which brings ul-
timate success.
5. If you do not depend on wealth or personal status
and you have the benefit of all in mind, you can advance
smoothly and all obstacles will vanish out of your way.
This is the result of maintaining a selfless and dedicated
attitude, and serve the common good.
6. Sometimes, dissatisfaction arises for the modest per-
son as others try to take advantage of him or her. It may
cause inner struggle to realize that others take one’s mod-
esty as a display of weakness. However, do not allow oth-
ers to get you out of your inner poise, but remain steadfast.
Being moderate in attitude is a form of mental discipline; it
does not for that matter concede others any rights over
you. If you have the strength to keep your attitude intact
despite all, you will gain the final victory—not those who
misrepresent your motives!


16 YU
— —
— —

— —
— —
— —

Enthusiasm / Harmony /
This is a time for expansion and growth.

A successful period is on the way. Cooperation and shared
enthusiasm are essential in order to progress appropriately.
However, this hexagram also puts the stress on one’s atti-
tude and advises one to be moderate and disciplined when
going forward.

1. Trust your inner guidance, not outward appearances.
All in your life is a reflection of your inner state of mind,
and your level of inner coherence. Relationships and social
contacts may not lead you toward your goals, they may
even deceive you. When you trust your inner guidance,
you are led toward the right people or you attract them
into your life. When you are humble and sincere, you help
this divine power in you to unfold creatively for you; on
the other hand, when you are too complacent, you may
block this force.
2. You may call it faith, self-confidence, trusting in your
principles … all this means basically the same: when you
are poised and disciplined, or even stoic, unshaken by how
things are developing for you, you attract a positive and
happy outcome of the situation. You will be successful!
3. If you believe that gaining advantage from some so-
cial relations will bring you success, you disregard the

YU (16)

creative power that is located in your own inner mind.
Trust the guidance you receive from the universe! You can
still change direction and correct a sycophantic attitude.
Doing so will bring you ultimate success.
4. A truthful and joyful attitude which is consistent can
get you far in life: you will attract friends and collabora-
tors. You will experience new creative ideas emerging from
your inner mind, and this brings you success!

5. Over-indulgence weakens you, while a stoical and
good-natured attitude helps and heals you. This means, it
brings you advantage to be steadfast and disciplined in
your conduct.
6. When joy and happiness are extreme, they may lead
to deterioration and a self-centered attitude. In such a case,
it is beneficial to develop mindfulness, and to restrain
yourself, reduce your expenses, and avoid excesses of any
kind. Then you may discover a vein of new growth that
can lead you to a new victory.


17 SUI
— —

— —
— —

Compliance / Following /
It is beneficial to be of service while trusting your principles.

This hexagram teaches the value of compliance. The word
here connotes two meanings: following up to one’s highest
principles, and following another person or example. There
are two extremes in life that need to be avoided; one is a
willful attitude without ever listening to advice, and the
other is an attitude of lenience that imitates others because
the person lacks identity. The middle way is the way to go.

1. It is advantageous to you now to go out and meet
people of various kinds, and communicate. You may easily
attract help and support for the realization of your projects
and ideas when you meet others in a friendly and positive
mood. While listening to others’ suggestions and ideas,
however, make sure you make your own decisions.

2. Stay true to your highest principles and avoid to be
too much focused upon small profits. Have your greater
future in mind and think long-term. There is a proverb that
says that not failure, but small success is the enemy of
great success for it leads to complacency. Stay focused on
your long-term goals and you will reach them.
3. When you let go of the smaller for gaining the big-
ger, you are aligned with your divine power which always
wants your best. This also means to let lower and inferior

SUI (17)

goals behind and focus upon higher and more worthy and
noble goals. Such an attitude brings you ultimate success
and also strengthens your character.

4. Some of your connections may try to pull you in a
direction that is not what you were originally wanting to
be heading toward. Remain focused on your goals and try
to act independently, and believe in what you initially rec-
ognized to be true and worthy.

5. Your faithfulness brings you rich reward. This line
indicates great success.
6. Others may want to bind you in, as an expert or con-
sultant, a helper or advisor, or a healer. Whatever your
field of expertise, your correct attitude has impressed oth-
ers to follow you or to seek you out for advice. You will be
rewarded every time you offer others help and support
without selfish motives!


18 GU
— —

— —
— —

Correct Corruption / Im-
prove Things / Act Against
Act decisively to put things right.

Corruption is already manifest at this point. The value of
the advice received by this hexagram is to correct the situa-
tion in the best possible manner. At the beginning, the
situation needs to be properly assessed, then the right ac-
tion for correction or reform is to be taken. A compromising
attitude needs to be avoided.

1. You are in a situation where you are asked upon to
put order and bring about renewal. It may not look possi-
ble at first to solve the problem which has to do with your
past, but in the end you will be successful if you persist.
Use only harmonious means to put things right, for other-
wise you would trigger unnecessary resistance. This prob-
lem may be within you, on the psychic level, or in your
outward life, or both.
2. You can only solve a problem in the present, not for
the past. Live in the present. Let the past be gone and pre-
pare your future by bringing order into your life now. Do
not waste energy by thinking of the past and what would
have happened if you had done this or that differently …
such worries make it only worse. Avoid thus to indulge in

GU (18)

regrets and seize the day (carpe diem) for building a new
positive and forward-looking attitude—now!
3. On the outward level, your efforts to correct the
problem may meet resistance; you may have been over-
zealous or impatient to put things straight. This may cause
conflict with others. The solution is to avoid excess and
trust your inner guidance that the right solution will come
about. Such an attitude should be accompanied by for-
giveness: forgive yourself and others, and do not blame
anybody for what happened in the past. As soon as you
feed your inner mind with your new convictions, you are
on a new and positive track!
4. If you slacken in your efforts, you may end up with
defeat. Do not take over any of the thought patterns of
your past; your wellbeing is in the eternal now, not in the
past. To turn this situation around, you need to persist
without being over-zealous and yet confident that your
inner harmony, coherence and positive conviction will
produce the right outcome!
5. The disorderly or problematic situation will be cor-
rected thanks to your persistence and determination. You
are asked upon to assume responsibility and act decisively;
doing so will result in an improvement of the situation that
was long needed. You will attract help to correct the situa-
tion and you can earn merit and honor!
6. You may as well decide to get out of the situation
entirely and devote yourself to the life of the sage, and
practice self-improvement instead of trying to improve


situations around you, in your life, relationships, or your
business. So doing brings success because our outside
world is but a reflection of our own inner processes; when
you clarify and clear up your thoughts and calm your
emotions, when you bring balance into your inner setup,
you will reap a rich reward also on the outward level for
you will see that your entire life will change for the better,
and your influence upon the world and others will grow.
Then, you can benefit others with your wisdom.


19 LIN
— —
— —

— —
— —

Advancing / Going For-
ward / Progress
Advance with a positive attitude.

This is an overall positive hexagram that shows the virtue
of advancing properly. Advancement or progress is a yang
movement; as such, it needs to be controlled for avoiding

1. When you are convinced of doing the right thing and
you are saturated with a benevolent attitude toward all
beings, you will advance, and others will come to share in
your ideas. Being impartial in this advantageous situation
brings the greatest gain!
2. Your positive, impartial and mindful advancement
benefits others. This is a prosperous time for you.
3. Your advance should always be cautious and mind-
ful. Ban any lower motives, such as being flattered or in-
dulging in negative thinking, then you will pass through
this period successfully.
4. You are perfectly overseeing the situation, and others
will cooperate. This makes your advance smooth and you
can continue to grow personally and in your responsibili-
ties. This success is the result of your inner coherence and
your harmonious and impartial attitude!

LIN (19)

5. This is the sign of a leader. You have been so success-
ful in your advancement that at this point you should
choose competent and loyal helpers for delegating respon-
sibilities. Thus, you can benefit many people while being
victorious yourself!
6. The positive and compassionate vibrations you radi-
ate toward others bring you in a sphere of growth and in-
fluence, and you can gain a position of respect, honor and



— —
— —
— —
— —

Contemplation / Stock-
taking / Reflection
Take a good look at yourself.

This hexagram teaches the value of self-reflection and stock-
taking. It is also concerned with one’s overall view of life,
which may be based upon poor vision or correct vision.
While the first two lines speak of poor vision, all the other
lines are positive and indicate that one’s vision is properly
enhanced by self-reflection and thus correct.

1. You should see yourself and the situation you are in
from a greater distance, or point of view. As long as you
are entangled with it, you will not get a correct vision and
appreciation of the complexity of the situation. Try to see
yourself embedded in a greater systemic network so that
you can detect all the influences you are exposed to. For so
doing, it is necessary for you to be honest with yourself.
When trying to influence others, you must believe that
what you are conveying is true and accepted by your inner
mind as being true!

2. Your self-development depends on a correct vision
of yourself. As long as your mind is clouded with self-
defeating beliefs, or else with self-aggrandizing ideas, you
cannot develop yourself. You need to adopt latitude and
insight in the greater social perspective so that you can be-

GUAN (20)

come influential. At the same time, you should calmly trust
your inner guidance.
3. Investigate your inner motives from the point of
view of a broad vision. This will enable you to decide
about the next step to take. Trust your inner guidance that
everything will unfold in time for you to do the right thing
in the right moment. The best way to see how you are do-
ing in life is not by second-guessing what kind of person
you are, but by attentively assessing how you come over to
others, and if that influence is positive and beneficial. If it
is, you know you are on the right track.
4. You are in an excellent position now for developing a
great vision, one that surpasses your own position, and for
overseeing the social implications of your actions. It is a
position of leadership that, if you have the necessary social
awareness, can certainly lead you to assuming a situation
of considerable social influence.
5. True wisdom is to be able to look at yourself through
the eyes of others. You are now in a situation of leadership
and as soon as you are able to assume some level of objec-
tive self-assessment, you shall become a role model for
others. This is very rewarding!
6. Heaving reached this level of objectiveness in assess-
ing yourself, you can focus upon eternal verities, thereby
becoming a light for many others who look up to you. You
will discover that the ultimate victory in life is the victory
over your own ego, and the faculty to look upon life, and
others, from an unselfish and broad-minded perspective.

— —

— —
— —

Biting Through Hardship
/ Correction / Reform
Adopt severe measures.

The image of ‘biting through’ indicates that one needs to act
decisively to correct the situation. It’s like cutting away an
evil force. It was especially important for this hexagram to
provide a new interpretation for punishment is not the way
heaven acts, and should therefore not be the way a devel-
oped person acts. The teaching of this hexagram is to get
entirely beyond toxic emotions, shame and self-
condemnation, and to thereby ‘clean up’ and reform one’s
inner and outer life.

1. Be always watchful that your thoughts and actions
abide by the laws of universal harmony. Be aligned with
the principles of truthful and respectful conduct, and do
not allow others to drag you into any compromising situa-
tion. If you discover that you have failed to comply with
this universal law, you are still able to reform yourself
without suffering undesired social repercussions. This is
how you can learn from your mistakes and avoid to repeat
2. While appearing as virtuous and kind outwardly,
you should inwardly be firm and principle-minded. Such
moral courage can transform gentleness into the highest

SHI HO (21)

form of virtue and power. If you have faith in your inner
guidance, you will naturally do what is right.
3. Beware of mental poison in the form of negative
thinking and emotions such as anger, rage, jealousy, envy,
and feelings of revenge. They weaken your entire organ-
ism and block your progress. Cleanse your inner mind
regularly from such toxic emotions by repeating positive
and uplifting affirmations on a daily basis. Be persistent
with this attitude and you will be able to reform yourself!
4. However difficult your problem may seem, what-
ever reaction you encounter from the outside world, and
however stringent the adversity is you may be facing, per-
sist, bite the bullet, and keep a positive attitude toward
overcoming the difficulty. You must face the problem di-
rectly and work through it completely. This is how you can
dissolve the obstruction.
5. There may be danger all around you, but if you per-
sist in a constructive and positive attitude for overcoming
the problem, you will be victorious. Adopt a somewhat
stoical attitude and keep focused not on the problem, but
on the solution!
6. Are you having ears and cannot hear, and eyes and
cannot see? You cannot reform yourself by ignoring the
advice of others or by closing your eyes in front of your
inner and outer reality. If you try to force your ego through
the situation instead of understanding it, you will suffer a
setback or defeat and create conflict with others, and soci-


ety. Listen to the voice of conscience timely enough to
avoid any undesired outcome of the situation!


22 BI
— —

— —
— —

Adornment / Beauty /
Develop grace and wisdom.

This hexagram is associated with art and civilization, and
the way a developed person refines his character. Most peo-
ple look only at the outside of things and people, finding
beauty in superficial decorum instead of looking inside, and
piercing the veil of daily life, considering the beauty of
character, nobility and grace, personal culture, and true

1. Progress by your own effort instead of overly count-
ing on others’ help and support. This is a good time for
advancement if you avoid appearances and opt for your
intrinsic values. It will benefit you to trust your own capa-
bilities and to focus on your principles.
2. Trusting appearances does not bring you forward in
life. Instead, if you focus upon your convictions and prin-
ciples, you may inspire and uplift others and by so doing,
experience yourself being inspired and uplifted.
3. It is positive for your development to develop a
graceful and pleasing personality, without emphasizing
form over substance. Self-education is important through-
out our lives, and there is no age when we stop learning
and growing.

