There was a carpenter who worked in his yard. His business was very good. Every day from morning to night, the yard was filled with the sound of saws and hammers, and was piled with shavings and sawdust.
One evening, the carpenter and one of his apprentices were sawing a thick piece of wood. Accidentally, the bracelet of the watch on his wrist broke, and the watch fell into the pile of shavings on the ground. At the time, the watch was a valuable item. The carpenter and his apprentices hurried down to look for the watch, but there were too many shavings on the ground that they can’t find the watch.
It was getting late, and the carpenter decided to look for it the next day.
After a while, his little son ran over: “Dad, look. I found the watch!”
The carpenter was surprised: “There were so many of us adults who spent a lot of work in finding the watch without any luck. How did you find it?”
His son said: “After you are all gone, I was playing in the yard alone. With no one working, the yard is quiet. I suddenly heard the sound of tick, tick, tick, and follow the sound to find it all at once.”
In the complicated busy days, here comes the power of life in silence and quietness.
It always touches me when listening to Mrs. Peng LiYuan’s ‘In the Field of Hope在希望的田野上’. As, from eastern culture’s view, the world civilization is all built on top of 田 – fields & soils. The interesting fact is that when we take a close look at the origin of Chinese culture, we can’t help but be surprised and touched how it tells soulful stories through very simple Chinese characters we use daily.
So, here let’s take a glance at a simple character 田(fields & soils) which is the word root for:
甲jiǎ(shell; first; armor; nail): Basically, it means the husky shell of a seed germinated in a field, emphasizing that something underground sprouts, a new life begins to grow, a new hope armored to get stronger.
由yoú (cause, reason, from): Pictographically, this character emphasized the above-ground part that grows out of the fields. And ironically, 由 has the meaning of new branches of trees, giving the reasons, causes and supports for leaves and lives.
申shēn (apply; to explain; to state): It is a sign that the above-ground & underground fields are connected. Originally, it was related to ancient God-heaven worship in old Chinese time, praying for mysterious nature power that connects the ground and the sky together. This is well reflected as 申 is also the root word of 神 which means God, spirit, heaven.
电diàn(electric): In ancient time, our ancestors had discovered this powerful nature phenomenon of electric, and they well defined it through this simple character电 that electric is the further energy developed between the above-ground & underground. When we say thunders雷电 in Chinese, it is saying about the 雨(rain), 田(fields) and 电(electric). Ancestors were trying to tell how #MotherEarth‘s #energy releases through thunders & earthquakes, between clouds and fields, above and in the grounds.
鬼gǔi(ghost, devil and demon): when there is something that covers 田(fields and soils), and things have to over-develop underground but can’t grow above, it means ghost, devil and demon. Since ancient time, people had started to describe dark, negative energy vividly using this character 鬼.
Now, how about自由-freedom? 自由-freedom is something defined pictographically related to slef, fields, God and spirit. The 自-self is telling us to put our hands above our eyes-目 to self-observe, to have a clearer viewsight, to self-reflect, for good things to sprout out of human heart, for lives to grow on the fields, for spirits to fly freely in the homelands. Ancestors knew human hands, fingers, and eyes are connected to human minds and hearts.
In the modern nowadays, there are freedom for individuals, for businesses, for corporations, for regions, even for health to play their own roles with certain boundaries that regulate them for developments, on the common ground that they root deeply underground but grow up-straight strongly and mutually.
Our reality and modern society are cohesively reflecting what has been embedded in these simple characters over long history, incredibly, invincibly and unstoppably.
We all love the land-ground where we are born, grow up and develop.
Any business is like a pipeline: a supply chain resource distribution and circulation system. The smoother and more widely distributed the pipelines, the higher the commercial success rates are.
Just like a tree, its roots, trunks, branches, and leaves are combined into an organic “pipeline”, where water and nutrients flow, output the green, oxygen, flowers, fruits. The more efficient this system is, the more prosperous the tree is.
Just like the human body, a material and energy “pipeline”. Water, nutrition, knowledge, culture, wisdom flow in and return his value back to family and society. The higher the energy conversion rates of a person, the more happiness and the healthier the body.
