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The 64 Hexagrams
of the I Ching

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23: Splitting Apart

22: Grace and Beauty

A splashy sunset bathes the mountains in a soft radiance; the light of a full moon dances on the surface of a rippling river. Grace and beauty adorn the natural world. Grace is neither an all-powerful force, nor is it the essential or fundamental thing. By itself, it is form without content. Grace is moonlight on water, not the sunlight at noon. Yet grace brings artistic expression into the world, and enhances the quality of our lives. Grace brings success in small matters.

In the arts, grace arises out of adherence to form: the dancer becoming the choreography of the dance; the musician giving life to a musical score; the painter becoming one with brush and canvas. In human affairs, grace is aligned with mastery of aesthetic and cultural forms honed by time and honored by tradition. Through appreciation of graceful forms in human culture, we apprehend the pure beauty of the ideal, of life raised above the struggle for survival.

Possession of grace, like the bearing of a beautiful gift to a wedding, can add stature to those in humble positions. Take care to lend grace and dignity to small matters, while giving the weight of deep and careful consideration to matters of greater consequence. Though it should not be confused with true substance, artistic flair can take one far in this world.

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