I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

16: Enthusiasm


Enormous creative energy is unleashed by enthusiasm. This energy is like powerful music that inspires great numbers of people, loosening old constraints and generating new opportunities. Indeed, the power of enthusiasm is best symbolized by music and dance, for it is guided more by the heart than the head. Thus, great good fortune can follow when the leader of an enthusiastic group is a person of strong character, one able to guide this positive force toward a favorable destination.

Enthusiasm, whether in a relationship or a group, generates a special kind of electricity. When a concert crowd is charged up, the singer scales new heights, and life becomes its own reward. For who is not in awe of thunder? And who would fail to fill his or her lungs in the aftermath of a cleansing rain?

Arouse the passionate support of others, while adjusting your ideas and plans to suit their needs. In this way you can fill your sails with the mighty wind of popular support.

To arouse others, redouble your own dedication, and dare to create an environment that is free of tension. Take joy in your work. Harness the power of song and dance.



Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Self-consciously flaunting your own enthusiasm brings misfortune; those around you must ignite their own flames. Simply turning up the jets on your burners will not help if those around you are out of fuel. If others cannot keep up with you, you may have to slow the pace. But if your associates have fuel but no fire, your selfless absorption in the work at hand can become the flint that ignites their enthusiasm. A sense of unity is called forth.

Line 2

When waves of enthusiasm take over a group, the wise man watches for small signs, and views the world without illusion. When the first signs of misfortune appear, he withdraws quickly, waiting not even until the end of the day. In this way he advances his own position, while serving the interests of the group. Clearheadedness is vital in times of great excitement.

Line 3

"She who hesitates is lost." In this situation, hesitation brings regret. The right moment for seizing an opportunity or approaching a benefactor must be selected carefully, but when that time comes, action should be taken immediately. Giving your allegiance to a worthy cause or leader may well be appropriate, if such a move would further your own interests.

Seize the day, or watch your chances disappear. Rather than looking to some outside force, do your best to advance yourself through well-timed personal effort.

Line 4

Great works spring from those able to awaken enthusiasm in others through self-confidence and decisiveness. A person without doubts, and who is sincere, attracts others naturally. The power of such a person is enhanced through the sharing of power and responsibility with others. Thus others are willing to return cooperation and become trustworthy allies and supporters.

Line 5

If enthusiasm is blocked, you may be experiencing constant pressure, or psychological suffocation. In such a context, when you feel restricted, bogged down, or lacking in the ability to express your ideas or put them into effect, do not worry. It is this exact situation that will prevent you from wasting your energies and keep you alive. View this situation as an advantage.

Line 6 (top line)

Even if your enthusiasm is misguided at this time, it's not a big problem. Everyone suffers delusions from time to time. The bigger problem would be an inability to dream at all. The sober realization that a false dream has run its course can, in itself, be a sign of a fresh beginning. For those with chronic enthusiasm, it's essential to be able to separate the dreamer from the dream.