Finance, the circulation of wealth, exports development. Internet network, the circulation of information, outputs progress. Education, the circulation of knowledge, exports talents. Transportation, the circulation of logistics, outputs efficiency. …
We use all earth resources to promote the rapid development of all kinds of pipelines. But, we are neglecting the efficiency of the largest material and #energy “pipeline”- our Mother Earth: the energy in this pipeline is badly blocked.
As mentioned in the commonality of the legends on the human origin between the eastern and western cultures many times earlier, can we assume that the human origin does have no essential difference between the East and the West? As, no matter what race, with what religion or beliefs, the East and the West all call the earth our Mother Earth instead of Father Earth. And our same Mother Earth is widely regarded as with a Kun character of ever giving and gentle nourishing everything on this planet.
Our Mother Earth has her own energy system, to maintain her own life, healthy and long-lasting.
In the middle of this Kun life earth, there is the high-temperature geocentric core energy originated from the Qian universe, the sun. Between the middle and the surface of our Mother Earth is the earth’s soil, including the mantle layer and crust layer. And on the surface are water, mountains, rivers, and gas. The internal is the core, the energy center of our Mother Earth. She exquisitely acquires new energy from the sun and stores the energy in the middle, warms and nurtures her body, the soil, the water, the gas, and the mountains. Water plays a great role in adjusting her body temperature and cooling her down. When there is extra heat from the core, such as volcanic eruption and magma eruption, water plays one of the most important roles in cooling it down. And her air on the surface is the best thermal insulation layer to protect her from losing heat into outer space.
Our Mother Earth has her own respiratory and circulatory systems. What we can directly observe are countless deep holes leading to the deep ground, groundwater, and surface water circulation system in her shallow surface. In her deep ground, there stored her internal gas and oils, which are playing important roles in her life.
While our Mother Earth revolves around the sun, she gets different amounts of energy from the sun at different times of one year, so her body developed a systematic process in maintaining the energy of different parts of her body in a harmonious and balanced state.
There is a way that humans can intuitively feel the different processes of energy absorption and radiation of Mother Earth, that is, by feeling the changes in the temperature of the well water. Our ancestors have long discovered this phenomenon: the water in the deep well is warm in winter, but cool in summer.
The ancestors had the scientific spirit to break the casserole to the end. They further discovered on the basis of their intuitive experience: the surface of Mother Earth is cold in winter, while the underground is warm, and it is the time the geothermal heat is emitted little by little inside out. In the hot summer, when the surface is hot, the underground is cool, and the geothermal energy is not scattered outward, but the core energy is restrained. It is the time Mother Earth collects energy inward.
Further considering the northern and southern hemispheres of Mother Earth, the northern hemisphere surface is hot outside and cool inside, while the southern hemisphere surface is cool outside and hot inside. As a result, the surface energy of the entire earth is a uniformly distributed balance of Yin and Yang. If we further think, we will realize Mother Earth’s internal thermal energy’s change pattern. When her northern side is absorbing and retaining energy, her southern half is emitting energy, and as her position around the sun changes, the northern side starts to emit and the southern side starts to retain and absorb. The same cycle repeats every year and never stops.
Seeing Mother Earth as a huge image hanging in the air, she is like a huge Kan. The Kan Hexagram comes from the Kun Hexagram of pure Yin, and in the middle of the extreme pure Yin is the pure Yang originated from the Qian Hexagram. This pure Yang energy warms the world and supports all life on our Mother Earth.
The Qian is heaven. The Qian is the sun.
When we introduce Jiji Hexagram, it briefs us that the human head is the human body’s south and the human abdominal area is the human body’s north. Or, the human head belongs to Li Hexagram while the human abdominal area belongs to Kan Hexagram.
In Taoism’s theories, the human body’s south, the Li, includes head and heart that connect to human’s thoughts, minds, and souls. Human eyes, as the window of the human heart, belong to Li too. And they also think that the human body’s north, the Kan, includes the kidney, reproductive system, and endocrine system. Human ears, connecting to the belly through meridians, belong to Kan too.
