Hexagram #12 ䷋ Obstruction

The thief's use of obstruction does not benefit the superior person`s rectitude. The great goes and the small comes.

EXPLANATION: Obstruction means blockage. As for the qualities of the hexagram, inside is Earth ☷, submissive, and outside is the Creative ☰, strong: Submitting to one's desires, outwardly acting adamant, negative energy is in charge, while positive energy retreats; because strength and receptivity are separated, it is called obstruction.

This hexagram represents yin and yang not joining. In general, when yin and yang do not combine, true yin changes into false yin and true yang changes into false yang; the primordial is lost and false energy enters; false energy enters and true energy recedes. Therefore, The thief's use of obstruction does not benefit the superior person`s rectitude. The thief is false energy, the superior person is true energy. To follow conditioned yin, indulging in emotions and giving free rein to desires, without any limit, is 'the thief'. That the thief is not beneficial to the superior person means that false energy is not beneficial to true energy. At this time the practitioner of the Tao should get rid of intellectualism and gather the energy and spirit within to preserve true yang.

When the primordial has not been injured and true yang is within, the single mass of true energy is the superior person. When the primordial has been lost, and the true yang is scattered externally, whatever the body has is false energy.

2nd yin: Embracing servility, the petty person is lucky; for the great person, obstruction is developmental.

EXPLANATION: When the yin energy gradually advances, the killing energy about to burst forth, and one is externally a superior person but inwardly a petty person, this is called embracing servility. Though the yin of embracing servility has not yet reached the point where it harms yang, it already has momentum toward harming yang. For a petty person, false energy acting obediently is good luck, while for a superior person, the inability of true energy to get through, is obstruction. For practitioners of the Tao, if they are virtuous in danger and avoid difficulty, not being deluded by yin energy, they can find a way of development even in obstruction. This is guarding against yin just as obstruction takes place.

5th yang: Ending obstruction, great people are fortunate, but tie themselves to a tree trunk lest they go to ruin.

When firm strength is properly balanced and one preserves the mind of Tao and gets rid of the human mentality, even without seeking the end of obstruction it ends of itself. That ending is because of ability to forestall obstruction in a time of tranquility. Abiding inside three yangs is the time of tranquility proper. Tying oneself to the trunk of a tree for fear of going to ruin means forestalling ruination before it happens, to think of unrest in times of tranquility. Then how can negative energy penetrate? This is warding off yin in the time of tranquility.

Top yang: Overturning obstruction: First there is obstruction, afterward joy.

EXPLANATION: At the end of obstruction, negative energy should recede and positive energy should advance; this is precisely the time to overthrow obstruction. Practitioners of Tao take advantage of this opportunity so that the celestial and the human are activated together, suppressing yin and supporting yang; first there is obstruction, afterward there is joy. It is as easy as turning over the palm of the hand. This is advancing yang at the end of obstruction.

But it is necessary to recognize the medicinal substances and know the firing process clearly, advancing and withdrawing according to the time without rushing ahead or lagging behind.

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Hexagram #12 Obstruction

On the left the ancient shape of the
character for Hexagram #12 Obstruction.
On the right the present-day shape.

The lower self represented as the devil, is carrying a woman slung over his shoulder. The woman represents the Yellow Wife.
(The Cathedral of Chartre, France)
(click to enlarge)

The killing energy of the lower self has cut off heads, hands and feet of the mind of Tao, thereby destroying yang energy.
(The Grim Reaper, Tarot card XIII)

The lower self is unsuccesfully trying to kill the mind of Tao (The Dance of Death, The Munster of Bern, Switzerland, 15th C.)
(click to enlarge)