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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

29: Dangerous Depths

Dangerous Depths

Exposure to danger brings good fortune to those who move beyond it. Like boaters staying afloat through white-water rapids, those faced with serious challenges need to remain alert. They must take all available precautions and, above all, must keep going forward so as to remove themselves from harm’s way. Once the danger has passed, everything is good.

A positive aspect of danger is that it offers an excellent chance to cleanse the senses and strengthen the spirit. Surviving danger brings tremendous reinvigoration, sharpening the eye and mind for future challenges.

It is reckless to court danger, but critical for inner development not to shrink from it either. Those who respond to danger most effectively are those who can establish an inner bubble of calm in the midst of the action. An emotionally stable center keeps one rooted in the moment, alert and focused. Courage at such times springs from focused attention and a brave willingness to penetrate the moment of danger to its very core, so as to shape it and transform it.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Harm will come to those who make a habit of taking unnecessary risks. Like a man who awakens to find that he is balancing on a tightrope, it is obvious to all but the man himself how he got there. Caught in such a predicament, there is little to do but take care to avoid further recklessness, and regain your balance as best you can.

Line 2

Calmly take stock of your situation, and be realistic. When one is in trouble, it is unwise to think immediately of escape before the source of the current dilemma is clear. Sit still, and learn what you can, for this is what the time allows.

Line 3

Like a rock climber stuck on a narrow ledge high on a cliff, any move, forward or backward, leads to trouble. Forget escape -- it is impossible for the time being. The only thing to do is wait for help or a new way out. To move prematurely will only complicate the efforts of forces that will try to help you.

Line 4

Make cooperation your primary objective now. When danger is at hand, there is no need to stand on ceremony. Outer forms of polite society fall away quickly, and blamelessly, when aid in the face of danger becomes the priority. Simplicity wins the day.

Line 5

Excessive ambition takes one to the brink of danger. When the water rises quickly in a narrow canyon, think only of escape. To discover a way out, follow the path of least resistance. No blame.

Line 6 (top line)

One is like a prisoner, bound and shackled. This is a risky position to be in. If you behave properly and remain faithful, you will survive, no matter how tough things become. It’s good to remember that you are the victim of your own mistakes. You have lost the way and are trapped in a thicket of troubles -- seemingly without any way to escape. Don’t give up hope, however. After a while, you will find your way.