Archetype 15: Modesty

CR P02 C15 A01

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

—Matthew 6:5–6

The Reading

Jesus is telling us not to make public displays of prayer. Prayer is not about trying to impress others; it is about deepening our relationship with God. When we tell others how wonderful we are because we are better Christians than they are, we are not using prayer to deepen our relationship with God. We are using prayer to deepen our relationship with Ego.

This same admonition applies to charitable work. Charitable work is the public manifestation of faith. This includes taking care of the poor, healing the sick, and visiting those in prison. Are we doing these as a public manifestation of faith or as a public manifestation of Ego? Work done as a manifestation of faith nurtures faith. Work done as a manifestation of Ego nurtures Ego.

As Christians, we understand that our abilities are not our abilities; they are abilities given to us for a purpose.

The Hexagram

CR P02 C15 A02

The hexagram is made up of the trigrams Stillness below and Wisdom above. Stillness is the foundation of Wisdom. This is the picture of modesty.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To embrace modesty.
  • To meditate on the lesson of nature: God makes full that which is empty and empties that which is full.
  • To reduce the extremes that cause social discontent.
  • To understand that the nature of modesty doesn’t mean not doing great things, but not doing them to feed Ego.
  • To remain modest despite a high position and thereby shine with wisdom.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

A moving line in the bottom position warns that a dangerous task is even more dangerous when Ego’s self-serving claims, demands, and considerations are allowed to muddy the waters. Ego must be checked at the door. This must be attended to quickly, simply, and with attention to God’s will.

Moving Line in the Second Position

A moving line in the second position teaches that when modesty is reflected in speech and behavior, God’s blessings follow. Then one can resist interference and have a lasting influence.

Moving Line in the Third Position

 A moving line in the third position contains the essence of this archetype. When one achieves great things, one earns recognition and distinction. Fame feeds Ego. Ego tells us to take on a superior attitude. Nobody loves or supports us when we act superior. Therefore it is critical to maintain modesty despite our achievements.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

 A moving line in the fourth position admonishes those who would use modesty as an excuse for not doing God’s work. Moses tried this: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exod. 4:11) Modesty is not about avoiding, but simply doing what needs to be done and recognizing all who have contributed.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

 A moving line in the fifth position reminds that modesty is not to be confused with weakness. When one holds an important position, one must at times act forcefully. But that doesn’t give one a license for boasting. The forceful actions are to be used only to achieve God’s will, not to gratify one’s Ego.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

 A moving line in the top position says that modesty must be made manifest. This requires energy. When difficulties arise, Ego tells us to lay the blame on others. When Ego feels under attack, we draw back, feeling fear and self-pity. Ego tries to hide behind modesty. But true modesty inspires us to create order, to tame Ego, and provide discipline to ourselves and those around us. True modesty gives us the courage to stand up to Ego. Only then can we embrace the path God has set before us and accomplish that which God has chosen us to do.

Other interpretations of Archetype 15:

Internal Links:

  • Return to the Hexagram Index Table [click here].
  • Return to Consulting the Christian I Ching [click here].
  • Purchase a printed copy of Wisdom's Way; The Christian I Ching [click here].
  • Learn about our Online Christian I Ching Workshop [click here].
  • Find out about personal consultations [click here].

Reproduced with permission from Wisdom's Way; The Christian I Ching copyright (c) 2015 Roger Sessions.

A moving line in the second position teaches that when modesty is reflected in speech and behavior, God’s blessings follow. Then one can resist interference and have a lasting influence.