35: Easy Progress
General Meaning: The general situation is one of easy, natural progress. That which had been weak is now steadily rising up, and by gaining a prominent position, becomes a stronger force. The image is the light of the rising sun, which at first appears dimly through the mists. But this relatively weak light later radiates with powerful clarity once the sun has reached a high position in the sky.
Progress is made when those in subordinate positions create harmony with those above, and in so doing create a natural means for their collective talents and abilities to blossom. It is by recognizing and riding with the natural course of events — by hitching our wagon to the rising sun, as it were — that we advance our position and earn respect.
Goodness in human nature is like the dim but beautiful early morning light. It can easily be obscured — by greed, hatred and other forms of self-absorption — just as the morning light can be swallowed by fog. Be reminded that progress is achieved most effortlessly when right action is taken without concern for immediate reward, and when the path of the weaker elements aligns with the strong.
General Meaning: Enormous creative energy is unleashed by enthusiasm. This energy is like powerful music that inspires people, loosening old constraints and generating new opportunities. Indeed, the power of enthusiasm is best symbolized by music and dance, for it is guided more by the heart than the head. Thus, great good fortune can follow someone who is able to guide this positive force toward victory and a joyous celebration.
Enthusiasm within a group generates a special kind of electricity. When a crowd is ‘charged’, the singer scales new heights, and life becomes its own reward. For who is not in awe of thunder? And who would fail to fill his or her lungs in the aftermath of a cleansing rain?
Arouse the passionate support of others, while adjusting your ideas and plans to suit their needs. In this way you can fill your sails with the mighty winds of shared enthusiasm.
To arouse others, re-double your own dedication and dare to create an environment that is free of tension. Take joy in your projects. Harness the power of song and dance.
General Meaning: Overview is a time for composure and contemplation. As a result of profound introspection, a hidden force reveals itself, and may influence others without their being aware of it. Do not underestimate the power of such a subtle force. Like the wind blowing across the treetops, its presence is perceived through the effect it has on everything it touches.
Shallow wells rarely strike water and shallow minds often come up empty. The ability to keep still and simply observe deepens resolve and attracts good fortune. Discern the difference between what is deep and what is surface within yourself — and you will be able to distinguish between the two in the world as well.
During a period between events, the practice of stillness with awareness is fruitful. Only by observing and absorbing the true nature of things — by apprehending the rhythms and cycles that guide all creation — can we discover the laws that apply to our own individual lives. Examine yourself and the overall situation — not just with the thought of discovering truth, but with the vision of concentrating your personal power
23: Splitting Apart
General Meaning: All is not what it seems. Sometimes, reality is like a hall of mirrors. Intrigues multiply like summer flies, and there are signs of discontent all around. This is a time of illusion and disillusion, disintegration, distrust and deception.
When you find yourself trapped in a hall of mirrors, sometimes it is necessary to retrace your steps. Return to the familiar; take solace in what is firm and secure. There is no blame in holding back on progress now; indeed, it is your responsibility to keep your strength intact for the period of resurrection, which follows disintegration as surely as dawn follows the night.
Discretion is the better part of valor. Good timing is especially important. Learn to focus on the essence of the problem and choose the proper moments for action, thereby avoiding futile effort. Be particularly attentive at such a time as this for changes that signal it’s time to retreat.
In the realm of personal relations, disillusionment is generally painful and confusing. When in the midst of such a phase, it is wise to avoid undertaking any bold new moves, and it is especially important not to jump to conclusions.
General Meaning: Personal resolution points to a breakthrough, but decisive action is required. As long as you diligently hold your ground and ward off negative tendencies and influences, the good will prevail.
The persistence of negativity, which is that which opposes the good, is a constant in human affairs. Just when it is thought to have been eradicated, up it will pop again, sprouting through some crack in the pavement of civilized society. Evil need not take dramatic or extravagant forms, such as those exhibited in Nazi Germany. Garden-variety lies and deceit are much more common and persistent, but should be rooted out just as diligently. One must be determined to not accidentally feed negativity — either in one’s social or professional life, or in one’s own soul. In either case, definite rules must be followed for the struggle to succeed.
The first rule: do not compromise with evil. Destructive or exploitive actions must be identified openly for what they are, and discredited. The second: one cannot successfully resist negativity on its own terms. New, positive alternatives that lead away from the source of the problem are generally more successful, and appropriate than trying to counter negativity with raw power. The third rule: the means used to counter negativity must be consistent with the end to be achieved. One cannot stop the spreading of lies by spreading more of them.
9: Small Influences
General Meaning: A gentle wind gathers the clouds, but still, no rain. Softer influences predominate as the power of subtle forces grows. This is a time for smooth and friendly persuasion.
In the ebb and flow of events, there are always ‘low tides’ — times when sweeping action is impossible or inappropriate, but when small matters can be attended to profitably, leading to bigger and better things later on. When the tide is rolling in, by all means, ride the wave; but when it is receding like it is now, focus on little things.
When the times are such that you cannot do much to affect large matters, persuasion and subtle influence can prepare the way for strength in the future. Use your intuition to chart your long-term course, but avoid bold actions for the moment, for they are unlikely to work. This is an excellent time to refine existing abilities or develop new talents.
Be wary of others’ intentions if they hold the upper hand in a situation. Examine their sources of power, so as to discover subtle influences you may be able to exert upon them.
General Meaning: A fisherman can cast the line, but he can only wait for the fish to bite. Your catch will come in its own time; you cannot make it hurry to you — neither by working, nor by planning, nor by wishing. You may need to provide nourishment or support for others; but only through patience can you become the bridge between the fickle fish and the eventual feast. Strength in a time of trial waits quietly, resolutely. Weakness grows agitated, and abandons the effort before the fish bites. Periods of waiting are most fruitful when used for quiet contemplation.
Proceed cautiously, but resolutely, with whatever you are doing. The time and situation are calling for consistency and patience. Waiting is an essential skill; patience is a powerful force. Good timing is an ally of those with inner strength — the kind of strength that allows you to be uncompromisingly honest with yourself, while sticking to the path you have charted. If you persevere with a positive attitude, time weakens even the hardest obstacles. To rush anything, or impatiently force results, stimulates resistance and causes setbacks. At best, you achieve surface changes — the kind that can just as quickly be reversed. Steadfast waiting — while holding to your integrity leads to slow but permanent improvements. In the end, you accomplish something great. Practice patience