Cafeausoul logo
Go to home page

I ching

Ta Ch’u (Controlled Power)

I Ching Hexagram 26
Ta Ch’u (Controlled Power)

Action: Amplify

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 54: Propriety: Subordinate

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 45: Gathering Together: Network

Your vital force is not wanting, only waiting for you to tap it.

We are told not to cross the bridge until we come to it,
but this world is owned by those who crossed bridges
in their imaginations far ahead of the crowd. – Anonymous

Reading at a Glance: True power need not be demonstrated as Creative energy is restrained beneath the mountain of Keeping Still. Ta Ch’u focuses on the power of silence and stillness. While others are running around demonstrating their power, one who is strong has no need to prove anything. Controlled Power has Propriety as its hidden influence because a will under the sheer steadiness of a mountain allows it to become incredibly powerful. There is also a need for timing in appropriate expression. Another’s insecurity is no match for the power of silence. Since Controlled Power follows Innocence, all that is learned from patience and non action is now ready to be harnessed creatively. When the will is in the service of acceptance and the good of all this deliberate intent is unstoppable. The message we deliver is amplified because our inner truth radiates as the embodiment of Tao. Combining holding firm, holding steady, holding to heaven’s way and nurturing others, this is the hexagram of the true Sage. When water meets a dam, it continues to rise in power until it overwhelms whatever blocked its flow. If you renew your willingness to marry to your Tao daily, you become a reservoir for enormous creative expression that benefits all. You can draw on a power that need not be demonstrated but is ‘just so.’ Its simplicity makes everything easy.

leave dripping water into ripple below






“When innocence is present, it is possible to tame.” Innocence cultivates virtue, yet virtue, renewed daily, ensures a state of innocence. The master said: "The perfected nature, sustaining itself and enduring is the gateway of life." An innocent perspective allows you to approach the gateway or threshold of perception to become “the master of your experiences.” By taming your response, you are able to tame experience. Controlled Power is the hexagram of the true Sage.

"The firm is able to keep strength still; this is great correctness." Much time is spent preparing for and delivering your response. Only when you are not defending, do you activate the Controlled Power of the Great.

You can change what the “world will look and feel like,” by approaching it differently. "Acquaint yourself with the teachings of antiquity" and you will see how desire can both, draw in experience or close you to it. Approaching the gateway of perception, you make the choice of what you will find.

The master said: “Do not listen with your ears, but listen with your mind. Do not listen with your mind, but listen with your vital force. Ordinary hearing does not go beyond the ears and the mind does not go beyond its symbols. Your vital force is not wanting but waiting. Life brings together all that is void to itself. Be empty ~ that is all. Thus you can master things and not be injured by them.”

When you tame your desires, “not eating at home brings good fortune,” because you move beyond your perceptual routines to be nourished by discovery. Gather the energy of desire’s outward attachment, and tap it as the inner fuel that activates a powerful peacefulness. Stand at the threshold, connect with your Te or vital force and simply observe. Find comfort in your strength.

In China, the lion protected the forests, and its likeness was used to protect the gates and temples. Another gatekeeper, the Dragon Carp, had only one goal: crossing the Dragon Gate. Beyond this Gate, many believed paradise could be found. Like the salmon, the carp swims upstream and jumps the rapids, and came to symbolize human advancement and achievement in life. The Dragon Carp is a constant reminder of the pursuit of excellence, reflecting how following instinct makes obstacles non-existent. Where the lion symbolizes great passion and fearlessness, the carp is a symbol of instinctual perseverance. This is your Te, the instinctual awareness that knows exactly where you need to be: in the here and now and it is perfect.

Transforming the illusion of how you must conquer and take, you can develop the powerful peacefulness that comes when you no longer see the world as a place of obstacles. Just as the tree requires the storms for regeneration, and the stone carves away the seed’s protective covering; like the creatures that feel the cold as a call for hibernation and migration, or the plant that instinctively knows the time to flower, you too, are fundamentally connected to the evolutionary force of life.

Te is your instinctual endowment and connection to life. When cultivated alongside of fearlessness, it is like water that finds its own course, without any sense of barriers. Water can dissolve mountains and evens out, regardless of where it flows. The power of Te connects you to the germinating power of life. Transcending the gate or ‘the illusion of obstacles,’ leads to a type of paradise in consciousness. This paradise is simply a place without boundaries.

