9: Small Influences

A gentle wind gathers clouds, but still, there is no rain. Softer influences predominate as the power of smaller forces accumulates, making this a time for smooth and friendly persuasion.

The ebb and flow of events are like waves in the sea, and there are periods of low tide. At present, more sweeping actions are impossible or inappropriate, but small matters ultimately lead to bigger and better things when attended to with success. When the tide is rolling in, by all means ride the waves; when they are receding like they are now, however, focus on the little things.

When you cannot do much to affect large matters, persuasion and subtle influence prepare the way for stronger moves in the future. Use your intuition to chart your long-term course, but avoid bold actions—they are unlikely to work. This is a better time to refine existing abilities or develop new talents.

Gentleness is the key word here. Regarding whatever is on your mind right now, gentleness—combined with determination—is likely to generate more progress than brute force ever could.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

When a strong person encounters an obstacle in his or her path, the first inclination is to press forward, to remove it, or to overcome it by force. In the present circumstances, however, do not let yourself be drawn into direct action or conflict. Instead, stand back and take some time to assess the situation; consider all your options. Give yourself the space to advance or retreat—or to do nothing at all—for the time being.

Line 2

When you are skating on thin ice, it behooves you to allow others to take the lead. There is no disgrace in learning from others, particularly when doing so avoids putting you in harm’s way. Fortune awaits those who remain determined—and patient.

Line 3

When a small problem arises, keep it simple and focus on the immediate solution. Just as forcibly continuing to drive with a flat tire can ruin an entire journey, one can prevent small problems from creating a huge problem by attending to them quickly, and without overreacting or trying to force things. Step back, give the situation some space, and just focus on patching that flat tire. This is more effective in getting you farther up the road than bemoaning your fate or wasting energy assigning blame.
One can be disappointed when an easy time was expected. But exerting force at the wrong time will only deepen your troubles.

Line 4

In a world of constant change, personal sincerity creates an inner core of consistency. By seeking truth from real evidence rather than self-interest, one becomes a valued advisor to others. Sticking to the facts is like adding weight to the scales a spoonful at a time; eventually, significant weight comes to bear. In times of conflict, clear and objective insights count heavily, helping to avert violence and dispel fear.

Line 5

In the best partnerships, each partner complements the other. Loyalty and trust are the fuel that allows a cooperative relationship to shine. For the weaker partner, loyalty means devotion and service; for the stronger, trustworthiness is the key. A balanced partnership leads to great prosperity; and abundance achieved through partnership is appreciated and admired all the more because it is shared.

Line 6 (top line)

Gentle winds have gathered some clouds, and the rain finally arrives. Softer forces have gained strength for a moment of victory. But just as the full moon is followed by its inevitable waning, so a triumph of weak forces is destined to be short lived. The mature person learns to enjoy the fullness of the moon on its own terms, in its own time. A brilliant moon is a full cup. Toast the moment and be content in the knowledge that patience will reward you with more influence in the future.