44: Liaison

An attraction is strong, but the relationship may not be destined to last. A coming together of disparate forces may not be what it seems. An apparently harmless—but potentially dangerous—element has attracted attention and is pulling on a stronger one. A traditional Chinese image is of a bold but immature young woman using her charms to gain influence over someone in a position of power. Ironically, the powerful person dallies with her, thinking it can do no harm. Ha! Famous last thoughts! When power shifts into the hands of those who are not prepared for it, misfortune can come to all parties. Still, you need not fear meetings with those whose positions are different from your own—as long as you are free of ulterior motives.

Be wary of temptations that arise because of the power of your position or, conversely, your connection to someone in an important position. Combat temptations to take unfair advantage of power differentials by nipping them in the bud before they can flower. As soon as you become aware of a dangerous liaison, promptly speak up or step away.

When honorable and balanced, there are indeed times when a rendezvous of the yielding and the strong turns out to be a great opportunity for a positive and constructive relationship. The difference between careless connection and a relationship of depth lies in the motives of one’s heart. How sincere are you?

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

As soon as it becomes clear that an unseemly element has crashed the party, show that distraction to the door. In social situations, one careless person can disrupt the lives of many good people; and such a person may also have many derelict relations. The intrusion of self-serving forces may also indicate a small, unhealthy craving—one that, if not checked in time, can become a destructive obsession.

Line 2

Here, a destructive force is held at bay through gentle means. There will be good fortune—if you can hold firm. One image is that of a viral epidemic that is best contained through quarantine and education than through mass evacuations and hysteria.

Line 3

There is danger of being influenced by a weakness within yourself, but circumstances are temporarily preventing it. As much as you might like to indulge a certain petty desire, don’t do it—at least not now. Indecision can be helpful when it leads to insight and proper action in the long run.

Line 4

It is not wise to turn your back on subordinates or more humble people; you may need their support sometime in the future. When people of lesser influence have good intentions, it is best to keep them on your side, as the seemingly less important people have a way of becoming more powerful when the time is ripe for it. Beware of your own ego.

Line 5

Stronger personalities often dominate humbler ones without even seeming to act. But you do not need to bring attention to your attributes to have influence. Simply allow events to take their natural course. This is skillful leadership—a sign of true power.

Line 6 (top line)

Those who have been sitting quietly on the mountaintop can find the tumult of the city almost unbearable. The mere suggestion of re-entering the active arena can be repulsive after a period of peaceful withdrawal. Nevertheless, proceeding to hold yourself at bay from normal concerns or activities can expose you to criticism and reproach. If you feel a need to stay removed, don’t let it bother you; continue as you were. When your work is done, your time is your own; so take to the quiet wilderness if you need it. Ignore the expectations of others when charting your own course.