Category Archives: 51. Chen – The Arousing (Thunder)

Huan – Dispersion (Dissolution)


Wind blowing over water disperses it, dissolving it into foam and mist. This suggests that when a man’s vital energy is dammed up within him (indicated as a danger by the attribute of the lower trigram), gentleness serves to break up and dissolve the blockage [continuous working of gentleness cleans up the clogs in the vital impulses of men, when under such block frustration or tirelessness develops, or combating against the blockade, we lose our standing and contribute to the distorted state of affairs, it is sometimes better to still oneself in gentleness and let the blocks be removed out of themselves, or engage in calm countermeasures – not leaving the situation as it is, but persistently and lightly working to clear the way. The muddy river is cleared up by a stream of fresh water arriving from the spring, and thus all is seen in clarity]


DISPERSION. Success. The king approaches his temple. It furthers one to cross the great water. Perseverance furthers. The text of this hexagram resembles that of Ts’ui, GATHERING TOGETHER (45). In the latter, the subject is the bringing together of elements that have been separated, as water collects in lakes upon the earth. Here the subject is the dispersing and dissolving of divisive egotism. DISPERSION shows the way, so to speak, that leads to gathering together. This explains the similarity of the two texts. Religious forces are needed to overcome the egotism that divides men [binding which is transcendent and lines within and above the communities]. The common celebration of the great sacrificial feasts and sacred rites, which gave expression simultaneously to the interrelation and social articulation of family and state, was the means employed by the great rulers to unite men. [feasts and ceremonies, holidays and celebrations, commemorate and strenghten the bonds and affection between men, women, the world and Heavens] The sacred music and the splendor of the ceremonies aroused a strong tide of emotion that was shared by all hearts in unison, and that awakened a consciousness of the common origin of all creatures. In this way disunity was overcome and rigidity dissolved. A further means to the same end is co-operation in great general undertakings that set a high goal for the will of the people; in the common concentration on this goal, all barriers dissolve, just as, when a boat is crossing a great stream, all hands must unite in a joint task. But only a man who is himself free of all selfish ulterior considerations, and who perseveres in justice and steadfastness, is capable of so dissolving the hardness of egotism [within and by conviction and presentable nature – without]


The wind drives over the water:The image of DISPERSION.Thus the kings of old sacrificed to the Lord and built temples. In the autumn and winter, water begins to freeze into ice. When the warm breezes of spring come, the rigidity is dissolved, and the elements that have been dispersed in ice floes are reunited. It is the same with the minds of the people. Through hardness and selfishness the heart grows rigid, and this rigidity leads to separation from all others. Egotism and cupidity isolate men. Therefore the hearts of men must be seized by a devout emotion. They must be shaken by a religious awe in face of eternity—stirred with an intuition of the One Creator of all living beings, and united through the strong feeling of fellowship experienced in the ritual of divine worship [they must be taken by individual awe, sincere sacrifices and religious ordeals coupled with realizations of the vastness, the insignificance, the terror, the beauty cannot be imposed on anyone – it is an issue of personal re-living of such circumstances within that is why it is rather difficult to arouse people to such a feeling – in sincerity it is an individual mask, tradition is a bond – but it is a repetition, it is to be discovered within]


Six at the beginning means: He brings help with the strength of a horse.Good fortune.It is important that disunion should be overcome at the outset, before it has become complete—that the clouds should be dispersed before they have brought storm and rain. At such times when hidden divergences in temper make themselves felt and lead to mutual misunderstandings, we must take quick and vigorous action to dissolve the misunderstandings and mutual distrust [all is explained with great clarity, in all outposts of discord, otherwise misunderstandings amount on on top of another and lead to conflict, disunison, suspicion, and the greatest of friends are separated not knowing what exactly happened each with a blackened heart, each with a conviction of being right, each with a conviction of being betrayed – when things cannot be perfectly put into unison immediately, then one needs to go around the stubborness of the other presenting openly his intent and heart, sacrificing oneself for the other]

Nine in the second place means: At the dissolution He hurries to that which supports him. Remorse disappears. When an individual discovers within himself the beginnings of alienation from others, of misanthropy and ill humor, he must set about dissolving these obstructions. He must rouse himself inwardly, hasten to that which supports him. [that requires great discipline and strenght to overcome, but should never left to itself, conquered by good deeds and acts] Such support is never found in hatred, but always in a moderate and just judgment of men, linked with good will [not misjudging the fates, let us consider the dead who through countless fates lived and perished, if we become pettily judgmental towards the living, we shrink our perspective and observation, knowing nothing of men, ancestor worship did secure the bond between the living and the dead]. If he regains this unobstructed outlook on humanity, while at the same time all saturnine ill humor is dissolved, all occasion for remorse disappears.

