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I ching

Lin (Approach)

I Ching Hexagram 19
Lin (Approach)

Action: Advance

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 24 Return: Go Back

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 33 Retreat: Disengage

When you place yourself in a position to help another,
you will discover your greater capabilities.

In creating, the only hard thing is to begin:
a grass blade’s no easier to make than an oak. – James Lowell

Reading at a Glance: Earth above Joy offers an opportunity where one is favored by circumstances and superiors to advance or receive a promotion. Joy rises to permeate the earth. The hidden influence of Return allows you to connect to your center where you can express your talents while at the same time demonstrating your integrity. Now is the time to show others that you have a sincere desire to Advance. Approach is a message about making or seeking contact. The underlying cause for this hexagram is that a period of Retreat should now lead to Advance. But be warned that after favorable times, downturns and a need to Retreat may occur again as life moves in cycles. In this way, we go ‘inward and outward in fixed rhythms.’ The moment is ripe and won’t last forever so seize the opportunity to make your Approach. Now is the time to reach out to others or expect that they will enjoy hearing your ideas. Your confidence is appreciated and your demeanor is non-threatening. Even in small ways, you will discover that if you open yourself to helping others you will discover untapped potential. Go for it and enjoy this time of Approach.

sunset over lake with reeds

Earth’s reflection

on a lake;

its hidden depths

coaxed upwards -

where clouds rise.

When there are things to be done, one becomes great.” Approach describes new work before you that will enable you to tap your latent talent. You receive a new job or promotion because you have delegated in a way that leaves you open to greater opportunity. Advance cannot happen however, if you don’t take the initiative to seize the opportunity.

The master said: "If you place yourself in a position to help others, you discover your greater capabilities." Lin show how leaders must remain approachable. A steadfast character and willingness to serve is noticed and you are approached with an opportunity for advancement.

As a leader, you may know the destination, but those that follow must discover their own way. When achievement rests upon the shoulder of the individual, through systems that both ensure and reward growth, you set a course for success that has the momentum of a wheel in motion. It is put in continual motion by the enthusiasm that comes from an unfettered structure focused on growth.

“The firm penetrates and grows; Great success through correctness.” Being firm in helping others grow, you must sometimes approach the difficult task of breaking through their walls. With nature as your teacher, this is no different from how you are led; life is always breaking down your walls to unleash the best of what you can be. Serving others with honesty and without fear makes the difficult always easy.

"The Earth above the Lake, the image of approach." Lin is the image of making contact and is associated with a willingness to serve. You can only serve others if you are steadfast in helping them grow. “The sage is inexhaustible in the will to teach without limits.” When you ‘make contact,’ you create a truth environment where growth occurs exponentially. Anytime you find yourself working in an environment where truth and growth are non-existent, the lack of integrity undermines productivity in a way that makes the work a chore.

Inspired by the laws of nature, you become a leader who allows others to bring forward their own vision. Holding to a vision of where you are going, you must also foster ‘ownership’ in those that follow. When subordinates can create their own vision, and identify a sense of ‘owning the outcome,’ the enterprise achieves a sense of fullness, of which “use will not drain.”

Harvesting good fortune reminds us to also save for a rainy day. When times are tough, it will be periods like this we can draw upon as inspiration that all things change in time.This is a good time to increase your skills or learn from others. Whatever abundance you hold should be shared with others.


When you rise each day like spring = everyday is a flowering. This is a fortunate hexagram to receive with no lines changing. The message is that Approach is more than a momentary event for you. Your abilities and compassion have already led you into the service of others. There is an eternal flow of abundance at your disposal. Your positive attitude makes every day feel like spring. The only warning Approach offers is when you are not being approachable. Perhaps you have cut yourself off from communication in some way? A high level of focus is placed on reaching out to someone. If that is not an option or contact isn’t reciprocated then the message of quickening suggests allowing events to unfold naturally, like seeds beneath the earth at Springtime. Perhaps a period of waiting for Approach has allowed you to cultivate talent or a type of ‘inexhaustible teaching’ that puts you at service to others. Your day will come. Just keep being patient, present and willing to do what you can to nurture others.

Line 1:

Joint approach = persevere and succeed. Changes to (7) Army. Moving into influential circles, other’s join or contribute to your upward trend. Being sensitive to another’s feelings helps to bring good fortune. A need to clarify expectations with another might be necessary. A joint approach combined with discipline allows everyone to be served in a way that all talents are harnessed.

Line 2:

Joint approach with sincerity = everything furthers. Changes to (24) Return. Being sensitive and showing integrity wins sympathy from others. A need to stay strong in who you are while respecting another is necessary. A discussion leads to a return. If you are sincere in seeking advancement you will succeed.

Line 3:

Comfortable approach does not further = to see the mistake no blame. Changes to (11) Peace. Being sweet or expecting a response in approaching another isn’t right for this situation. While maintaining the peace, you may have become too intimate or careful with someone. Be yourself and if you share something do it in the spirit of expressing your truth not manipulating. Recognizing this gives you a chance to change your approach. This is the time of year that requires work although the situation may be so comfortable that nothing profitable is accomplished. You also may need to face your mistaken idea that things will flow easy. It may seem that harvest is near but it will take additional work and effort. Much enjoyment from simple activities is promised while it is important to remember this is a situation that is fostering growth. Ensure that your goals are accomplished and don’t just sit back expect an easy ride.

Line 4:

Complete approach = no blame. Changes to (54) Propriety. A truthful discussion is required in order to draw others into agreement. Propriety shows respect for the steps necessary in achieving a proper connection to the success you seek. This is a favorable exchange where nothing is left unsaid. It is important to work within the context of Propriety and not assume that there is a deeper connection than what exists. You may find yourself in a subordinate position that cannot be changed. In a relationship the other party may currently be involved with someone else.

Line 5:

Wise approach = this is right for a leader. Changes to (60) Limitation. Approaching with knowledge beforehand is good for a leader. A need to be selective when choosing associates is recommended. Knowing and respecting other’s boundaries, while pushing them beyond their self imposed limitations makes a leader exceptional. Sensing the seeds of genius in those you lead and helping them tap that genius without interference allows subordinates to truly own their work and creates sustainable success.

Line 6:

Great hearted approach = good fortune. No blame. Changes to (41) Decrease. A compensating sacrifice takes place in an exchange, like a Sage returning from retirement to teach others. Put the needs of another before your own needs to harness this great hearted approach. The exchange will lead to good fortune for you as well because you decrease expectation and selfishness in the service of union.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 19 unchanging Hexagram 19.1 Hexagram 19.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 19.2 Hexagram 19.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 19.3 Hexagram 19.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 19.4 Hexagram 19.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 19.5 Hexagram 19.5.6 Hexagram 19.6