hexagram 39 ☯️ obstruction


Surrounded by obstructions,

one must first retreat, then

seek the direction of

the Sage.


There is an old saying which fits this hexagram: “You are caught between a rock and a hard place.” In other words, you are surrounded by obstructions. As much as you may want to blame others for the difficulty, in all likelihood the true obstruction is in your own thinking. What is called for now is a retreat into self-examination and self-correction.

Emotions of desire, fear, or anger may tempt you to take action now, but do not be seduced. The presence of these strong feelings is proof that your are off balance and need to steady yourself. As long as you try to forcibly achieve results—rather than carefully following higher truth step by step—you will be obstructed from making personal progress.

Whenever we indulge in judgements about others, we obstruct our own peace of mind and progress. We should choose instead to see the best in others, allow them to come and go as they will, and turn our energies inward, toward self-improvement.

Often the faults in our own thinking are revealed only with the aid of others. You would be wise now to seek the advice of a qualified counselor or truth-minded friend. Retreat, self-examination, and self-correction will remove the obstructions that block your path now.


from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 39, Chien / Obstruction


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