The Noble One: Stilling

March 21, 2011

Hexagram 52, Stilling is classically regarded as an allusion to meditation. The Statement is: “One stills one’s back and does not move one’s body. There is movement in one’s courtyard but one does not see one’s people.”

However, the Image seems to give a different implication: The noble one does not consider matters beyond his position. Here there is the idea of someone in action, perhaps as vigorous as the thunder of Hexagram 51, who pauses in stillness. Matters require a cessation for the moment and a consideration of one’s options. The Noble One is to examine only the possibilities of the current position. There is to be nothing gained by speculation or ambitiously far-reaching plans.

Does Hexagram 52 mean that we should not act? It’s important to distinguish this carefully. There are certainly other hexagrams that state we should not act. This is not one of them. We are only to consider what is within our position, but we are still supposed to act on them.

Taoist meditation is outwardly still but inwardly dynamic. The Taoist feels that everything in the universe moves, and therefore meditation must also move—inside. In the same way, the situation of Stillness means that we must consider all that is inside—and move nevertheless. That movement will not be discernable even to the “people in one’s courtyard,” but the effects will be far reaching.


One Response to “The Noble One: Stilling”

  1. I’m leaving this comment as a means to try to subscribe to the LivingIChing blog by email.

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