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I ching

T'ai (Peace)

I Ching Hexagram 11
T'ai (Peace)

Action: Relax

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 54 Propriety: Subordinate

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 12 Standstill: Release

Being free of desires, you will discover
that the empire is at peace of its own accord.

If I keep a green bough in my heart,
the singing bird will come. – Chinese Proverb

Reading at a Glance: Heaven is below Earth and all things move upward in harmony and transform. Peace is a message about going with the flow. What you are worrying about today won’t be as important tomorrow. Anything that had previously been out of place or difficult is now receding. Chances are you will feel relieved by seeing this hexagram. However, in order to know Peace, one must experience discord. Hot is only relevant to cold and similarly up is meaningless without the idea of down. More importantly, Peace is an outlook you can carry with you at all times by remembering cycles. Yet Peace can be lulled into tranquility and lead to stagnation as suggested by the underlying cause of Standstill. The message might be to calm down and relax…take it easy, but there is still an element of change happening. This change however is permeating the situation and might be difficult to grasp because you are being coached to discover rather than overlay experience with past assumptions. It can be a message about seeing the profound reason that heaven’s answer can sometimes be “no.” But with it comes the words of the mother to a child: “shhhh…everything is going to be all has a good purpose and will work out fine.” If you are feeling stressed, the hidden influence of Subordinate asks you to align your will to the way. Rather than rush ahead to organize tomorrow – enjoy and learn from today. A period of Stagnation is transforming into growth and openness. If you have had any disagreements, things should improve considerably. This is an excellent answer for relationship questions because it shows that the will of heaven is flowing so go with it.

Boy in night with lantern

The moon goes

the sun comes.

The body

circulates -

small world.

“Good conduct, then contentment; thus calm prevails in the image of peace.” T’ai is the image of moving harmoniously with the flow of events. “All weak elements are forced to take their departure as the two great forces of Yin and Yang come together.” The master said: “Make your home the inevitable, then grief and the pursuit of joy cannot intrude."

In life's relentless pursuit of a better way, anything that would block its forward progress must 'take its departure.' Perhaps that is why the Tao te Ching states: "Tao treats the creatures like straw dogs." What is held tightly in your arms will leave you unable to embrace new opportunity. Sometimes what we cling to is taken away even when we don’t understand why. All that you hold is only borrowed; you might as well let it pass freely from your grasp.

Being free of desire and clinging to nothing, you discover a pathway of Peace. This is how you can keep a "green bough in your heart" so that the singing bird will come. Cultivate this garden daily where the joy of spirit can roost.

When you look backward, you can trust that tomorrow will take care of itself because yesterday was meaningful. This allows you to be present and observant now. The master said: “be in awe of timelessness. This is how you can dwell in timelessness.”

“If I cease from desire and remain still, the empire will be at peace of its own accord.” Nothing of value can be threatened because if it is meaningful, it will remain. What is relegated to the past, were those things that were unnecessary. Representing your evolutionary journey, T’ai is the image of a person flowing in the great river of life.

Trusting in the Way joyfully, events unfold with no need to shake you from your self-imposed obstructions. Each day, the mysterious carriage appears. “The clouds are the carriage and the sun and the moon are the steeds.” Embarking upon each new day with a sense of discovery, you can move joyfully to receive the gifts that each unfolding moment brings to you.

In relationships, T’ai can show the need to develop self love or to open to the idea of love, rather than treating it like something to be pursued. It bodes well for partnerships of any kind as it shows a movement toward harmonious relations. Don’t overwork or force anything but allow it to unfold naturally.


Peace like lullaby in the darkness = the small departs and the great approaches. Peace unchanging can show the development of a proper mindset of accepting what you can’t change. Often it is a message to forget focusing on the small details or negativity because the bigger picture is more important. One of its clearest messages is to stop worrying. Everything will work out fine. As the Creative pushes upward to transform your situation, you discover that something beyond you and what you believe you need is at play. Stop worrying and go with the flow because the flow knows exactly where to go. It can also show that the current situation has become stable or unchanging which can be good if you are in a relationship or satisfied with events but frustrating if you are seeking reunion or progress. Its positive message of providence however, still holds true because everything works out for the best.

Line 1:

Pulling out grass, entangled roots = each according to its kind. Changes to (46) Pushing Upward. In order to succeed, you may need the help of people of like mind. Any changes may reveal that under the surface things are more entangled than had first appeared. Proceed anyway. Honor differences in another and don’t try to change them. Actions that you take will be beneficial for all. This is also the idea of ‘grass root’ gatherings or uprooting something as a way of weeding out the confusion so new growth can emerge.

Line 2:

Meet the uncultured with gentleness, resolute in crossing the river = the middle way abandons nothing. Changes to (36) Brightness Hiding. To walk the middle path, you must neither abandon your principles or others. There are times however, when you must respond with gentleness and only your inner vision even while the way is dark or harmony is threatened. Tolerate other’s weaknesses with grace but follow your own drummer. There can be a gentle action of kindness needed to ward off disunion. Make the most of all opportunities in serving the larger goal. Be at peace with whatever unfolds. In this way you fjord the great river so as not to neglect what is distant or what is close by.

Line 3:

The easy and difficult change in cycles = don’t complain but enjoy what you do have. Changes to (19) Approach. If you know that light follows dark and the way goes up and down, you can balance difficult times with the knowledge that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. When times are good, you can draw on this memory during difficult times. Relationships too, move in cycles so be patient and ensure that you offset difficulty with sincerity. Feelings are demonstrated by actions so if someone continues to Approach you it is because of the comfort and care you provide. Communication should be honest and not just a means of avoiding difficulty. Enjoy the simplicity of what you do have.

Line 4:

The wealthy exchange with the lowly = neighbors being sincere. Changes to (34) Power of Great. Don’t measure others with a common denominator and avoid cliques or distinctions of class. When disaster strikes in a neighborhood, everyone is equal. The simplicity of each member of a household fulfilling their roles will return when judgment and anger are allowed to evaporate. Harmony begins with those closest to you and a spontaneous coming together reveals that the heart of all are in agreement. This leads to mutual benefit for all. A spiritual rebirth happens when heaven (Spirit) eclipses the Earth (Ego). All pretension and masks fall away as heaven’s will manifests.

Line 5:

Imperial princess given in marriage = a sacrifice for peace and goodwill. Changes to (5) Nourished While Waiting. The princess was often of higher rank than her husband but still obeyed him. To achieve peace, put aside right and wrong or high and low and make a peace offering. The highest form of expressing harmony is through sacrifice. In the middle of a stalemate, bring nourishment to yourself and another by forgiving. Those issues we fight against are often to our benefit. Go with the flow. Make a gesture of peace.

Line 6:

The walls fall back into the moat = being vulnerable and accepting this. Changes to (26) Controlled Power. While things are not as great as you would have liked, you are in a vulnerable position and may need to throw in the towel. During change, everything appears confusing. With Controlled Power you don’t need to fight the flow of events. After fighting hard to keep something, one day you realize that the walls collapsed because there is no longer anything or anyone to defend them. Others may have moved on. This time too will pass. In time, you will come to a crossroad that helps you understand why this period has come to an end. Further action might lead to humiliation so it is better to look for a new pathway.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 11 unchanging Hexagram 11.1 Hexagram 11.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 11.2 Hexagram 11.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 11.3 Hexagram 11.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 11.4 Hexagram 11.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 11.5 Hexagram 11.5.6 Hexagram 11.6