61 – inner truth

Graphic hexagram 61

Scope of Questions
  • A user has the following concern: “Why does the question about the meaning of life constantly pop into my mind, even though that questions seems to lack sense and I just turn in circles?”
  • Another user asks what the coming year will bring. The I Ching’s answer, hexagram 61 – Inner Truth, fits well with her life situation. She is learning more and more to rely on her inner voice and her perception for guidance.
Case Study

Almost as soon as I had finished the interpretation of hexagram 62 – Preponderance of the Small, I received another inquiry (see above, first question): What is the meaning of life? Probably life itself!
This life, that we act upon so often, without a clear idea about what we are actually doing. And from which we constantly receive responses, reflecting back at us what we originally expressed…
Both hexagrams, 62 – Preponderance of the Small and 61 – Inner Truth, are reflections as well: the yin-line of one turns into the yang-line of the other. Hexagram 62 – Preponderance of the Small is about disengagement, about letting go and returning to ourselves, about growing from there and finally acting.
Hexagram 61 – Inner Truth, however, begins with… acceptance. Dui, the first trigram (the lake), means opening the borders of our self and trustingly devote ourselves to the interplay of receiving (the external / environmental penetrates into our core) and releasing (we express our inner self towards the outside).
Dui is also the yin trigram of the phase element metal, which also includes the functional circuit (meridian) lung. Our ability to breathe is the practical implementation of the Dui principle: releasing and receiving.
Our lungs are our largest contact organ (skin surface: 1.5 to 2 m² vs. 80-120 m² surface of the alveoli). They border us from our environment and simultaneously allow constant communication. With every inhale we open ourselves to take in non-self, and with every exhale we give our self to the environment.
And just as our breath is the foundation of our life, inhalation and exhalation – in concrete and figurative sense – are probably its sense.
Hexagram 62 – Preponderance of the Small begins with disengagement, and in hexagram 61 – Inner Truth we probably have disengaged already. Now our hands are empty and we are ready to … receive something new. Something that ideally nourishes and refreshes us, something that provides us with vital substance.
Depending on personal maturity, we do that more or less unconditionally. Beginner’s mind, the attitude of the beginner (or Shoshin in Zen Buddhism) comes to my mind: open, curious, without any prior knowledge or prejudice. Ready to fully engage with the object of study. Children have this attitude sometimes – and spiritual masters.
Yes, what do we actually encounter out there in life? Just perceiving that what is makes pretty much sense…
In the further course of the hexagram, Dui, opening, receiving, perceiving, leads to action and decision (Zhen, the thunder; first core character) . Any decision separates things: into what there is to keep, and what there is to disengage from (Gen, the mountain; second core character). All that: important steps that will finally reunite us with our true self and bring about inner growth (Sun, the tree / wind; upper trigram).

In the I Ching texts that were found in 1972 in Mawangdui, China, this hexagram is called Zhong Fu – Return to the Center. This title can be interpreted quite literally: the hexagram has an empty center and thus a kind of black hole. But I think the title makes also sense in its metaphorical meaning: to return to our own center.
Image and judgment, however, are of little help in understanding the hexagram. Maybe this is due to the fact that some secret (because revolutionary or critical) political messages have been hidden within the texts.

The current interpretation can be found here: https://www.no2do.com/hexagramme_en/778877.htm