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I ching

Zhong Fu (Inner Truth)

I Ching Hexagram 61
Zhong Fu (Inner Truth)

Action: Trust

Hu Gua (hidden influence) 27 Nourishing Vision: Nurture

Zong Gua (underlying cause) 62 Small Exceeding: Conserve

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise, seek what they sought.

Nature never says one thing
and wisdom another. –Decimus Junius Juvenalis

Reading at a Glance: As one of the last principles in the Book of Changes, the development of Inner Truth is perhaps the core message of this entire book. Like Kung Fu, which carefully develops the physical and mental in harmony, Zhong Fu has a similar message about how the inner and outer worlds align. In the introduction to the Book of Changes, we are told to treat each principle as our parents. We learn from nature and discover the part of us that is unchanging and thriving within. Tao active in the individual is called Te. It is our inner blueprint or design which we will evolve to become. In fact, much of life is an opportunity to peel away the layers of conformity that keep us from being who we are meant to be. Inner Truth is a perspective where we stand upon the firm soil of our unique nature and observe events for how they are coaxing our inner nature forward. In acupuncture, Zhong Fu is the Lung 1 point called the Inner Treasury and we see how the development of Inner Truth is the realization of the wellspring within. We move into life and are buffeted about by the activity, following others, misreading the signs and casting judgment. At some point we can become lost. What will it take to return you to your authenticity? What is needed to allow you to quiet the mind of worry and see the beauty of Grace unfolding in each moment? One word: Cultivation. The underlying cause of Small Exceeding suggested flying under the radar, tending to the small things and reducing visibility. But now it is time to go out and test your vision while interacting with others. Experience leads us toward what is needed at different times to reveal us to ourselves. If you are centered in Te and observant but not reactive, life seems to flow more gently. If you believe you must be like others, life will prod you back upon your path, which can feel uncomfortable if you are unwilling to go there. Nourishing Vision as the hidden influence appears in many of the hexagrams because we must go forward and we must also take time to turn within. This is what happens when we dream. We have experiences and place judgments upon them that are sometimes incorrect. Ego would have us constantly avoiding any threat to how it upholds the status quo, or its constant pursuit of comfort and stroking. If you observe nature you will see that finding protection to remain stagnant is not an option. All things in life are growing and all things are evolving from the blueprint or seed within. No matter what is unfolding around you, take time out to ensure that you are being true to yourself. Nothing can hide from nature. React less and simply be responsive. As the image of an arrow hitting the center of a target and a bird’s claw encircling a hatchling, Zhong Fu offers the idea of both, capture and protection. By holding to your center, you will always hit the mark.

water droplet ripples

Throw the rock -

the water ripples.

Life’s energy flows

through you in waves.

Reverberate to your center.

“Through being limited, things are made dependable. Hence follows the image of inner truth.” The Wind blows over the Lake, while the Mountain and Thunder are stirring within. Zhong Fu offers a message about achieving steady and Joyous movement even while you open yourself to every possibility for renewal.

Zhong Fu has two open lines within, which are surrounded by firm lines. This openness at the center reveals great power because "a heart that remains open can be guided by inner truth." Difficulty is always transformed, once you can approach it like a question rather than an obstacle. "A heart that is free of prejudice in meeting adversity will discover only favorable circumstances."

To activate nature’s transformative power within, you must remain objective in meeting the necessary tension that keeps you evolving. Do not fall prey to the illusion that when you reach the height of your inner truth, circumstances will not continue to further shape you. “Be not sad,” tension is the driving force of evolution.

However, you can begin to see tension as evolving peace, where peace must then give way to further transformations. Moving Joyfully through life’s fluctuating movement in harmony, allows you to find comfort in the way of change.

Life continuously shakes you free from any stagnant way of thinking. You may give in after a long struggle or endless defeat, and this ‘giving in’ reveals how the pathway could not have been otherwise. Forced to make minor changes, these changes become significant to your success. This small shift in acceptance goes a long way in reducing anxiety. It is no simple thing to say: “know contentment and you are rich.”

“Wind over the Lake: the image of inner truth.” You may remember throwing stones into the Lake to observe how it moved in circular waves that rippled outward toward the shore. Even if you were to throw a rectangular block into the water, the waves would still move in perfect circles. This is because the ‘fabric’ of water is not what it appears to be. Its horizontal movement is an illusion; its molecules spin vertically and remain where they are. As each molecule spins, the water crests in waves, although the molecules do not move. It is merely energy, which is moving through the medium of water molecules.

Observing people sitting in the bleachers at a football game, to create the ‘wave,’ each one stands and throws their arms into the air in succession. Like the water molecule, they remain where they are, while the energy moves from one to another across the stadium.

Like the center of the molecule, Zhong is the center out of which you evolve. Fu is how you hold to it, regardless of where the changes lead you. The energy of change can move you in different ways, although the core of who you are becoming remains stationary. This center can be awakened by the changes, but it cannot be abandoned. You can observe your emotions as the waves or response to the movement of energy flowing through you.

