Hexagram #38. Disharmony

Disharmony: A small matter will turn out all right.

EXPLANATION:Disharmony means mutual opposition. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Fire ☲, luminous, below is Lake ☱, joyous. Joy arises inside, illumination is used outside; rejoicing in what is not to be rejoiced in, bringing to light what is not to be brought to light, joy and light are not appropriate, so it is called Disharmony.

This hexagram represents conciliation and adjustment when yin and yang are separated; it follows on the previous hexagram of concealment of illumination. Concealment of illumination has a meaning of true illumination being obscured; then artificial understanding emerges, discriminating consciousness takes charge of affairs, following what it desires, shedding light on the external without illumining the inward. One's essence is thus disturbed, life is shaken, and one is separated from the Tao. This is where disharmony comes from.

However, though disharmony is disharmony, there is still a way to bring about union. Even though the light of consciousness is focused on externals, if one can empty the mind one can thereby restore light within. Even though desires arise inwardly, if one can fill the belly, one can thereby sweep desires outside. When illumination is restored and desires swept out, the spirit is settled and feelings are forgotten; then the barrier separating yin and yang is penetrated, and disharmony can be reconciled. Therefore "a small matter will turn out all right."

"A small matter" refers to yin. When the human mentality has been doing things for a long time and the mind of Tao has been buried away, the great matter is already gone. Now if you want to achieve unification, it is necessary first to dismiss the human mentality; after that the mind of Tao will arise. Only after the mind of Tao has been restored will a great matter be auspicious. When right in the midst of disharmony, it is sufficient to seek to avoid the human mentality ruining things — how can one dare hope great matters turn out well? This is spoken of in terms of a small matter turning out all right.

Top yang: Disharmony results in isolation; see a pig covered with mire, a wagon carrying devils. First you draw the bow, later you put the bow down. It is not an enemy but a partner. Going on, it is fortunate if you encounter rain.

EXPLANATION: At the extreme of disharmony, the mind of Tao has been long buried away, and people don't pay attention to it; this is disharmony resulting in isolation. With the mind of Tao buried away and the human mentality taking charge of affairs, the influence of habit becomes one's nature, and doubts and ruminations come forth by the hundreds; this is being like a pig covered with mire, a wagon full of devils. If you want to restore the mind of Tao, it is necessary to first understand the human mind. But to understand it, it is important to see it: Seeing it as a pig, as devilish, is truly seeing the human mentality and how injurious it is. Once you can see and understand it clearly, your former use of the human mind without understanding is like first drawing a bow, while your later ability to understand and restore the mind of Tao is like afterward putting the bow down.

Without the human mind, you don't see the mind of Tao; without the mind of Tao, you cannot know the human mind. Using the human mind temporarily to restore the mind of Tao, even though the human mind is the chief of villains, it is also the chief in merit; it is not an enemy, but really a partner. Once the human mind is seen and the mind of Tao is restored, at this point if you empty the human mind and activate the mind of Tao, and go on to solve disharmony, then yin and yang combine harmoniously. It is like encountering rain, which washes away the filth of all the pollution of the past, so one is restored to original wholeness and soundness. What can compare to that fortune? This is taking advantage of the time to solve disharmony, inasmuch as disharmony must ultimately be reconciled. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching, Hexagram # 37. People in the Home

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Hexagram # 38. Disharmony

On the left the Liushutong character and on the right the present shape of the character
for Hexagram #38 Disharmony

Disharmony — Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Perpetual Help), Nicolò Alunno
(1430 – 1502), Galleria Colonna, Roma
(Click to enlarge)

The human mentality is in control, while the mind of Tao is buried way, following the bull. Mural painting in the Tomb of Seti I,
The Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt

The mind of Tao, restored. Komokuten, by Kokei, Kamakura period, Kofukuji temple, Nara, Japan (Click to enlarge)