To Be SteadFast

The word “steadfast” keeps appearing in the English translation of the I Ching. I thought I would once and for all be clear in the meaning of this word. Here are some definitions or thoughts from the web:

Steadfast: Someone can be steadfast in a belief, an effort, a plan, or even a refusal. Whatever it is, it means that the person will calmly hold firm to the chosen position and follow through with determination.

The words “follow through” strike a chord within me. Here’s how Oxford Dictionaries define it:

Resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. Origin: Old English ‘standing firm’

I think of what it means to physically stand firmly. This reminds of me the standing stance in gongfu movies.

Based on my limited knowledge and understanding of the I Ching and its English translations, some translators use the word “persevere” instead of “steadfast”. Let’s look at some meanings of this word.

Perseverance: Central notion of the traditional interpretation of the I Ching. Meaning: be steadfast, remain true.

For unknown reasons, the phase “remain true” jumps out at me. I suppose when you are steadfast or persevere in something, it’s to remain true to yourself, someone else, an ideology, etc.

I think the following gives us an excellent idea of the steadfast quality:

Depending on context, it can be understood as persisting in righteousness or remaining still i.e. not to be affected or unchanging i.e. without any self-adjustment, or preserving what have been achieved.

In the Oracle Bone Script, zhen1 appears in a way like a diviner asking a divinatory question. Since the diviner must devoutly engross himself in the divination with no distractions, it is extended to mean single-mindedness.

I suppose when you are persistent or determined, the concept of being single-minded comes into play. Are you focused on multiple objectives e.g. having a backup plan or are you putting all your soul and energy into that one goal?

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