So, how do the human body’s south fire and north water work on each other for the entire body’s health?
Nature is the greatest magician. But why does it put the human body’s fire on top of its water?
The direct and simplest answer is that there is Yang in Yin, and there is Yin in Yang.
Although the human abdominal area is of the water energy, it is this water energy that fuels Yang Qi energy from the “deep sea” and it is also the cradle of the most active and vibrant new life. Pure Yang Qi arises from deep inside the human Kan abdominal area.
Although the human head and heart belong to Li fire energy, human brain nervous system is Yin and controls hormone secretion. The human hormone is one of the most essential Yin elements controlling human life. The human heart processes blood. Human fluid circulation system and the endocrine system both belong to Yin Qi energy. They are the Yin in the middle of Li.
Human birth, aging, sickness, and death are like the four seasons of the earth. They are all energy transformation processes. Life is all about energy’s movement. Life is all about the energy’s transformation between water and fire.
Newborns have the highest water content. Their skin is supple and their body is soft. The moisture in the body of the elder gradually loses, and their skin and bones are calcified. Once a person dies, the body is completely stiff and can no longer store water.
Beauty-loving women, when they apply the most precious skincare and moisturizing products to their faces in order to resist the signs of time is there any way to use the most precious beauty and skincare products inside their bodies? Is there such a treasure in the human body?
Aging begins with the aging of the brain, which is manifested in the inability to move the feet. Normally, an old man with quick thinking has quick hands and feet. Why does aging start with the brain? Because of lacking the fire energy, life’s Yang Qi.
Life is like cooking a kettle of water.
If the fire is too strong, it might quickly burn and dry the water. If there is no continuous water production, life will be burned out quickly.
If the fire is very weak, too weak to heat the water, life will be cold with blocked Qi and Blood, in the misery of sicknesses.
Only if the fire is right for the water, heat the water to boil, control the fire but make it constant firing; control the water and supplement it while the life is generating more life water. Life will be a balanced, warm and happy long life.
Taoism tells us a human’s body is born to have the capability to live for hundreds to thousands of years, but humans are always wasting and over consuming their life water and fire energy. Does Taoism give guidance on how to maintain the cooking of our life with our own water and fire energy?
Throughout the entire “Yi Jing”, four extremely important hexagrams reflect four phenomena in the natural world that play a decisive role in human life. These four Hexagrams are also the premise and basis for studying and analyzing all the other Three-Yao and Six-Yao Hexagrams.
In a brief description, these four phenomena are standing for the universe, the earth, the sun, and the moon.
Qian – The universe:
It appears as an image of three lines, three Yang-Yao. It basically stands for the Yang energy for everything before it comes into being. In another explanation, the innate character, the destination of a thing. It symbolizes that all things are innately vigorous and have positive, upward, active, warm, and bright characteristics.
When mapping it to the universe, Qian also represents heaven, the sky. When we look up, the sky is always above us. When we get to the other side of the earth, or even into outer space, we still see the sky when we look up. The sky is always above us. From this original metaphor, Qian has the following extended meaning:
When mapping it to human society, it represents the king, the president, the master, the God.
When mapping it to humankind, it represents man, or the male, the husband.
When mapping it to the human body, it represents the human spiritual soul, mind, and thoughts.
Qian is one of the most representative terms in Chinese culture. What’s special about it is that it represents the instinct of the universe and the source of everything. It represents a major feature of Chinese culture. Chinese culture does not have its own personalized God or Bodhisattva. It is neither materialistic nor idealistic, but talks about the instinct of the universe. The origin of Chinese culture is not religious, nor is it pure philosophy, but scientific.
2. Kun – The Earth:
The Kun Hexagram appears as an image of three broken lines, three Yin-Yao. It basically stands for the Yin energy for everything after it comes into being, the acquired character of everything. It symbolizes that everything has a restrained, quiet, tolerant, downward, cold, dark, and soft side.
