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The 64 Hexagrams
of the I Ching


40: Deliverance

About I Ching HexagramsIncrease

42: Increase

41: Decrease

Increase and decrease are both part of the natural cycle of life. As another ancient scripture put it, “To every thing, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Like a reservoir used to irrigate the fields, learning to accept a temporary decrease—in position, feelings, or material possessions—prepares the way for an increase in the future.

We live in materialistic times, but there is no disgrace in letting go of some of your assets; this can be part of an investment in future gain—a gain that may come in the form of greater freedom, learning, or development of personal character. Likewise, the inner strength that comes from bearing an unanticipated loss can be balanced by an increase in inner strength and insight. When letting go of material desires leads to greater simplicity in daily life, good fortune comes calling.

In nature, the lake evaporates to form clouds that drop rain, which nurtures the surrounding forest. As the forest grows thick, more rain is captured to increase the lake. Similarly, some evaporation of resources, or a decrease in one area of your life, will give rise to an eventual increase in another. A loss of responsibility at work can mean more free time, and more free time may generate greater creativity or more career options. In general, a decrease can free the spirit and fill the soul with a lofty and satisfying sense of purpose.

Be mindful of the lesson of young lovers: even with minimal possessions, feelings of the heart can bring an unsurpassed richness to life. The smallest of actions, if sincere, can have great value. Remain confident, for a time of decrease may actually bode good fortune for you—especially if you remain open to the possibility.

Let go of frustration, resistance and regret over whatever might be decreasing at this time. See the larger picture and accept the ebb and flow of life’s cycles.

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