Hexagram #40 Liberation

For liberation, the southwest is beneficial. When going nowhere, the return brings good fortune; when going somewhere, dawn brings good fortune.

 Liberation means freeing. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Thunder ☳ active, and below is Water ☵, dangerous. When yang energy moves out of danger, action beyond danger moves according to the will; so it is called liberation. This hexagram represents taking advantage of the right time to gather the medicine. It follows on the previous hexagram Disharmony. Disharmony means yin and yang are not in harmony, delight and illumination not appropriate, yin energy is in charge of affairs, while yang energy is trapped. So this work of liberating yang energy is essential.

Liberating the yang energy is gathering the medicine. In gathering the medicine, it is important to know the right time; otherwise you will fumble, and yin energy will remain while yang energy will again slip away – then even though the medicine be nearby, you cannot avail yourself of it.

Understanding Reality says, When lead meets the arising of the younger water you should quickly gather it; after the full moon, metal is worthless. When the first yang is born on the ground of Earth ☷ (thereby producing thunder ☳), primordial energy comes from within nothingness, and the heart of Heaven and Earth turns. This is what is called finding companionship in the south-west.

Just when lead meets the arising of the younger water and the great medicine appears, when the mind of Tao becomes active and the human heart is still, this spontaneous liberation is the portent of good fortune. Therefore, for liberation, the southwest is beneficial; when going nowhere, the return brings good fortune. Returning without going anywhere does not come about by human effort; it appears spontaneously at a given time, and comes from Heaven.

But once Heaven's time' has arrived, human exertion is necessary; one should hasten to set about fostering yang energy and suppressing yin energy, When the celestial and the human act together, one uses the return of this one bit of yang energy to return, back to where there is pure yang without yin, Only then is one liberated from danger and difficulty, and able to act freely in any way, just as one wills. This is why when going somewhere, dawn brings good fortune.

If one is prompt, when the medicinal energy has just arisen it belongs to the primordial; if one is tardy, once the medicinal energy has passed it belongs to the temporal. If you promptly gather the medicinal energy when it has just arisen, then the primordial is stable and you gain good fortune. If you gather it only when the medicinal energy has passed, then temporal conditioning will reassert itself and you will be unfortunate. There is profound meaning in the words prompteness brings good fortune. There is that which requires promptness; that is to say, when you reach the point where the first yang has just become active, you should advance the fire without delay. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching, Hexagram #40 Liberation

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Hexagram #40 Liberation

On the left the Liushutong character and on the right the present shape of the character
for Hexagram #40 Liberation

An angel leading St. Peter out of prison.

Instead of the mind of Tao,a demon is riding the elephant. The mind of Tao is not active,
it is inside the elephant. This means that
the human mentality is in control.
(Click to enlarge)

At the extreme of disharmony, the mind of Tao has been long buried away, and people don't pay attention to it. 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.
-- Liu Yiming, the Taoist I Ching, hexagram #38, Disharmony