Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The yin first line

One must remember that the first hexagram is about all things that relate to yang, and the second all that relates to yin. It is elementary that yang stands for light, and yin for darkness, yang for good, yin for evil, but don't let that fool you into thinking it5 doesn't have its place. It is not so elementary that yang stands for time, and yin for space. Yang initiates, yin receives. Nothing could be initiated without something being receptive to that initiation. Good could not be good if evil did not exist. And space cannot exist without time, nor time without space. Since hexagram one relates to time, it follows that the lines will all have timing elements, and indeed, all the lines in all hexagrams have at least secondary timing meanings, but as a rule, for yin lines, it will be a matter of space. It is also true that while hexagram one is evolution, hexagram two is involution, or negative inertia. Now, much depends however, on where the lines are in the hexagram. While hexagram two is generally thought of as more negative, especially in the Confucian model, there are proper places for yang lines, and proper places for yin lines. Hopefully we can get into more of this later, but just as a general remark, yang is considered odd numbered and yin even. Therefore, the proper place for yang lines is in line 1,3, and 5. The proper place for yin lines is 2, 4, and 6. Yang lines are by nature unbalanced, that is why they initiate, to give them the balance that yin lines can provide. Yin is more balanced, being even, therefore it does not tend to activate. Since line one is by nature a yang line, in hexagram two we see some aspect of time in the definition of the line. However, another aspect of yin is decay, since it does not initiate, and since it is only receptive, left to itself, it follows the second law of thermodynamics, and decays.

Hence, in the first line is quoted, "When there is hoarfrost underfoot, solid ice is not far off." Here in the first line we can see the signs of decay. In its timing aspect, it tells us that the time is that when the sine wave is on a downward spiral. Hexagram four line one has a similar theme, it says, "To make the uneducated develop, it furthers one to apply discipline." Without discipline, there is no impulse to improve, decay sets in. Hexagram forty eight, line one says, "No animals come to an old well. Decay has set in. It takes human effort to repair the damage, and replenish the well so that it may be used. Hexagram 53 gives us another sample. It says, "The young son is in danger." No one comes to help him. He must make his own way step by step. Without action, without forethought, there is the danger that the enterprise may not succeed, and one must always be ready to take action to counteract the decay of the time.

When one is too soft, one must become strong, when one is too strong, one must become soft. It is the middle way that matters. The middle way is the way that works. Nature observed is an observance of balance within imbalance, and imbalance within balace. For whenever we see imbalance, a look at the bigger picture will restore our faith in balance. The same too is true of our bodies, our lives. We must strive for, and obtain balance. When yin rests upon yang, there is balance. When there is an abundance of one over the other, there is imbalance.

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