20: Overview

Overview calls for composure and contemplation. As a result of deep introspection, an invisible energy emanates from us, influencing others without their being aware of it. Do not underestimate the power of this force. Like the wind blowing across the treetops, its presence is perceived through the effect it has on everything it touches.

Shallow wells rarely strike water, and shallow minds often come up empty. The ability to keep still and deeply observe strengthens resolve and attracts good fortune. Discern the difference between what is deep and what is shallow within yourself — and you will be able to distinguish between the two in the outer world as well.

During a period between events, the practice of stillness with awareness is beneficial. By mindfully observing the true nature of things — by apprehending the rhythms and cycles, which guide all creation — we can discover natural laws that rule our lives. Examine yourself and your situation, not just with the thought of discovering truth, but also with the idea of focusing your personal power. This is the time to see and be seen.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

When a novice practices contemplation, he or she fails to perceive the depth of the forces that are at work in the current environment -- due to a lack of experience, wisdom or good judgment. While such limitations are natural for beginners, people of substance know better than to be misled by the surface appearance of things; they do not overlook the connectivity of the whole. Do your best to look deeply.
When in the presence of someone possessing a greater capacity for profound understanding, pay close attention. Even when you do not fully understand a wise person’s advice, it can still help you.

Line 2

In this instance, self-centeredness trumps contemplation replacing a larger vision with one that is small. This is like trying to view the wide world through a microscope or a small crack in a closet door. If you would be successful in the affairs of the world, let go of self-absorption, kick the door open, and let a vision enter your soul. Only in this way can you avoid the harm that small-mindedness inevitably brings.

Line 3

Introspection is not escaping into a fantasy world of your dreams. Contemplate the effects your actions have in the real world. By doing so, you can discern whether or not you are making progress.

Line 4

A person who has divined the solution to a problem or envisioned a path to success should be placed in an honored position, like that of a revered guest. The independence of the guest allows him or her to offer fresh insight, while being close enough to be heard clearly and understood. Avoid regarding perceptive people as tools to further your own aims; their value is much greater than that.

Line 5

Self-examination is called for now. Don’t brood over your shortcomings -- that is just a trap for the weak! Study the effect you have on people, and how events tend to unfold around you. If such effects are positive, then you will be able to enjoy fulfillment. Do not try to deny the obvious. Seek truth from experience, and keep your eyes focused on the steady flame of reality, rather than the shifting shadows of illusion.

Line 6 (top line)

Here a person has achieved a state of contemplation that transcends egocentric considerations and personal feelings. He is like the hiker who has finally reached the top of the mountain. If you have attained such a high perspective, sit for a while and enjoy the view. If not, it might be time to hit the trail again.