BI (22)

4. In this position you are having a choice. You may
either put the stress on developing your outward position,
glamor, and fame, or else simplicity, sincerity and virtue. If
you choose to put the stress on your inner values, you will
strengthen your spiritual guidance and you will experi-
ence an increase in worthwhile and interesting relation-
ships with others.
5. Having chosen the right attitude from the start, and
having developed grace, compassion and sincerity, you are
being rewarded for you will be supremely successful in the
6. Simplicity is the secret of good conduct. Your true
nature is now developed and you are having an increasing
and beneficial influence upon others. This is true success!


23 BO
— —
— —

— —
— —
— —

Erosion / Decline / Frag-
Put things on hold. Keep to yourself.

The five yin lines of this hexagram were traditionally asso-
ciated with an evil or negative force, while the top yang line
is the single force of virtue. All cycles in life lead to decline
or decay, and thereby, to renewal, hence it is well possible to
interpret this hexagram without speaking of evil forces,
thereby avoiding a moralistic interpretation which would
not be in alignment with the tenets of Taoism. It’s not
chance but systemically sound that this hexagram is fol-
lowed by Renewal (24).

1. Put a hold immediately to all negative thoughts and
affirm to being guided toward the best possible outcome of
the situation. Meanwhile, wait patiently for better times to
come and avoid bitching and complaining. When you have
bad dreams, use positive affirmations after waking up to
dispel the depressive mood, and rebuild faith on a daily

2. Do not indulge in wishful thinking. Instead, try to
clearly assess your situation. Avoid being self-righteous
and be cautious in your conduct. You may be in a com-
promising situation, but always keep in mind that the ‘en-

BO (23)

emy’ is in your own house: it takes the form of negative
thoughts and emotions that are ravaging your inner peace
and prevent inner coherence. Use positive affirmations to
dispel apprehension and wait for a turn of the tide.
3. Maintain your integrity and be faithful to a good
outcome, and you can avoid friction. Do not trust low mo-
tives or low-minded people around you, and you will be
removed from evil.

4. You may be in a dangerous situation, but you can
turn the situation around by stopping thoughts of defeat
and, worse, of self-condemnation, hate, anger or revenge,
and by patiently affirming that your inner guidance will
summon the right solution. Toxic thoughts and emotions
are always involved in dangerous situations, for when you
are at peace with yourself, you are coherent on your inner
level and there will be safety all around you. Thus if you
have indulged in toxic emotions or thoughts, forgive your-
self and immediately start affirming that you are positively
guided by universal love and that the whole situation will
turn to the best for everybody involved.
5. The tide is now turning in your favor and you are
close to a successful outcome. Cooperation with others will
be beneficial for all parties involved!

6. You will see that faithfulness and positive attitude
have made your adversaries vanish away or be drawn into
defeat while you enjoy the positive outcome of the situa-
tion! This outcome is the fruit of your virtue, while having


tried to force defeat on your adversaries, you would have
been yourself defeated.

24 FU
— —
— —
— —

— —
— —

Return / Renewal / Revival
A time for renewal.

The first yang line is like a seed that has fallen to the
ground. Thus revival or renewal can start to grow, and it
does so from the first to the fifth line, while the sixth line
shows, as so often in the I Ching, an excess or, a refusal to
follow the teaching of the hexagram. In other words, in this
hexagram, contrary to the previous one, negativity is giv-
ing way to light.

1. You may have arrived at a bifurcation point. A cer-
tain action may not be in accord with your principles.
Make a sound decision. When you opt for what you con-
sider right and correct, choose that as your direction! Such
an orientation, which is in alignment with your higher
values, will bring renewal in your life and will strengthen
your character.
2. It is advantageous for your development to follow
those of whom you think highly, those who are acting in
alignment with higher principles. If you are around them
or if you just take them as your role model doesn’t make a
difference; the most important is that you return to your
own true nature.
3. In a time of renewal, steadfastness and constancy are
important. If you are not certain or you are torn up by
doubt, you may miss an opportunity. However, this weak-

FU (24)

ness of character can still be corrected through practicing a
firm and stoical attitude.
4. At this stage of your character development, a cer-
tain time of solitude is beneficial. Some of your friends
may not follow you into the new land you have discov-
ered, inwardly or outwardly. Let them go and follow but
your own star, and your clear intuition. Doing so will at-
tract to you the real friend!

5. You have now developed the firmness of character
you need in order to overcome all your obstacles, and you
will achieve success!
6. You may have missed an opportunity for renewal;
you may be too much stricken by certain habits or desires
in order for you to have an objective view of the situation.
If you experience a setback, do not react aggressively, but
with humility and understanding. Then you may see in
which way you should turn and redeem your lack of fore-


— —
— —

Innocence / Unexpected
Happening / Surprise
Proceed, but with no harmful intention.

Wu Wang deals with situations in life that are beyond our
conscious control. Sometimes they are good surprises,
sometimes bad surprises. This is why the ancients called
this hexagram ‘unexpected happening’ or ‘innocence.’
Many good things come to pass because we plan for them,
but there are also many things that come about spontane-
ously when we are ‘innocent’ and inwardly coherent.

1. Go forward with good intentions, trusting your
heart. You will win over obstacles in your way when re-
maining faithful to your goal.
2. All successful endeavors need careful preparation.
Do not doubt to go into the right direction, do not second-
guess your success. Just go forward, one step at a time.

3. When you experience loss, do not accept it in your
inner mind. What truly belongs to you cannot be lost, and
the universe will give it back to you in another form, or at
a later time, provided you remain faithful and innocent,
and avoid a resentful attitude.

4. Trust your heart, your inner mind, your intuition.
Act independently and you will be victorious! In such a
situation of inner clarity, it may not be useful to listen to

WU WANG (25)

friends, but, to use a Gandhi saying, to ‘trust the friend
5. If you encounter a problem that was not caused by
yourself, be it related to health, finance, or a relationship,
remain steadfast and relax. Focusing on your inner direc-
tion will surely help you and the problem will take care of
6. In this position, you better stand still for a certain
time. Advancing at this moment does not bring you benefit
and can turn out to be dangerous. Be patient and wait for a
better moment for taking action!

— —
— —


Great Potential / Creative
Energy / Great Power
Stay firmly committed and go forward.

This hexagram gives advice how to deal with creative en-
ergy, an accumulation of energy. In the traditional sense,
amassing positive energy means gathering personal virtue,
material support, information, and knowledge, in the sense
not of book knowledge, but of intuition. Thus, this hexa-
gram teaches how to amass positive energy and help people
develop collectively in a positive direction. If energy can be
properly controlled, then people are united and success is

1. At this point, nonaction is advised. There are certain
obstacles in your way that you may ignore. Racing ahead
does not bring you benefit. Calm down and wait, the right
moment will come soon!
2. Focus on your goal and diligently carry out your
daily duties. A big leap is not possible at this moment, thus
conserve your vitality for the moment when the energy is
ready for progress.

3. The way begins to open for your breakthrough, but
you need to harness your talents and avoid rushy, impul-
sive action. Go forward with prudence and secure your

DA CHU (26)

4. You have used your energy wisely. The obstacles in
your way have helped you to activate your resources. You
can now reach a breakthrough success if you do not force
things. Let life help you and you will be victorious!
5. True leadership is the ability to avoid direct struggle
and to recognize the source of the problem instead of fo-
cusing on the symptoms. You are guided toward success if
you act moderately and prudently.
6. Having acted within the universal moral order and
with proper restraint, you can now enjoy the fruits of your
actions: you will experience a notable success!


27 YI
— —

— —
— —
— —

Nourishment / Nutrition
/ Self-Cultivation
Seek the right source of income. Restrain eating and speaking.

This hexagram, Yi, means self-cultivation and nourishment
that is obtained in the proper manner, peacefully and law-
fully. The two trigrams, the lower and the upper, exemplify
different kinds of nourishment. The teaching here is how to
use restraint in eating and care in speaking, thereby bring-
ing the inward and outward flow of energies into balance.

1. Envy and jealousy surely are mental poisons. When
you envy others to enjoy their blessings, you block the way
those blessings can come to you. In addition, such an atti-
tude will negatively impact upon your sense of self-worth
and dignity. The right attitude is to bless all those you see
are fortunate, and to calmly declare that you will attract
the same for yourself within the good order of things, and
at the right time.
2. The source of wealth lies in yourself, in your talents
and abilities you were born with and which you should
cultivate. If you disregard this fact and search for income
through other people’s goodwill or favor offered to you,
you may lose your independence and in the long run, your
self-esteem may be eroded. Always try to stand on your
own feet, and provide sustenance for yourself through
work and the proper handling of your financial affairs.

YI (27)

Only exceptionally and when it’s required by the na-
ture of your project or idea, ask others for help and sup-

3. You need not only material nourishment; your soul
also needs to be fed with proper education, the contempla-
tion of beauty, the cultivation of a sense of aesthetics, and
the engagement, actively or passively, in the pursuit of art
and music. If however you engage yourself only in satisfy-
ing your material desires and sensual pleasures and ne-
glect to feed your soul and spirit, you will deteriorate in all
areas of your life, materially, emotionally, and spiritually.
4. In this position you may look out for helpers, and
you will find them. This in turn will open you the way to
gain influence over others so that you can expand your
5. This is a time of reflection and preparation. Avoid
distractions, improper nutrition, great expenditures, travel
or indulging in any personal extravagances. It may be
beneficial to ask a person you trust for advice. Meanwhile
be patient, and confident that the right time for action will
6. Your social awareness leads to a new path opening
for you in which you have increased responsibilities and
you gain influence upon others, or the public. You can now
achieve your project, you may travel to another destina-
tion, both mentally and physically. All your projects will
succeed because you care for the welfare of all!

— —

— —

Critical Mass / Great Ex-
cess / Imbalance
There is excess and friction. Things are strained.

Caution is needed.

This hexagram was traditionally considered as very unfor-
tunate. It shows that energies are out of balance, that there
is excess and that inner and outer strength are out of sync.
The I Ching teaches the Middle Way which means to do
things by keeping a proper balance in everything. This
principle may also be called harmony, equilibrium, reso-
nance or symmetry. This is how the universe regulates it-

1. Softness and flexibility help you to avoid harm. Pay
attention to all the details before you begin anything. To be
very cautious in such a position is correct.
2. If you are attentive to unusual possibilities, you may
have a real opportunity. Do not think conventionally and
be open for new solutions which may emerge spontane-
ously, and you can realize your desire. A gentle demeanor
helps you to achieve higher, while internally you should be
faithful to your highest principles.
3. If you do not listen to well-meant advice and persist
in your own way, there may be excess that brings harm.
You have been too inflexible in the past. The I Ching

DA GUO (28)

teaches that when excess of any process becomes visible,
extinction is not far away. Thus this line is unfortunate. To
remedy this situation, you need to reflect about your lack-
ing cooperation with others, and how much you have iso-
lated yourself.
4. Do not rely overly on others now; instead, trust your
own inner guidance, but remain soft and yielding out-
wardly. If you are open to learn and change, you can pro-
gress. You can achieve success now if your vision is cor-
5. In order to achieve anything in life you need to be
realistic. If you are overly idealistic, you may have nice vi-
sions and dream of many projects, but you won’t incarnate
them into tangible reality. The same is true for old age.
When you dream to be young while being old, you may
engage in foolish adventures that may bring you harm.
The solution is to get a fresh new look at yourself, and to
understand the reality of your life here and now.

6. The situation may look dangerous, thus do not be
daring in your attitude, and remain calm and centered.
Through finding the appropriate measures, you will be
able to handle the situation. The problem can be solved by
responding calmly and gently, and by trusting your inner

29 KAN
— —

— —
— —
— —

Watery Depths / Danger /
Roll with the flow to ride out danger. Confidence and mental
stability help you to go through this time without harm.

This hexagram is formed by two identical trigrams called
Kan or water. It is one of only eight hexagrams where the
basic trigrams are doubled, thus its image is reinforced! The
primary guidance of this hexagram uses the nature of water
as an example of appropriate conduct and self-development.
By remaining centered, one may go through this cycle of
danger unharmed.

1. You are temporarily out of tune with inner guidance.
The more you do in such a situation, the more tends to go
wrong. Recklessness may get you more deeply entrapped
in danger, thus change course, be mindful, stop action, and
engage in reflection. The best action in times of danger is

2. Do a step at a time. It’s an unfortunate situation and
you must face the challenge, then you will be guided to-
ward a good delivery. Calmness and clarity are appropri-
ate to gradually overcoming difficulty.
3. When you don’t see the light, do not despair. Now,
going forward is not the right thing to do. Thus, you may
stand still for a moment and stop all action. When you are

KAN (29)

faithful to your inner guidance, the way out will be shown
to you. Until then, be patient and practice nonaction.
4. Things are now getting back to normal and you will
find a handle for your problem or difficulty. Do not hesi-
tate to ask for help; it will be given to you. You can solve
your problem using inner clarity and by trusting your in-
5. Do not chase for honor and recognition in a time that
requires you to practically solve your problems and get out
of danger. The best attitude in such a situation is to follow
the line of least resistance. Danger will then vanish off by
6. Fear and self-condemnation, as well as resentment
toward others are mental poisons. They keep you from be-
ing guided into safety and prolong the time of danger.
Your actions for coping with the danger have not been ap-
propriate. What you can do now is to wait until the situa-
tion changes by itself for the better, keeping a stoical atti-


30 LI
— —

— —

Fire / Synergy / Coopera-
Bright and prosperous. Cultivate the heart and cooperate.

