Hexagram #56 Travel

Travel is developmental when small; if travel is correct, it leads to good fortune.

EXPLANATION: Travel means passing through and not lingering. As to the qualities of the Hexagram, above is Fire ☲, luminous, and below is Mountain ☶, still. Using illumination with stability, illumination being based on stillness, one stabilizes the illumination and does not use it carelessly. Therefore, this is called Travel. This hexagram represents nurturing the fire and transcending the world; it follows on the previous hexagram Making a Young Girl Marry. In Making a Young Girl Marry, there is uncontrolled action based on emotion, obeying the mundane energy of conditioning and burying the primal celestial energy, taking the artificial to be real, taking misery for pleasure. Practitioners of Tao should first see through worldly things, looking upon all conditions, all existents, as passing by, not injuring the real by delighting in the false, not disturbing the inward because of the outward.

Understanding stillness and staying in the proper place, stabilizing illumination so that it is not damaged, when illumination and stillness are used together one can thereby transcend the world while in the world. Therefore, travel is developmental when small, and travel leads to good fortune when correct. "Small" travel means applying illumination with stillness, so that illumination is not used arbitrarily. The good fortune of correctness is when illumination is based on stillness, resting in ultimate good. Applying illumination with stillness, one forgets feelings in the face of objects. When illumination is based on stillness, one ejects extreme intellectualism. Unperturbed, like a mountain stably resting on the earth, unbefuddled, like the sunlight shining in the sky, inwardly there is no disturbance, outwardly there is no obscurity: When there is something to do, you use clarity to deal with it; when there is nothing to do, you use clarity to remain still. You are then free from greed and craving, not expecting or pursuing, not lingering or tarrying.

In general, travel as a path means just passing through once — you should not remain attached to the realm you pass through. If you are concerned with externals, you forget the inward; by pursuing ramifications you abandon the root. When illumination is called for, then be aware; but while aware, still remain calm. When stillness is called for, be still; but while still, remain aware. When illumination and stability, awareness and stillness, are unified, how can there be failure to develop and prosper? -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching, Hexagram 56 Travel

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Hexagram #56 Travel

Left: the character for Travel.
Right: the ancient shape for Travel

Sanzang, Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand
traveling to India on the Journey to
the West, by Chen Huiguan.
Click to enlarge

Six people traveling to the light, Bosch Ascent of the Blessed (Dutch, 1500, Venice).