Hexagram #64 Unsettled

Being as yet unsettled is developmental. A small fox, having nearly crossed the river, gets its tail wet, does not succeed.

Unsettled means yin and yang are not settled. As to the qualities of the hexagram, below is Water ☲, a pitfall, and above is Fire ☵, bright. Bright on the outside while dark on the inside, causing downfall by brightness, producing brightness because of danger, yin and yang are awry, and do not correspond; so it is called Unsettled.

This hexagram represents refining the self and repelling yin, waiting for the appropriate time with suppressed yang; it follows on the previous hexagram Predominance of the Small. In Predominance of the Small, activity and stillness are as one; by smallness (yin) one cultivates the path of non-doing. This is done after yin and yang complete and settle each other. Before they are settled, however, it is first necessary to reach all the yins that trap yang; only after that does true yin manifest and true yang return, so yin and yang balance each other and the gold elixir crystallizes. This is why the work that involves doing or acting, refining the self and waiting for the time, is important.

Once people reach the age of sixteen, heaven and earth commingle: The yang in the middle of Heaven ☰ enters the palace of Earth ☷, so Earth ☷ is filled and becomes Water ☵; the yin in the middle of Earth ☷ enters the palace of Heaven ☰, so Heaven ☰ is hollowed out and becomes Fire ☲. The yin in the Fire receives the yang of energy of Heaven, yin and yang aggregate, and it turns into Fire. The yang in Water receives the yin energy of Earth, yin and yang steam, and it becomes water. This fire and water are in the temporal mixing of yin and yang, the confusion of real and artificial; growing day and night, the warm gentle fire changes into violent hot fire, and the water of true unity changes into the water of unbridled lust.

Once the nature of fire erupts, the discriminatory consciousness takes charge of affairs, and the original spirit withdraws. Once the nature of water acts, the polluted vitality causes trouble and the original vitality is depleted. At this point people begin to vie for honor, plunder for profit, contest for victory, and seek power, depriving others benefit themselves, using intellectual brightness outwardly; indulging in emotions, giving free rein to their desires, deluded by objects of sense, they ravage and abandon themselves, the danger of mundanity being stored within. Bright on the outside but dark on the inside, they bury the real and accept the false; the human mentality looms dangerously, the 'mind of Tao is now faint - essence is disturbed, life is shaken, yin and yang are out of harmony, the five elements injure one another. All sorts of emotions and cravings are in full force, all sorts of schemes and wiles are there. This is why being unsettled is Unsettled.

However, being unsettled means not yet having reached settlement; it does not mean settlement is not possible, only that the person has not yet sought that settlement. If one seeks settlement, ultimately it will be possible to be settled. This is why there is a development aspect to being unsettled. But though there is a way of development in an unsettled state, nevertheless since the negative energy of acquired conditioning has been operative for so long, and the primordial true positivity has sunken so deeply, settlement cannot be effected immediately; the work of self-refinement is necessary before you can see an effect. Self-refinement means refining the human mind. The human mind is the progenitor of all mundanities; once the human mind is gone, accumulated mundanities evaporate, "light arises in the empty room," and true celestial energy gradually approaches restoration.

Therefore practitioners of the Tao, in refining the self, must reach utter emptiness and tranquility, the yin trapping yang withdrawing completely, before the primordial yang energy comes from within nothingness, and true yin and true yang unite, able to settle what is unsettled. A classic says, "If refinement of the self is imperfect, the restored elixir does not crystallize." So we know refinement of the self is the first step in practicing Tao.

So the path of settling the unsettled has two aspects. When yang energy is trapped, one must refine the self, biding the time, thereby preventing danger. Once yang energy has emerged from the trap, one should use illumination to dispel darkness, thereby converting yin. Only when intensity and relaxation, advancing and withdrawing, are properly timed is this the path of twin cultivation of essence and life in which yin and yang settle and complete each other. So students who would practice the Tao should start by self-refinement.

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Hexagram #64 Unsettled







On the left the ancient shape of character
for Unsettled. On the right
the present-day shape.







Christ sending spirit to water, Monreale Cathedral, Monreale, Sicily catherdral






Unsettled.
A mural painting in the Tomb of Seti I,
Valley of the Kings, Luxor., Egypt






Unsettled.
A mural painting in the Tomb of Seti I,
Valley of the Kings, Luxor., Egypt






The left hand of the monk has six fingers, representing the settlement of six yangs. However, the skeleton, representing
the lower self, is still creating danger.
The Dance of Death, The Munster of Bern, Switzerland, 15th C