This is another of the eight hexagrams bearing double tri-
grams. Here they double fire, thereby reinforcing the mean-
ing. This hexagram symbolizes brightness, light, and the
energy of the heart. On the practical level, this hexagram
instructs humanity in the use of brightness and mental il-
lumination for the guidance of others. To radiate brightness
means that one radiates warmth in all of one’s actions.

1. What you begin with a positive attitude, being faith-
ful to your highest principles, you can accomplish well.
Focus upon your goal and keep a ‘beginner’s mind,’ then
you will advance.
2. Practice the middle way and avoid excess, be mod-
erate, and you will advance easily now because your en-
ergy is properly centered.
3. Aging is a natural process. To meet aging with nega-
tive thoughts and ideas, or with regret, is an attitude that
leads to loss, both materially and spiritually. Keep in mind
that it is never too late in life for you to learn something
new, even if you should have learnt it when you were
much younger. Similarly, what you may not have achieved
in your younger years, you may well set your idea to real-
izing now, and in the years to come. Such an attitude is

LI (30)

positive and constructive; it helps you to keep your energy
4. Struggling for material success alone is not enough
in a prosperous life. You must have the mental equivalent
for anything you desire in your outward life. If you don’t
practice mental techniques such as visualization or posi-
tive prayer, and instead just try to work harder for earning
more, you may cause strain to your body and those around
you. Then, there is a danger that you end up in a burnout
or attract a disease. The magic word here is balance. You
need to keep a balance between your inner and your outer
life, and between giving and receiving, then your life will
be harmonious and prosperous.

5. Often times, self-reflection leads to sadness because
we recognize the mistakes committed in the past. How-
ever, such a broadening of your insight is often a blessing
in that it brings the change that is needed for situating
yourself on a higher level of being, be it materially, or spiri-
tually, or both. You will see that the more you care for the
wellbeing of others, the more destiny cares for your own
6. Do not judge and do not treat others harshly, even if
you recognize their mistaken attitude. Negative feelings
attract negative reactions, while when you practice latitude
of mind, moderation and understanding, meeting others in
a good-willed manner, you will attract all you need to be
successful! And your character will be strengthened.


— —

— —
— —

Mutual Attraction / Woo-
ing / Marriage
Welcome new relationships. Marriage can be successful.

This hexagram describes how we attract others, in whatever
field of life, be it for a love relation, be it for a business coop-
eration. The lines teach in which way the relationship
should be handled to not overdo things, so that trust can
grow between the partners. The teaching of the I Ching here
is traditional in the sense that even in love relations, a hur-
ried sexual approach to a person one may fall in love with is
not conceived of as positive.

1. You are at the beginning of a new relationship or
friendship. It is just the starting point and has perhaps not
much significance for you at this stage, but there is poten-
tial to deepen the relationship if both parties are ready for
it, and if mutual trust can be built.
2. You may be at pains of understanding what’s really
going on. Avoid to act in an impulsive manner and try to
clarify what the motives of both parties are in this relation-
ship. It brings more advantage to restrain yourself and be
prudent than rushing ahead.
3. You may run into trouble if you act out on brute de-
sire. Traditionally, this line was a warning to not engage in
reckless sexual relations. Today, we may interpret its mean-
ing differently as the realm of mutually consenting sexual
XIAN (31)

relations is much larger and morality more permissive.
Nonetheless, this line can be interpreted in a more integra-
tive sense and simply connote the need for building more
trust in a relationship. Trust is built through an inner proc-
ess, and is not much influenced by the physical relation-
ship. If there is too much closeness too early, resistance
may be unavoidable. In case of a business relation, the
physical relationship is anyway of lesser meaning than the
mutual sympathy and the respect that flows out from it.
Both sympathy and respect, and many other factors must
come together for gradually building trust. It’s not some-
thing that can be forced and it won’t happen overnight.
4. Here the relationship has grown farther, however
there is still a need for prudence. Avoid to mentally press
ahead. You may well now talk about your feelings and see
to what extent they meet a response. You need to show
now that your attraction is constant and not a fleeting mat-
ter. If you receive this line for a travel project, you may
want to check out if the destination really meets your ex-
5. This is one of the rare instances in the I Ching where
the fifth line is not really a better constellation than the
preceding ones. Here it namely indicates that the relation-
ship is not meaningful to you or that you cannot exert a
significant influence upon the other party to move them in
your direction. If you receive this line for a business rela-
tion, make sure it’s worthwhile to develop the contact fur-
ther or if it’s better to not invest more energy in it and re-


treat. If you focus on inner guidance, the right direction
will be shown to you. Sometimes people with whom we
think we have a strong relationship move physically away,
and we discover, with more or less surprise, that we don’t
miss them at all.
6. This line indicates conversation, exchange or discus-
sion. It may be the final act in a business relation, when a
contract is worked out by both parties, and discussions
take place. It may be the discussion of a marriage project or
engagement in a love relation. It may be a letter exchange
in a platonic love relation or an intellectual relationship.


— —
— —

— —

Constancy / Continuation
/ Perseverance
It brings advantage to be constant and persevere.

This hexagram teaches the value of constancy in all human
relations and for realizing projects. The energy cycles of all
life are based upon an invariable subtle law. All natural
phenomena are in a continuous process of change, with
constancy as the underlying principle. In the education of
children, constancy equally is important for their feeling
emotional secure. The lines indicate when persistence is
appropriate and when one should desist and remain still.

1. Rushing into things, relationships or situations it not
a natural approach. Excessive demands at the beginning of
a relationship may interfere with trust-building. If this line
is received for a new project, check if you are not too hasty
in your approach to make things happen.
2. It is always smarter to use a cautious approach for
building mutual respect and appreciation. This line indi-
cates that a balanced attitude brings the best result. That
means to not overdo things, or overstress a relationship,
but to do just enough to keep things moving in the right
direction. When you are faithful to your goal, you will be
guided to act appropriately.

3. Constancy cannot be built if you a fear-ridden or if
you doubt your motives. Constancy both in relationships
HENG (32)

and in the realization of a project means to give a sustained
effort, and an inner focus on the outcome. If you are too
fickle, or moody, you may lack this constant focus and as a
result, you may see your chances vanish in a relationship,
or you may slacken your efforts in the realization of a pro-
ject. This is always regrettable for constancy doesn’t really
mean effort; it just means to give a little energy consis-
tently, on a daily basis. You can get above fear and doubt
by building strong faith and a positive attitude.
4. You may realize at this point that you had fostered
illusions and that there is no basis for continuation of your
project or relationship. If you trust your inner guidance
you may get a new creative idea or you may realize what
responsible action to take to remedy the present situation.
5. This is a line that indicates leadership. The counsel of
this line is that perseverance or constancy are not enough
in a position of leadership for reality also asks us to make
adjustments or even change direction. This is why the I
Ching considers flexibility, not persistence, as the highest
virtue of a true leader! If you received this line for a project
or relationship, you may check if you are flexible and crea-
tive enough in your approach, and how much you could
gain with adopting a different viewpoint or perspective!

6. You may realize at this point that you slackened in
your efforts to be constant and enduring, else you may
have used too much energy and feel exhausted. Mindful-
ness may help you to get back on track, or you may lose
the opportunity.


33 DUN

— —
— —

Retreat / Withdrawal /
Going Backward
Make a strategic withdrawal.

The cyclic alternation of yin and yang is a natural process.
For a developed person, retreat at the right time ensures
safety and peace of mind. This is not a form of weakness. A
spiritually evolved person responds correctly to the situa-
tion and knows when to retreat. The lines of this hexagram
describe different forms of retreat, depending on one’s in-
volvement in the situation.

1. Do not advance. It is better to stand still now or to
retreat. Do not challenge the difficulty!
2. In this situation, you should be flexible, unassertive
and not express sharpness. If you are faithful to your inner
guidance, a way out will be shown to you.
3. Do not seek public exposure at this time. Private life
will offer you security and fulfillment while emotional at-
tachment to mundane affairs may bring you disappoint-
ment and harm.
4. You may want to give up certain activities or in-
volvements and begin others. While outwardly things may
seem attractive to you, on a more subtle level you are actu-
ally entangled in something that long term will not bring
you advantage. You have a good chance now to get out of
it and start all over again.
DUN (33)

5. Sometimes, especially when being in a leader posi-
tion, retreat takes the form of an inner disentanglement
rather than an open withdrawal. You can change any kind
of situation by changing how you respond to it and how
you see it in your mind. If there are negative emotions,
overcome them and adopt a positive perspective. If you
are surrounded by sycophants, simply remain centered
and unresponsive to their flattery. If you are involved in a
public discussion, remain steadfast but unobtrusive in
your attitude. If the situation requires a real withdrawal,
do it, but do it without making a fuss about it. Then you
can remain in peace with yourself.
6. This is one of the rare occasions in the I Ching when
the top line is bringing advantage. Here it means that re-
treat will bring you more advantage than staying the
course. The situation is such that you can withdraw from
your position without inner turmoil, thereby preserving
both your poise and your reputation.

— —
— —


Power of the Great /
Great Strength / Use of
Apply strength correctly. Use power without abuse.

Traditionally the image used in several lines of his hexa-
gram was the goat, which symbolizes too much strength.
While there is a predominance of yang, this hexagram
teaches how to correctly channel and apply this energy in
order not to damage the two yin lines on top. Too much
demonstration of strength usually creates resistance, which
is why a quiet humble attitude is beneficial, and power can
be maintained in this manner.

1. Advancing must be gradual so as to be in accordance
with the law of life. This line symbolizes the beginning of a
project or relationship, thus the energy to be used should
be light. If too much is invested at this stage, in terms of
time, energy, or money, it will likely be wasted. Besides,
hurry is a bad advisor for starting something.
2. Here, the energy can be used profitably as the atti-
tude is one of restraint and moderation. Thus you can ad-
vance easily.
3. At this point you have a choice. It’s all about the ap-
propriateness of the means you are using. If you think that
all means are justified if only the purpose is correct, you


act against the law of life. Successful people use appropri-
ate means in every stage of a project, for this is in align-
ment with the principle of sustainability.

4. This line indicates that your attitude is just and bal-
anced and that you are using your strength correctly, thus
a great advance is possible!
5. Sometimes we need to sacrifice something for receiv-
ing something more valuable. This is also valid in the spiri-
tual realm. When you give up a stubborn attitude in order
to develop more smart for handling your problems, you
have done the right choice. Then you will notice that you
can advance more smoothly as a result.
6. Developed people educate themselves through suc-
cessfully tackling their problems. When you practice intro-
spection, you can know how to act properly and avoid ob-
stacles that are the result of pushing forward. At this point,
you should stand still for a moment and reflect what’s tak-
ing place around you. Then you can avoid conflict and the
cycle of realization can be finalized successfully.


35 JIN
— —

— —
— —
— —

Success / Progress / Ad-
A good time for progress and advancement.

This is generally a positive hexagram, except however, as so
often, for the top line. Traditionally in Taoist wisdom, pro-
gress and advancement in life were seen more on the in-
ward level, as a development of one’s capacity for introspec-
tion, and the gathering of internal energy. This hexagram
teaches that instead of pushing forward, progress can be
made safely by responding to one’s highest spirit, and in-
tuition. This is so because true prosperity is coherence be-
tween one’s energy and the external world.

1. In the beginning stage, progress may not find the
approval of those around you. Let things happen naturally.
Sometimes progress achieved through strenuous efforts
may be harmful. Check if your intentions are correct, then
you may advance faithfully even though progress cannot
be seen at this point.
2. Advancement that meets obstacles may cause you
worries. In such a situation, a stoical attitude is the best.
Persist in your efforts, and remain calm and upright, then
the universe will help you as a mother helps her son
achieve greatness.

JIN (35)

3. This line represents another step forward. The more
you are trusted by those around you, the easier you will
motivate them to help you achieve your goals. Advance-
ment is smooth and easy now, and success will surely
4. Be painstaking with yourself in all matters of right-
eousness. There is no safety in straying from the correct
way, and hidden motives are no guideline for lasting suc-
cess. At this point, you should stop and reflect about
what’s really going on. Going forward may be dangerous.
5. Do not worry about gain or loss. Going forward
brings benefit, while it may be not yet be clear if this bene-
fit will be material or spiritual. The I Ching teaches to ac-
cept favor and disfavor as the same. Stoicism is a similar
teaching; the stoic is a person who knows that advancing
has a value in itself regardless of meeting approval or dis-
approval. It’s your inner value, your feeling of self-worth,
and your faith in the goodness of the universe that is the
basis for this kind of attitude. Life is never really predict-
able which is why the stoical attitude brings a lot of bene-
fit, especially health and long life.
6. This line traditionally speaks of a ram advancing its
horns. An aggressive attitude seldom pays in life, and it
often has undesired repercussions. In this situation, you
may stand still and reflect; it may not be wise to advance.
If you practice self-restraint, you may not end in trouble.
Besides, always value the importance of your intentions; it


helps to be faithful to the right direction for such inner
strength is at the basis of all lasting success.

