Hexagram #31. Sensitivity

Sensitivity is developmental. It is beneficial to be correct. Marriage brings good fortune.


EXPLANATION: Sensitivity means feeling and influence. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is lake ☱, joyous, and below is mountain ☶, still: firmness rests within, flexibility rests without; stillness is the substance of joyfulness, joyfulness is the function of stillness. This hexagram has the meaning of yin and yang responding to each other, so it is called sensitivity.

This hexagram represents harmonization of yin and yang. This work of harmonization is indispensable. But harmonization of yin and yang calls for being natural, not being forceful. Being natural is sensing without the mind, while being forceful is sensing with the mind. When one is naturally sensitive, yin and yang harmonize with each other, without any insensitivity. When one is forcefully sensitive, yin and yang are individually separate, and sensitivity has limits.

Therefore, in sensitivity there is a path of development. But though the path of sensitivity is developmental, there is a right and wrong way of having no-mind, and there is a right and wrong way of having a mind. "Sensitivity" means the subtle communion of yin and yang, as in the image of the hexagram, wherein a boy and girl are together, each unminding, till the yin and yang energies are full, and their feelings stir and they naturally become sensitive to each other. This is non-emotional sensitivity — how can you take ignorant mindlessness to be sensitivity? Mindlessness, in the proper sense of the term, means there is no human mentality; when there is no human mentality, there is the mind of Tao. The mind of Tao is a mind that is not minding. Minding means having the human mentality; when one has the human mentality, one lacks the mind of Tao. The mind of the human mentality is not the real mind.

The mind of Tao is real, the human mentality is artificial. When you use the artificial mind, sensing is inaccurate; yin and yang dichotomize. When you use the real mind, sensing is true; yin and yang commune. Whether yin senses and yang responds, or yang senses and yin responds, they are equally ruled by the mind of Tao, and sense correctly. When sensitivity is true, not sensing by mentality, what is there that cannot be sensed, what sensing is not potentially beneficial?

In terms of correct sensitivity, no one in the world compares to a chaste woman. The virtues of a woman are based on chastity and calm; not easily losing herself to others, she will wait for a good partner to have feeling. This is feeling not by the heart but by truth. In the qualities of the hexagram, first there is stillness, after that joy; joy comes from stillness. When practitioners of the Tao harmonize yin and yang, causing yin and yang to communicate sensitively, if they can take the virtue of a chaste woman as their sensitivity, then whatever they sense will be right; tranquil and imperturbable yet sensitive and effective, sensitive and effective yet tranquil and imperturbable, they rest in the proper place. Whether they go along with things or reverse them, all is as they will, and they attain that good fortune. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching, Hexagram #31 Sensitivity
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Hexagram #31 Sensitivity










The trigram Mountain









The Golden Boy and the Jade girl, representing yin and yang in harmony.












A chaste woman, Mary Magdalene, by Titian, Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy.
(9th C. AD Japan)