Contemplate deeply all of your relations.
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20 – Twenty Kuan / Contemplation
The gentle Wind roams the Earth:
The Superior Person expands his sphere of influence as he expands his awareness.
Deeply devoted to his pursuit of clarity and wisdom, he is unconscious of the inspiring, positive example he is setting for others to emulate.
You have cleansed yourself; now stand ready to make your humble, devout offering.
The situation marks a rising to new heights.
As you climb for a better view of the panorama, you make yourself more conspicuous to those below.
This hexagram is also known as the Watchtower, because the shape formed by its lines resembles the ancient guardposts manned by Chinese soldiers.
These towers were placed on mountainsides to give a better vantage point.
To those below, the watchtowers served as landmarks to help them find their way.
The quality of your search for clarity in this situation serves as such a guidepost for others along the Way.
A slight variation of tonal stress gives the Chinese name for this hexagram a double meaning. It means both contemplating and being seen, in the sense of being an example. These ideas are suggested by the fact that the hexagram can be understood as picturing a type of tower characteristic of ancient China.
A tower of this kind commanded a wide view of the country; at the same time, when situated on a mountain, it became a landmark that could be seen for miles around. Thus the hexagram shows a ruler who contemplates the law of heaven above him and the ways of the people below, and who, by means of good government, sets a lofty example to the masses.
This hexagram is linked with the eighth month (September – October). The light-giving power retreats and the dark power is again on the increase. However, this aspect is not material in the interpretation of the hexagram as a whole.
CONTEMPLATION. The ablution has been made,
But not yet the offering.
Full of trust they look up to him.
The sacrificial ritual in China began with an ablution and a libation by which the Deity was invoked, after which the sacrifice was offered. The moment of time between these two ceremonies is the most sacred of all, the moment of deepest inner concentration. If piety is sincere and expressive of real faith, the contemplation of it has a transforming awe-inspiring effect on those who witness it.
Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen in the fact that natural occurrences are uniformly subject to law. Contemplation of the divine meaning underlying the workings of the universe gives to the man who is called upon to influence others the means of producing like effects. This requires that power of inner concentration which religious contemplation develops in great men strong in faith. It enables them to apprehend the mysterious and divine laws of life, and by means of profoundest inner concentration they give expression to these laws in their own persons. Thus a hidden spiritual power emanates from them, influencing and dominating others without their being aware of how it happens.
The wind blows over the earth:
The image of CONTEMPLATION.
Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the world,
Contemplated the people,
And gave them instruction.
When the wind blows over the earth it goes far and wide, and the grass must bend to its power. These two occurrences find confirmation in the hexagram. The two images are used to symbolise a practice of the kings of old; in making regular journeys the ruler could, in the first place, survey his realm and make certain that none of the existing usages of the people escaped notice; in the second, he could exert influence through which such customs as were unsuitable could be changed.
All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality. On the one hand, such a man will have a view of the real sentiments of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the other, he will impress the people so profoundly, by his mere existence and by the impact of his personality, that they will be swayed by him as the grass by the wind.