Six in the third place means: He dissolves his self. No remorse. Under certain circumstances, a man’s work may become so difficult that he can no longer think of himself. He must set aside all personal desires and disperse whatever the self gathers about it to serve as a barrier against others [in fact self-sacrifice when under heavily burdens is one of the greatest feature that a human spirit may achieve]. Only on the basis of a great renunciation can he obtain the strength for great achievements. By setting his goal in a great task outside himself, he can attain this standpoint.

Six in the fourth place means: He dissolves his bond with his group [he sacrifices his group identity and a sense of belonging to a group by overcoming oneself, this should not develop into later scorn of the group, but one thus is beyond all sectarian interests of a particular group, having in mind the good of the whole] Supreme good fortune. Dispersion leads in turn to accumulation.This is something that ordinary men do not think of.When we are working at a task that affects the general welfare, we must leave all private friendships out of account. Only by rising above party interests can we achieve something decisive. He who has the courage thus to forego what is near wins what is afar. But in order to comprehend this standpoint, one must have a wide view of the interrelationships of life, such as only unusual men attain.

Nine in the fifth place means:His loud cries are as dissolving as sweat. Dissolution! A king abides without blame. In times of general dispersion and separation, a great idea provides a focal point for the organization of recovery. Just as an illness reaches its crisis in a dissolving sweat, so a great and stimulating idea is a true salvation in times of general deadlock [hush, the idea that transcends, annihilates conflict, dissolves, elevates, amends, sews, and promotes, reaching to Heavens like a falcon, inspires the below. Inasmuch as the Deities thought is merging of idea with subject of their thought, impressions of the sacrificer, the oracle, the magician, the priest, the priestess upon the Deities is done through clear, great ideas, than a human being is a for a while god-like, his idea directed to the Heavens merges with the subject of thought of Gods, mixes and becomes sealed and mutually impressed upon each other]. It gives the people a rallying point—a man in a ruling position who can dispel misunderstandings.

Nine at the top means: He dissolves his blood. Departing, keeping at a distance, going out is without blame. The idea of the dissolving of a man’s blood means the dispersion of that which might lead to bloodshed and wounds, i.e., avoidance of danger. But here the thought is not that a man avoids difficulties for himself alone, but rather that he rescues his kin—helps them to get away before danger comes, or to keep at a distance from an existing danger, or to find a way out of a danger that is already upon them. In this way he does what is right.

Chen – The Arousing (Shock, Thunder)


The hexagram Chên represents the eldest son, who seizes rule with energy and power. A yang line develops below two yin lines and presses upward forcibly. This movement is so violent that it arouses terror. It is symbolized by thunder, which bursts forth from the earth and by its shock causes fear and trembling.


SHOCK brings success. Shock comes—oh, oh!Laughing words—ha, ha!The shock terrifies for a hundred miles,And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice [one commands the moment].The shock that comes from the manifestation of God within the depths of the earth makes man afraid, but this fear of God is good, for joy and merriment can follow upon it.When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences. Let the thunder roll and spread terror a hundred miles around: he remains so composed and reverent in spirit that the sacrificial rite is not interrupted [even when the Earth splits asunder, he walks his path unabashed even if in the void of the stars – persistence in what is holy and great]. This is the spirit that must animate leaders and rulers of men—a profound inner seriousness from which all outer terrors glance off harmlessly [terror’s gaze slips off the men, for he gives it no special attention]


Thunder repeated: the image of SHOCK.Thus in fear and trembling The superior man sets his life in order And examines himself [sober moments of return to the path when wrongdoing, or fortifying the path when in moments of doubt or stagnation] The shock of continuing thunder brings fear and trembling. The superior man is always filled with reverence at the manifestation of God; he sets his life in order and searches his heart, lest it harbor any secret opposition to the will of God. Thus reverence is the foundation of true culture.


