Use adversity to enrich your understanding and relations with your environment and your situation.
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39 – Thirty-Nine Chien / Obstacle
Ominous roiling in the Crater Lake atop the Volcano:
When meeting an impasse, the Superior Person turns his gaze within, and views the obstacle from a new perspective.
Offer your opponent nothing to resist.
Let a sage guide you in this.
Good fortune lies along this course.
The Obstacle lies in obstinance.
An insistence on only one way of proceeding has brought things to an impasse.
You may either continue banging your head with irresistible force against this immovable object, or you might step back and survey this situation from a fresh perspective.
Which is immobile here — the obstruction or your attitude?
|above: K’an / The Abysmal, Water|
|below: Kên / Keeping Still, Mountain|
The hexagram pictures a dangerous abyss lying before us and a steep, inaccessible mountain rising behind us. We are surrounded by obstacles; at the same time, since the mountain has the attribute of keeping still, there is implicit a hint as to how we can extricate ourselves. The hexagram represents obstructions that appear in the course of time but that can and should be overcome. Therefore all the instruction given is directed to overcoming them.
OBSTRUCTION. The southwest furthers.
The southwest is the region of retreat, the northeast that of advance. Here an individual is confronted by obstacles that cannot be overcome directly. In such a situation it is wise to pause in view of the danger and to retreat. However, this is merely a preparation for overcoming the obstructions. One must join forces with friends of like mind and put himself under the leadership of a man equal to the situation: then one will succeed in removing the obstacles. This requires the will to persevere just when one apparently must do something that leads away from his goal. This unswerving inner purpose brings good fortune in the end. An obstruction that lasts only for a time is useful for self-development. This is the value of adversity.
Water on the mountain:
Heaven Lake, Baekdu Mountain – a crater lake on the border separating China and North Korea
|Difficulties and obstructions throw a man back upon himself. While the inferior man seeks to put the blame on other persons, bewailing his fate, the superior man seeks the error within himself, and through this introspection the external obstacle becomes for him an occasion for inner enrichment and education.|