I Ching Hexagram 5 Hsü / Waiting (Nourishment)

Water Above Heaven


“When clouds rise in the sky, it is a sign it will rain. There is nothing to do but to wait until the rain falls. It is the same in life when destiny is at work. We should not worry and seek to shape the future by interfering in things before the time is ripe.” 1


It is no simple task to wait.

When in the midst of overwhelm, discomfort, and strong emotions it is second nature to want to ‘do’ something. Sometimes immediate action is the necessary and appropriate course of measure. Yet there are times where immediate action would be premature, thus interfering with a larger wisdom trying to emerge. At such times we can use our will to be still and wait, as we open to the greater mystery.

The will is associated with the water element and the zhi spirit and resides in the kidneys. When harmonized, the zhi nourishes the life within us that is associated with our soul’s purpose and is guided by the heart. The heart houses the shen spirit and is related to joy, awareness, compassion, love. Shock and trauma can cause the shen to flee from the heart like birds from their nest. When the shen have left and the zhi is depleted, it is difficult to meet life with vitality, clarity and wisdom. There are ways that one can work with  this.

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