Hidden Dragon in Deep Water
In the first (or lowest) NINE of I Ching (or Book of Changes)—“chim4 lung4 mat6 yung6”, in the literal sense, the hexagram means the dragon is still lurking in the water, replenishing its energy, thus unable to make a difference.
This analogizes with the beginning of any development—though it/one may possess some advantage, they should keep a low profile because of an unfavourable situation or because one is weak at the moment. Therefore, the ancients often said, “tou1 gwong1 yeung5 fui3”, which means to dim one’s light, keep a low profile and stay humble so that he/she will not expose him/herself.
A gentleman who works relentlessly and stays alert at night will not be prone to disaster in danger.
Does it mean we will do nothing as we “lurk”? Certainly not. As the third NINE, Qian (Hexagram 1) indicates, gwan1 ji2 jung1 yat6 gon1 gon1, jik6 tik1 yeuk6; lai6, mou4 gau3, which means a gentleman who works relentlessly and stays alert at night will not be prone to disaster in danger. Therefore in Xiang Zhuan, Qian, I Ching—it advises us, “tin1 hang4 gin6, gwan1 ji2 yi5 ji6 keung4 bat1 sik1”, which means, like the eternal orbiting of the Heavens that fortify the man of principles, I shall fortify myself without cease.
Many of the biblical figures in the Old Testament had gone through a period of concealment and trials before they were used by God.
The Bible also teaches people to be positive in adversity. The prophet Isaiah said, “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” Isaiah 30:20 NIV The most important thing is to stick to the word of God, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 If we recall the biblical figures in the Old Testament—many of them had gone through a period of concealment and trials before they were used by God. For instance, Joseph was sold to Egypt as a child and was subsequently framed and imprisoned before God put him into his care and made him Vizier, and eventually save the Israelites from famine; Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and spent 40 years in Midian as a shepherd; the prophet Elijah was called by God to hide on the banks of the Cherith and be fed by ravens before he was ordered to Zarephath and supplied by a widow to practice his faith in God, 3 years prior to killing the prophets of Baal.
In such a predicament and current turbulent era, we may feel helpless and get discouraged easily, often lament one’s inability to reverse the deteriorating situation. Therefore, we ought to learn from the wisdom of “chim4 lung4 mat6 yung6” from our predecessors, to understand how to avoid acting in haste and be patient, to work hard to equip ourselves, and wait patiently for opportunities.