— —
— —
— —

— —

Time of Darkness / Igno-
rance / Difficulty
Respond correctly to difficulty.

This hexagram, similarly to 28 and 29, is a challenging
one. The image is one of light vanishing and darkness ap-
pearing. Some kind of hierarchical relationship is indicated
where the upper one is ignorant and the lower one bright.
The I Ching teaches that even if one is mentally or morally
superior, one should never show it, for it will trigger envy
or jealousy in others. Each line of this hexagram teaches
that, in times of darkness, people of virtue have a hard
stand in society. But the developed person in this position
is advised to keep still and run a low profile, using the gen-
eral darkness as a protection, instead of fighting against it.

1. When you feel you are misunderstood, it is vain to
discuss and explain, it may even make you enemies. The
better attitude is to retreat and get centered, then to move
on by choosing a safer pathway. With inner peace, stead-
fastness and strong faith in a good delivery, every problem
can be solved. The art in life is to not develop resentment
when things go awry, and let others have their way. It
saves you a lot of trouble and safeguards your health and
inner peace.

MING YI (36)

2. This is a strong line, traditionally associated with a
horse, which has the power to carry you to safety. Some-
times in life we need to artfully and tactfully confront ig-
norance, but it should always be one’s own ignorance, not
the projection of it we see in others. Hence the metaphor of
moving away from something; in reality, this something is
within yourself. You may call it your shadow, ignorance,
stubbornness, or whatever, but it’s the lesser perfect self in
you. When you do not compromise in matters of principle,
you set a high standard for yourself which will bring you
success and recognition down the road.
3. You may meet a person who thinks in the wrong
way. When you meet people who are mentally crippled
because they abuse the law of life by projecting hatred and
revenge into the world, you should have compassion with
them as you would have with a physically crippled per-
son. Then you may go your way and let them go in peace.
There is no harm if you are careful and remain faithful to
inner guidance.
4. This line represents the borderline between light and
darkness. Your inner light can now show you the way out
of darkness. You are not responsible for the negative
thoughts and emotions of those around you. Do not get
entangled, wish them well, but go your way. You can now
easily get out of this situation without being harmed.
5. If you see that your motives and good intentions are
misunderstood, it is better to keep your ideals for yourself.
It is favorable in such a situation to run a low profile and


keep to oneself without stirring resistance in others. Down
the road you will be rewarded for your inner firmness and
your faith in a good delivery.

6. If you are depressed or foster feelings of revenge,
you may experience loss in life. Even hostility you find in
others only reflects your own hostile attitude. When you
act against the law of harmony, you experience decoher-
ence and lack of success is the result. Forgive yourself and
get back on the right path. This time will pass, and it may
have been good for your developing a stoical mindset and
a positive attitude.

— —

— —

Family / The Clan / Group
Find your proper place.

This hexagram teaches how to behave in a family or any
group, for that matter. The basic pattern of cooperation re-
lies on the correct organization of diverse energies. With
this understanding, one should reflect about the diversity of
life, not trying to see conflict in this fact. In every group,
the members radiate different energies toward each other
and peace and order are determined by the capability of
each member to handle his or her energy properly. This is so
because ultimately, the way the different energies interact
determines the harmony of the entire family or group.

1. In every family or grouping a certain amount of or-
der and discipline must reign so that everybody feels safe
and comfortable. If you are a parent, you may not want to
remain silent when your child develops bad habits, but
you will talk with him or her. When you are in front of
your parents, you may want to show them respect and
gratitude to earn their constant benevolence. Generally
speaking, it makes sense to establish firm rules in any fam-
ily or community, so that people know what their duties
are, and also can anticipate what happens when they dis-
respect them.

JIA REN (37)

2. An assertive attitude may not be in keeping with
your position in the family or group. You may be called
upon to gently harmonize various energies around you, as
a communicator or negotiator. While such an attitude tra-
ditionally was assigned to women, those rigid roles today
are widely abandoned for we all have both male and fe-
male energy within us. In this position, it brings advantage
to the family or group and down the road to yourself if
you focus upon the wellbeing of the whole instead of satis-
fying your own needs.
3. In all group life, the members must practice a certain
amount of moderation. If there are no rules and everybody
acts only on selfish motives, there will be disorder. If the
rules are too strict, people will not unfold emotionally and
remain tight up. Hence the need for balance. If you are not
sure which position to take, be advised that the I Ching
generally values moderation and self-discipline higher than
a libertarian attitude.

4. It brings you advancement to be mindful and con-
sider all the details of the situation. You are properly ad-
justed and your endeavor will be successful!
5. This line indicates that your faithfulness and proper
attitude bring blessings to all members of the family or
group. This is the recipe for prosperity and long-term suc-
6. When all members of a family or group are devoted
to the best for all, there is great prosperity, safety, and ad-
vancement. When you set a good example and show a re-


sponsible and dutiful attitude, you can inspire all those
around you and your good intentions will be recognized
and rewarded!


38 KUI
— —

— —

Contradiction / Opposi-
tion / Disharmony
A time of estrangement. Only small things can be achieved.

This hexagram teaches that disharmony between people is
the result of doubt and suspicion. Such an attitude may
cause you to see evil, dishonesty or insincerity in others.
Only when a positive, harmonious view is adopted will one
be able to cooperate properly with others and thereby reach
one’s goals. This is the result of introspection and of a de-
sire to achieve harmony in all relationships.

1. When others hurt your feelings, be mindful to not
retaliate, but to act from a superior position. Do not try to
force unity of spirit when you see that disharmony be-
tween people is growing. Do not worry about it as this cy-
cle soon comes to an end. Thus use restraint and modera-
tion to remain in peace with yourself.

2. There may be meaningful encounters ahead with
people if you are able to practice good communication.
The law of attraction works positively for you if you keep
your inner mind pristine and clean and in a positive condi-
tion. You always attract the equivalent of what you foster
in your own mind. If your thoughts and ideas are harmo-
nious, you will attract harmonious relationships.
3. A situation of strife and opposition may come to an
end now and harmony will return. All our problems in life

KUI (38)

are reflections of our inner difficulties. Rather than com-
plaining about circumstances, you can remedy any kind of
situation by turning inward and see how you have pro-
jected you own inner conflict into the world. Making peace
with others therefore always requires making peace with
yourself first!
4. The law of attraction works positively for you. You
can now attract a partner or collaborator, a wise person,
helper or trustworthy friend and together you can over-
come difficulties and achieve greatness!
5. It is now good for you to collaborate for there is trust
and harmony between you and those around you. Never
look at the present from the perspective of the past but ac-
cept novelty. While there was opposition in your past, it
has vanished off now and harmony and close relationships
are possible now in your life.
6. Do not take your friends for your enemies and your
enemies for your friends. When others approach you in a
spirit of making peace, do not meet them with suspicion
and hostility. You can establish good relationships now af-
ter you have dissolved your inner resistance and anxiety,
and by developing a steadfast and faithful attitude.


— —

— —
— —
— —

Obstruction / Obstacle /
You need to overcome an obstacle in your way.

The I Ching teaches that all in life is both natural and cy-
clic. Obstruction can be caused by various factors, in-
wardly or outwardly. During a time of obstruction, one
should turn inward and cultivate patience and mental clar-
ity. Thus obstruction can actually be seen as an opportu-
nity for gathering energy instead of complicating matters
with impatience and struggle. A developed person culti-
vates virtue and is not defeated by obstruction. Trust your
inner guidance and the way to go will be shown to you.

1. The I Ching regularly advises to start a new cycle
with foresight and a prudent attitude. At this point, you
need to wait for the right moment. While your way for-
ward is blocked, practice patience and trust your inner
guidance, then the right way and time for action will be
shown to you.
2. Here you may know what the obstacle actually is
and which form it takes. It may for example be an unwill-
ing attitude in those you need to cooperate with, or it may
be a financial problem. Whatever it is, now the right action
is to go forward and try to dissolve the obstacle by finding
an effective solution. If you are not sure how to solve the
difficulty, trust your inner guidance, become still and listen

JIAN (39)

to the voice inside. You will be guided if you are aware of
your responsibilities and foster a dutiful attitude!
3. Do not endanger yourself, but retreat. Now is the
time to listen to your inner voice and trust your guidance.
You will attract people who help you in overcoming the
4. In this situation, it is important to avoid acting
single-handedly for it may cause you further difficulties.
You need to accept the help from others and help develop-
ing a common strategy for dissolving the obstruction. Thus
communication and cooperation bring you advance.
5. Your positive energy has attracted a beneficial re-
sponse from the universe. There are people who care to
help you. Together, you can now overcome the difficulty
through a unified approach, and achieve success!
6. You are here to contribute to the world with your
unique gifts and talents. This entire hexagram teaches that
overcoming obstacles in life is done through quieting the
restless mind and increasing inner coherence. With a har-
monious inner attitude, you will attract the right advisor,
helper or collaborator and together you will overcome the
obstacle. Success is indicated!


40 JIE
— —
— —

— —
— —

Dissolution of the Prob-
lem / Release / Liberation
Your fortune is changing for the better.

After obstruction comes resolution. The guidance of the
previous hexagram, Obstruction (39), was to keep still and
gather energy. Here the obstructive force has started to de-
crease and a new cycle is set forth. This is thus the time to
positively solve all problems. JIE also means to ‘untie,’
which implies untangling the psychological knots of one’s
life. Forgiveness helps very much to get there for in as
much you are tolerant and forgiving toward others, in as
much you are toward yourself; hence you get over past mis-
takes. Doing so, you can resolve both inward and outward

1. It is time for the preparation of a new project. Diffi-
culties are behind you. But do not rush, rather do one step
at a time. Success is indicated!
2. Be direct and do not hesitate to tackle difficulties on
your way to accomplishment of your project or mission. To
be straightforward now brings you good luck. Honesty
and care in all dealings with others brings you advance-

JIE (40)

3. Beware of greed, arrogance and conceit! Such an atti-
tude may get you into a negative karmic cycle. Hold your
vision, use fair play, then nothing can defeat you.

4. The more your personality matures, the more you
free yourself of unworthy relationships, the more you gain
the trust of good people who will then put their faith in
you, and trust you.
5. Free yourself from false friends and people who flat-
ter you because they expect an advantage through the rela-
tionship with you. Now it’s time to set yourself free. Once
you are liberated of these attachments, you will attract
good helpers and collaborators. Success is indicated.
6. You may have to overcome an enemy, a person who
tries to mess up your plans. You may need all your
strength and smart to get this done, but the rewards will be
great. Aim high and you will make it!


41 SUN
— —

— —
— —

Sacrifice / Decrease / Re-
duce the Excessive
Periodic decrease. Reduce that which is excessive.

This hexagram must be properly understood with the back-
ground of the yin-yang dichotomy in mind. When strong
yang energy seeks balance, it decreases in order to
strengthen the more passive yin energy. Thus increase and
decrease are cyclic in life, as they are in financial affairs
where a good flow of cash also is based upon inflow and
outflow, not stagnation. Another aspect of this hexagram is
that everything that is excessive cannot last, which is why
it is advised to reduce that which is excessive in order to
make it last.

1. In emotional matters, the principle of decrease can
help restore harmony. In financial matters, you should care
for your inflow of money and your outflow of money be-
ing properly balanced. If demands are made on your time
for helping others, do so, but do not overdo it. If you keep
matters in proper balance from the start, you can go suc-
cessfully through this period of time.
2. It’s a time for helping others, but not for advancing
in your own projects. When you help others, do it in a
manner that safeguards your dignity. Sacrificing yourself
as this is understood in some religions is not what the I

SUN (41)

Ching teaches. Only if you support others in a way that is
comfortable with your own wellbeing you do it right.
3. This line shows another form of decrease. When in a
group of three disharmony occurs, what happens is that
one person leaves the group. This gives an opportunity for
the remaining two people to form a closer bond. This may
be caused by your inner guidance which considers it more
advantageous that you seek cooperation with only one
person so that the integrity of your plan is safeguarded.
4. This line indicates an inner awareness process. You
have become aware of a problem and now can work on its
solution. Thereby, and if your attitude is correct, you can
attract friends and helpers. This is a good direction to go.

5. This line was traditionally symbolized by a big tur-
tle. It symbolizes that one is given a precious gift that one
has deserved because of one’s integrity and right attitude.
Thus there is success all around!
6. Here your success is obvious and visible to all. In
such a position, it is good to give support to others, do
charity and work for the common good. This is a long-
term strategy for while your benefits to others are immedi-
ate, for yourself it’s a position of good karma that may
have a positive return only down the road.


42 YI
— —

— —
— —

Benefit / Increase / Advan-
A period of increase. Go ahead!

The traditional interpretation of this hexagram speaks of
‘crossing the great water’ which is a metaphor for any pro-
ject, endeavor or new relationship. It means that advance-
ment is correct at this time. Many possibilities are ahead of
you and progress comes naturally!

