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I ching

Ming Yi (Brightness Hiding)

I Ching Hexagram 36
Ming Yi (Brightness Hiding)

Action: Reignite

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 40 Liberation: Untangle

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 6 Conflict: Let Go

When the world grows dark,
your inner light is given definition.

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape,
the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show. – Andrew Wyeth

Reading at a Glance: Ming Yi is often associated with castigation or feeling that you are being misunderstood. You’ve made great progress up to now and might have been enthusiastic, but for whatever reason, the walls have begun to close you in. Others are not speaking your language and often, Ming Yi is associated with the dark night of the soul. In Taoism there is no such thing as punishment or retribution. Nature merely seeks to turn something back when it is in excess. There is always a balance of traveling inward and outward according to fixed rhythms. This is not the time to begin anything new or to continue pushing forward. The only way your inner light can be kept burning, is if you turn within and stoke the flame. The hidden influence of Liberation promises that relief is in sight. The situation may have become entangled or your actions have moved toward embroiling. This is what happens when emotion and illusion override stillness and strength. The underlying cause of Conflict “out there” has now led to a period of examining the root of conflict “in here.” You have a period to understand the beliefs you defend to yourself. This can be an extremely illuminating period but it doesn’t come without a little soul searching and perhaps loneliness. Like winter, much needs to grow under the cover of darkness before it is strong enough to return to progress in the outer world. For the time being Clarity has been wounded or obscured. Often we are initiated into the hero’s journey of individuation when the ego has been wounded. Whatever comes during this time should not be viewed negatively. Once this period passes you will have a stronger sense of Clarity about who you are and where you belong. Brightness Hiding is a message to keep your own counsel while you go through a difficult change or transformation.

bird on tree limb

This light

that shines

in darkness:

it cannot be concealed;

it illuminates the eyes.

"Expansion will certainly meet with resistance. Therefore follows the darkening of the light.” As the Clinging Fire sinks below the Receptive Earth, Ming Yi is the image of being forced to operate in darkness. Like the time of winter, the situation requires that you turn within to stoke your inner fire.

Even while you are growing in power, you still experience the friction or life's natural tension that keeps all things evolving. If this power is real, it will endure.

The master said: "Face adversity as if life is asking you a question 'is it real?' as it tests the sincerity of what you are doing. You may answer: ‘yes…it is good…it is real, and nothing can threaten it.’ If this is true, it will endure. In this, 'the way that is bright seems dark.'" Darkness gives definition to brightness and since sincerity aligns with intent or Clarity ‘that which is bright rises twice.”

Regardless of the circumstances, your inner light is cultivated so that it may shine upon your footsteps. Keeping the fire of Te burning, Brightness Hiding is an image of the sun and moon, and a threat by an archer, who is no match for these great luminaries. The sun is your inner light and clarity, while the moon represents how it reflects upon experience. Although the light may appear dim outwardly during darkness, it still burns brightly within like the sun below the earth.

What you cultivate grows like a seed beneath the soil of this inner light. “We tend to hide what we dislike about ourselves and display the beautiful. In this way, what is good is put on parade and wasted, while we nurture and hold tightly to what is ugly.” Outwardly searching for acceptance and appreciation will lead you to become a mere reflection of what you believe the world expects of you. Instead of the flowering of your beautiful nature, a weed takes root within and grows.

“One that is born beautiful and not given a mirror or told of their beauty will not know that they are more beautiful than others. Beauty will simply be a part of their nature. What happens of its own accord is like the leader who simply loves the people. Without fame or being told of their graces, love is their nature. We do not hide away in the woods and hills. What we hide is our Te. One can interact with the world without losing the self.”

When the environment grows dark, the sun is reflected by the moon. It captures the sunlight which remains hidden below the earth but always remains bright. Sometimes, the light within can only be revealed in contrast to the darkening of the light outside. Movement in stillness is how you stoke your inner fire, regardless of the changes. Veiling the light becomes an image of protecting your vital force and keeping it sacred.

If others are not supporting you, don’t take it personal. Often people are simply jealous and want to knock you down a peg or too. That is why it is important to hide your light. Stoke the fire of certainty and keep your strength fortified. Soon you will have the opportunity to make your debut and return to the light.


