I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

58: Joy


Joy is exemplified by a group of friends playing, or a carefree young girl singing to herself while engaged in her work. The happiness is rising from within and spreading out into the world!

Joy comes into the world through gentle means, but springs from a solid sense of self. The power of joy should never be underestimated. The enjoyment of learning and discovery, for example, has served as the source of much progress. Likewise, that which brings joy into the world is a source of considerable power.

If happiness is supported by personal stability, it will wear down the stiffest barrier and win over the hardest heart. True joy is a beacon in the world, and being so 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 tired, take your pleasures as you will -- what could be better?

Line 2

True joy is incompatible with any pleasure that cannot 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 devoid of it, the tendency to search for joy 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 they are not grounded. Knowing your deepest wishes, and acting on them, is the better path to joyful exuberance and energy. Looking for something external to fill you up delivers an unsatisfactory result.

Line 4

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

Line 5

When a period of joyousness starts to degenerate, slowly but surely problems will arise. However sincere you may be, it is easy 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.