Photograph by Rosa Yoskovsky
In the East Grinstead study group last week, we looked at Hexagram 24, FÙ: RETURN . The form of this hexagram says it all: into Hexagram 2, KUN, the hexagram of total yin, one yang line has entered at the bottom. This is the hexagram of the first whisper of something beginning.
It is “Return”, because nothing arises out of a vacuum. There is no tabula rasa on which the moving finger writes.... rather, what goes around is coming around again. Causes and conditions of the past are about to take form once more, and because we live not in a clockwork universe, but in one governed by organicity, that form, like a strange attractor, will be unique but recognisable.
FÙ is part of a sequence: Hexagram 23, BO (Stripping Away), represents the last bit of yang being pushed out. BO is the end: the few minutes before midnight, the day before the Winter Solstice, the last residue of the old falling (or being pushed) away. Between 23 and 24 is Hexagram 2, KUN, the fertile void from which everything arises. Hexagram 24, then, is the first subtle tendency of that arising.
The light does not appear five minutes after midnight, nor does Spring begin the day after the Winter Solstice; conception is not the same as birth. By the time we see dawn touch the sky, or the daffodils nosing up out of the earth, or hold a newborn baby, the yang is already well established.
Similarly, by the time we notice ourselves acting, that action is usually in full swing. “Exit and enter without anxiety”, the Gua Ci tells us, “Friends will arrive without fail”. In other words, the yang is on the upswing, and whatever story begins to unfold now will be elaborated, pulling other characters, plots and sub-plots, into its wake.
In “A Path With Heart”, Jack Kornfield writes: “It is not possible to change the patterns of our behavior or create new karmic conditions until we become present and awake at the beginning of the action. Otherwise it has already happened.”
It is at this point, the first quickening of our intention, that we can most easily “true” our trajectory. But in order to do this, we must cultivate the receptivity of KUN, the alertly listening ear that notices those subtle beginnings before they grow big enough to run circles around us and chase us from behind.