In the depths of darkness = sunrise is coming. The greatest gift you can give yourself is recognize your inner light that shines regardless of the weather outside. Sometimes you hide your light in somebody else’s pocket, hoping one day they’ll discover you when doing the laundry and pat you on the head. Sometimes you hide it the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if you can just find that one thing that eludes you. You hide it in cookie jars and at the bottom of a pint of ice cream. You hide it in the valley and bury it with moss so nobody discovers you are hiding. The obscurity of your brightness is not serving anyone because you have misplaced the reason for your existence. You are not a victim and life is eagerly awaiting your sunrise. If you don’t let the real you shine, how can life celebrate your goodness? Only you know what it means to be fearlessly yourself but you have placed the center of your compass elsewhere - as if this or that has to happen before you can be happy. This is a lesson life continuously teaches because you are one of its unique variations and it celebrates your Liberation. Open to whatever you are so afraid of because there is no longer any reason to hide. Brightness Hiding unchanging suggests that whatever is unfolding is allowing you to tap your inner light. Without taking time to connect with your inner world you may continue to experience conflict around you. This hexagram can come when sharing your wisdom for the benefit of others without needing to focus on what you get in return.

Line 1:

Darkening light during flight and lowering wings = fasting and wandering among those who gossip. Changes to (15) Authenticity. At the first sign of difficulty it is natural to seek advice from others, but how can anyone tell you who you are? This was the reason you chose a different path; because what you experienced did not resonate as truth for you. Flying under the radar is necessary because others may not understand what you are doing and why. If you are in a subordinate position, watch your step so you don’t outshine a superior. This line can show the beginning of difficulty and a bit of mis-stepping where neediness can make you lost to yourself. Being humble and moderate is the best course of action, but be authentic. Don’t fly too high just yet, it is better to lower your wings and hide your light.

Line 2:

Darkening of light injures left thigh = strength in aiding others like a horse. Changes to (11) Peace. A sense of being injured does not stop you from proceeding because you are inspired to share what you learn to carry others in their times of darkness. You have the good fortune that comes from turning adversity into an opportunity to learn. The wound to the thigh is like Chiron of Astrology, who is half horse/half man. He is honored as the greatest healer even while he is injured. The ‘flow’ suggested by Peace shows how we forget our suffering when in the service of others and are therefore healed ourselves.

Line 3:

Hunting the darkening of the light the enemy leader is captured = perseverance after a period of waiting. Changes to (24) Return. While you hunt for the cause of your suffering you capture the enemy in your sights. However, can another possibly hold the power to change what your life looks and feels like? Your life is your own. Because of the difficulties that you face, you have time as a gift to re-connect with the foundation of who you are and to become empowered. The period calls for a period of patience where you will discover that what you can’t change ‘out there’ is a source of great enlightenment. Don’t hurry the time because it is spaced in a way that allows for the echo of your sincerity.

Line 4:

Darkening of the light in the left belly revealing the very heart of the matter = one goes beyond the gate. Changes to (55) Abundance. If you are fearless enough to face the fact that you are not a victim but the orchestrator of your destiny, you might encounter your own darkness and transform it into light. While you may feel that you have uncovered the source of darkness in another and are prepared to run, the situation just may be opening you to your own internal prison. However, the situation may offer more transformative pain than you are ready to face. You choose whether you own the power or give it away. At some point on your journey you will need to face the inner wound and heal, why not now?

Line 5:

Darkening of the light like the Prince Chi = perseverance furthers. Changes to (63) After Completion. Prince Chi had to feign insanity during his imprisonment by the evil tyrant Chou Hsin. The light is alive within you but you may need to shelter it from those who would wish to exterminate your flame. In this case the goal of enlightenment is achieved as you learn to watch the signs and continue the work of keeping your inspiration burning. The time will come for success because you do not allow oppression to exhaust you and tap it to make your light shine even brighter.

Line 6:

First light then darkness = sometimes we climb to heaven and fall to the earth. Changes to (22) Grace. The threat we face during enlightenment is in believing this is a destination. We forget that it is a constant perspective of openness. We are always rising in inspiration and falling back to reality when our spiritual longing or emotional extremes become burdens. The highest form of Darkening of the Light comes when we see light and dark as merely hues that give life depth and dimension. Enlightenment comes when we move beyond judgments of good and bad. From an earthly perspective, we cannot understand heaven’s flow of spiritual enlightenment and it can feel like the sky is falling. Too much of the spiritual and we come to fight the flow of what we learn on the earth so we lose our home. It is better to walk the middle path of openness and become a guest of the Great Unfolding. Uncover your Shadow as power.Stop judging so that you are not judged. You are here now and whether awake or sleeping, you are learning. The way of Grace is constantly revealed to those without preconceptions. In this way darkness is no longer hidden. Life goes up and down only in proportion to what you cling to. On the middle path life is always unfolding perfectly.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 36 unchanging Hexagram 36.1 Hexagram 36.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 36.2 Hexagram 36.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 36.3 Hexagram 36.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 36.4 Hexagram 36.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 36.5 Hexagram 36.5.6 Hexagram 36.6