I Ching #31 – Feeling

A couple holds hands in a park






This post is #31 of 64 hexagrams in a series of posts about the I Ching, an ancient Taoist text that has many ties to the Tao Te Ching. For those of you new to this series, you may want to start by reading my post called “What is a Hexagram?” that helps to explain more about the general idea of the I Ching. If you are just starting this series, you may want to take a look at some of my other posts on the I Ching.

If you’ve been following my blog lately, you may know that I am now offering personal I Ching readings for my readers.  If you are interested in getting a reading done, please see my I Ching Readings page and we can set something up for you. I Ching readings are good for helping you navigate those tricky parts in life.

Ah, young love…

As I read this chapter, I thought about myself as a teenager and how challenging it was as a young strong woman to manage the affairs of the heart. I did not do so well, in retrospect. I was raised by a mother who was part of the “women’s lib” movement of the 70s in the United States. While she did not actually burn any of her bras, her philosophy was ingrained in me to become a strong woman and I did. I even wrote my entire Tao Te Ching book in the feminine voice as an experiment in what this would feel like. As a mother of a now 14 year old daughter, I am seeing the next generation of this plight on her and how she is facing the subtle inequities of her gender.

As a strong woman, it can be challenging to find the right partner. You want someone who is strong, but you also want someone who is not going to boss you around and treat you like a second class citizen that you most certainly ARE NOT. I dated several guys that were more spiritually-minded but were almost like woman friends more than manly men. I remember my dad said to me once that I should date a football player. I laughed, imagining myself finding not much to say about football.

In the end, I chose Eric. There is never any doubt to Eric’s masculinity, but he is a big softie in the middle and I just love that about him. As far as my being a strong woman, he loves that about me but he also doesn’t take a lot of shit. If he did, I wouldn’t respect him either. We have a good balance. Sometimes I look over when we are watching a sad movie and he’s got tears streaming but I never say anything. He’s very quiet about his softness.

One day, he was writing in his special notebook. A leather-bound one that I had given to him several years ago. He was only about 20 pages into this notebook so I asked him what on earth he writes in there? He only writes really important things in there, he says. And the first 15 pages or so of his notebook are only the deepest thoughts that he synthesized from his previous notebook that he went through when I gave him this one. This is how it is with us. He goes on quietly being the deepest sweetest man that I know and I go on discovering tiny details throughout our years together.

To me, this is what this hexagram is about. It is about that deep love that is found between two people when its true. Yes, there are passionate moments, but the bulk of our marriage is made up of the little lovelies. Those moments when he reminds me why I married him.


  1. Oh Sis, I just love this kind of post. I have found that this ‘deep love’ is really what makes my life worth living. Everything else is just what happens until the next sweet little moment and I find they’re coming closer and closer together. Can it be a deep love between sisters too?
    kimberly recently posted…Day 75 – DishwasherMy Profile

  2. Amy, you may feel this comment is a bit pedantic. If so, just ignore it.

    Anyway . . . as you know, the basic text of the I Ching has traditionally been divided into two parts. The first part consists of hexagrams 1-30, and the second part of hexagrams 31-64. That division raises the question, Why?

    The Wilhelm/Baynes translation comments that “[j]ust as the first part of book I begins with the hexagrams of heaven and earth, the foundations of all that exists, the second part begins with the hexagrams of courtship and marriage, the foundations of all social relationships.” You have certainly recognized the importance of courtship in what you have written here (the marriage aspect is stressed more in the next hexagram).

    Some commentators have carried that thread further and suggested that the first section deals with the world of nature and the second with that of man (See, e.g., comments made by Fung Yu-Lan in “A Short History of Chinese Philosophy,” which references Appendix VI of the I Ching). That does not seem right to me because there are hexagrams in both sections dealing with nature and with humanity.

    There are other scholars, like James Legge, whose translation notes: “It is difficult to say why any division of the hexagrams should be made here, for the student tries in vain to discover any continuity in the thoughts of the author that is now broken. The First Section does not contain a class of subjects different from those which we find in the Second. That the division was made, however, at a very early time, appears from the sixth Appendix on the Sequence of Hexagrams, where the writer sets forth an analogy between the first and second figures, representing heaven and earth, as the originators of all things, and this figure and the next representing (each of them) husband and wife, as the originators of all the social relations. This, however, is far from carrying conviction to my mind.”

    I have always agreed with Legge that there is not a very good reason to divide the text into two sections and have ignored that division. I bring it up now because you posted on a reasonably regular basis in making your comments on the first 30 hexagrams, then you stopped for three months before discussing No. 31. Also, the tone and focus of this most recent post seem different from your previous posts.

    With all that as prologue, I will finally get to the point of this comment. I was wondering whether you consciously took a break after the traditional first section, and are changing your focus for the second section; or whether it was one of those serendipitous occurrences that lets the Universe tell us that there is a cosmic rationale for having the two sections.

    I hope it is the latter. I will have to give more thought to what that rationale may be; but I thank you for waking me to the obvious fact that I have more to learn.
    Louis Weltzer recently posted…SONG OF THE WEEK – PRINCE OF DARKNESSMy Profile

    • oh my gosh. I would love to say that I consciously took a break between the two sections to place a dividing line. That would sound so good. But, alas, no. My spacing of these was completely natural. I was just not in the space to write these last few months. Perhaps it was to allow the higher aspects of myself to absorb the material from the first 30 hexagrams. Although, technically, what about the last four? It seems a bit unbalanced to do 30 and then 34 in the second set. Why not 32 and 32 – split it down the middle?

      I am intrigued by your response, though. Was my subconscious taking a break on purpose? Now I will have to look at the two halves and see how it feels to let the second half be more of man-related issues. Perhaps writers throughout the millenia have gotten half way through it and taken a natural break? The funny thing is, I had no intention of stopping what I was doing. It just happened. I have been trying to get very specific about what I am focusing on and I just wasn’t on writing this summer. I was trying to finish my kitchen so I tossed aside anything that wasn’t that.
      amy recently posted…Whoa… a Church? Really?My Profile

      • As you know, I have reading and reading about the I Ching for quite a few years. However, your blog here is the first time I have ever paid attention to someone commenting on the hexagrams sequentially. I didn’t really think that you consciously chose to pause between the sections, but I found it interesting that it worked out that way. I am now thinking that King Wen probably stopped to remodel his own kitchen in his prison after he had written Hexagram 30 and that he decided to start a new section when he had finished the kitchen work several weeks later.

        As to the “balance” between the sections, it is a largely a trick of our minds to try to make things symmetrical. In nature, things are not exactly symmetrical. For instance, your right lung is quite a bit larger and has one more lobe than your left lung. A 32-32 split would be mentally satisfying, but ultimately unnatural.
        Louis Weltzer recently posted…SONG OF THE WEEK – FEELING GOODMy Profile

        • Well, that makes sense then. heehee. I suppose that if King Wen had been remodeling his kitchen right smack dab in the middle of his work with the I Ching like I did, then we have something grandly synchronistic in common. This makes me feel special, although I must work through this need to feel special! Hilarious. I just love that whole idea! He was such a gentle and kind leader. I would be grateful to have any connection to him whatsoever. Thanks for your wonderful reflections, Louis. And have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
          amy recently posted…What is Your Spiritual Practice?My Profile

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