When mapping it to the universe, Kun represents the earth, the moon. Human beings are the culture of the earth. The earth is always trampled under the feet of human beings. Imagine this scenario, by analogy, we get:
When mapping it to human society, it represents the queen, the people, and the team.
When using it to analyze animals, it always represents the females, like the mare or the cow.
When mapping it to humankind, it represents a woman or a female.
The greatest thing in the world is maternal love. Every religion, in the end, worships women. The Catholic Virgin and the Buddhist Guanyin Bodhisattva are all women; because maternal love is the most compassionate and greatest. The Chinese culture has always believed that “the mother is strong”. This is true not only for humans but also for animals.
Kun also represents the moon and the earth. The light of the moon comes from the sun, and the earth rotates in the opposite direction around the sun.
All further analysis and research related to the Kun Hexagrams will take its basic knowledge as the starting point.
3. Li – The Sun:
Li is an image of the sun. The sun is the origin energy source for life and civilization on the earth, as well as the total driving force for human life and production to survive and develop. It carries all the characteristics of Qian Hexagram. The ancients respected the sky and took the universe as the greatest manifestos of the world.
But the ancient ancestors, with neither astronomical telescopes, nor computer processors and algorithms, discovered a black spot in the sun. We call those black spots sunspots now. Based on this characteristic, the ancestors replaced the middle Yang-Yao in the Qian Hexagram with a Yin-Yao to represent the black spots in the sun, thus obtaining the above three-painted hexagram of Li.
Take its energy and active characteristics from the universal Qian hexagram, and map the Li hexagram to the earth, it represents the fire.
4. Kan – The Moon:
Kan is an image of the moon. The ancients discovered that the moon does not emit light, but absorbs sunlight and reflects it. The moon itself is just a dark and cold star, which is bright because it reflects sunlight.
So, the ancestors replaced the middle Yin-Yao in the Kan Hexagram with a Yang-Yao to represent the reflected sunlight by the dark and cold moon, thus obtaining this three-painted hexagram of Kan. The moon reflects the sun’s rays and illuminates the dark areas of the earth. It is just like how the earth bears all the lives and creatures on it. Because of the moon’s feminine and low-profiled beauty, the ancients used the image of Kan to describe flowing water on the earth. This must be the reason how this Chinese character came into being. It not only contains philosophical meanings but also is a pictographic metaphor.
The summer solstice is the most northerly day of the year, and it is the extreme northward movement of the sun. On this day, the northern hemisphere receives the most solar radiation, nearly twice that of the southern hemisphere. After the summer solstice, the altitude of the sun at noon began to decrease day by day in the area north of the Tropic of Cancer and its north.
Mother Earth’s self-temperature control and regulation system is the most effective and scientific regulation system that has been deposited and tested over billions of years. It will not increase the surface temperature to the highest while the surface is getting the most sunlight. Instead, it presents a lagging slow temperature change process. While the atmosphere and the earth’s surface are continuing to absorb the sun’s heat, the center of the earth no longer emits energy. It begins to absorb and restore energy. Or, it is cooling down inside for its Yin to develop now.
We can intuitively understand such energy changes with Six-Yao Hexagrams as shown in the below figure. When Mother Earth’s external surface and air are warm, hot, getting enough Yang energy from the sun, its internal is cooling down with the first Yin rises.
Let’s try to interpret the Yin and Yang energy change process from a philosophical perspective. Does it mean that when Yang is at its peak, Yin will be produced in Yang? When something develops to an extreme situation, a new opposite thing will naturally sprout out within it?
An undeniable fact is that the sun, the earth, the moon, and nature, day after day, year after year, are proving and repeating this unchanging cosmic law. Is this law suitable for humans? We need to understand that humans are part of nature. Humans cannot live without the sun, the moon, the earth, and nature.
What if humans relocate to another planet? Does that mean humans will be escaping from the control of nature? Or, escape from the control of the universe? Or, human beings control the universe?
Now we will talk about the fire that we need to cook our life of water. But before we dive deep, we must understand that the fire of Li not only just means human heart, it has a broader meaning, including head, brain, eyes, mind, thoughts, and souls.
