Hexagram Thirty-one represents the sense of touch and mobility. Feeling something is not the same as action. In this situation, progress will come by knowing when to feel and when to act.
The first line, yin, shows both feeling in the big toe and moving the toe. Feeling within, combined with movement, indicates proper use of will.
The second line, yin, shows twitching in the calf. This could be a bad omen for venturing out. To be safe, it would be better to stay quietly inside and attend to business later.
The third line, yang, shows its subject moving their thighs, as if becoming a follower of those who are unlucky. It would be better to stay home, for becoming a follower of unworthy people will bring regret.
The fourth line, yang, shows one who has learned the proper time to stay home or go forward. Others will follow the subject's example.
The fifth line, yang, shows the heart and mind filled with satisfaction, so much so that it ripples the skin on one's back. Such a person feels centered and their actions are correct. Strength lies in feeling secure.
The sixth line, yin, shows feeling and movement in the jaws and tongue. The person speaks confidentially, but being a weak line, there is little substance.
Hexagram Thirty-one Commentary
This hexagram distinguishes between feeling, or thinking, and taking action. The introduction points out, "Feeling something is not the same as action," and says, "progress will come by knowing when to feel and when to act." The lines of the hexagram explain the advantages of developing this type of inner balance.
The first line, yin, offers the metaphor of sensing in the big toe to explain how the will works. First, we can see the toe. Next, we can feel, or think, inside the toe. In addition, we can will the toe to move.
A different type of movement is involuntary, done without first feeling or thinking. The second line, yin, offers the metaphor of twitching in the calf. This is an instance of when it's better to feel but not act involuntarily. The line says, "To be safe, it would be better to stay quietly inside and attend to business later." Involuntary twitching is a metaphor for the risk of impulsive behavior.
The metaphor in the third line, yang, is moving the thighs. However, in this instance, the subject moves their thighs only to follow unlucky people. This shows another instance of movement where "It would be better to stay home," and for the subject to think for themself. Abandoning the their own will to others will lead to regret.
The fourth line, yang, explains it is better to know oneself and decide for oneself when to stay home or go forward. A person with this inner knowing sets a good example.
The fifth line, yang, shows the level of satisfaction inner knowing brings. The line describes it as "so strong it ripples the skin on one's back." That's another kind of movement, which grows from deep inside the heart, and brings feelings of security and strength.
The sixth line, yin, offers the metaphor of movement and feeling in the jaws and tongue. However, this movement indicates over-confidence, or lack of humbleness, and warns that although a person may speak confidently, "there is little substance." Learning when to speak or not speak is the most challenging of all decisions when it comes to knowing when to act, or to simply feel and hold back.
To the reader: Most of the hexagrams have at least one line that predicts bad results, but that does NOT mean you are fated to that result. The hexagrams illustrate different attitudes, so study the actions and reactions to learn the attitudes that will lead to better outcomes.
The I Ching teaches you to flow with changes and create positive change from the inside through conscious living. Your future is in your hands. Consult the I Ching for ideas that lead to clear thinking and positive mental attitude. Reading the I Ching helps you take the time to reflect on your attitudes and ideas. Continue asking until you feel positive about your course.
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A note about this interpretation of the I Ching: Nori Muster wrote this version of the I Ching in 1994 and put it online at Surrealist.org in 2000. It is also available at Amazon: