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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

38: Diverging Interests

Diverging Interests

An image of estrangement is indicated. For example, when brothers and sisters marry, they grow apart, since their allegiances lie with new families. Though they will remain close enough to successfully deal with problems and share minor interests, they will be unable to undertake any great projects together. Simply put, when people grow apart — even for the most natural of reasons — their points of view, values and interests diverge.

Divergent natures and interests bring opposition into the world of human affairs. And if opposition drifts into alienation and enmity, there are no good results. But when opposition takes the form of healthy competition, or when it is simply part of the natural order of things and is recognized as such, good fortune is still possible.

When diverging interests make a situation seem stagnant or futile, remember that there are always creative possibilities inherent in polarities. One is reminded of the interplay of the opposites, yin and yang, that is fundamental to life itself. And, as the symbol of the Tao illustrates, the yin and the yang each have the seed of the other residing within them.

When opposition has its roots in issues of principle, hold to your integrity and individuality. Avoid becoming involved with vulgar or base people who do not share your values. With both people and companies, one measure of stature is the quality of the competition.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Trying to rectify estrangements caused by small misunderstandings can lead to situations similar to that of a man whose horse has escaped his barn. If the man dashes after the horse in a futile effort to capture it, the horse runs faster and further away. But if the man simply returns home, the matter is settled quite easily, for the horse will return to the barn once it becomes hungry or thirsty. Let small disputes solve themselves; and let the other person come back around of his own accord. Application of too much power in petty disputes can drive you further from your goal, and make reconciliation more difficult. Caution is justified against negative people who have forced themselves upon you, perhaps through some misunderstanding. In this case, to actively intervene will only cause hostility and more problems. The better course now is to just endure them until they eventually move on of their own accord.

Line 2

This is a difficult time to get together with those in your circle with whom you have misunderstandings. However, if you do get the chance to meet “accidentally” in informal circumstances, there may be an opportunity for compromise, provided there is an inner affinity between you. This can only happen if you let go of mistrust and let yourselves be open to the other’s truth.

Line 3

This is the line of Murphy’s Law: Everything that could have gone wrong has. It may seem at times that the universe is conspiring against you, but when opposition to progress is at its peak, an opening often soon emerges. When bad luck strikes, the best strategy may be to join up with someone whose luck is better than yours right now. With the right attitude and persistence, good fortune returns in the end.

Line 4

If you find yourself in a group of people with whom you have little in common, seeds of opposition can grow into personal isolation. In such circumstances, the ideal solution is to find someone with whom you share deep interests, and whom you can trust. Through the taking of a good friend or lover, inner opposition can be overcome.

Line 5

When someone with sincere intentions at first appears to oppose you, look deeper. It may be that you have misjudged this person, or that you have been wrong in your own attitudes or behavior. In this world, sincere people should be met openly: how could this be a mistake?

Line 6 (top line)

Estrangement can arise from a failure to clearly perceive the world. Overly defensive people often ascribe all sorts of sinister motives to other people, even to those who would be their friends. This kind of thinking leads to isolation. All that is necessary to reverse this kind of cycle is to observe the world more closely, without prejudice and to be honest about possible errors in your attitude. This can lead to an increase in self-esteem, which may strike at the very root of the problem. Those who think well of others tend to think well of themselves, and vice versa.