62 – preponderance of the small

Scope of Questions
  • The exam period is beginning. A user wants the best possible grades for her final exam. However, she feels she has not yet fully mastered the material. Should she postpone the exams? Her question to the I Ching: “Should I do the exams now?”
  • A user asks the following question: “Does he call me because he still has the same feelings as I do? Does he just call out of kindness? Does he call me because he misses me as much as I do? Does he still have feelings for me?” The I Ching’s answer is 62 – Preponderance of the Small.
Case Study

I had a vague idea regarding the hexagram’s interpretation (second question, above) immediately. Yet, I was unable to put it into words until now. During the past weeks I learned a lot about a particular (Taijiquan) principle. And understanding this principle became a key for me to understand hexagram 62 – Preponderance of the Small.
What is the connection between Yin and Yang? They are opposites, of course. Yin is contraction, sinking, movement that obeys gravity, and Yang is dynamic growth, expansion, movement towards heaven. Yin becomes Yang – roughly said that’s the movement described in hexagram 62 – Preponderance of the Small. Initial disengagement becomes clear determination.
Well, the hexagram’s starting point is disengagement and letting go (Gen, the mountain; lower trigram) – so difficult for most people. We have a natural tendency to preserve and to cling to things and thought patterns. They give us meaning, they create our identity. What happens if we let them go? We fear the gaping void, a lack of sense, a loss of identity. And yet we are invited to disengage. Why?
Lately, during Taijiquan class, I experienced that letting go, retreat, sinking into my root stands at the beginning of a new movement. My adequate (= adequate to my intended goal) releasing was followed by an actually effortless yet powerful raising. My upward movement felt as if there was a force that supports me, as if the ground is a kind of trampoline that lifts me up.
The bodily experiences I made during Tajiquan class represents an active principle that applies to our entire life: Disengagement and sinking triggers effortless growth. As if the natural base of our entire human existence is one single, resilient trampoline. And what would happen if we tried to stay at the trampoline’s top all the time? It would never help us raising…
That is why hexagram 62 – Preponderance of the Small starts out with an invitation to disengage (Gen, the mountain; lower trigram). In the user’s case that is perhaps the many questions that exclusively deal with the state of mind of another person. And that make her entirely forget she is subject! What are her feelings? And what are her desires?
Even if there were clear answers to her questions (“Yes, he loves you!” – “No, he just wants to be friendly!”), what would they mean? Any decision she could make based on these answers (“He loves you!” – So I go to him!…) would be un-free. Un-free (and possibly inappropriate) because these decisions don’t take her feelings into account. What’s up with her (“Do I love him at all? Are my feelings deep enough for a serious relationship?”)?
In this respect, the I Ching’s hint, namely to disengage, is a very wise advice. The here-and-now focus is also expressed in the in the image saying, “Thus in his conduct the superior man gives preponderance to reverence. In bereavement he gives preponderance to grief. In his expenditures he gives preponderance to thrift.” That sounds almost like the Zen master’s words, who says:” When I drink tea, I drink tea, and when I meditate I meditate. “And the user? Is the user – with her own thoughts, feelings, and desires.

In the further development of the hexagram Gen (the mountain; lower trigram) results in Sun (the tree / wind; first core character): a momentum of growth that comes from our own center. Now that we have become aware of to our own inner self and reconnect with our essence, things are beginning to move – without any effort from our side. And these things are coming into the light, are becoming visible, begin to manifest themselves into the world: Sun becomes Dui (the lake; second core character). Dui represents an opening from the inside to the outside. It allows the outside / environment penetrate to the inside and our inside to express itself outwardly. It’s about an attentive listening to the echoes of our own actions / feelings / claims, while fresh impulses penetrate towards us from our environment.
The hexagram terminates in Zhen (the thunder; upper trigram): a decision that finally pushes outwards and becomes visible to all through clear action.

In his translation George Zimmerman points to the fact that the hexagram’s original wording is: “Small Guo is Guo.” Guo can be translated as “transition” but also as “preponderance”. This is why he translates the overall character as follows: “Preponderance of the Small represents a transition.”
Let us recall the developmental steps described in the hexagram: a relatively small action (disengagement) leads to a tiny shift in perspective (not the friend’s condition but our own mental state is at the center of our attention) what leads to a big change (decisions and actions arise out of your own state of mind). Isn’t exactly that described in the original Chinese text ? Can this development – the wings of a butterfly triggers an avalanche – be put it better words than “Small Guo is Guo.”?

The current interpretation can be found here: http://www.no2do.com/hexagramme_en/887788.htm

Further Reflections

What has become obsolete?
Look around. Start out.
Follow your intuition –
and let go of more and more things.
Create space.
Create
Room for maneuver.

Bibliography
Zimmermann, Georg. 2007. I Ging - Das Buch Der Wandlungen. Düsseldorf: Patmos.