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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

26: Containment of Potential

Containment of Potential

This points to the containment of great power — power that increases as it is wisely stewarded. Like a river that has been dammed, or a cooking pot with the lid on, holding and containing power produces enormous potential. During normal times, daily ritual and habit help keep life ordered and serene; but in times of great opportunity, the force of a powerful personality is required. Focused attention is required to channel this potential and achieve supreme success.

With regard to what is happening now, you have considerable reserves of energy and support to draw upon. This is the right time to nurture creativity by collecting and organizing your good ideas and plans. In this way, even great and difficult undertakings can be successful.

A hidden source of power for those who would be great is the study of the past. The lives of wise and successful men and women are like treasures buried in the earth. Great good fortune comes to those who unearth these valuable treasures by applying the lessons of the ages to current events.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

A changing element in the first position indicates that you should restrain an impulse to act at this time. You may wish to make strong advances, but there is an obstacle in your way. Compose yourself and wait for a better time to vent pent-up energies. Meanwhile, keeping still will help your strength to increase.

Line 2

There is no point in struggling now. The forces opposing you are too strong; waiting patiently is imperative. Submit to the current condition and content yourself with buying some time. In this way, your energy will accumulate for vigorous action when the time is right.

Line 3

The obstacle has been cleared from the road; the time has come to ride with fresh horses. Working with people of like minds and strong wills brings good fortune. In the period following the removal of a major roadblock, take care to remain alert not only for challenges ahead, but also for threats approaching from the rear. If the obstacle was your own attitude, you may have to remove the roadblock more than once. This is best accomplished by joining with others whose powers of focused attention are perhaps stronger than your own.

Line 4

Early precautions taken to restrain a wild force prevent misfortune. Just as in ancient times, a board was fastened to the forehead of young bulls to render their horns harmless, so it is smart to restrain reckless forces before they do great damage. In doing so, good fortune ensues, because prevention is better than cure. When disruptive forces threaten, extraordinary precautions are necessary. Do not rule out the possibility that the disruptive force, in this instance, may be coming from inside you.

Line 5

When confronting a powerful force, it is often best to meet the challenge through indirect action. The matador restrains the bull not by blocking its path, but by deftly stepping aside, and draining its force bit by bit. By his understanding of the beast, he gains power over it. Similarly, by understanding the source of one’s challenge, one can and will render it powerless. Good fortune awaits you.

Line 6 (top line)

Supreme good fortune! Great and powerful forces, inhibited in the recent past by temporary restraints, are now building strength and momentum. Use your creative powers to advance strongly at the present time; ride with the current. Do not hesitate to accept a new level of responsibility. You have an opportunity now to exercise a great positive influence.