But, talking back, we never took the human heart, head, and mind as two independent and unrelated things. When we say that we are putting someone or something in our heart, it is not that our heart is physically big enough to hold someone or something, but that we put people or things in our minds. The heart and the mind stand for the same meaning in many cases and this does not differ due to differences in Eastern and Western culture or religious beliefs.
Human heart carries the fire Li energy.
Chinese medicine has a saying that the heart is “the king of the kingdom of the human body”. In the early stage of the human embryo, the heart started to work. At the end of life, it is the heart at the last moment of work. The heart never stops working in human life. It never stops the blood circulation to transport fresh Yang Qi, oxygen, and nutrients to every cell of the body and transports the exhaust gas and waste materials away from the cells. As part of the human body’s fluid system, blood belongs to Kan water.
This Li fire never stops in human life, just like the human body has its own water all the time. We only need to maintain them at an excellent performance level.
Human heads, thoughts, minds, and souls are Li energy too.
Human thoughts, minds and souls reflect as human emotions intuitively. Through the action of the cranial nervous system, human emotions are connected to the secretion of body fluids and hormones in various organs of the human body. Together with the action of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, it controls all physiological and physical changes in the human body.
To fire the Li energy well, means to well control human emotions to produce hormones that are good for the body, but not toxins fluid that is harmful to the body. This fire is under the control of our hearts.
From the heart’s point of view, it silently cooperates with the changes in human’s emotions at the speed of the heartbeat; it gets nervous because of fear, or relaxed because of joy and happiness…
The “Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon” points out that the heart is “生之本，神之变也”, indicating that the heart is the foundation of life, and at the same time it is in charge of people’s spiritual mind activities. It tells that the heart governs blood vessels and controls the blood system of the whole body.
Clinical studies have found that when people feel angry and desperate, the body secretes a large number of stress hormones such as cortical and adrenaline, which leads to neurological dysfunction, hyper-function of the sympathetic nervous system, and increases the heart rate, and results in high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, waist and back pains, decreased saliva production, faster but shorter breathing, frequent urination, and other phenomena. It also affects the activity of white blood cells and reduces human immune function.
From a Chinese Medicine point of view, it relates to emotions of joy and hatred. Hatred hurts the heart. The general hatred is sent out from the inside of the heart, while the Qi it produces is gathered inwards, which is particularly likely to cause a series of diseases such as panic, heartbeat, coronary heart disease, and so on.
The human body has two meridians related to the heart: the heart channel and the pericardial channel. The heart channel is related to the mind; the pericardial channel is related to the controls of blood. 11 am – 13 pm, when the two heart meridians are on duty, it is the most critical daily time for heart care. About half an hour after a meal, if the pericardium is properly massaged, it can increase the blood supply to the heart and effectively protect the heart. This method is a good health-care trick suitable for everyone in need.
Noon is also when body Yang Qi is strongest in a day. 15-20 minutes of napping is a good opportunity to balance and relax the body and save energy for people who cannot sleep early at night. But too long napping will disturb the body’s biological clock and cause insomnia at night.
The tongue is the organ that the heart expresses in the five senses. Heart disease usually causes symptoms such as tongue inflexibility and tongue curling. Slips and often wrong words are also signs of lack of heart energy. “Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon” states that if the heart is sick, the cheekbones will become red.
Heart disease can also be manifested in sudden redness in the center between the eyebrows. If the pattern is like a lantern, there may be a sudden illness. It is not a good thing that the center between the eyebrows is black. From the perspective of Chinese medicine, it is quite a lot of kidney water that prevents the heart-fire function. Now, we can completely understand that this is a very dangerous signal. We must be careful about the color changes of the center between the eyebrows in our daily lives.
Sweat is the liquid discharged from the skin after body fluid is vaporized by the transpiration of Yang Qi. The secretion and excretion of sweat also depend on the opening and closing effect of Qi on the body. When the skin sweat holes are open, sweat is excreted; when the sweat holes are closed, there is no sweat. Because sweat is transformed by body fluid, blood and body fluid come from the same source, so there is a saying that “sweat and blood have the same origin”.
