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The 64 Hexagrams
of the I Ching

Diverging Interests

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38: Diverging Interests

About I Ching Hexagrams Deliverance

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40: Deliverance

39: Temporary Obstacles

In the course of trying to reach a goal or fulfill an ambition, temporary obstacles will invariably present themselves. This is not always a bad thing. Obstructions, difficulties and even setbacks that are eventually overcome can become assets. Without irritating grains of sand, oysters would never make pearls.

The obstacles pointed to here are not permanent, yet they are in the way for the time being. As when a large boulder falls in the middle of your route, the best course of action is usually to go around it, rather than to try to move it out of the way. Temporary obstacles need to be seen for what they are -- temporary -- and not be allowed to take on too much significance.

A positive aspect of even the most difficult stumbling block is that it can cause a person to turn inward, gaining greater depth of character and self-knowledge. While the ignorant bemoan their fate and seek to blame their problems on others, the wise always look to see if the cause of the problem is within themselves. Through introspection, obstacles can become a means for personal growth and self-discovery.

Without air resistance, no plane would ever fly.

If you are facing an interruption of your progress, do not be overly concerned. Challenges are a part of achieving every goal and every undertaking. Setbacks and reversals can affect morale, but keeping up your self-confidence in the face of obstacles is part of the successful solution to many, if not most, problems. Obstacles of short duration are best handled with a yielding attitude. Go around the boulder; don’t put your shoulder to it.

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