hexagram 34: the power of the great


 

To achieve

true power and true

greatness one must be in

harmony with what

is right.

 
False power and false greatness can be seen all around us in the world. Through egotistical and aggressive manipulations many people obtain a temporary position of influence. The I Ching teaches us a different way of acquiring and using power, one that leads to true greatness and enduring influence. The way of the Sage unites power with modesty, justice, gentleness, and equanimity.

The hexagram Ta Chuang indicates that you have increased your power now by purifying your thoughts and actions. Through contemplation of higher principles you have begun to open doors for yourself; through alignment with what is true and good you gain insight into situations and the power to resolve them in your favor. But it is important to remember that it is the Sage who is the source of your strength. If your ego takes over and wields the power that is at hand, the ensuing misfortune will be great.

The I Ching counsels us not to misuse our strength by judging, condemning, punishing, manipulating, or dismissing others. It advises reticence in speech and action: more often than not, the truly superior relies on stillness and nonaction, allowing inner truth to penetrate gently to the heart of difficulties. The I Ching also cautions us to wait patiently for the appropriate time for speech or action. Power can make us eager, but eagerness unbalances and leads us into trouble. By listening carefully and patiently to the Sage we know when to move ahead, when to wait, and when to retreat.

In the end, true greatness comes only to those in whom strength and proper principles are firmly united. If you follow the Sage and persevere steadfastly in what is correct, you will inherit the power of the great.
 

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 34, Ta Chuang / The Power of the Great

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