Remain cheerful in the face of adversity. Remake yourself. Reform your destiny.
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47 – Forty-Seven K’un / Exhaustion
A Dead Sea, its Waters spent eons ago, more deadly than the desert surrounding it:
The Superior Person will stake his life and fortune on what he deeply believes.
Triumph belongs to those who endure.
Trial and tribulation can hone exceptional character to a razor edge that slices deftly through every challenge.
Action prevails where words will fail.
This is the realm of the Shaman.
You have exhausted every alternative, spent yourself completely, taxed body and mind beyond your former limits.
Survival and salvation lie beyond your reach now.
Only transcendence to a new existence — a higher plane of being — will see you through.
The Old You is just a dry husk.
You can’t return to it.
Metamorphosis is the only grace offered.
You can only return to your homeland as a New You.
|The lake is above, water below; the lake is empty, dried up.1
Exhaustion is expressed in yet another way: at the top, a dark line is holding down two light lines; below, a light line is hemmed in between two dark ones. The upper trigram belongs to the principle of darkness, the lower to the principle of light. Thus everywhere superior men are oppressed and held in restraint by inferior men.
OPPRESSION. Success. Perseverance.
Times of adversity are the reverse of times of success, but they can lead to success if they befall the right man. When a strong man meets with adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger, and this cheerfulness is the source of later successes; it is that stability which is stronger than fate. He who lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in time to manifest itself. No inferior man is capable of this. Only the great man brings about good fortune and remains blameless. It is true that for the time being outward influence is denied him, because his words have no effect. Therefore in times of adversity it is important to be strong within and sparing of words.
There is no water in the lake:
When the water has flowed out below, the lake must dry up and become exhausted. That is fate. This symbolises an adverse fate in human life. In such times there is nothing a man can do but acquiesce in his fate and remain true to himself. This concerns the deepest stratum of his being, for this alone is superior to all external fate.
1. [Literally, “exhausted”.]