The Wisdom of the I Ching

24. A New Cycle Begins

A time of new beginnings brings with it an occasion for hope. The old is put behind, and new situations and opportunities present themselves. It is like the emergence of the world into Spring: the cold, the darkness, the deathlike are all replaced with the bright, the fresh, the lively and the new. New Beginnings are always encouraging because new situations are not tied down and burdened with the past involvements and tangled relationships that had grown fixed and irresolute. Now, with everything new, things may be more easily formed and shaped. One is free to decide on a new course for one's life, and then to see events develop in accordance with these new directions. Such opportunities for starting over are always auspicious, because new situations are much more easily controlled than old. The end of the old is not a loss, but a chance to experience the universe in its endless cycle of becoming.

Turn your back on the old! Cut off the dead branches, uproot the dead plants of last year, and nurture the ones emerging now! This is your chance to make a new beginning! It is not necessary to deal with the old and the dead by force; it no longer has power to affect your life, if you will only cut yourself loose. All that is new comes about naturally, without difficulty. All new developments come about through laws of their own existence and do not require devious or contrived methods. Things fall into place. People form new relationships and explore new avenues of cooperation.

Life springs forth anew. But all newly emerging life requires careful nurture at the beginning. By letting things happen naturally, one avoids overexpending the energies that are available. By proceeding with such care, the new beginning can develop into something wholesome and abundant.

The Lines
1. [9] When a new cycle begins, there will be some mistakes. But these cause no harm if a man recognizes them and immediately turns aways from them. The opportunities presented by a new beginnning are not lost by minor diversions, provided these do not become fixed in one's behavior.

2. [6] A New Cycle does not begin without a man's full and active participation. Events will not force themselves upon him. Look to the example of others for the proper way to proceed.

3. [6] There are those who waver and try first one path and then another. This can be dangerous if it means abandoning what is right and falling into something evil. But if such experiments are done always with the purpose of finding a better and purer path, no harm will result.

4. [6] If a man is surrounded by inferior companions, following the right path means launching out on his own and leaving them behind. Such a loss may seem regrettable at the time, but a new beginning requires such a choice.

5. [6] When a man recognizes that it is time for a new beginning, he must honestly assess those faults of his that stand in the way and need correction. A new beginning is not possible without this kind of resolve, and he will never regret taking the necessary steps.

6. [6] If a man turns away when the time is ripe for a new beginning, he cannot avoid misfortune. He has failed to act when he fully understands that action is necessary. This demonstrates an unconcerned, wrongful attitude that cannot bode well. Opportunity has presented herself, and she shall not return until the next cycle comes around.


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