Sweat can reflect good or bad health, and it is wise to be vigilant when sweating is abnormal. Since sweat and blood are closely related in physiology, they also influence each other pathologically. As far as the relationship between sweat and blood is concerned, excessive sweating can drain blood and damage fluid. On the contrary, if the body fluid is weak and blood is insufficient, the source of sweat is insufficient. Excessive sweating consumes the Qi and Blood of the heart, so profuse sweating can also hurt people’s Yang Qi. On the contrary, when the heart’s blood is insufficient, it can also cause pathological sweating, spontaneous sweating, or night sweats.
When we are caring about how our life fire cooks our life water, there are some factors we should watch: the fire burning efficiency, a red fire or blue fire, and the smoke the fire produces. Is the smoke transparent, colorless, and tasteless, or black, choking and poison? Human life’s quality is reflected by not only how this life fire cooks its own water, but more importantly, if it gives healthy warm energy to the world instead of leaving harmful poison damages to the others.
“The heart governs the spirit”, “etiquette corresponds to the heart/mind”, to nurture our heart, we must nurture our virtue. The highest state of nurturing the heart lies in cultivating the mind, which in the final is to purify the soul.
Here let’ share a story of how heart medicine saves an “over-happy” heart.
In the Qing Dynasty, a scholar who got the No. 1 scholarship in the National Selection Exam was too happy and went crazy and couldn’t stop laughing.
A famous doctor said to him after seeing: “Your illness can’t be cured, and you only have ten days to live now. Go home quickly, or it will be too late. When you pass Zhenjiang city, please go to visit Doctor Xu, he will see you again.” At the same time, he wrote a letter and asked the scholar to give it to the doctor Xu.
When the scholar arrived in Zhenjiang city, his illnesses from laughing wildly healed already. Doctor Xu opened the letter: “This scholar is ecstatic from ‘over-happiness’, resulting in his mind and heart cannot be closed back. As there is no medication that can cure him, I made him panic and melancholy with alarm words to open his heart and expected him to be cured when he arrived in your city of Zhenjiang ”.
At the end of summer, the earth’s Yin Qi has risen to the surface. At the beginning of the autumn, Mother Earth is already completely in a state of energy convergence. The Yang Qi in the air began to slowly converge, and the air became dryer and cooler. Sensitive birds began to fly south, and animals began to store food in their bodies or dens for the winter.
The Six-Yao Hexagrams can vividly describe the changes of the energy inside and outside the earth during the three months of autumn as shown in figure 26 below. At the end of the autumn, the whole earth is full of cold Yin Qi inside and outside, in a convergent and introverted Kun Hexagram status. The energy is deeply hidden in the depths of the body, implicit, stable, and calm.
From a human’s point of view, autumn is the harvest season. But from the plants and nature’s point of view, autumn is the season of killing. Nature does not resist this killing. Instead, it gives this life-end killing season the color of gold. Nature returns its Yang energy back to the universe without reservation and returns its body back to Mother Earth, the mother Kun. The falling apples, while ending their lives, while dedicating their body to nature, also carry the hope of new life in its core back to the mother’s body soil too. Kun is the mother of a new life. When the Qian Yang energy is ready, a new life will restart.
We know now that in the human body, the lung represents the golden autumn. Do we know how our Mother Earth breathes?
Chinese medicine describes the lung as the great prime minister under the heart king and above all the cells.
As for humans, without food, they can live for months; without water, they can live for days; but without air, they can live barely for minutes, even seconds.
In Taoism’s concepts, Qi does not only mean the oxygen and carbon dioxide the humans inhale and exhale, not only mean the oxygen and carbon dioxide our blood carries to and from each of the human cells, it also includes the invisible Qi in the body invisible spaces of meridians.
