This is a hexagram that I wrestled with for a long time ... POTENTIAL ENERGY (Mountain over Heaven) shares common intentions with Hexagram 9, MINOR RESTRAINT, and Hexagram 5, PATIENCE. In all cases, energy gathers under the surface of things, and we are invited to consider how we will use that energy. While PATIENCE highlights the need to carefully gestate and wait for a moment to come to fruition, MINOR RESTRAINT seems to say, "Carefully consider the small details of what you intend to do."

POTENTIAL ENERGY indicates that a decisive moment or action is immanent; we can imagine the Sage standing on the peak of a mountain, reading the winds and the sky for signs that say, "Now." There may be an impulse to move in advance of the right moment, because great energy and power have been harnessed and await release. Restraint, resolution and readiness are primed for a pivotal moment.

To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential.

(Bruce Lee)

Over the years, I've come to see this hexagram as a measure of character. When I receive POTENTIAL ENERGY in a reading, I ask myself questions like this:

Am I fully prepared for action here? Am I ready to move?
Is my character aligned with my intentions?
What purpose do I bring to this action?
Is my focus clear; am I sufficiently self-disciplined -- are any potentially dangerous impulses under moderate restraint?
Have I mobilized all the resources I need?
Do I have the will to act?

For purposes of action, nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.

(Henri Frederic Amiel)

Qualities and aspects of POTENTIAL ENERGY include:

Deciding what is relevant
Harnessing power
Determining direction
Deciding to realize potential
Gathering strength
Taking the reins
Acknowledging one's abilities
Impulse control

I keep seeing the racehorse at the gate ... huffing, snorting, pawing the earth ... ready to burst into speed. Hexagram 26 essentially asks: "Are you ready for this?"

Every moment comes to you pregnant with purpose ... Once it leaves your hands and your power to do with it as you please, it plunges into eternity, to remain forever what you made of it.

(Fulton J. Sheen)


MeaganDechen said…
hallo - I just came across your blog. I've been working with the original text for 26, and my own intuitive insights into what it all about, for about a year now and i was just so thrilled that my final feelings about it agree with your much more knowledgeable interpretation.

thanks for posting all of the symbols, I plan to be back for reference A LOT in the coming days/years!
Jaliya said…
Meagan -- hi yourself! :-)

I'm so glad you found this commentary helpful.

Thanks for your note ... Looking forward to more conversation!
Dee said…
Just came across I Ching. What do you recommend for a divination tool (sticks or coins)? And where can I get it? Thanks for your help.
Jaliya said…
Dee, hello :-)

I use the three-coin method ... and I've used the three same coins for all of my readings over the past 30 years :-)

You can use any three similar coins (i.e., three pennies), or three I Ching / diviniation coins that you could craft or purchase ...
pseudo monk said…
Beautiful writing. Very helpful reflections. Pushing 50 myself I mostly push 50, yet sometimes it pushes me. 26 has shown up 3x (!) in conversations with the i about relating to a particular person and myself :-) 2 different texts have 2 different interpretations; yet I'm most fond of Carol K. Anthony. Thank you. Blessings.
Jaliya said…
pseudo monk ... Thank you for your note :-) You write of Hexagram 26 emerging three times in readings about a particular relationship ... I've had that happen too, recently ... Hexagram 36, three times in a row. I am also delving more deeply into the work of Carol K. Anthony ...

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