1. If you are correctly aligned with your principles, you
can now have great success by going forward. Normally
the first line is too weak to engage in bold action but here
the first and forth line are positively connected. This means
you can harmonize your energy with others and cooperate
effectively. Obstacles can thus be overcome and you can be
overall successful!
2. This line, similar to Hexagram 41, 5th Line, is associ-
ated with turtles, which were considered as luck bringers
by the ancient Chinese. This line speaks of a great benefit
that you receive for being positively aligned with the pur-
poses of the universe. This is the result of inner coherence.
3. While the outer circumstances that this line indicates
may not be favorable on first sight, you can still gain an
advantage here if you stay true to your principles. Often in
life, we do not recognize the hidden blessing in a situation

YI (42)

that seems unfortunate. In fact, going through a hard expe-
rience helps one achieve higher.
4. You can now be a good in-between and thereby take
a responsible and authoritative position. If you have the
best for all parties in mind, you can reap great benefit for
yourself for your advice will be followed. Such an influen-
tial position may even bring more benefits later on.
5. This line indicates that when you now work for the
benefit of others , you will be benefited yourself because of
your positive inner coherence, and your charitable atti-
6. The I Ching always teaches balance in life, for all our
actions. This line is a warning to not change one’s attitude
in the belief that increase can be continuous and excessive.
If you remain steadfast for benefiting others you can go
through this cycle unharmed, but if you ruthlessly press
ahead for selfish gain only you may experience a setback.


— —


Resolution / Decisiveness /
Rushing Ahead
Seek cooperation, avoid single-handed action!

The single yin line at the top here influences the power of
all the yang lines. Thus, the five positive energies repre-
sented by the yang lines must break through the energy
above. After a firm decision is made to break through the
negative energy, complete yang, as in the 1st hexagram,
can be achieved. The hexagram recommends caution for
every step up to the top line. Dealing with negative energy
can be compared with tending a flower garden. If weeds are
brusquely removed, the flowers may also be damaged.

1. This line warns that one may be ill-equipped to deal
with the task. In such a situation, great caution is needed.
2. You need to be attentive now, all the details in this
situation need your careful attention and scrutiny. If you
have oversight, there will be no harm and there is gain
3. An aggressive advance to solve the problem, espe-
cially when you go ahead single-handedly, may result in a
confrontation that brings no real advantage. Do not try to
rush things and preserve your advantage!
4. The teaching of this line is to listen to advice and be
flexible but decisive to dissolve the obstruction. This is an

GUAI (43)

inner attitude of firmness combined with an unobtrusive
attitude outwardly. If you are upright and have courage,
you can go ahead in cooperation with others.

5. This line puts the stress on balance, inwardly and
outwardly. It is right to go ahead now, firmly and deci-
sively, but avoiding sharpness and cunningness in your
behavior. Then you will be successful and petty people
will lose their advantage over you.

6. This line warns of an excess either in outer action or
in your attitude. Seek to be balanced, or you may lose the
advantage that you may have made earlier, as indicated by
the five yang lines below this line! Always behold that
negativity in your inner attitude will attract negative reac-
tions on the outward level, in real life, hence the impor-
tance to keep your inner smart and make sure you are
striving first of all for inner coherence.


44 GOU

— —

Contact / Encounter /
Beware of temptation!

The traditional image of this hexagram is that five men are
competing for one woman, but she can only marry one of
them; hence there is a contention within the situation but it
is hidden. If the five yang lines do not cooperate, the nega-
tive yin line which approaches from below may inhibit any
positive progress. However, this is inherent in the cyclic
changes between yang and yin, and thus a natural situa-
tion. If you are aware of your limitations and shortcomings,
you may still achieve success if you tread cautiously and
practice persistence!

1. You are facing a situation of temptation. It looks like
a good opportunity to be seized but there is danger if you
go forward. Ignoring the problem will not help you deal
with it, thus you should gain emotional awareness of it.
But do not yield to the temptation either! If the temptation
doesn’t present itself outwardly, it can be within you; you
may be pondering a certain action which you should check
back with your conscience, and if it’s not in accordance
with your highest principles, the best is to change your in-
tention to a better and more worthy goal.

GOU (44)

2. You may seize the opportunity now, but the profits
may be snatched away by a competitor; you need to act
decisively and cautiously to prevent that from happening.
Beware of letting others know about your plans; for the
moment it’s better to act from behind the screen.
3. This is a situation of indecisiveness which causes
restless behavior. Seeing things clearly at this point can
prevent further problems. If you ponder a bold yet possi-
bly incorrect action versus a cautious yet possibly correct
action, you have a choice. Choose what is in alignment
with your conscience and your highest principles!
4. You need to avoid going forward in this situation;
you are in danger. Possibly your motives for action are in-
correct or you are not collaborating sufficiently with oth-
ers. Traditionally this line was depicting a man who courts
a woman who is no more available and invites trouble be-
cause he uses force or cunning to win her over.
5. In this situation, you have passed the danger of the
4th line and are in a situation where you can build on the
wisdom and inner strength you gained. You are in accor-
dance with the cosmos and can dissolve any difficulty
smoothly with the help of others.
6. This line depicts a situation where one is isolated
from others because one is uncooperative. The choice here
is yours. If you want to retreat from the project, you can do
so without being harmed, else if you want to stay and go
ahead, you can only do so by winning others over for your


45 CUI
— —

— —
— —
— —

Congregation / Gather-
ing / Harmonizing
A time to form strong bonds!

The traditional picture of this hexagram is ‘to gather the
essence.’ That means to gather others around oneself for a
good and virtuous purpose. This implies that one is able to
harmonize different energies and focus them for accom-
plishing a common goal. But the meaning of this hexagram
is twofold: it also applies to inner growth and renewal
through the gathering of subtle energy.

1. Going forward is indicated by this line. But the re-
quirement is that you clearly communicate the purpose of
the gathering and that you bring order to the group so that
energies are focused on a shared goal.
2. You can gather help from others if you are sincere. Be
open to influences, encounters, and recommendations. The
way is shown to you.
3. This line indicates that you won’t succeed single-
handedly in this cause. You need to bring your goals in
alignment with that of others, or a group of people. There
may be some losses and gains that cancel each other out.

4. This line indicates success as you are successfully
cooperating with others, and managing your affairs re-

CUI (45)

5. This line traditionally speaks of a group of men
gathered around a man in a high position. This is a meta-
phor that your endeavor to gather people for a common
cause is by and large successful. It is through effective
leadership that you can realize your goals and bring a
positive outcome to the cause, and thus blessings for eve-
ryone will follow.
6. This line indicates a disharmonious position. For
some reason, you are not able to gather people around
you. The traditional interpretation sees the obstacle here in
pride and lack of an integrative attitude. Inquire and check
if your motives are worthy enough for this cause, or re-
treat. There will be no harm.


— —
— —
— —

— —

Rising / Progress / Going
A great opportunity for progress!

This is one of those hexagrams that are overall positive. All
lines are predicting good progress, except the top line which
contains a warning, but is not strictly negative as in many
other hexagrams. Steady growth is based on the accumula-
tion of many small achievements. By the same token, power
or wealth must accumulate in small increments so as to be
beneficial. When people are too anxious to get ahead, their
ambition may become excessive and conflict with others
will be the result. This hexagram teaches that life is a slow
but constant process and progress.

1. This line indicates that you can advance toward
prosperity. You are being trusted by others, and in align-
ment with your higher purpose. Go ahead!
2. A step-by-step approach is indicated here for pro-
gress. Even if your resources are meager, you can realize
your goal. Your sincerity and enthusiasm will open you the
doors for reaching out to those who help and support you.
3. Easy and smooth success is indicated by this line. Do
not hesitate, and do not doubt your advancement.

4. This line traditionally uses the image of a prince,
empowered by the king, making an offering on a moun-

SHENG (46)

tain. This is the metaphor of being trusted by a high person
and generally, an enjoyable position. You can now realize
your ambitions!

5. Greatness is obtained by the accumulation of small
achievements; great success is a constant accumulation of
small daily successes. Promotion, progress and achieve-
ment come now at the right time for you. Do not squander
your blessings. Be constant in your attention to detail and
you will surely be rewarded!
6. Success is the enemy of complacency. In a position of
high achievement, we are all tempted to slacken in our ef-
forts and become complacent. On the other hand, when
rising becomes excessive because one lacks inner reflec-
tion, one may end up losing what has been gathered. Thus
both complacency and rushing ahead blindly need to be
avoided in order to safeguard your success!


47 KUN
— —

— —
— —

Adversity / Exhaustion /
Meet adversity with resolution!

This hexagram was traditionally showing the image of a
person who is surrounded by water and can go nowhere
safely. In a modern sense, this hexagram can be seen as an
unfavorable time for outward development, while it can be
used very favorably for inward enhancement. Rather than
lamenting circumstances, one should accept the blockage
and store energy for later effort, for the law of cyclic change
makes ever such situation a temporary one!

1. If you lose your motivation because of obstacles in
your way, you are doomed to fail. The traditional image of
this line was a person who cannot see the light for three
years. This is a metaphor for mental and emotional ‘blind-
ness,’ that is, the incapacity to plan ahead because one feels
trapped and exhausted. Do not get caught in fear, or demo-
tivation; you can inwardly fight adversity by being faithful
to a good outcome, and trusting your inner guidance. This
time will pass!
2. This line speaks of a person who was being awarded
the red apron of high office, thus he is entrapped by feast-
ing and honor. The I Ching teaches that when progress is
easy, one should be charitable and not self-righteous, and

KUN (47)

despite a high position, one should think of those below
and practice latitude of mind, and a dignified attitude.
3. This line traditionally speaks of a man who is en-
trapped by rocks and thorns and cannot meet his compan-
ion or wife. This metaphor hints at your need to build in-
ner clarity, and set a clear goal. You cannot reap figs when
you sow thistles, which means that you need to focus your
energy instead of spilling it in restless maneuvering.

4. Stay your course and be careful to not lose your mo-
tivation once again. Do whatever you can to find help and
you will get it. This line bears the image of a wagon that
comes late and slows progress. This means that you are
heading in the right direction, but you need to practice pa-
tience, and trust your inner guidance.
5. The traditional image of this line is of a high officer
who is burdened by his duties, but who slowly finds a way
out. This means that you should now be prepared for a
blessing ahead of you, practice patience, relax your mind,
and remain correctly centered. The blessing will come!
6. This line teaches that the good outcome depends
primarily on your inner attitude. If you are cynical and
selfish, you may feel that you are trapped in your own
pride. When you correct and refresh your attitude and let
go of your self-aggrandizement, you will naturally find the
way to mastering the situation successfully.


— —
— —

— —

The Well / Water Hole /
Reaching the Water
You must understand basic truths.

This hexagram uses a well as a metaphor for the mind, how
to conduct one’s education, and the clarity or lacking clar-
ity of the water. The mind is like a well. Its ideal state is one
of clarity and quietude amidst the activities of daily life.
The message of this hexagram is to follow the example of
the well by being peaceful and resourceful. The well also
represents the ‘waters’ you are giving to others, the way
you can reach out to others for bringing over your message,
be it as a teacher, or as an artist, business person, doctor or
professional, or a government official. Whatever your posi-
tion or profession, you are living in the world and you need
to reach out to others in order to be useful.

1. The first line uses the image of a well that seems for-
saken as nobody comes to drink from it. This metaphor
means that you are too self-centered and isolated from
others; else the meaning of this line is that you need to up-
date and broaden your vision, giving up something that is
outdated, or adapt positively to a new situation. Trust your
inner guidance and focus your intention on becoming use-
ful to those around you, and the world in general.

JING (48)

2. This line speaks of an open well, but a person reach-
ing not far enough down to catch water because the rope
of the bucket is too short. This means that it is too early for
an undertaking or you do not make full use of your talents
in carrying it out. It is not enough to be talented, you also
need to be attentive to the material world and have the de-
sire to be heard and seen. Trust in your potential and you
will find a way to deploy your smart!

3. This line speaks of a functional and clean well but
nobody comes to drink the water. It is thus a similar image
as the first line, only that now the well is clean. This means
that you need to practice persistence in reaching out to oth-
ers. You have clear ‘waters’ now to give but you need to be
known to others. Make yourself known to others in what-
ever way this is possible, and do not be shy! You need to
share your knowledge, art or wisdom, or it’s not useful to
the world.
4. This line traditionally speaks of a well that is pro-
tected by a railing around it. This metaphor means that
you should now take care of your own affairs, and avoid
being involved in those of others. You now should build
the foundation for your later successes, which means you
need first of all build a solid inner foundation, based upon
virtue and a correct attitude. Besides, you need to have
faith that the time will come for your deployment and suc-
5. This line speaks of pure, clean water that is available
for all. Here, your talents have been recognized and you


are visible to others. This is the beginning of your social
success. You need to trust your inner guidance still further
in order to continue to grow and expand your influence.

6. Here great success is indicated because of wise deci-
sions that also benefit others. The advice of this line was
traditionally to not cover the well so that the waters can be
drunk by all. Likewise, your clear ‘waters’ now reach oth-
ers, who benefit from your spirit of open-mindedness and
universal love. This is a situation of great good fortune!


49 GE
— —

— —

Revolution / Reformation
/ Groundbreaking Change
Accept a great change in your life.

The traditional image of this hexagram is that of a revolu-
tion and the advice is that a successful revolution is a mat-
ter of proper timing and correct implementation. This
hexagram encourages you to let go of the old in order to
proceed with what is new and right. You should adjust to
external conditions and act at an appropriate time so as to
reform the situation and bring about novelty in your life.
Many habits and patterns of thought stand in the way of
change; this is one of the reasons why most people are afraid
of change. If you see the need for change, you need to go
ahead fearlessly and focus on the positive outcome once the
change has been properly effected.

1. Keep still. The timing is not right for a big change.
Never rush into action when you are insufficiently pre-
pared. The right time will come.
2. The time is ripe now for action, thus you can go
ahead to trigger change and reformation. You will now re-
ceive help and support from others if you are correctly fo-
cused and accept great change in your life.
3. Do not rush ahead at this point. Your action needs
careful preparation in order to be successful, or you may

GE (49)

rush into danger. Trust your inner guidance, and focus
upon the matter that needs to be changed. Use visualiza-
tion to see it the way you want it once the change has been
carried out. This will help you to find the right way to pro-
4. Now the change has been done and you are in a po-
sition of leadership, where others can rely on you. After
the change, harmony is possible. When others show you
allegiance, remain humble and work for the public good.
When your motivation is correct, you shall have great suc-
5. This line traditionally speaks of the yellow stripes of
a tiger. For the Chinese, the tiger was a sacred symbol, and
the color yellow indicates intelligence and great good for-
tune! This means that you are here in a position of great
power and others follow you. On a personal level, this line
represents both heart and mind which guide the correct
reformation that comes from within and without. Great
success is indicated!
6. The traditional interpretation of this line speaks of a
deep change versus a shallow and superficial change. This
means that the change can be seen when it is deep and
lasting. You may now safely change established habits and
traditions, and you should do that in a balanced manner,
without triggering hurtful reactions around you. Try to
stabilize this new situation in your life so that it will be


— —

— —

Cauldron / Harmoniza-
tion / Stability
Lay the groundwork for something new.

The image of this hexagram is that of a cauldron, a recepta-
cle for cooking royal feasts or for making offerings. It is a
lucky symbol associated with good fortune. It also symbol-
izes good luck for one’s family. This hexagram teaches the
art of proper timing, which is symbolized by the proper
cooking of a feast. Thus, this hexagram encourages the wise
to understand their duty and their responsibilities and to
stabilize their efforts in order to help and guide the wellbe-
ing of all people. Following the progressive levels symbol-
ized in the cauldron can help one fulfill one’s duty in life
and develop accordingly. Each line of the six lines repre-
sents a different section of the cauldron.

1. This line traditionally speaks of one leg of the caul-
dron being damaged so that the cauldron tilts to one side
and thus can be easily cleansed and purified. While such a
situation may be unfortunate, it serves a proper goal. This
can also mean that a third person is needed to balance the
energies in a family, partnership or enterprise. Cleaning
the cauldron may also mean to purify yourself of bad hab-
its before starting a new enterprise.

DING (50)

2. The cauldron is now filled with food but there is
envy all around you. There may be criticism, but you
should listen to your inner voice and remain calm and cen-
tered. Keep on improving things!
3. Here, the handles of the cauldron have been changed
but cannot be used. Thus, the fat pheasant’s meat remains
uneaten. This is a situation where your talents are not rec-
ognized by the outside world. The solution is here to trust
your inner smart and your spiritual guidance. The time
will come for you to unfold your talents so that ‘the feast
can be eaten when the rain comes.’
4. Here the image is that of the leg of the cauldron be-
ing broken, so the food falls out and is spoilt. It speaks of a
great minister who fails to fulfill his duty because the pub-
lic has no faith in him. This is a metaphor for a person who
lacks a sense of realism, and correct information. It is better
for you to put a halt to your project or endeavor and to as-
sess the situation once again. Remain steadfast but retreat
for the time being.
5. Here the image is of strong golden handles of the
cauldron with yellow ears. The lid and ears of the cauldron
allow the adjustment of the heat and steam so that the food
is properly cooked. Yellow is for the Chinese the ‘middle’
color in the spectrum, and it represents wisdom, smart and
proper balance. This is a metaphor for a leader who has the
proper attitude for going forward and broaden his experi-
ences. You will have great success!


6. The image of the strong jade handle on top of the lid
suggests that the cauldron will not be overheated and eve-
rything is in order and properly prepared. The food sym-
bolizes the substance that nourishes a whole nation. This is
a metaphor for being guided by your higher self, thereby
serving the world as a wise and humble leader. This is
really a great achievement!


— —
— —

— —
— —

Force of Thunder / Shock
/ The Arousing
Awakening jolt. A blessing in disguise.

The image of his hexagram is that of a rolling thunder that
jolts up and lets one correct one’s attitude. Shock is some-
times necessary to remove one from a position of compla-
cency and inertia. To consider shock as a form of punish-
ment would be misunderstanding the wisdom that this
hexagram teaches. Calmness is always necessary in fulfill-
ing great responsibility. It is especially important in deal-
ing with shock and confusion, so as to dissolve any kind of
inner entanglement and limitation. If one’s energy is scat-
tered or disordered, one can be easily jolted by every shock
that comes along, but one who is centered will act appro-
priately, regardless of what confronts him or her.

1. There may be some or the other circumstance that
causes you shock. Do not feel defeated by it. It serves your
awakening and progress once you understand it. You are
ultimately benefited by the situation. In addition, you will
have learnt a valuable lesson for coping with unexpected
situations in the future.

2. If you go forward, you will meet danger. The image
is that of a person who loses her fortune by hurrying to

ZHEN (51)

safety during a thunderstorm. However, in seven days he
recovers his losses. Do not proceed!
3. You may experience such a shock that you feel terri-
fied, but you should stay calm. In the end there is no trou-
ble, but you should change your attitude. You can now
make slight progress without mistakes. Do not lose your
spontaneity and master your fear. When you keep your
smart, you won’t make serious mistakes.

4. The image here is of a lightning that hits the mud,
giving no power and no light. This is a metaphor for wast-
ing energy. Stand still for now, as any progress will meet
danger. Trust your inner guidance and the way out will be
shown to you.

5. You are now aware of the danger which means you
will also know that going ahead will trigger more shocking
experiences for you. In such a situation, a wise person
would stop and reflect. If you keep your smart and remain
calm, you can transit this period of time safely. Put your
life in order. There will be no damage if you don’t make
6. No further movement should be made. Shock will
hit your neighbor, not you. Though there is a treat, there is
no real problem. Avoid action now, it’s the wrong moment
to go forward, thus keep safe. Retreat is not weakness of
character, and here it’s the only safe action.


52 GEN
— —
— —

— —
— —

Keeping Still / Impediment
/ Non-action
A time to stop action and quieten your heart.

With calm and inward focus, one can clear the mind of self-
serving thoughts and desires. Keeping still does not mean
to be inactive, but rather that one acts correctly and with-
out strain in any situation. The I Ching teaches three forms
of action: going forward, standing still and going backward
(retreat). Here, all the six lines of the hexagram recommend
you to stand still for the time being, to practice nonaction.
This does not mean defeat, nor does it mean you should be
demotivated. In the contrary, it means that you should use
this time for inner progress, developing firmness of charac-
ter, and strong focus on accomplishing your goal. Your in-
ner guidance will show you when this period comes to an
end and you can go ahead once again.

1. This weak line must keep still and remain firm: thus,
there will be no difficulty. When you gain an objective in-
sight in the situation, you will know when going ahead
will be profitable.
2. When you have the feeling that you cannot master a
certain situation that presents itself to you, then trust your
inner guidance, raise your inner coherence through a
meditative or self-reflective practice and ponder your mo-

GEN (52)

tives. Your intentions should be positive and harmonious
and you should mind the best outcome for all.
3. Do not press ahead, for this would only result in
restlessness and a waste of energy or resources. Now it’s a
time to master any anxiety you may have, and practice
meditation. Enjoy the time of self-reflection, for it will help
you to succeed at a later time. Whenever you think of your
project or relationship, see it positively in your mind, and
visualize success! This is the best you can do during this
4. There is a time for action and a time for rest. Be natu-
ral. Relax your mind and body, and you will improve your
health. Do not press ahead at a time when progress cannot
be seen. It will negatively affect your heart function. When
you are in alignment with inner guidance, you act cor-
rectly by not acting at all. This is a good time for self-
5. You will realize that when you are properly focused,
and your inner mind at peace, you will speak in a manner
that is both spontaneous and effective. There will be power
in the way you communicate. There is a time for speaking,
a time for listening and a time for being silent. Listen to
your inner guidance and your communications shall be
effective and positive.
6. Good fortune is waiting for you in a situation in
which your inner smart, your inner coherence, your inner
peace projects itself outwardly into the world. There will


be a positive response if you are properly aligned with
your purpose and avoid to overstress your luck.



— —
— —
— —

Gradual Progress / Step-
by-Step Plan /
Positive Development
Slow but steady progress. Remain steadfast.

This hexagram symbolizes the union of male and female
energies, or of any positive relationship. This type of inter-
nal harmony encourages the gradual development of a good
relationship. The image is that of geese migrating to distant
lands, being properly guided by their instinct. Geese sym-
bolize proper inner guidance. Gradual progress leads one to
higher levels of achievement. By slowly showing one’s tal-
ents and earning the trust of others, social relations may be
positively developing.

1. Progress one step at a time and you will not run into
danger. When you are criticized, you should not act defen-
sively and instead progress inwardly, by focusing upon
your goal and building more coherence. All success is the
result of inner coherence. So prepare ahead and do not ask
for a premature promotion at a time when you are not
ready for delivering your smart.
2. You may have a fortune but if you clasp your hands
around it, it will not benefit anybody for you will finally
lose it. Sharing is the secret of all real wealth, for money is
like water: it needs to flow! If you are aware that money

JIAN (53)

needs to circulate in your life, you will give and receive
with equal peace of mind. Then you are building the foun-
dation of real wealth, and you will be blessed because you
bless others.
3. This line traditionally speaks of a husband marching
to war and a pregnant wife not giving birth. It is a situa-
tion of danger. Make sure that all risk you are taking is cal-
culated. If you have bad experiences with others, avoid to
pile up resentment and stay focused on your goals. You do
not depend on outward circumstances for achieving suc-
cess, for all success is the result of inner coherence. Hence,
take care of your inner harmony, and all will be well.
4. There are cycles in life. If you recognize them, you
win, if you overlook them, you lose. All is a matter of sens-
ing your internal cycles. That means you need to be flexi-
ble and attentive. This is the safe way of doing things be-
cause you are aligned with your intuition. Every action
needs to be checked back in order to see if it was appropri-
ate for the time being, and within its own cycle of growth.
If you do this, you will realize that you will gradually but
securely advance.
5. If you cannot see advancement, or if you are sur-
rounded by people who do not reflect to you your good
intentions, do not become demotivated! You are advancing
but this is a time of gradualness that you need to adapt to.
You are about to make good connections for later suc-
cesses. For the time being, you should be happy that you
are progressing, one step at a time. Every cycle of evolu-


tion is different, for the timing is different, and once you
understand that, you will have the right attitude to master
this situation.

6. You will realize that once you have mastered your
problems and know how to gradually advance in life, this
is something not only for your own benefit, but also for the
benefit of those who take you as an example. This means
that your success is shared with all those who follow you,
and this is a blessing in itself!

— —
— —

— —

The Maiden / Marriage /
Know your proper place in life.

The present hexagram as well as the preceding one, Jian,
were traditionally considered as marriage advice. While in
Jian marriage is successfully achieved in gradual stages,
here the literal translation is ‘a woman returns to where she
belongs,’ suggesting that something is out of place. Indeed,
harmony is the essence not only of a good marriage, but of
any kind of relationship; this hexagram is in modern times
no more restricted to marriage but gives advice for people
behaving in social life, attributing to each person their
proper place.

1. Your social situation is modest but others trust you.
When you do your work dutifully and joyfully, you will
advance and obstacles will vanish from your way. When
your thoughts are harmonious, you build inner coherence,
which is the condition for success.
2. You may have the impression to be in a treadmill
and that things are not advancing. However, if you are
persistent you will be making progress. Be patient and

3. You receive in life only what you are asking for. If
you ask, it shall be given to you. But you must ask. Do not

GUI MEI (54)

be too shy to have high ambitions, but work on your pro-
jects from inside out, realizing inner coherence, being
peaceful and good-willed. On the outward level, be firm
and persistent, then you will reach your goal.
4. This line was traditionally denoting a late marriage.
However, it’s a positive reading in that the waiting time is
passed by improving oneself and strengthening one’s
character. Then the late marriage will be harmonious! Be
patient, the relationship you are asking about, whatever it
happens to be, will not progress at the present time. It is
recommended to turn inward and practice self-cultivation.
5. This line is a positive reading for a person who is
able to find his or her proper place and by being unassum-
ing, responsible and flexible. You can make good progress
now in a position where you serve and support another
person, or a group of people. Your efforts are going to be
6. You need to share your being with the world in order
to be successful and rewarded. If you hold back or you
play a role, acting under false pretenses, you will be found
out, and you risk that people stop trusting you!


— —
— —

— —

Peak / Abundance / Over-
Things are at a peak or climax.

A developed person uses their full deployment for serving
others and enriching the world. According to the natural
law of balance, when something reaches its point of full-
ness, decline is inevitable. Everything in the universe fol-
lows this cycle; it’s like a tidal movement. If one has more
than enough, he should not hold onto everything for him-
self, but be charitable. When abundance becomes full, it’s
like the sun being too strong: the light is blinding one,
vegetation dries up, the land becomes parched, and nothing
can flourish. Feng teaches the value of control in a situation
of abundance so as to not overstress the cycle.