The Yin Qi and Yang Qi, two forms of energy, are essential to human life. If we compare the human body to an electric bulb, the Qi is like electricity, the Yin and Yang energy currents. The bulb does not light up without electric power. And the electric power provides the bulb the energy to heat up, to light the dark. The innate characters of the bulb, its electrical parameters, are important in determining its lifetime, the level of brightness, the heat it generates…
While Mother Earth’s surface air is getting drier and colder in the season of falls, the lungs should be the most vulnerable. It is the bridge of the air in and out of the human body. And besides, the lungs “balance, govern, and control the vitality of the body”. They are like the prime minister to a kingdom. If the whole body is weak, it indicates a lung problem.
The Chinese New Year of the year 2021 was Feb 12 and it was the time every Chinese people brings very traditional good wishes to all their friends using one Chinese idiom: “三阳开泰”, which pronounces as:“San Yang Kai Tai”.
Every year shortly after the Spring Festival, a spring thunder awakens everything, the earth recovers, and everything starts a new cycle of its peace and vitality.
Ever since the origin of Eastern culture, people have begun to use pictorial symbols to express the peace and vitality of each spring. And the below image is what they used for this peaceful meaning. There is a name of this six-lined image: a hexagram. Each line they call it a Yao. A Six-Yao Hexagram consists of two Three-Yao trigrams one at the bottom and one on the top.
There are sixty-four Hexagrams used by ancestors to represent sixty-four situations in all aspects of the universe and the human world. And the Tai Hexagram is the number eleventh.
Tai represents the law of movement of all things in the universe when life is in a smooth and peaceful state. It is an introductory turn of learning how the interactions between Qian-heaven and Kun-earth connect to the changes in the human world and affairs.
What interactions between Qian-heaven and Kun-earth does this Hexagram tell us? How should we interpret a Six-Yao Hexagram?
For each of the Six-Yao Hexagrams, any single Yao represents a stage of a change in a sequence of its form from the inner to the outer, from the bottom to the top, from an early stage or a later stage, from younger to older, from the base to the top… So, when we read the six Yao in a Hexagram, we read it from the bottom Yao to the top Yao. Ancestors were using this to tell us that everything’s change starts from its inside and develops to its external. So, among the two Three-Yao Trigrams in a Six-Yao Hexagram, the one at the bottom stands for internal changes, internal environment, internal conditions, inside a company, in a family, in a society… And the one on the top stands for external changes, external environment, external conditions, outside of a company, outside of a family, or outside of the society…
Combining the concept of human living in the middle of heaven and earth, a Six-Yao Hexagram can be interpreted as shown above.
A Six-Yao Tai Hexagram is formed up by one Three-Yao Qian, the universe, at the bottom and one Three-Yao Kun, the earth, at the top. Observing the whole image of Tai, our most direct and intuitive feeling is that the sky Qian is below the earth Kun. But the sky is above the earth in our real world. Why does this “upside-down” imaged Hexagram that is inverted from the universe phenomenon reflect the smooth and peaceful state of things in the world?
Diving into in-depth research, the monistic Qi theory helps our study of this universal image. Let’s close our eyes and draw the below picture in our head intuitively: first let’s draw a force of active, strong, upward, radiating, warm Yang energy at the bottom, and this Yang energy goes upward constantly. And then, we draw a force of soft, inward, convergent, cold Yin energy staying at the top and moving downward naturally, following its innate character.
What would happen in our picture now? The Yin energy and the Yang energy will intersect. Just like the intersection of positive and negative circuits, just like the intersection of cold air and hot air. The interaction and friction of these Yin and Yang energies will give birth to endless possibilities of a new form of life with energy. This interaction can awaken the earth’s life system.
Let’s look at our picture, and imagine when the Yang energy is above the Yin energy, what will happen? It’s obvious that when they naturally move, they will be moving in opposite directions, they will never intersect to make anything happen, nor will there be any energy collision, as if there is no voltage and current in a circuit. It is very obvious for us to understand, with our very basic modern scientific knowledge.
Now, we get some new energy generated from the Yin and Yang intersection. How will it act in making things work smoothly and peacefully?
