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I ching

Hsien (Influence/Wooing)

I Ching Hexagram 31
Hsien (Influence/Wooing)

Action: Woo

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 44 Coming to Meet: Encounter

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 41 Decrease: Evaluate

Wooing is how you attract
those things that you desire.

Great hearts steadily send forth the secret forces
that incessantly draw great events. – Emerson

Reading at a Glance: When the Joyful Lake sits upon the sturdiness of the Mountain, one is ascending and the other is descending. The Lake nourishes the mountain while it is the mountain that causes the rain to fall and fill the lake. Wooing is the idea of seeking win/win solutions where all parties benefit by coming together. In courtship, something profound happens between individuals who feel a mutual attraction. While they may not understand why, they just feel more complete being together. Relationships built around expectations and manipulation can succeed, although true fulfillment comes when nature is simply taking its course. The situation has the effect of pulling you forward because it feels right. Affection attracts affection and obstruction attracts obstruction. The hidden influence of Coming to Meet suggests that you are attracting the experiences of which your mind is currently focused. Woo your experiences the way a suitor would woo another. Focus on the positive, complimenting life for making you stronger and wiser. Cherish the gifts that come to you each day. Smile, it makes you attractive. Where the underlying cause of evaluation or Decrease was a period to understand loss and how to make the best of it, the time has now come to open to how life is affecting you. Open to how you are affecting life with your outlook.

Bird taking off from lake at sunset

Experience courts



of the

chaste mind.

“The Lake on the Mountain: the image of influence where the weak is above and the strong is below.” Like gravity, you have the opportunity to attract events by wooing. Centered in your own power, you will attract those situations that fortify it. Therefore, if you are wooing something like fear, you may observe how you also attract an opportunity to fortify it. Be diligent in thought.

The master said: "When you leave the mind alone and allow it to function in its most spontaneous way, Te will develop naturally." Just as there is a driving force behind life’s pursuit of excellence, Te is your transformative essence and evolving power to become.

The Mountain bows down to the Joyous Lake, and personifies courtship, and the lesson of the strong wooing the weak. In the image of two broken pieces of pottery that fit together perfectly, a partnership with life is formed at the threshold of perception.

To observe and accept things as they really are, you are no longer defending anything. This will allow only the necessary to come forward to guide you. Moving away from the negativity of ‘what you should and shouldn’t do,’ you will attract by virtue of ‘what you do.’ In this spontaneous and unfettered perspective, your entire being is given expression. You will discover how the pathway always mirrors your capabilities.

Lieh Tzu was trained by Lao Shang: “For three years, my mind did not reflect upon right or wrong and my lips did not speak of gain or loss. During this time, my master bestowed only one glance upon me. After five years, a change took place, and my mind did reflect on right and wrong; my lips spoke of gain and loss. For the first time, my master relaxed his countenance and smiled. After seven years, I let my mind reflect on whatever it would, but it no longer occupied itself with right or wrong. I let my lips utter whatsoever they pleased, but they no longer spoke of gain or loss. Then, at last, my master invited me to sit on the mat beside him. After nine years, my mind gave free reign to its reflections; my mouth gave free reign to its speech. Of right, wrong, gain or loss, I had no knowledge. Internal and external were blended in unity. I was wholly unaware of what my body was resting upon. I was born this way, like leaves falling from a tree and playing on the wind. In fact, I knew not whether the wind was riding on me, or whether I was riding on the wind.”

To activate the power of Te, do not negate the mind, but do not allow it to keep you its prisoner. Being natural and spontaneously yourself, you are always wooing experience because it will always reflect the condition of your inner world.

When you open to the Tao of Nature, spontaneity or a willingness to make mistakes drives inner excellence. Since you do not hold back, you are in a better position to receive; not classifying experience in terms of good and bad, you are freed from thought that can become restrictive.

“Like attracts like; obstruction attracts obstruction.” Wooing or influence is how you activate this spontaneous attraction that is always reciprocated. You must only be vigilant in romancing experience and not overlaying it with your beliefs. Whether it is the lover, who opens to love, or the farmer, who uses the seasons to plant, it is by virtue of ‘what you do’ that you reap.