Nine at the beginning means:Shock comes—oh, oh!Then follow laughing words—ha, ha! [rejoice in the rolling thunder, laugh with it like a madman, even if at heart, dance amongst its shines, there one finds unity with nature and the Divine, in ecstasy and laughter!] Good fortune.The fear and trembling engendered by shock come to an individual at first in such a way that he sees himself placed at a disadvantage as against others. But this is only transitory. When the ordeal is over, he experiences relief, and thus the very terror he had to endure at the outset brings good fortune in the long run [may the terrors that have not swept us under fear, be our future silent resilient strenghts]

Six in the second place means: Shock comes bringing danger.A hundred thousand times You lose your treasures And must climb the nine hills.Do not go in pursuit of them.After seven days you will get them back again [fates return out of their own accord, if they must, chasing after them is forcing one’s way in the causasative chain, losing oneself as in spider’s web, do not await anything that is not certain, in the process of life one in waiting never deals with the present]

This pictures a situation in which a shock endangers a man and he suffers great losses. Resistance would be contrary to the movement of the time and for this reason unsuccessful. Therefore he must simply retreat to heights inaccessible to the threatening forces of danger [climbing in the mind’s and heart’s hights, finding a secure ground and training oneself to stay in this territory, to deflect the losses, and to sacrifice certain things, in order to withstand misfortunes – that teaches patience and fortitude, a wiseman in his crystal starcastle gazes down upon his mortal toil, and in the purple palace of emptiness he revers the Deity, there are two maneuvers worth noticing, one similar to Scipio’s Dream, perceiving oneself as an ant from great distance away from Earth, the other is detachment from everything that requires training and a still mind, and as for the defects of mind and body, our minds are fixed to a star as reference, consciousness or Self, which has the flaws and grace of body and mind under command to the extent that the mind and body allows, then he positive void as the content – from whence we engage, deflect, act, withdraw and still ourselves; whether a psychological maneuver or a magical, ceremonial one, it has to be engaged with complete honesty and commitment in the space of will, imagination, construction, and ontic displacement, bi- multi- and omni-location of one’s being] He must accept his loss of property without worrying too much about it. When the time of shock and upheaval that has robbed him of his possessions has passed, he will get them back again without going in pursuit of them.

Six in the third place means: Shock comes and makes one distraught.If shock spurs to action One remains free of misfortune.There are three kinds of shock—the shock of heaven, which is thunder, the shock of fate, and, finally, the shock of the heart. The present hexagram refers less to inner shock than to the shock of fate. In such times of shock, presence of mind is all too easily lost: the individual overlooks all opportunities for action and mutely lets fate take its course. But if he allows the shocks of fate to induce movement within his mind, he will overcome these external blows with little effort. [thunder of events and one does not lose his composition and acts – what a great deed of overcoming, hesitation and act – one commits greatly, shock and petrification – one does not proceed, that is normal, withdrawal – that is the common man]

Nine in the fourth place means:Shock is mired.Movement within the mind depends for its success partly on circumstances. If there is neither a resistance that might be vigorously combated, nor yet a yielding that permits of victory—if, instead, everything is tough and inert like mire—movement is crippled [if the mind is a sword, and it is cast into a swamp, it is strong, it’s blade sharp, but it simply drowns to the very bottom, the qualities of the object are useless in such circumstances, nevertheless it retains its qualities, until the process of rusting begins]

Six in the fifth place means: Shock goes hither and thither.Danger. However, nothing at all is lost.Yet there are things to be done.This is a case not of a single shock but of repeated shocks with no breathing space between [earthquakes of fates]. Nonetheless, the shock causes no loss, because one takes care to stay in the center of movement and in this way to be spared the fate of being helplessly tossed hither and thither.

Six at the top means:

Shock brings ruin and terrified gazing around.Going ahead brings misfortune.If it has not yet touched one’s own body But has reached one’s neighbor first, There is no blame.One’s comrades have something to talk about.When inner shock is at its height, it robs a man of reflection and clarity of vision. In such a state of shock it is of course impossible to act with presence of mind. Then the right thing is to keep still until composure and clarity are restored. But this a man can do only when he himself is not yet infected by the agitation, although its disastrous effects are already visible in those around him [agitation is a ruiner of concentration and composition, avoid it at all costs!]. If he withdraws from the affair in time, he remains free of mistakes and injury. But his comrades, who no longer heed any warning, will in their excitement certainly be displeased with him. However, he must not take this into account.