The imagery of the eight trigrams represent the combinations of yin and yang that are possible with three sections. The solid bar represents yang, while the broken bar represents yin. The eight are arranged around the yin/yang in such a way that creates opposites. Each trigram has a related season, compass point, Chi Kung exercise, even a family relation and can be used in many ways from divination to understanding life's various contradictions. Techniques within a Kung Fu form can be demarcated/classified as related/ represented by the different trigrams. In these articles I shall be focussing on a more generalised application of these various principles to life and character development.
Mountain suggests a stability, solidity that will hold firm though anything. Lake (sometimes valley) is not the opposite in the sense of unreliable, but suggests light and fun, frivolous and joyful. Picture the sun scattering and glistening in the tiny ripples and waves of a mountain lake. The lake is all the more appreciated because of its location amongst the rocky grandeur of a mountain, but also joyous fun can best occur within the safe boundaries of stability.
Mountain is the essential inner core, the stability, the stillness of heart that is found in rest and peaceful contentment. This is the attribute that builds endurance. However, without the balance of the lake, the inaccessible security that is a defensive fortress against a changing and unstable world can become a prison of stone. True peaceful, stillness of heart is not achieved by locking out the transient, bustling world, but is achieved in spite of it. Like the hub, the centre of a swirling storm, the mountain offers security and stability.
Lake is the innocent openness of fluid interaction. When the mind is quiet, clear and calm like a lake without a breath of wind, one can reflect the sky, the infinite depth of the heavens. When a breeze or a shower ripples the surface it is beautiful because it is still reflecting highlights of eternity. However without the security of the mountains, the lake has no secure boundaries and will run away into the water meadow, the difference between deep joyful lightness of heart and shallow frivolousness is the boundaries and silliness of the the mountains.