Give up useless associations and empty ritual. Give up your fantasies about them. Simplify without fanfare, so as not to attract attention from powerful interests who may feel slighted by your withdrawal.
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54 – Fifty-Four Kuei Mei / A Loveless Marriage
The Thunderstorm inseminates the swelling Lake, then moves on where the Lake cannot follow:
The Superior Person views passing trials in the light of Eternal Truths.
Any action will prove unfortunate.
This is at best a Marriage of Convenience.
You have found yourself in desperate straits, a position of weakness, and you are tempted to pay dearly for a remedy.
A drowning man isn’t picky about who throws him a rope.
The rescue offered to you now is undesirable.
It may pull you out of this sticky situation, but it will cause even greater predicaments down the road.
Don’t obligate yourself in this way.
You are selling your future for a quick fix today.
Six at the top means:
The woman holds the basket, but there are no fruits in it.
The man stabs the sheep, but no blood flows.
Nothing that acts to further.
At the sacrifice to the ancestors, the woman had to present harvest offerings in a basket, while the man slaughtered the sacrificial animal with his own hand. Here the ritual is only superficially fulfilled; the woman takes an empty basket and the man stabs a sheep slaughtered beforehand – solely to preserve the forms. This impious, irreverent attitude bodes no good for a marriage.
10 – Ten Lü / Worrying the Tiger
Heaven shines down on the Marsh which reflects it back imperfectly:
Though the Superior Man carefully discriminates between high and low, and acts in accord with the flow of the Tao, there are still situations where a risk must be taken.
You tread upon the tail of the tiger.
Not perceiving you as a threat, the startled tiger does not bite.
You have reached a perilous point in your journey.
This is a real gamble — not a maneuver, not a calculated risk.
The outcome is uncertain.
If it goes as you hope, you will gain — but if it turns against you it will cause serious injury, at least to your plans.
The best tack is extreme caution and a healthy respect for the danger involved.