Archetype 52: Holding Still

CR P02 C52 A01

And when Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A gale arose on the lake, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

—Matthew 8:23–27

The Reading

In this reading, we are given a wonderful metaphor. Through faith, meditation, and prayer, we can transform the storms of life into “a great calm.”

The Hexagram

CR P02 C52 A02

This hexagram is the opposite of the last hexagram, that for Thunder (archetype 51). Both of these hexagrams consist of a doubled trigram, and both trigrams consist of a single strong line and two weak lines. In Thunder, the solid line is at the bottom of the two broken lines. Now the solid line is above the broken lines, where it can rest peacefully in its natural position. The image of Stillness is Mountain, which conveys an eternal picture of stillness. In this hexagram, we have Stillness doubled, which conveys the great calm Jesus spoke of.

The Archetype

There is a time...

  • To understand that the nature of calmness is being still when stillness is called for and moving when movement is called for.
  • To take the time to quiet and center the mind.
  • To persevere in the quest for stillness despite the difficulties.
  • To let go of the struggles and tumult of daily life.
  • To turn to the world only when a state of calmness has been achieved.
  • To see past the storms and tribulations of Ego and cultivate the faith and wisdom that lead to inner peace.
  • To acutely focus the thoughts on the immediate problem.

Now is that time.

Moving Lines

Moving Line in the First (Bottom) Position

A moving line in the bottom position counsels on the importance of holding still, especially in the beginning. This is a time when mistakes have not yet been made, and there is a natural harmony with Wisdom’s way. Ego has not yet run amok, and one can more easily see the truth of things as they are. It takes effort and resolve to hold to stillness at the beginning, but the effort is worthwhile.

Moving Line in the Second Position

A moving line in the second position warns of being carried along by the motion of one’s superior. Even if one is striving to build a centered calm, there is little one can do to mitigate the anxious thoughts of those in power.

Moving Line in the Third Position

A moving line in the third position describes a calm that is brought about through force. True calmness comes about naturally and cannot be forced. If one is trying to force calmness through meditation and/or other approaches, the result is a phony calmness that is really a mask for Ego. This creates the potential for considerable harm.

Moving Line in the Fourth Position

A moving line in the fourth position tells us that the highest stage of rest is one in which the Ego has been completely silenced. At this time, this goal has not been achieved. Still, one is making important progress and is encouraged to continue.

Moving Line in the Fifth Position

A moving line in the fifth position warns that one is in a dangerous situation and feels out of control, and that one is inclined to be careless in speech. This exacerbates the situation. On the other hand, if one is careful with words, these words gain power.

Moving Line in the Sixth (Top) Position

A moving line in the top position describes one who has achieved great inner tranquility. Everything in life can now be approached from a position of calmness. A person like this is a source of peace and calm that has a universal impact.

Other interpretations of Archetype 52:

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.