Life’s secret is that it has been committed to your success since the beginning. “Mystery upon mystery: the gateway of its manifold secrets.” To take no action that is unnatural to your instinctive nature ensures that you will meet with no resistance. "Overcoming others shows force; when you overcome yourself you are strong."

“Generating movement even in the hardest things is how the great is tamed. Creating movement even in the greatest things is what makes Tao mysteriously powerful. The most submissive thing in the world can ride roughshod over the hardest in the world – that which is without substance enters that which has no crevices.” Beyond the constant disillusionment that results from trying to be who you are not, there are no crevices or valleys. This is the essence of Controlled Power.


Domesticating the wild beast = soften the glare. A lack of movement, connection or release has stored an incredible amount of Creative Power beneath the meditative Mountain of Keeping Still. We can be drawn to another who is mysteriously powerful because of their silence. At some point however, we recognize that they might just be horrible communicators. Another may see our independence and power as a threat and seek to undermine it through actions meant to unseat us from our center. Determining who is in charge in this situation becomes a lesson about assumptions, fears and the need for control as a power game ensues between very potent individuals. You may need to wait for the right moment to proceed, or tread carefully because the release can be explosive. It can suggest a necessary respite or retreat in order to heal or recharge. It can also show a person afraid of their own anger so they retreat. The Creative desires expression, but rests beneath the immovable Mountain in unchanging form, so there can be a lot of energy building that will seek some type of release. On a positive note, when the great tame themselves, others submit to their will so growing in a sense of power while you do nothing can lead to success. You may feel held back, but trust that whatever is happening will lead to the expression of greater power in this situation. Not getting what you want, you get what you need. There may be a need to establish limits or boundaries that will allow for greater individual freedoms. To tame another you may need to tame yourself, but make no mistake, this situation is highly charged. The standoff can be quite spectacular and is witnessed in nature during mating rituals, territorial fights and even at the molecular level so it is not necessarily bad. There is no need to stop believing in the goodness of those you care about or serve. Nothing lasts forever and this situation will resolve itself. If you are asking about acting, don’t be impulsive because there is something going on below the surface that needs to be investigated. Learn to tame your response and be a better listener.

Line 1:

Danger is at hand = it furthers one to cease and desist. Changes to (18) Decay. Something is blocking your progress and without examining the misunderstanding or decay of the situation, further progress can only lead to danger. This is a time to explore what you can learn about the obstacle through inaction. Exerting your power will lead nowhere so step back until you have a clear understanding of everyone’s motivations.

Line 2:

The spokes are taken from the wagon = it is not possible to move. Changes to (22) Grace. You are held back from proceeding because of events beyond your control. This is a time to explore acceptance of what you are powerless to change. Grace offers the message: if you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails and let life guide you.

Line 3:

A good horse is trained to operate a wagon = beneficial to have somewhere to go. Changes to (41) Decrease. You are kept on your toes because another proves difficult to handle and self restraint is necessary. The way ahead is opening and you find a way to deal with a difficult situation or person. Powerful energy is now gathered by the strength of your will to proceed and by working in tandem with others. Identify goals and clarify limitations or boundaries and the way will open.

Line 4:

A young bull is restrained = a source of good fortune. Changes to (14) Great Possessing. That which has held you back is observed to be the reason for your growth. By taming a wild impulse into focused power your success is assured. Since everything is under your control you can move forward. Interacting with another proves difficult but through the experience both harness great power and enlightenment.

Line 5:

The tusks of a castrated boar = good fortune. Changes to (9) Small Restraint. Something that was potentially a threat is now harmless. Since you understand its nature you can make its power work for you. This leads to mutual trust and great success.

Line 6:

One obtains the way of heaven = success. Changes to (11) Peace. After a time of success you may find yourself at a crossroad where a difficult decision must be made. The way of heaven or Tao ignites your Te or inner knowing so follow what feels natural. When in doubt follow the current that life presents to you. A great opportunity awaits because you have achieved the highest level of Controlled Power and have aligned with your Tao.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 26 unchanging Hexagram 26.1 Hexagram 26.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 26.2 Hexagram 26.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 26.3 Hexagram 26.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 26.4 Hexagram 26.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 26.5 Hexagram 26.5.6 Hexagram 26.6