The Book of Changes

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Hs? / Waiting (Nourishment)

All beings have need of nourishment from above. But the gift of food comes in its own time,
and for this one must wait. This hexagram shows the clouds in the heavens, giving rain to
refresh all that grows and to provide mankind with food and drink. The rain will come in its
own time. We cannot make it come; we have to wait for it.

The idea of waiting is further
suggested by the attributes of the two trigrams --strength within, danger in from. Strength in
the face of danger does not plunge ahead but bides its time, whereas weakness in the face of
danger grows agitated and has not the patience to wait.


WAITING. If you are sincere,
You have light and success.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.


Waiting for ais not mere empty hoping. It has the inner certainty of reaching the goal. Such certainty
alone gives that light which leads to success. This leads to the perseverance that brings good fortune and
bestows power to cross the great water. One is faced with a danger that has to be overcome. Weakness
and impatience can do nothing.

Only a strong man can stand up to his fate, for his inner security enables
him to endure to the end. This strength shows itself in uncompromising truthfulness [with himself]. It is
only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or
illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized. This
recognition must be followed by resolute and persevering action. For only the man who goes to meet his
fate resolutely is equipped to deal with it adequately.

Then he will be able to cross the great water--that is
to say, he will be capable of making the necessary decision and of surmounting the danger.

Certain difficulties cannot give the appropriate conditions at the moment for the action. To be aware of
this contributes to the clarity enough to wait. Staying constant in this attitude is fortunate. However, in the
precise moment, it will be opportune to undertake the action; this is symbolized by the crossing of the
great river. To remain waiting implies to meditate, analyze, and observe the way the events move.


Clouds rise up to heaven:
The image of WAITING.
Thus the superior man eats and drinks,
Is joyous and of good cheer.

When clouds rise in the sky, it is a sign that it will rain. There is nothing to do but to wait until after the
rain falls. It is the same in life when destiny is at work. We should not worry and seek to shape the future
by interfering in things before the time is ripe. We should quietly fortify the body with food and drink and
the mind with gladness and good cheer. Fate comes when it will, and thus we are ready.

The clouds joining together in the sky symbolize a process in full formation, a configuration of something
that is taking its definitive constitution. This supposes that such a phenomenon requires a time of logical
maturation, lapsing one period until the rain begins. As any other process that takes certain time,
seeking the force would be useless, it would only cause energy expense, that is why it is enunciated that
the superior man, that is to say, a capable person, in these same circumstances, eats, drinks, remains
watchful and happy. The meaning of eating and drinking should be interpreted as the use of the waiting
time in another independent and profitable activity. To eat and drink means to feed, not to neglect the
person basic aspects for something that finally will take place by itself. Serenity and joviality represent
the right way of being prepared when the phenomenon happens; such an attitude is a consequence of the
preparation and the personal enrichment.


Nine at the beginning means:

Waiting in the meadow.
It furthers one to abide in what endures.
No blame.

The danger is not yet close. One is still waiting on the open plain. Conditions are still simple, yet there is
a feeling of something impending. One must continue to lead a regular life as long as possible. Only in
this way does one guard against a premature waste of strength, keep free of blame and error that would
become a source of weakness later on.

At this moment one is alone and far from any unusual situation. The correct thing to do is not to leave the
place, that is to say, not to change the habitual form to behave, this way there will be no error.

Nine in the second place means:

Waiting on the sand.
There is some gossip.
The end brings good fortune.

The danger gradually comes closer. Sand is near the bank of the river, and the water means danger.
Disagreements crop up. General unrest can easily develop in such times, and we lay the blame on one
another. He who stays calm will succeed in making things go well in the end. Slander will be silenced if
we do not gratify it with injured retorts.

To be in the sand means to be in the limit (the river bank). This way one remains very near the river
torrent, for that reason it represents a dangerous attitude. Such an attitude won't be seen nicely, and,
consequently, it is announced that one will be slightly criticized. Anyway, reference concerns the
objective drives to the fortune. Thus, waiting here implies that one knows what is happening and is sure
what it is going on. This way critics can come from sectors which do not have full knowledge about the

Nine in the third place means:

Waiting in the mud
Brings about the arrival of the enemy.

Mud is no place for waiting, since it is already being washed by the water of the stream. Instead of having
gathered strength to cross the stream at one try, one has made a premature start that has got him no farther
than the muddy bank. Such an unfavorable position invites enemies from without, who naturally take
advantage of it. Caution and a sense of the seriousness of the situation are all that can keep one from

The mud represents the lack of clarity and the confusion in which one is submersed. To wait in the mud
means to be in a vulnerable situation, in which it is easy to get dirty and because of that it favors the
opponents' attacks. To wait in the mud also represents to remain in an incorrect situation.

Six in the fourth place means:

Waiting in blood.
Get out of the pit.

The situation is extremely dangerous. It is of utmost gravity now --a matter of life and death. Bloodshed
seems imminent. There is no going forward or backward; we are cut off as if in a pit. Now we must simply
stand fast and let fate take its course. This composure, which keeps us from aggravating the trouble by
anything we might do, is the only way of getting out of the dangerous pit.

The pit is the symbol of a state of things, therefore, in the case it is full of blood it represents misfortune,
fatality; and the fact of waiting is the probable outcome of tragedy. Blood symbolizes the delicateness of
the plot, from which one will be able to leave if lets the circumstances be casually loosened, because
any action will result in getting hurt. For that reason, to wait in a pit of blood, means to leave the things as
they are, because any movement could increase the danger.

Nine in the fifth place means:

Waiting at meat and drink.
Perseverance brings good fortune.

Even in the midst of danger there come intervals of peace when things go relatively well. If we possess
enough inner strength, we shall take advantage of these intervals to fortify ourselves for renewed struggle.
We must know how to enjoy the moment without being deflected from the goal, for perseverance is
needed to remain victorious.

This is true in public life as well; it is not possible to achieve everything all at once. The height of wisdom
is to allow people enough recreation to quicken pleasure in their work until the task is completed. Herein
lies the secret of the whole hexagram. It differs from Chin OBSTRUCTION (39), in the fact that in this
instance, while waiting, we are sure of our cause and therefore do not lose the serenity born of inner

To wait next to a served table represents to feed and, therefore, to restore energy and be fortified. That
is way it is announced that to be constant in that attitude contributes to fortune. This line indicates that
one is in the right place and, indeed being this one the fifth line, it means that the next step would be the
final step. Therefore, this rest represents a preparation to undertake the last stage with a powerful action.

Six at the top means:

One falls into the pit.
Three uninvited guests arrive.
Honor them, and in the end there will be good fortune.

The waiting is over; the danger can no longer be averted. One falls into the pit and must yield to the
inevitable. Everything seems to have been in vain. But precisely in this extremity things take an
unforeseen turn. Without a move on one's own part, there is outside intervention. At first one cannot be
sure of its meaning: is it rescue or is it destruction? A person in this situation must keep his mind alert
and not withdraw into himself with a sulky gesture of refusal, but must greet the new turn with respect.
Thus he ultimately escapes the danger, and all goes well. Even happy turns of fortune often come in a
form that at first seems strange to us.

The cavern is the symbol of darkness; therefore it represents somebody who has lost the direction and
the coming of danger. To be lost in the cavern means to be alone, therefore, no one by itself will be able
to leave. To be inside a cavern represents to ignore what happens outwardly, that is to say, what
happens around oneself, it implies not to know or not to want to see. But help comes from outside.
Helpers do not represent the reality accepted so far, but that one imposed by itself. Because of that it is
announced that one will honor them, that is to say reality will be accepted. Good fortune means to leave
the cavern and recover clarity.