For some reason, working through the lines of hexagram 32 recently took much longer than any other hexagram had done… 😉
I did find, looking through threads about it at the forum, that other people find it hard, too. Especially, it’s puzzling how a hexagram that describes something essentially positive can have such a scary set of moving lines.
‘Deep into lasting,
No direction bears fruit.’
‘Not lasting in your character,
Maybe accepting a shameful gift.
‘In the field, no game.’
‘Lasting in your character with constancy.
For the mature woman, good fortune.
For the young man, pitfall.’
‘Shaking up lasting, pitfall.’
Of all those, only line 2 is unconditionally positive, and even then only in the sense that ‘regrets vanish’. The rest have an aura of failure or letting yourself down, one way or another. Yet the basic idea of lasting is supremely positive – just listen to the commentary on the judgement:
“…Persevering, creating success, no mistake.
Harvest in constancy.
Lasting in your own dao:
The dao of heaven and earth
Persevering lasts and does not come to an end.
It is fruitful to have a direction to go:
Completion means there is a beginning.
The sun and moon are set in heaven and can last in their shining
The four seasons transform and change and can last in their achievements
The wise person lasts in his dao, and below heaven is change and realisation.
See your place to persevere,
And you can see the motive force of heaven, earth and the myriad beings.”
So how come there are four or five ways out of six for this beautiful thing to go shamefully wrong?
I think it’s because Hexagram 32 has a unique way of relating to aspiration or inspiration. It seeks to take the Influence (paired hexagram, 31) and integrate and internalise it, weaving it right into the fabric of life and making a lasting pattern of it.
For one thing, this is an exceptionally potent thing to do. There are few things in life more powerful than a habit or pattern. The hidden core (nuclear hexagram) of Lasting is 43, Deciding, the hexagram of bringing your message and declaring yourself. Lasting is a way of creating who you are, just as much as the Vessel, or Great Vigour, or Great Possession. Also, it may be much easier to create the pattern than it is to escape it – that would be the implication of line 1, plunging in deeply with Great Vigour. There’s so much energy to solve and settle things, to create a resolution – but such energy will not suffice to get you out again, any more than 34’s ram can follow its chosen ‘direction’ through the hedge.
Maybe even more fundamentally – changing lines mean a relating hexagram, and the very presence of a relating hexagram implies that there is some inspiration or aspiration or direction out there. Lasting wants to bring that inspiration in here so it becomes inseparable from what we do from moment to moment – but not many inspirations are really amenable to that kind of integration. Hexagram 62, Small Overstepping, is an exception because it’s already all about paying attention to the present moment.
(So as commentary on its line I ended up with –
“Those regrets were for paths not taken, and most especially for ideals left behind. They’re part of the journey, and they vanish because you move on: instead of dwelling in nostalgic comparisons, you are engrossed in the immediate, practical details. Your purpose becomes an integral part of your daily life; it’s no longer experienced as a pure ideal, shining on the horizon of some grand vista, but in the next small step on the road.”
But hexagram 46, for instance, is a whole other kettle of fish. It Pushes Upward, and the objective is up there, a future aspiration that inspires you to climb mountains and nurture seeds with patience and optimism. When you Last in this spirited conviction, you get the somewhat sardonic line,
‘No game in the field.’
The commentary on the line is still drier: ‘Enduringly not in your right place, how could you get game?’
When you are in the wrong place to find what you seek, staying longer in the wrong place will not change anything, no matter how much confidence and determination you have, and no matter how convinced you are that this really ought to work.
For some who get this line, the chosen field can be so identified with the aspiration, so much part of a way of life, that the idea of leaving it is almost taboo. If they could take the aspiration to ascend back into themselves, they would realise that they need to climb through and beyond the empty field.
This is the tricky choice 32 is negotiating from moment to moment: how to last in one’s own dao? Sometimes this will mean holding to an inner path and changing course outwardly, to get out of the empty field (or avoid jumping into the depths). But sometimes, changing course outwardly simply means breaking faith. After all Lasting is meant to mean ‘change and realisation’ below heaven; it’s not meant to stay forever as a nice, pure idea unsullied by reality.
Line 6 would be an example of this – the one who receives this line might have something like the fan yao, 50 line 6, in mind – a vessel with a jade handle, one that will be eternally lustrous and never tarnish. So, aspiring to found a whole new vision, he constantly ‘shakes things up’. But a lasting pattern of constantly founding new visions is tantamount to a lasting pattern of never achieving anything real at all, something like the bandar log.
Line 5 is generally a line of decision and definition: the mind, the eyes, the chosen direction. It speaks of lasting in your de. How (especially after the shame of line 3) could that fail to be a good idea? Yet it turns out that even this depends on the nature of your de and its stage of development…