Learning from I-Ching Steps for Application

Initial feedback from friends revealed that while my postings were interesting they were still too abstract, alien, or complicated. This is written to hopefully explain things better.

The Steps for Applying I-Ching are:

  1. Identify the Your Current State or Position.
    (the superstitious fortune-telling way was to cast lots for the hexagram and stage-line. Unnecessary and Not recommended.)
  2. Refer to the Relevant Hexagram.
  3. Read the Advice Given for the Hexagram and check your stage in the 6-Stage-line.
  4. Understand:
    • present danger or opportunities for the position
    • the actions or non-action needed to avoid danger or make progress
  5. Apply and review. Don’t be stuck at a stage. Learn how to go to the next stage smoothly and harmlessly. It may take time for your situation to change but continue in right and just ways. Seek advice from mentors if you are still uncomfortable.

The foundational hexagrams like the 1-Heave and 2-Earth are applicable in general situations. Then you may just see which of the six-stage are applicable to you. You can use it to give advice to others as well.

At the Hexagram Level, 1-Heaven Force is the Yang of initiative and creative action, 2-Earth Receptive-Love is Yin’s way of responding with gentleness, and following. When we meet an obstacle, we can choose the 1-Heaven-Yang way for forcing our way through head-on. We will succeed if we have greater force than the obstacle. Or we can choose the 2-Earth-Yin way of understanding the obstacle and then finding alternative routes, or even better, channeling the opposing force to open up a new way for us. Or we can choose to test the strength of the opposing force first and then decide sometimes to force through and some other times to bypass. The key is that there are many ways to solve a problem. It calls for an understanding of the situation, referencing the knowledge base of I-Ching patterns, then wise and innovative applications to progress. Let’s go to the more detailed level of the 6-Stage-lines.

Let me summarize the advice given at the various stages of 1-Heaven and 2-Earth Hexagrams.

1-Heaven-Yang Force               2-Earth-Yin Follow, Respond      Ages

  1. hidden, no showoff  —   watch the trend, prepare, plan ahead. 0-19
  2. appear, get mentors —   show integrity and work quietly       20-29
  3. diligence           —   patience                              30-39
  4. jump across chasm   —   keeping secrets                       40-49
  5. fly                 —   race                                  50-59
  6. Regrets (no)        —   fight (don’t)                         60-69

Some people apply ages to the 6-stage line and a possible range is shown above. However, certain people are more talented and the age range could be shortened. An exception could occur when one is the son or daughter of the business owner and he/she can be put at stage 5 by his/her owner parent. But, the true progress may still be from stage 1 to stage 6.

From personal experience, I am already at stage 6 at present and transforming to the next S-curve, going through or doing the “success to significance” process. If I have studied i-ching earlier and applied the wisdom in my life, maybe I could fly higher, prepare for stage 6 better, and get transformed to the next S-curve earlier.

For a fresh graduate starting out in his/her career, the 6 stage lines for both hexagrams offered much guidance. Firstly, he/she must know to keep a balance between 1-Heaven taking initiatives and 2-Earth responding appropriately to people and circumstances.

At stage 1, one should just be humble and learn as much and do our work without showing off as taught by 1-Heaven. (Learning is covered in “4? Naive – Learning” which we will do in a future posting). We must watch the trend and plan ahead as taught by 2-Earth. If not, we will most likely end in a dispute or worse be fired and would not be able to progress at all. (Dispute is covered in “6? Litigation – Conflict Resolution”!).

Good performance and foresight bring promotion to stage 2. The advice is to get mentors, and work with integrity and quietly. Have good relationships with colleagues and bosses. Practice the Yang of creating value and the yin of acceptance and respect of others.

Stage 3 is a small success where we are promoted to be team/branch head or project leader. It still calls for diligence and patience— be watchful for an opportunity.

Promotion to Stage 4 brings forth “danger” + “opportunities”. We must decide whether we want to take the risk to jump across the chasm to the next level of bigger success. If we succeed, we progress to stage 5, if not, we may need to fall back to stage 3 and some time to another place to start again. The 2-Earth tells us to hold secrets and not to betray trust. It is a piece of important advice for making the crossing. Opportunities are given here in stage 4.

Successful crossing brings us to Stage 5 the highest level of success. At this time, we must prepare for the next stage 6 of retirement. Building a network is key when we go into stage 6 of retirement. We should not ‘fight’ with other leaders and know how to work well in a new community.

By further reflection and meditating on the teaching of I-ching, we can acquire fresh wisdom that we can apply to make our lives better.

Hope this is a useful clarification.

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