33: Retreat

All worthy goals meet some resistance. When negative forces predominate, a well-timed retreat can be a good move for keeping your energy up and allowing you to persevere.

Strategic retreat is not to be confused with escape or surrender. Nevertheless, a well-timed retreat may require quick and nimble movement, in order to take up a new position before you are damaged by a current threat. You are not admitting defeat by such action but increasing your options by preserving your energy and other resources. Sometimes it is necessary to slow down, let go, or move back to better position yourself for future moves or to draw an opponent closer. Timing is critical, as is positioning and considerations of personal security. Skillful retreat is truly a sign of intelligence and strength.

Periods of withdrawal or retreat call for coolheadedness, so keep your wits about you. Attend to details while allowing for enough time to contemplate the big picture—and be creative in your solutions. Remember: not all progress follows a straight line. Maintaining a sense of self-confidence is essential, as small setbacks can easily become defeats if we’re mired in self-doubt or self-pity. A confident retreat can produce success.

Waves of progress are short lived. Strive to attune yourself to the up-and-down cycles of life. If you want something, allow it to come to you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can “fix” any situation whenever you feel like it. Some things are bigger than you. Hold your pride in check, and you will be better prepared to discover creative openings when they arise.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

In retreat, positioning is vitally important. Avoid being too visible—too close to the source of your opposition. If you do find yourself positioned in an opponent’s sights, the best tactic may be to keep still, lie low, and wait for the moment to pass. Be extremely careful, because any movement now could work to your opposition’s advantage.

Line 2

This changing line refers to a situation where someone of integrity is under attack or is being vigorously pursued by an opposing force. In such a treacherous situation, movement in the face of danger is essential. Retreating when under attack, rather than engaging in direct confrontation, can also create the advantage of gaining sympathy for your cause.

Line 3

To be blocked during retreat brings misfortune. When it becomes necessary to retreat from a dangerous or overly complicated situation, you must move; but keep in mind that sometimes, unfit teammates will impede the process of your retreating. Though these are not people you would normally want on your team, in a time of retreat, it may be necessary to deal with them. Just remember that these people must not be allowed to play a prominent role in your affairs after your retreat has run its course.

Line 4

By gracefully withdrawing from conflict, you will be able to protect yourself from humiliation and the enmity of others. Furthermore, you deprive the opposition of an enemy to confront, which is a strategic move in itself. To gracefully retreat in a heated atmosphere is not easy, but it does offer the advantage of upholding your integrity and grace, which can only be achieved by one of honorable character. It is only those who lose the guidance of the higher self who suffer. Rise to the occasion. Proper handling of a setback is an opportunity for good progress in the long run.

Line 5

If the right moment is selected for retreat, the withdrawal can be affected quickly and smoothly, and in a friendly way, with all the proper amenities observed. The key is maintaining a clear focus and taking resolute action. Once your mind is made up, do not let yourself be distracted by lesser concerns. Make your move!

Line 6 (top line)

When all signs point to retreat or resignation, the proper course of action can be followed without regret. Sometimes, great issues resolve themselves; in such cases, it doesn’t help you to remain attached to old or futile goals and ambitions. The most successful approach is a cheerful acceptance of your karma and a willingness to proceed along the open road—even if it leads you into unfamiliar realms. If you can leave yourself and others smiling, this is a wonderful victory.