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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

9: Small Influences

Small Influences

A gentle wind gathers the clouds, but still, there is no rain. Softer influences predominate as the power of the “small” accumulates — a time for smooth and friendly persuasion.

The ebb and flow of events are like waves in the sea — there are periods of low tide. This is a time when more sweeping actions are impossible or inappropriate, but when small matters that will lead to bigger and better things later on can be attended to with success. When the tide is rolling in, by all means ride the waves, but when it is receding like it is now, focus on little things.

When the time is such that you cannot do much to affect large matters, persuasion and subtle influence prepare the way for stronger moves in the future. Use your intuition to chart your long-term course, but avoid bold actions for the moment — they are unlikely to work. This is an excellent time to refine existing abilities or develop new talents.

Gentleness is the keyword here. Regarding your inquiry, gentleness combined with determination is likely to generate more progress than brute force ever could.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

When a strong person encounters an obstacle in his or her path, the first inclination is to press forward, to remove it or overcome it by force. In the present circumstances, however, do not let yourself be drawn into direct action or conflict. Instead, stand back and take some time to assess the situation, and consider all your options. Give yourself the space to advance or retreat -- or do nothing at all -- for the time being.

Line 2

When skating on thin ice, it behooves you to allow others to take the lead. There is no disgrace in learning from others, particularly when doing so avoids putting you in harm’s way. Fortune awaits those who remain determined … and patient.

Line 3

When a small problem arises, keep it simple and focus on the immediate solution. Just as forcibly continuing to drive with a flat tire can ruin an entire journey, one can prevent small problems from creating a huge problem by attending to them without overreacting or trying to force things. Step back, give the situation some space and focus on patching the tire. This is more effective in getting you further up the road than bewailing your fate or wasting energy assigning blame. One is often disappointed when an easy time was expected. But exerting force at the wrong time will only deepen your troubles.

Line 4

In a world of constant change, personal sincerity creates an inner core of consistency. By seeking truth from real evidence rather than self-interest, one becomes a valued advisor to others. Sticking to the facts is like adding weight to the scales a spoonful at a time; eventually, great weight is ultimately achieved. In times of conflict, clear and objective insights count heavily, helping to avert violence and dispel fear.

Line 5

In the best partnerships, each partner complements the other. Loyalty and trust are the fuel that allows a partnership to shine. For the weaker partner, loyalty means devotion and service; for the stronger, trustworthiness is essential. A balanced partnership leads to great prosperity -- and wealth won in partnership is appreciated and admired all the more -- because it is shared.

Line 6 (top line)

Gentle winds have gathered the clouds, and the rain finally arrives. The softer forces have gained strength for a moment of victory. But just as the full moon is followed by inevitable waning, so a triumph of weak forces is doomed to be short lived. The mature person learns to enjoy the fullness of the moon on its own terms. A brilliant moon is a full cup. So, toast the moment and be content in the knowledge that patience will reward you with more influence in time.