I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

58: Joy


A joy that is shared suggests a group of friends playing, or a carefree young girl singing to herself while engaged in her work. Happiness is rising within, and spreading out into the world!

Joy comes into the world through gentle means, but springs from a solid inner base. The power of pure joy should not be underestimated. The enjoyment of learning and discovery, for example, has been the source of much progress. Accordingly, that which brings joy into the world is a source of considerable power.

If happiness is supported by personal stability, it will in time wear down the stiffest barrier and win over the hardest heart. True joy is a beacon in the world, and though it is, indeed, rare, its presence is an indication of great good fortune, both now and in the future. How could it be otherwise?

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Living a life of quiet, self-contained joy is the height of good fortune. Eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are sleepy, take your pleasures as you will -- what could be better?

Line 2

True joy is incompatible with any pleasure that cannot also be fully appreciated and relished the morning after. Take this lesson to heart.

Line 3

The source of true joy is from within. If one is empty of joy, the tendency to search for it outside oneself easily takes the form of indulgence in pleasant but superficial distractions. Those who do not control their idle desires often do so because of a lack of grounding. Knowing your deepest wishes, and acting on them, is the better path to joyful exuberance and energy. Looking for something “out there” to fill you up always delivers an unsatisfactory result.

Line 4

When a variety of pleasures abound, it furthers one to be decisive. Failure to choose joy over mere pleasure is as self-defeating as the failure to act in the face of danger. Choosing the higher desire brings fulfillment. Passionate self-indulgence produces suffering.

Line 5

When a period of joyousness begins to degenerate, slowly but surely problems arise. However sincere you are, it is possible to become involved with unworthy circumstances or people. Only by recognizing this tendency, and guarding against it, can you avoid pitfalls and remain free from harm.

Line 6 (top line)

Pleasant circumstances do not always indicate success. Having lost touch with one's deeper self and true purpose in life, it is possible to be swept along by vanity and circumstance, to be carried away from the sources of true joy. When this happens, it is no longer a question of good or bad fortune. By losing control of one’s choices, one has left everything to chance.