Cafeausoul logo
Go to home page

I ching

Chun (Difficult Beginnings)

I Ching Hexagram 3
Chun (Difficult Beginnings)

Action: Persevere

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 23 Split Apart: Regenerate

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 50 Cauldron: Refine

Dragging the adversary about when there is no adversary
will cost you your inner treasure.

Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain. – Emerson

Reading at a Glance: Just as a seedling must crack open and push through soil and rocks to reach its source of solar nourishment, all new endeavors encounter obstacles in the beginning stages. The time calls for persevering into regeneration. Obstacles refine our sincerity about what we are doing, and hone our inner vision. The arrangement of the I Ching generally unfolds where each hexagram is viewed to be the cause or response of the preceding one. Yet Chun is the result of two hexagrams: The Creative and the Receptive interacting. Therefore Chun embodies how opposite yet powerful energies give birth to something new. This hexagram has a unique message where an unavoidable but difficult encounter must come together such as in marriage. Because the situation has never gone before, it lacks the clarity that comes from experience, yet how refreshing! It embodies the sense that the situation is meant to be and its opposing qualities are what brought it to life in the first place. Chun can appear when a commitment is being considered and the act of considering it is what changed an Easy attraction into something Difficult. Like nature which would remain stagnant without necessary friction, Chun embodies perfectly how to embrace conflict as the driving force of evolution. Often we want to cast blame when we fail, but we always take responsibility for our success. To succeed, you must recognize how Tao improves deficiencies by sharpening them into skills. Life has always been committed to your success but going it alone is not an option here because the dynamic of interdependency is central to Chun. Learn to see the ‘teacher’ in those who challenge you. Eliminate defenses and preconceptions so you can be lifted to a higher level. The hidden influence describes the Splitting Apart of a past way of thinking, while the Cauldron refines and boils down your capabilities. Connect with your passion and purpose and persevere until you find a way to manifest your dream. In that regard, Chun embodies the dream coming into existence. The path ahead is new and promises wonderful transformational learning regardless of the outcome.

mist in morning forest

Each day


A silvery spray -

a washing away;

a strengthening.

“Clouds and Thunder: the image of difficulty at the beginning.” Chun is the image of a seedling that must immediately push beyond dirt and rocks to survive. At times we face what appears to be an obstacle, yet circumstances are merely breaking away our protective covering.

The master said: "Danger and opportunity grow on one stalk." They are inseparable from the perspective of growth. Do not be frightened of how Tao cultivates your strength of purpose.

Like a blade of grass, we follow an inborn pattern of direction. Events peel away the seed's protective husk when it is time to blossom. The rock may appear as an obstacle, but it holds soil and moisture where it is most needed. Difficulty nurtures and stabilizes you when you can see all obstacles as opportunities and not barriers.

Adversity allows you to see how Tao carves away your unnecessary layers. To be skilled in the Way, be fearless in approaching change; to be one with it however, you must trust the special nuances of your pathway.

The master said: “when you examine your heart and find no taint, what cause is there for self pity or fear?” A heart tainted by fear projects the very barriers that reinforce a sense of self-pity. To rule the empire, you cannot have dragons lurking about.

Knowing that there are no adversaries allows you to move forward with a sense of power. “Dragging the adversary about when there is no adversary will cost you your inner treasure.” When you unmask the adversary, you will see how having an enemy allows you to blame someone or something else for your condition.

The more you deny your power to be real, the more conflicted life becomes. Yet, Tao would set you free and is always seeking to prod you into being the best of what you can be.

All new endeavors embody a level of uncertainty but this is no reason to give up. Operating without obvious reinforcement is the only way that you can find your inner direction. The most amazing discoveries come from one individual following only their inner drummer. Something within you is struggling for definition and it is being shaped by unfolding events. Holding to a vision of being the best that you can be, nothing ever comes to block your way. It only makes you stronger. Difficult beginnings is how nature takes note of what is emerging and works to test and strengthen it. After a period of Difficult Beginnings your sincerity about what you are doing becomes clear.


Difficult beginnings as a gift = the path knows you are coming. If you receive this hexagram unchanging, you may not even be aware of a looming change on the horizon. It can be a message to start small and stay focused on the work, regardless of how inexperienced or unsure you may feel. The fact that Difficult Beginnings shows up static prompts you to look around to see what new beginning is not occurring because you are rooted to the past. A difficult decision may be required that you are avoiding. If you are rooted in the old, nothing should be continued. Chun unchanging is like a cosmic gift you may not deserve but the universe supports it in some way. Whatever the beginning, once you recognize it as the proper path, perseverance leads to success. You may not even realize how lucky you are to have the path cleared before you.

Line 1:

Insurmountable obstacle, conserve and build strength = seek advice. Changes to (8) Uniting. An obstacle appears that seems insurmountable like stone, but there is someone who is able to help you. Your path is correct and you are offered support by a reliable person who won’t let you down. In this line we learn the value of relationships.

Line 2:

The wagon and horses are separated. It is not a robbery, but a wooing = commitment makes anything possible. Changes to (60) Limitation. Limitations are the breeding ground for nature’s strengths. A period of waiting has to occur to test your resolve and allow you to discover a sense of commitment. Rather than change course, stay with what you have built. The power of commitment is like gravity and is unaffected by obstacles or time. If you know you want it then make a commitment to ‘woo’ it. In this line we see how the excited energy of opposing forces feels like a robbery, but has ‘joining together’ as its purpose.

Line 3:

Hunting deer without knowing the way = resist acting without foresight or experience. Changes to (63) After Completion. Although a special opportunity has appeared, it is not wise to pursue it blindly because of the danger it presents. You do not have the experience or knowledge to make it work in your favor. Going forward leads to endings and humiliation. Complete a course of study or seek advice prior to moving forward.

Line 4:

The wagon and horses are separated, you are cut off from something essential = striving for union. Changes to (17) Following. While following another, you may have become trapped. They may have followed you and feel trapped. The attraction is strong, but gaining union requires that you demonstrate your sincerity. Look at the situation more closely to understand what you are offering another and their intentions in accepting. Pursue the path that leads to fulfillment. Don’t accept less than complete satisfaction. What you think you ‘need’ externally is actually found within.

Line 5:

Difficulties that fertilize = move forward delicately. Changes to (24) Return. While you may have left the situation, returning is acceptable and is well received. The realization that comes from making a mistake actually improves the situation. The obstacle allowed you to connect with sincerity. It is still important to tread delicately.

Line 6:

The wagon and horses are separated, an impasse is reached = brings great sadness and frustration in bloody tears. Changes to (42) Increase. While a door appears to close or an impasse emerges, know that opportunity for greater fulfillment is still possible. Perhaps the first approach to the situation was just too hard or unworkable. Increase is a message about taking your game to a different level through a win/win solution. Crying won't get you anywhere. Don’t allow failure to keep you from pursuing new opportunities or new approaches. Sometimes you need to discover what you don’t want or can’t have in order to discover the gift life offers you in what is. Until Difficulties are observed to be life’s gestating force you cannot overcome them. Bloody tears can portray the enormous difficulty you are faced with, while also poking fun at your woe is me attitude - "nobody has it as bad as me!" This is not the time to give up although some people meet frustration and throw their hands up in the air. Live the questions willingly until you realize that they are the answer. Don't give up but be warned: if you do get the object of your inquiry it won't be a walk in the park.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 3 unchanging Hexagram 3.1 Hexagram 3.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 3.2 Hexagram 3.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 3.3 Hexagram 3.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 3.4 Hexagram 3.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 3.5 Hexagram 3.5.6 Hexagram 3.6