The Wisdom of the I Ching

26. Exercising Great Power

Creative energy is under contemplative control, and this enables a man to exercise great power. He occupies an important position, but he conducts himself circumspectly and with restraint. This enables him to act and to achieve great works. Because of his seriousness, others look to him for leadership and guidance, and he is able to nurture those who are his responsibility. They, in turn, honor him and rely on his wisdom. With so much energy at readiness, it is important that the man be active and accomplish as much as he can. This requires strength and the ability continuously to look deeply into one's inner self in order to remain at this high point of power. It requires that the man engage himself with others. Because he is in harmony with the forces of destiny, he is able to accomplish great things.

In order to develop his inner self, the man acquaints himself with the wisdom of the past. By studying the words and deeds of ancient sages, he is better able to understand his own times and the motives of other men. Thus, he is able to apply this wisdom in his own life and in the guidance he gives to others.

The Lines
1. [9] The man wishes to move ahead, but he faces great obstacles, and these prevent him from doing anything. The result would not be good if he tried to move ahead anyway, so he waits for a more auspicious time when his abilities will have a greater chance to succeed.

2. [9] Opposing forces are overwhelming, and there is no thought of making an advance. There is no other course to take but to wait, to conserve resources, and to move ahead when the possibility opens.

3. [9] A way finally opens for advancement and the man can move ahead with companions having the same desire for progress. But he must do so with caution, keeping his sights on his goal. Since the way is clear, it would be easy for him to lose control and permit things to get out of hand or to suffer reverses.

4. [6] The way is clear, and there is great energy in reserve for advancement. Great success is assured if the man keeps this energy under careful control.

5. [6] Great, uncontrolled force may be directed toward the accomplishment of great works, not by confrontation and direct opposition, but indirectly, through influence, persuasion and wise management.

6. [9] The height of successful accomplishment is achieved. All obstacles are removed and there is nothing to stand in the way. The energies that have been held in reserve are now set free, great works are carried to completion, and all come under the man's influence.


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