The center you hold to gives shape to your unique destiny. Buffeted by events, you remain true to this center. Regardless of what you do, when you keep doing it, your actions will define your character. The force that keeps you connected to this center is your philosophy or inner truth.

“In the pursuit of learning, one knows more every day; in the pursuit of following life, one does less every day. One does less and less until one does nothing at all, and when one does nothing at all there is nothing that is undone.” Zhong Fu is an image of an arrow at the center of a target, with a bird’s claw encircling a hatchling. It offers the idea of both, capture and protection.

“When your discernment penetrates the four quarters, are you capable of not knowing anything?” Zhong Fu is the subtle way that you merely hold to your center and always hit the mark. The great claw becomes the image of how life protects you and holds you to this center.


You know the answer = it is the truth you run from, speak your mind. The message of Inner Truth unchanging is that you may already know the answer even while you continue to search for it. You have made your truth known and it really doesn’t matter what the response is. Getting to the truth was perhaps the most valuable lesson you could learn from the situation. You may be rushing to judgment or being overly emotional without giving consideration to the truth of the matter. Trust your gut instincts and stay true to yourself. You may have asked a question and the answer would be: yes, you are right…you know the truth already so act on it.

Line 1:

Being prepared brings good fortune = if there are secret designs, it is disquieting. Changes to (59) Dispersion. This line begins the tying together of all that was learned from previous hexagrams. At the threshold of experience we are innocent and remain without judgments in the sense of being prepared. In this situation you may have ideas of what should be happening that are keeping you from seeing what is happening. Dispersion is about letting go and if we don’t learn to follow the flow, it is disquieting. In dis-ease, we see how physical symptoms can be tied to emotional causes. The inner and outer cannot be separated. The hexagram of Inner Truth always reveals how events unfold as a reflection of whether or not we are living authentically in the moment. Whatever your question, it is leading you into deeper discovery of your Inner Truth. Be open.

Line 2:

A crane calls from the shade and its young answer = I have a goblet of wine and together we will share it. Changes to (42) Increase. After the preparation of innocence we begin to explore our relationship to others. From the heart we share our story and it resonates outward to those of kindred spirit. The story grows larger as we inspire, learn from each other and weave individual pieces together into a shared whole. Even when we are not visibly together we remain connected. The situation is one of kindred spirits in this way. Confucius spoke of the caution necessary in word and action because their effects can be felt thousands of miles away. If our words are from the heart they bring honor even if we stand alone. If our words are spoken merely for attention and selfish vanity, they have no substance even when surrounded by others. Speak from the heart.

Line 3:

He finds a comrade. Now he beats the drum, now he stops = now he sobs, now he sings. Changes to (9) Small Restraint. After preparation in an outlook without judgment and integrity in expression we move deeper into our relationships with others. We can declare this one is our friend and that one our enemy as if we can really know the propitious way Tao brings us together. Others opinions or responses can make or break our day if we have no Inner Truth. In this situation you are being told to stop allowing others to be the center of who you are. When your center of gravity is not in the Self, you will only be buffeted about between joy and sorrow. Get centered.

Line 4:

The moon is nearly full but the team of horses go astray = no blame. Changes to (10) Treading. This line is usually the line that can make or break how you adhere to the principles of all of the hexagrams. When the team of horses go astray, you lose your focus and your Inner Truth. Passion can be giving shape to your Inner Truth, but you shouldn't let it run away with you. The situation is challenging but don’t give up. You may have enormous respect and admiration for another that is breaking your forward stride and Inner Truth. Tread carefully. Be humble but don’t abandon who you are. Someone may have to run crazy through freedom's tapestry to appreciate the warmth of tethering.

Line 5:

One possesses truth, which links together = no blame. Changes to (41) Decrease. There are times when we must hold to our Inner Truth regardless of the ramifications. However, in understanding and honoring another’s point of view we can make concessions or decrease our need to be right in a way that brings union. While we may not agree we can agree to move forward to learn about synthesis. In this situation there may be no concrete answer except that parting or retreating is not a satisfying option. Decrease the idea of right and wrong and be accepting of others. "“When a leader is right with themselves, things will get done without giving orders. When they are not right with themselves, they may give orders, but they will not be obeyed.” Your Inner Truth links all things together.

Line 6:

Cockcrow penetrating to heaven = perseverance brings misfortune. Changes to (60) Limitation. The situation can be one of exaggeration where what you are saying isn’t actually what you are feeling. Inner Truth is the combination of expression and authentic feeling. Any limitations that you are experiencing are teaching you to combine expression with authenticity. Expressing emotion is not the same as expressing your truth. Give the situation time so that you can continue to explore what it is teaching you about authentic feeling and expression.

*This page provides insight on the following combinations: Hexagram 61 unchanging Hexagram 61.1 Hexagram 61.1.2 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 61.2 Hexagram 61.2.3 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 61.3 Hexagram 61.3.4 Hexagram Hexagram Hexagram 61.4 Hexagram 61.4.5 Hexagram Hexagram 61.5 Hexagram 61.5.6 Hexagram 61.6