1. A new relationship brings you advantage. It is bene-
ficial to associate with those whose aims are similar to
2. This line implies that one seeks external prosperity
rather than internal clarity; this brings about darkness.
Blind ambition can hurt you if you lose your inner clarity
and steer an unbalanced approach to realizing your goals.
Let others for themselves discover your true value and ca-

FENG (55)

3. You will realize that when you hold on to your riches
with an uncaring attitude toward others, your wealth will
not grow, but decline. Be balanced in all you do, also in
your daily consumption so as to keep flexible and avoid
4. If you want to be useful, having learnt the lesson in-
dicated by the 3rd line, the universe will guide you and
you will attract an associate with whom you can work to-
gether to realize your goal.
5. Surround yourself with a group of wise people who
advise you in all important matters, but make sure the fi-
nal decisions are yours. While your position could be bet-
ter, there is success ahead!

6. Never yield to blind ambition! Be mindful of the
changes of fortune and take care of your household and/
or your enterprise. When your wishes and dreams are
situated too much outside of what is currently achievable,
you may lose sight of reality and incur losses. Avoid to do
things single-handedly and stay in contact with those who
can help you.


56 LU
— —

— —
— —

The Wanderer / Traveling
/ On the Road
Be humble on the road!

This hexagram traditionally was accompanied by the pic-
ture of a wanderer who can only achieve minor undertak-
ings while on a journey. In a more general sense, the teach-
ing here conveys that a balanced personality can be attained
by integrating one’s spiritual purposes with a practical life
style. Since life is energy in movement, travel is a natural
part of living. One should neither fear to move nor lose the
stillness within.

1. Do not lose your dignity while on travel, do not be
overly critical toward others and do not fight over habitual
expenses. Also, avoid to show off in any way and do not
get involved in trivial matters. When traveling, one should
be tolerant of the different customs one encounters.
2. You can find helpers when you are unassuming and
tactful. We always reflect our inner life toward the outside.
If your thoughts are harmonious and respectful, this will
attract others toward you who are of help and support.
This is why inner coherence is so important in life!
3. Here, the traditional image is of an arrogant traveler
who loses a valuable helper. Arrogance can destroy one’s
attainments and achievements in all circumstances, par-
ticularly while on a journey.
LU (56)

4. You may not feel good in your new environment. Be
it that you traveled to the wrong destination, feel isolated,
or that you haven’t had enough inner clarity to really
know why you wanted to change your place. Now, it is
best to avoid restlessness and remorse and build inner co-
herence by trusting in your inner guidance. Then, the right
way will be shown to you!
5. When you have a caring attitude toward others, and
you have a harmonious mindset, you will realize that you
are welcome even in places where others may be consid-
ered as strangers. On the intrinsically human plane, there
are no strangers. You can now advance successfully to-
ward a new position, at a new place, and unfold your tal-
ents there!
6. When you meet others with a hostile mind, or you
are careless and inconsiderate of other people’s or coun-
tries’ customs and particularities, you may encounter loss
and you may not be able to establish a new place for your-
self. In such a case, retreat is the best move, while working
on improving your mindset toward friendliness and
goodwill for all people.


57 XUN
— —

— —

Gentle Wind / Conformity
/ Submissiveness
Be yielding in small matters!

Nature teaches that all creation has an element of spontane-
ity to it. One cannot see a flower growing, and yet it grows.
One cannot see the wind except by its effect upon objects.
This is the way the subtle energy creates in the universe. It
is the same with spirit. One who seeks guidance from this
hexagram is counseled to wait for the right time to pursue
what he wishes to achieve. Great achievements cannot be
expected in the beginning.

1. You should develop a firm intention and fight hesita-
tion and doubt. In such a situation, the I Ching uses the
image of a soldier who needs to be disciplined and go for-
ward decisively and with perseverance.
2. You cannot go ahead when you are confused and
lack clarity. Reflect about what’s going on and analyze the
situation as well as your motives. When everything is cor-
rect, go ahead and do not hesitate!
3. There is a time for reflection, and a time for action.
This line indicates that you are now beyond reflection and
need to act. If you procrastinate, you may lose the oppor-

XUN (57)

4. The traditional interpretation of this line is: ‘One ob-
tains three kinds of game in the hunt and earns merit.’ You
can act now with a modest but decisive attitude, and you
will be rewarded. If you act in following instructions, carry
them out dutifully and all will be well!
5. Attention to detail is one of the key factors in suc-
cess. When you are scrupulous and fair in your deals, you
can advance smoothly now, and you will be overall suc-
6. The universe will give you a negative response if
you are bewildered and fearful, and too hesitant to claim
your good. You need to express your expectations in this
position and a too much of gentleness may be counterpro-
ductive to achieving your goal.


58 DUI
— —

— —

Joyousness / Enjoyment /
A time of joyous interaction!

Joy is a combination of inner and outer harmony, of recep-
tiveness and gentleness. True happiness is the result not of
emotional charge, but of virtue and constancy. Joy is thus
different from pleasure. The source of all happiness is peace
of mind, not emotionality. This is why the ancients were
saying that true joy comes from inside.

1. You are firm and constant, unattached and inde-
pendent. Your joy is the result of inner harmony and based
upon inner coherence. This brings you success.
2. When you act from inner joy and with a good-willed
attitude, you will attract helpers and resist temptation. In
fact, pleasing others is not a recipe for success, but inner
firmness combined with outer gentleness.
3. The more you are moved by flattery or engage in
flattering others, the more you estrange yourself from your
own true nature. Then your actions become shallow and
you may lack influence upon others.
4. You may go through a period of indecisiveness,
which is the result of an inner choice to be made between
lower and higher forms of pleasure. Rely on your inner
strength to make the correct choice, then you will experi-
ence joy because joy is the result of the higher, and more

DUI (58)

spiritual forms of pleasure that are within the culture and
that serve to uplift humanity.
5. This line symbolizes another kind of choice, equally
important. Here it’s the choice of a relationship, one that is
incorrect and down the road dangerous, versus one that is
noble and advantageous. Be alert to make the right choice!
6. If you seek pleasure only outwardly, without build-
ing a joyful inner attitude, you are completely dependent
on how others act, and you lose your independence of
judgment. This can result in undesired experiences and
negative consequences. The solution here is to go inward
and reflect about what you really want, and what your
soul really longs for!



— —
— —
— —

Scattered / Dispersion /
Your ego causes problems with others!

When you hold grudges against others, you ultimately
work against your own good. This hexagram teaches that
such inharmonious conditions in our inner mind need to be
dissolved for establishing inner coherence, and thereby
achieve success. If others have hurt you, practice forgive-
ness until you feel there is no more inner sting to be felt
when you think of the person or situation. Through for-
giveness inner balance can be restored and the tension thus

1. If you are aware of your inner movements and you
can feel that you are in an inharmonious mood swing, this
is a good thing to happen for you can then correct the con-
dition and seek to build inner coherence once again.
2. When you face an obstacle and practice inner coher-
ence, you will attract the right helpers. Be calm and trust
your inner guidance, then the solution will emerge.
3. Sometimes a situation is so complex that you need to
put all personal motives behind and care for helping the
new condition to emerge, while you may not have a direct
material benefit for yourself. Down the road, unselfish ac-

HUAN (59)

tions always improve your karma, especially when you do
them joyously and without resentment.
4. Great success is the result of open-mindedness and a
caring attitude toward the common good. You can now put
your own goals on a line with those of others and thereby
achieve a great outcome for all of you!
5. When you see that those around you have limited
views, and seek each to cook their own little soup, you can
become a leader in the group by giving them a great idea.
All great advances in human evolution have been made by
new ideas, because they help people overcome their frag-
mented views and greedy little desires!
6. There is danger in this situation. You may retreat,
and you can do it safely by affirming your inner guidance,
seeking inner coherence over outer fame.


60 JIE
— —

— —
— —

Self-Restraint / Limits /
Self-restraint helps you to progress!

You can manage your energy in much the same way that
water is regulated by a dam. If the energy becomes too full,
the dam will break; if the energy is depleted, there will not
be enough in reserve for times of need. This is a time for
you to exercise self-discipline and restraint. The corrective
influence is not only for oneself but also for others, for if
you have a firm inner attitude, you will have a beneficial
influence upon others to keep their boundaries and respect

1. Do not try to overcome obstacles at this point; it is
better to restrain yourself and retreat. A this time do not be
active and keep yourself safe. Trust in your inner guidance
and you will see the way out.
2. Now opportunities are coming to you and you need
to be watchful and alert to seize the day (carpe diem), for if
you hesitate and focus on your limitations, you may lose
the opportunity.

3. The traditional interpretation of this line speaks of a
‘flooding’ of some sort, and overflow of water. Water sym-
bolizes emotions and may stand for emotional reactions
that have put you in a difficult position with others. If you

JIE (60)

do not fault-find others but see the problem in yourself,
you may correct it easily and avoid further mistakes.
4. Self-restraint also means to do your daily duties
within the boundaries and limitations of your life. When
you cooperate with others, have a disciplined attitude and
keep focused on your duties. You will have success!
5. A true leader will always try to find the fault in him-
self before he blames others. When you apply this princi-
ple in your relationships, others will follow you because
they appreciate your correct attitude and will respect you.
Success is the result!
6. Too much restraint has negative consequences be-
cause it creates bitterness and a harsh inflexible attitude.
This must be avoided because overly severe discipline
brings no real benefit in the long run. This is especially so
for a leader who puts the restrictions upon those he leads
while he himself does not apply them in his own life. Such
a person will not be followed in the long run!

— —

— —

Inner Truth / Insight /
Develop leadership qualities!

This hexagram pictures a bird’s egg as a symbol for the ap-
propriate balance between firmness and flexibility, on one
hand, and stillness and action, on the other. This is the ba-
sis from which we create faithfulness to influence others.
There is no other hexagram in the I Ching that matches the
present one as a guideline for responsible leadership.

1. The first impetus for action is inside of us. It is the
correctness of alignment with our highest principles. If by
contrast you start on the outward level and push relation-
ships forward to achieve your goals, you may bond with
the wrong people. Align yourself with your principles and
trust your inner guidance, then you are led toward your
goal, and the right kind of help for achieving it.
2. You are properly aligned with your highest princi-
ples and you are focused upon your goals. You will now
attract a positive response from the outside world and can
communicate and cooperate with others to achieve your
goal. Success is indicated!
3. Your inner poise should never be dependent on oth-
ers. Joy and self-assurance are inner qualities. If you de-
pend on others for your enjoyments, you are deluded, and
there is a certain danger that you lose your way.


4. You should now give priority to higher goals than
those that only serve your own purposes. Any sincere at-
tempt to do this will make your advance smoother and
eliminate obstacles in your way. When you help the uni-
verse to achieve its higher purpose, you are helped in mo-
ments when you need support.
5. This is a major position of leadership where inner
poise and responsibility go hand in hand. Others will want
to be guided by you, thus assume the role of the leader and
exercise it dutifully. Success is indicated!
6. Do not aim too high! When your ambitions are not
supported by firmness of character and correct principles,
you may head into the wrong direction and incur losses or
even worse: the loss of your reputation as a leader. In such
a situation, turn inward and ask for inner guidance!

— —
— —

— —
— —

Predominance of the
Small / Restraint / Minor
Pay attention to detail and act with restraint!

This hexagram indicates that this is a time to make small
progress, provided you pay attention to detail. The two
yang lines here are not in a position for leadership and are
unable to control the situation. Leadership requires strong
energy. That’s why the image depicted by this hexagram is
that of a bird flying into a storm. Thus, this hexagram sug-
gests remaining low and still. One who is too ambitious or
too proud places himself in a difficult situation. One who is
humble receives help.

1. The time is not ripe for a great project. Be humble
and follow traditional ways of doing as anything beyond
that would be dangerous at this time.

2. In this position there is a certain chance for coopera-
tion with others, however only when you remain conser-
vative in the true sense. Do not take unreasonable risks
and be aware of your limitations, but help others if you

3. This line is a warning! Do not be too self-assured.
When you are cautious in your conduct, you can avoid a
setback. This requires you to lower your pride and make a


deaf ear to those who flatter you. They have their own
agenda, thus be on guard!
4. Never force a decision, and do not force yourself on
others. Teach by example and remain steadfast, be open for
inner guidance, then you will be led in the right direction.
5. You need to avoid acting single-handedly in this situa-
tion. Set your goal on a line with others’ ideas and advance
jointly with others so that you do not deviate from what is
6. The top line exceeds the situation instead of just
meeting it. You may be too aggressive to realize your goal;
instead, try to establish limits that can be respected and
achieved. Excessiveness and an attempt to maintain a high
and lofty position will only invite danger. The right way to
advance is based on inner coherence, not upon outward
force and might.

63 JI JI
— —

— —
— —

After Crossing the Water
/ Already Done / After
A phase of your life has reached a climax!

All in this hexagram is about the art to keep the fruits of
one’s achievement and thus to maintain order, and to be
mindful about a possible decay or decline—which is indi-
cated by the developmental cycle. Thus, the natural cycle of
decline can be avoided. Hence, you need to persevere and
avoid complacency. Decline can be prevented through
mindful action and the preservation of your achievement
through foresight and wisdom. This is not a time to engage
in new undertakings.

