You may use your brilliance, radiance and passion to gain fame and (mis)fortune, or you may strive to produce a lasting legacy that will endure, serve and sustain future generations.
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30 – Thirty Li / Igniting
Fire sparks more Flames:
The Superior Person holds an inner Fire that ignites passion in every heart it touches, until all the world is enlightened and aflame.
With so searing a flame, success will not be denied you.
Take care to be as peaceful and nurturing as the cow in the meadow; you are strong enough to be gentle.
A Promethean flame is delivering light and heat to the situation at hand.
This radiance will cause such an alchemical transformation of circumstances that the changes will seem magical, miraculous.
Yet they are only shifts of perspective and attitude that bring clarity.
The passions kindled by this fire must be harnessed and used judiciously, or they threaten to consume your hopes and dreams.
Nine in the fourth place means:
He bursts into flame, dazzles with his brilliance, spends his fuel, dies out quickly and is forgotten.
Its coming is sudden;
It flames up, dies down, is thrown away.
Clarity of mind has the same relation to life that fire has to wood. Fire clings to wood, but also consumes it. Clarity of mind is rooted in life but can also consume it. Everything depends on how the clarity functions. Here the image used is that of a meteor or a straw fire. A man who is excitable and restless may rise quickly to prominence but produces no lasting effects. Thus matters end badly when a man spends himself too rapidly and consumes himself like a meteor.
27 – Twenty-Seven I / Providing Nourishment
Beneath the immobile Mountain the arousing Thunder stirs:
The Superior Person preserves his freedom under oppressive conditions by watching what comes out of his mouth, as well as what goes in.
Endure and good fortune will come.
Nurture others in need, as if you were feeding yourself.
Take care not to provide sustenance for those who feed off others.
Stay as high as possible on the food chain.
You are a conduit in this instance, able to provide the sustenance needed by others.
Position yourself to nourish the truly needy and worthy.
Avoid situations where you might be coerced into supporting the parasites and vermin who deprive your true charges.
Your own nourishment is an issue here, too.
Remember Lao Tzu’s three Great Treasures:
Only the person possessed of Compassion, Modesty and Frugality can remain fit enough to stay free of desperation and keep control of the situation.