Here we need a further supplement of the basic knowledge of Hexagrams. When we use it to analyze social phenomena, we enumerate the symbolic meaning of its various social attributes to its internal Yao and external Yao as shown in figure 17 for Tai.
In ancient times, the most important function of the Sixty-Four Hexagrams was to play as the guidelines of principles for the kings to govern society. In today’s words, they can become the codes that reveal the human physical and mental health, society matters, even philosophical and scientific relationship between the political superstructure and economic foundation of society. But the Sixty-Four Hexagrams came from the phenomena of the sky, the earth, the sun, and the moon, so their most basic application is to expose the unchanging laws of the occurrence and growth of all things in the universe.
The relationship between ancestors and animals was by no means as simple as the relationship between modern humans and animals, which is most probably established through books, media, visits to zoos, pets or animal farms, etc. Ancient people and animals had more equal status in nature. To some degree, ancestors had a more perceptual understanding of animal life and characteristics. They drove deeper analysis of Hexagram images by metaphor at the life characteristics of gregarious animals, such as horses, cows, sheep and etc.
For example, when the herd of horses rests in the evening, it is very natural that the mares will stay in the center of the herd, and the stallions will patrol the periphery to protect the mares. In a herd of thousands of horses, if a leader stands out, it must be a stallion. Wherever this stallion goes, all other horses will follow and absolutely support the leader, no matter stallions or mares. The same is true for cattle. The same is true for other animal colonies. Is there a lesson in the animals’ world to teach them to act like this? We do not know. But we can take this as a practical code, or law, in the same kind of animals’ world that they all follow, naturally. And by acting according to it, the herd of the horses is safer and stronger.
When human society transitioned from a matrilineal society to a patriarchal society, the production relations centered on manual labor gave birth to, nurtured, and promoted the development of family relations with the father as the protagonist of the family. For thousands of years, the development of this family relationship has slowly solidified into a chain of family relationship DNA, which has profoundly affected the harmonious development of society and family invisibly but all over time.
When a family’s Yang energy rise up to meet the family’s Yin energy’s miniaturization downward, it draws a peaceful image of smooth communication between husband and wife, as enforces strong energy support and the lasting soft nurturing between the husband and wife, results in new generations being raised up by a harmonized, happy, and healthy couple… Nothing can be more peaceful than this within a family.
Here we can further expand the Qian and Kun relationship from within a family’s perspective to an organization, a society, or a country…
There is a legend of King Dayu’s flood control more than 4,000 years ago. In the barbaric era, when human productivity was extremely low, Dayu united all disparate tribes and produced a strong centripetal force and cohesion. It took them eight years to solve the monstrous flood and save the world. It was a miracle that it only took eight years for Dayu to control the water in the wild years to achieve great success. The most fundamental reason was that Dayu was a king who put the interests of his people above everything else, and the centripetal force and cohesion he gained was his people’s full support and cooperation for this great cause.
This leads to something a little off-topic here. Dayu’s water management was a sign of the establishment of China’s early state power. It can be seen that the establishment of China’s most primitive state power had nothing to do with land ownership, but was related to preventing natural disasters, protecting people’s lives, creating collective water conservancy, and channeling and promoting agricultural development.
Today, the vast majority of Chinese people do not necessarily understand this Tai Hexagram, but they use this Tai word frequently as they were taught over generations, words, and deeds. At every Chinese New Year, we see and hear and wish everywhere using idioms: “三阳开泰”, “国泰民安”,… Translate the “三阳开泰” into English character by character, it is three, Yang, starts, Tai. Those are the descriptive words of this Tai Hexagram image – three Yang Yao start the Tai Hexagram. And for “国泰民安”, character by character, it is country, Tai, people, safe and healthy. These words and idioms all originated from “Yi Jing”.
You may ask: what if things are not in a smooth situation? Like what happened in the year 2019 and 2020？What if the Qian stands on top of the Kun? What does that mean? How to solve it? And for the Tai, what are the six stages of a peaceful and smooth situation’s development each of the Yao represents? Are they all the same peaceful, or not? The answers are in the book linked below.