1. Success is possible, thus go ahead but be mindful
about all the details of your action to prevent any possible
decay or decline down the road. It might well be that your
last-gasp effort for finalizing your project can consolidate
your achievement.
2. There may be a minor delay, but you are heading in
the right direction. When you care about others, or serve a
greater, transpersonal goal, others will sense your com-
mitment and return benefits to you. Peace and stability are

JI JI (63)

3. Keep the balance between inner peace and outward
right action. Success and victory are indicated, but the ef-
fort you need might be considerable. Ponder if the out-
come is justified by the investment of time and effort!
4. Overcome your fears and doubts by remaining cen-
tered and faithful. Success in life is often on the way but
then impeded from manifesting because there are constant
doubts. This also means acting by using consideration, not
5. Going step by step toward your goal is the right
tempo now. Avoid demonstrations of power and work
from inside out. Avoid slackening of your efforts. A step at
a time, when done regularly, brings more than marathons
followed by periods of exhaustion.
6. There is danger in the present situation. Stay true to
your responsibilities. Focus on preserving what has been
achieved and avoid taking exorbitant risks. Be mindful
and you will be able to prevent a decline.

— —

— —
— —

Before Crossing the Water
/ Not Yet Done / Before
The goal is within reach but do not celebrate prematurely!

This hexagram is the opposite of the previous one but here
the opposites do not integrate. At this time matters should
be handled carefully and prudently. The traditional image
of this hexagram is a young fox crossing a frozen stream.
The lower trigram (water) indicates danger because of in-
experience, while the upper trigram (fire) expresses clarity
and strength. Together they indicate the completion of a
task, which means there is an opportunity.

1. The person who receives this line is unaware of his
limitations and puts himself at risk. You may see that you
need to put order in the situation, but you are not yet
aware of all the hidden factors. Thus be cautious, refrain
from action and trust your inner guidance. The way will be
shown to you.
2. This line indicates that the person who receives it has
more self-control and thereby is less endangered in the
situation than the person of the first line. When you remain
centered and focused upon your goal, the time for action
will come. Don’t get discouraged by the standstill!

WEI JI (64)

3. Your goal cannot be realized in the present situation.
If you are focused and receptive to help, you may find
support and can act in alignment with others. Refrain from
single-handed maneuvers now!
4. There is a contention, perhaps within yourself, re-
garding some contradictory voices, or on the outward
level, with others. Persevere and remain flexible, you shall
be rewarded later as this line indicates success ‘by over-
coming difficulties.’
5. This is a position of leadership. The 5th line repre-
sents a civilized, humble faithful and enlightened person
who overcomes all obstacles and nobly reaches his or her
goal. Great achievement is now possible for you!

6. The interpretation of the top line of this hexagram is
quite contradictory across various I Ching editions. Some
speak of failure, some speak of festivities to celebrate suc-
cess, some warn of over-indulgence. So let us quote here
the Chinese proverb that was traditionally associated with
this line: ‘When happiness is enjoyed to its extreme, sad-
ness results.’ A modern reading of this proverb doesn’t
really look like an indication of failure, for the line only
refers to one’s inner reality. So it would make more sense
to see it as a warning against over-indulgence in a time of
happy success!

Book Reviews

Hua-Ching Ni

Books Reviewed
The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth (1999)
The Complete Works of Lao Tzu (2003)

Master Hua-Ching Ni, author, teacher and healer, ad-
dresses the essential nature of human life and works to fur-
ther the personal growth and spiritual development of this
and future generations. He was raised in a family tradition
of healing and spirituality that is continued by his two
sons, Drs. Daoshing and Maoshing Ni, and by his many
friends and supporters throughout the world.
As a teacher of natural spiritual truth, Master Ni is heir
to the ancient wisdom and teaching of an unbroken suc-
cession of 74 generations in the Taoist tradition that dates
back to the Han Dynasty (216 B.C.). He also belongs to the
38th generation of healers in the Ni family legacy.
As a young child, he was educated by his family and
spent his youth learning from highly achieved masters in
the mountains of China. Later, he continued to study many
traditions and spiritual arts from a broad range of teachers.
After several decades of persistent searching and with in-
tensive training, study, and re-examination, he brought the
ancient wisdom (now known as the Integral Way) alive for
us today by using modern language.
He has written over 70 books in English and around 50
in Chinese and lives in Santa Monica, California.


The Book of Changes
and the Unchanging Truth

(Translation and Interpretation of the I Ching)
Santa Monica: Seven Star Communications, 1999
(Quotes are from the 1994 edition)

The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth is my life
guide and preferred I Ching edition since 1994.
I have found it at a time of great happiness, just after
having started a consulting business in Holland, through a
Chinese friend. My friend from Hong Kong invited me for
an afternoon out in Rotterdam and showed me various
Chinese coffee houses and shops. One of these shops was
selling religious utensils, and it was here that I found Mas-
ter Ni’s Book of Changes. This book immediately talked to


me and I bought it and could not wait to begin my studies
of the I Ching, and learning to use it for divination. I had
studied other I Ching books before that time, especially the
I Ching translation by Richard Wilhelm.
Master Ni’s I Ching edition excels in its profound wis-
dom and spirituality. It is a volume of almost 700 pages
that actually starts with its 1st Hexagram (The Creative), at
page 217!

All the pages before contain a thorough theoretical and
highly esoteric background analysis of the Book of Changes,
which is absolutely unique and in part not an easy read.
The Western reader may feel jolted at times because the
conceptual thinking of Chinese sages is fundamentally op-
posed to our modern society’s way of thinking and living.
Let me quote from the Preface:

Hua-Ching Ni
A bright new epoch starts with a correct philosophy
that can guide people to restore human nature to its
original healthy condition and then encourage them
to attain further development.
        People who know they are sick also know how
they feel when they are well. Similarly, by observing
the simple principles of behavior expressed by an-
cient, uncorrupted people, we can rediscover the
value of naturalness and health. For this reason, I
felt the time was right for this contemporary transla-
tion of the Book of Changes. It is aimed at reducing
the dualistic thinking of 'good fortune' and 'misfor-
tune' which pervades daily life. Instead, it leads to-


ward spiritual absoluteness and independence.
        Sometimes my readers may be puzzled at the
logic I present, namely that ‘one plus one equals one
plus one’ rather than the usual ‘one plus one equals
two.’ This is important spiritual logic, because things
of nature exist simply by and for themselves. This
logic is validated by natural existence and needs no
recognition from the general mind. Conceptual real-
ity is the playground of the mind and can be a far
cry from the reality of natural existence. Because it
cannot pierce its own shell, the human mind cannot
see the natural truth that surrounds it./iv

In, addition, Chinese spirituality, contrary to Christian
theology, was never understood as being opposed to na-
ture or as being out to dominate nature. Master Ni writes:

Hua-Ching Ni
Most significant was the discovery that the laws of
Nature are also the laws of humanity and that since
Nature and humanity are one, harmony is the key to
life. (…) The integral vision of the universe became
the spiritual faith of ancient developed people. It
was the broad and plain foundation for their discov-
ery of spiritual truth and secret methods./3

Let me give a short overview over the chapters of the
book that deal with the theoretical foundation of the I
Ching. The actual divinatory part of the book, which con-
tains the 64 hexagrams, is subject of Part Three of the book,
sub-titled ‘The Guidance of the Sixty-Four Specific Cir-


cumstances.’ Here is a Table of Contents for Part I and Part

Part One
The Natural Truth Underlying the Book of Changes
and the Unchanging Truth
pp. 3-168

1. Introduction
2. The Natural Rhythm of Life
3. The Principle of Yin and Yang
4. The Five Elementary Phases of Cyclic Movement
5. An Abstract Understanding of How Nature De-
velops Itself
6. Various Energy Cycles of Nature
7. Spiritual Implication of the Sky
8. Natural Energy in Human Life
9. The Natural Truth of the Spiritual Realm

Part Two
The Natural Path of Life
pp. 169-216

10. Basic Guidelines for Daily Living in Accordance
with Natural Truth
11. Introduction to the Guidance of the 64 Hexa-
12. Guide for Finding the Hexagrams

In sub-chapter three of Part One, entitled The Principle
of Yin and Yang, Master Ni mentions the following natural
cycles based upon the alternation of yin and yang.


‣ The Eight Natural Forces

‣ The Complete Cycle of the Eight Phases of Yin and Yang

‣ The Five Elementary Phases of Cyclic Movement

‣ Yin and Yang in the Daily Cycle

‣ Yin and Yang in the Lunar Cycle

‣ Lunar and Solar Energies in the Yearly Cycle

‣ Four Phases of Natural Energy

‣ Six Phases of Natural Energy

‣ Eight Phases of Natural Energy

‣ The Universal Cycle of Energy Phases

‣ The Ten Celestial Phases

‣ The Twelve Terrestrial Branches

‣ The Complete Sixty Cycle Energy Phases

‣ Sixty-Cycle Interaction of the Five Elements

‣ Sixty Interacting Phases in Cyclic Rotation

‣ The Spiral Unfolding of the Sixty Cycles

‣ The Relation of the Sixty Cycles to the Natural Energy

Regarding spiritual development, Master Ni gives an
important statement under the header of ‘Mental Illness,’ a
sub-chapter of chapter 8, Natural Energy in Human Life. I
think that Master Ni’s observations here are very pointed

and realistic for those who try to convince others of their
religion, those who are out to missionarize others, to con-
vert others to their own faith, often being judgmental
about life and living, persecutory and fundamentalist.
There are today in the West, especially in the Anglo-
Saxon world, and here primarily in the United States and
Great Britain, many Christian Fundamentalists who stir
turmoil, confusion, violence and persecution by their vio-
lent vintage of (misunderstood) religion—which in Master
Ni’s understanding simply is a form of mental illness. And
I fully agree.

Hua-Ching Ni
People who have a mental or spiritual illness often
strive for spiritual achievement, but such a search is
unrealistic. Spiritual achievement depends on sanity,
on having a sound mind in a sound body. Also,
spiritual growth does not occur suddenly. If one is
unaware of one’s own problems yet tries to follow a
religious ritual, one is only looking for something to
cover up those problems. The harder one works, the
less will be the results. In a case such as this, great
nature is a good cure./117


The Complete Works of Lao Tzu

Tao The Ching & Hua Hu Ching
Translation & Elucidation by Hua-Ching Ni
Santa Monica: Seven Star Communications, 2003

The Complete Works of Lao Tzu is a well-published vol-
ume of works by Lao Tzu that Master Ni has translated
from ancient Chinese into modern English—and here is the
value of the book.
The translation that Master Ni provides of both books
is extraordinary and very comprehensive. I have read sev-
eral translations of the Tao Te Ching, but clearly the one by
Master Ni offers more insights and has a higher spiritual
level. I recommend this book vividly to all serious search-


ers for truth and all lovers of true wisdom. It’s a precious
book by one of today’s greatest sages who is a true mem-
ber of the ancient league of initiated souls.

The following quotes should give a taste of the poetic
and enlightening quality of the translation.

Tao Teh Ching, 26
Worldly wisdom can help one understand worldly
things, but it is only conceptual understanding and
thus hinders the direct experience of truth. Under-
standing always comes one moment after the expe-
rience itself and therefore cannot be direct enlight-
enment which dissolves both subject and object.
While universal wisdom sometimes appears to be
the opposite of worldly wisdom, it too can help con-
nect one to worldly things, but in this case the con-
nection of the mind with reality is not through any
pattern of understanding but through direct partici-
pation in the experience of life. The observer and the
object of observation are dissolved with no hin-
drance of preconception / or delayed understand-
ing. It is not necessary to accumulate mental atti-
tudes after an experience has taken place, because to
be is to know. This is the way of a universal

Tao Teh Ching, 15
The ancient ones who knew how to live
with the subtle essence of the universe
were gentle and flexible,
profound and indistinguishable.


They were too deep to be known,
thus we can only describe their appearance.

They did not rush into anything,
as if fording an icy stream in early winter.

They were retiring and hesitant, not assertive,
as if they were shy of people.

They were reverent in demeanor to everyone,
as if meeting honored guests.

They did not insist on imposing their views on oth-
ers or interfering in worldly affairs, as if they were
passing travelers.

They adapted themselves to a circumstance
like melting ice./23

Tao Teh Ching, 35
When the subtle Way of the universe is taught,
people know where to go and what to learn,
because they know that they will not be harmed
but will receive great peace.

The teacher of the universal Way
is like one who gives real food to people.
He does not feed them colorful bait
with the intention of catching them.

The subtle Way of the universe is flavorless,
with nothing much to offer the mouth.
Neither does it offer much


to be enjoyed by the eyes or entertain the ears,
yet its usefulness is inexhaustible./49

Tao Teh Ching, 46
When the people of the world
live in accord with the subtle Way of the universe,
horses are used for agricultural purposes.

When the people of the world
do not live in accord with the subtle Way of the uni-
then horses, even pregnant mares,
are driven into the battlefield and bred there.

There is no greater calamity for a nation,
or for an individual,
than not finding contentment
with one’s own sufficiency.

There is no greater mistake for a nation,
or for an individual, than to be covetous.

Hence, when one is content within one’s own na-
ture, one will always have enough./64

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The New Physics for Nonscientists
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64 Hexagrams
A Synopsis
Personal Notes