Thoughts change everything = be in mutual rapport with experience.If what you see around you does not satisfy, consider changing your outlook. You may have put too much emphasis on what you think you need and are not seeing that you are getting exactly what you are reinforcing: “I feel empty, therefore I feel needy” or “it feels perfect and it is perfect.” If you are empty within – the world looks empty without. Wooing is like a mirror showing the reflection of your inner world. The tranquility of the Mountain with the Joyous Lake above shows how relationships should be mutually beneficial. All that is needed to turn this situation around is opening to the ability to be influenced, to allow life or another to make you smile. Two people are affecting each other in a mutual way and the connection endures even without communication. Since the situation is unchanging, perhaps one is not sure whether they want to act on the attraction because of where it might lead. This can be a message about a dysfunctional attraction that is still sustained. Its message can be about boundaries and interdependence rather than dependence. Because two things come together complete in their nature we see a Lake on a Mountain rather than a mud slide or flood. Wooing is not commitment however, so give a situation time to sort itself out. Perhaps a focus on play is more important. Give careful thought to what you wish for, because you may get it. In non-relationship matters, the message is that you will get out of something all that you put into it. If you feel pessimistic it will translate into experience. If you are excited about it, chances are others will be too.

Line 1:

Influenced in the big toe = a goal without movement. Changes to (49) Revolution. While the influence is being felt it is not yet being acted upon. There is something in the air, and you might have a great idea or attraction but there is more to do to make it a reality. Before movement can occur a time of Revolution or a change in outlook may be required.

Line 2:

Influenced in the calves, misfortune = better to wait. Changes to (28) Critical Mass. It may seem like it is time to move, but you don’t have all of the facts. To avoid danger, control your response until the time comes when you will know when to act. Critical Mass is a condition of too much of something so your advances might not woo the situation favorably, but appear needy. Waiting will allow natural magnetism to manifest if the situation is correct for you.

Line 3:

Influenced in the thigh, humiliation = do not seek low hanging fruit. Changes to (45) Gathering Together. Just because what you desire seems within reach doesn’t mean getting it will make you fulfilled. Don’t be influenced by compulsions or base urges. The attraction is strong and gathers others to you but it may be an unhealthy way of interacting. Gathering Together shows interdependent roots growing stronger through mutual support, not clinging behavior.

Line 4:

Wishes come true, perseverance brings good fortune = companions recognize your dream. Changes to (39) Obstruction. You have the chance to woo others in following your ideas. You need to test it out in the real world, however. Close friends can encourage you but you need to see if it has merit beyond your immediate circle. Influence is effective but it requires perseverance to make it successful. If you are facing an obstacle to unity, slow down and compose your thoughts. If there is sincerity in your wish and perseverance in action you will succeed.

Line 5:

Influenced in the back = no remorse. Changes to (62) Small Exceeding. You feel energized and ready to proceed and small boundaries can be crossed in order to express truth in a way that resonates with another. The back is the most rigid part of the body so influence without remorse can mean a feeling shifts at a deep level. If we cannot be influenced ourselves we cannot influence the outer world. Small things done consistently can work wonders. While an unconscious attraction has yet to reach consciousness because of boundaries, something stirs in the depths. It is beneficial to remain correct and proceed in small ways toward your goal.

Line 6:

Influence in the jaws, cheeks and tongue = superficial talk. Changes to (33) Retreat. You must disengage from trying to convince others with talk that appears to have no substance. Don’t waste energy talking about what you are going to do, prove it with your actions. But first, give more consideration to an actionable plan. Otherwise the situation becomes one of Retreat or withholding.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 31 unchanging Hexagram 31.1 Hexagram 31.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 31.2 Hexagram 31.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 31.3 Hexagram 31.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 31.4 Hexagram 31.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 31.5 Hexagram 31.5.6 Hexagram 31.6