The Marrying Maiden:
In relationships, desires lead to misfortune. Behave with discipline and balance.
Keui Mei is concerned with the guidelines for the proper conduct of relationships, whether they be social, romantic or work related. The image here is of thunder rolling the surface of a lake, and it suggests that relationships can be disturbing to our peace of mind unless they are established and governed under proper principles.
The nature of relationships is that they lead us into the desire state: we begin to desire another, desire recognition, desire retribution, desire a particular outcome in a given situation. All of these desires lead us away from the equanimity that we aim to maintain as students of the iChing. This hexagram often comes as a sign that you are in danger of sacrificing your composure in an effort to affect a relationship.
When someone does not treat you as you would like, you are faced with a choice as to what to do. While it may be tempting to abandon the relationship in anger or act aggressively to a produce a result, neither of these is consistent with proper principles. You are counseled instead to return to inner independence, acceptance, modesty, and gentleness. The greatest influence is always had through inner discipline and balance; less subtle measures may produce more immediate results, but they are seldom long lasting.
This hexagram also teaches us that rushing into a relationship, rushing to resolve a relationship, or rushing to escape a relationship are all akin to rushing on ice: each invites a painful fall. Seek to establish relationships slowly and on proper principles, to allow them to evolve naturally, and to resolve disputes with patience and reserve. If your primary relationship – that with the Sage – is open and ongoing and devoted, then all other relationships will fall into place.
Fouth line: A good result comes in it own time. Do not waste yourself in trying to hurry it. The greatest gifts come to those who remain composed and patient.
Sixth: Correct conduct is empty unless our hearts are also devoted. Success is only possible when we abandon our own agendas and follow the way of the Sage.
Be still, lesson the power of the ego, and misfortune will be avoided.
It is a fact of life that times of decrease come upon us: our resources are limited, difficulty surrounds us, and our egos generate angry and unhappy emotions. Nonetheless, such times are good for us. If we respond to them by quieting our egos and turning sincerely to the High Power for help, we emerge from the period of decrease stronger, healthier, and wiser.
When we discover that we are unable to achieve our goals, our egos become infuriated. We are tempted to harden into anger and bitterness, to lash out, to desperately and aggressively grab for control over the situation. If we do this, however, we only push our own salvation further away.
The I Ching counsels a withdrawal into stillness now. The image is that of a spring reverting to the inside of the mountain during a time of drought. By returning to its quiet center during the time of decrease, it avoids evaporating and exhausting itself in vain. You would be wise to follow this example. To try to force progress by arguing, manipulating, or making excuses will only bring your own downfall. Instead, disengage from your inferior elements – however passionately they seek expression – and turn to the Sage for guidance and assistance. The hexagram Sun issues a call to sacrifice negative feelings, accept the powerlessness of the ego against the currents of life, and return to contemplation of the principles of the Sage. In stillness and meditation we enrich the higher parts of ourselves and thus bring an end to the time of decrease.
Retreat is not the same this as surrender, capitulation, or abandonment, which are desperate and unsatisfying measures. Neither is it characterized by a hardening into angry or punitive emotions. It is instead an acceptance and a choice: we calmly accept that the energies of the moment are against us, and we wisely choose to withdraw into the safety of stillness. In this dignified and balanced manner we protect ourselves from negative influences and arrive rested in a more beneficial hour.