The Creative Over Keeping Still 
Heaven Above, Mountain Below

——–StrengthHeadMetalPurpleEarly WinterNorth WestFather
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—  —InertiaHandStoneGreenEarly SpringNorth EastYoungest Son
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Heaven is above the mountain.
The great man withdraws himself from the inferior man.
He remains contained and free from resentment.
To withdraw before the inferior man brings about success.
Auspicious if he is determined in small matters.

A mountain rising up under heaven must come to a stop because this is one of its attribute. It can not rise endlessly. Heaven on the other hand can withdraw upward to a safe distance and remains untouched by the mountain. The great man can also withdraw into himself when approached by a man of inferior nature. The great man does not feel besieged by the man of inferior nature. He is not constrained by hatred or contempt for the inferior man. Through his demonstration of strength he brings the inferior man to a halt by keeping a dignified and controlled attitude towards him. When the inferior man reaches to the heights of the great man, withdrawal is the proper course of action. It this manner he does not waste his energy through needless conflict. The circumstances at this time are favoring the inferior forces so it serves no purpose to confront them. Success can only be achieved through withdrawing from the situation. This withdrawal need not be a confused and frenzied escape. It is not a sign of weakness but rather a demonstration of strength to be able to put aside the ego and retreat when the times call for withdrawal. Timing is a key element to a proper retreat and the correct moment must be seized while still in possession of full strength and conviction. Knowing that this withdrawal is only temporary the great man retreats in dignity within himself and his close circle of friends. This does not mean to simply discontinue resistance but rather to make sure that the opposition is kept on its guard while in the great man is in a stage of retreat. He can do this by preparing for the reversal of activity while withdrawing to safety. To know that there is a correct time for withdrawal as well as advance is the key to understanding this hexagram.

1 –X– He is covering the rear in this withdrawal. There is danger in this situation. He must not attempt to initiate any action. 

When withdrawing from a situation one is better off to be at the front, leading the retreat rather than to be at the rear, simply following others. The ones who are at the rear are closest to the tracking threat. He is in a perilous position and, at this point, should not be taking any initiative. To remain calm in the face of this threat is the simplest way to avoid it. 

2 –X– He is bound by yellow oxhide. He can not be set free. 

Yellow is a symbol of the golden mean while oxhide represents strength of substance. A lesser man is in pursuit of superior men and is clutching to them so firmly that he can not be eluded. Since the final purpose of the lesser man is proper and his intent is so strong, with the assistance of superior men he will succeed in his aim. 

3 –0– There is peril and apprehension Once the withdrawal has paused. He has no choice but to retain others as servants. He must make the best of the situation. 

Hesitation during the phase of withdrawal could lead to compromising ones own position. If he delays he might not later have the liberty to act in the proper manner. When others are holding him back, he has no choice but to take them on in subordinate capacities and make the best of the situation. This way he at least keeps the power of motivation on his side. Even though the conditions are far from being ideal, the man has no choice in the matter and must see to his own welfare. 

4 –0– A willful withdrawal. Auspicious for the great man. Ominous for the inferior man. 

When one is forced to withdraw, there is no point is arousing animosity. If he can retreat in a willful and cordial atmosphere he will at least preserve his own dignity and honour. He will effortlessly adjust to this situation since he will not need to compromise any of his own beliefs. The only person who will find despair in this situation is the is the inferior man from whom the superior man is withdrawing. Once the lesser man has lost the source of counsel which he has pushed away, his situation will only rapidly deteriorate. 

5 –0– He withdraws as a friend. Auspicious if he is determined. 

A superior man instinctively knows when the time for withdrawal has arrived. A retreat which is correctly timed can be handled in an atmosphere of friendliness and thus conflicts can be avoided. Even though he might comply with all courtesies, the superior man must still be careful about being steered wrongly by inconsequential factors. He must be sure of his judgment and of his ability to go through with his resolution in a determined and conclusive manner. 

6 –O– Joyful withdrawal. He is free to initiate any action. 

The state of circumstances in this case leave no doubt as to what the man next step is to be. His detached inner perspective gives him the clarity of mind to choose the right course of action. He knows what he must do. He is free to advance or withdraw. The choice is entirely his. When a man is in such a clear and peaceful state of mind his decision can only direct him towards good fortune.