Hexagram 32 – The Secret to Staying Together

Dear I-Ching, can you help me with my love life?

I Ching answers with #32

Hexagram #32, Heng / Duration.

I went to the I-Ching with a specific question, “How do you make a loving and romantic relationship last?”. The response from the I-Ching was brilliant. She pinpointed the secret to a lasting marriage or relationship, in which she has tied it to the nature of the Tao, that of the cycle of beginnings and endings.

At first, this does not make sense. We all know how romance begins, but when it slowly progresses to its natural ending, it does not relate very well to Duration, which should be that which lasts long. How does this correlate to Heng (Duration)? The answer lies in the nature of the Tao, which is everlasting precisely because it has the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth built right in.

The ending of a romance is not the end of romance, it is merely the ending of one cycle of romance. If we look at it from a Taoist point of view, it’s great that the cycle is running down because we can now look forward to a new cycle of new romance all over again, but this time, at a different level. The cog is higher in the sphere, and it is larger, having had a full turn of the last one to build itself into a much more durable cog.

The secret is to make the well-loved partner the object of that new and budding love that will spring forth to take the place of the end-cycle of the old love. You essentially fall in love with the same person, over and over again, as each successive cycle rises and wanes. You follow the ancient rhythm pattern, and with each cycle, you grow as a couple, towards oneness. You walk the path together. You get there together.

The hexagram shows Chen and Sun. Chen is strong movement and Sun is gentle support. This means that the lovers have to be there for each other, one being strong and the other giving gentle support. The outer movement is supported within by gentle devotion. It cannot break when the strong is augmented by the gentle. This is how Duration continues onward

I-Ching, in her eager way to show us her ancient knowledge, also gave us the image of thunder and wind. Thunder is carried by the wind, and the wind is strengthened by thunder. Their combined action causes each to grow stronger and to travel farther than if they were to do so alone.

Key words here are Perseverance in the Right Course, and Continuity in Change. If we recognize that change is going to occur, we will be ready for it, and will move with strength and gentleness, dynamically through the flow of change. If we stubbornly try to cling onto the dying cog of old love, we will be fighting against the crashing of the tide and will break apart, missing the chance to move onto the new and improved cog, to start the cycle over again, anew and refreshed with the same precious love partner.

The Text:

#32 – Heng – Duration

Duration means that which always is. What is in the middle abides always.

The Sequence:

The way of husband and wife must not be other than long-lasting. Hence there follows the hexagram of Duration. Duration means long-lasting.

Commentary on the Decision:

Duration means that which lasts long. The strong is above, the weak below; thunder and wind work together.

Gentle and in motion. The strong and the weak all correspond: this signifies duration.

Success. No blame. Persevereance furthers. This means lasting perseverance in one’s course. The course of heaven and earth is enduring and long and never ends.

It furthers one to have somewhere to go. This means that an end is always followed by a new beginning.

Sun and moon have heaven and can therefore shine forever. The four seasons change and transform, and thus can forever bring to completion.l The holy man remains forever in his course, and the world reshapes itself to completion. If we meditate on what gives duration to a thing, we can understand the nature of heaven and earth and of all beings.

The images show thunder, which is carried still farther by the power of wind, and wind, which is strengthened by the power of thunder. Their combined action imparts duration to both. The attribute of the trigram Sun is gentleness, that of Chen is movement. The outer movement, supported within by devotion, is likewise such as that it is capable of duration.

On the basis of the Judgment, the conditions necessary for duration are then set forth. They consist in perseverance in the right course, that is to say, continuity in change. This is the secret of the eternity of the universe.

Perseverance in a course leads to a goal, the end. However, since the course is cyclic, a new beginning is joined with every end. Movement and rest beget each other. This is the rhythm of all happening. The operation of this principle in specific instances, in relation to the macrocosm and tihe microcosm, is then pointed out.

I read this and was so thankful that, even as ancient and powerful as the I-Ching is, and even as she dispenses crucial advice to sages and kings wielding mighty armies, she still makes a really good love and romance counselor! The Tao Te Ching was carefully extracted of knowledge to be used for the advising of kings and queens, and so it speaks from a different perspective, targeted for a specific audience, and one that I am not privy to since I am not a queen.

But the I-Ching is different. I identify with the I-Ching’s teachings so much because it was written for ALL experiences and for ALL people, using accessible images and hexagrams to clearly express itself.

5 thoughts on “Hexagram 32 – The Secret to Staying Together

Add yours

  1. Very well translated to live and love, excellent, you know and have studied the Tao well, and have the ability to transmute and manisfest, thank you for your wise words!


  2. I too found this article, so reassuring and beautiful, like moonlight on water…enduring,
    renewing, illuminating the unknown depths…


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