Water on top of a mountain - it starts to go down, in any way it can find. Cascading down precipices or meandering through the grass, rushing among rocks or filling gaps before it can go on. Many little streams even disappear, they follow cracks in the rocks and show up at the foot of the mountain as springs.
Life seldom is an easy road, it is rather like this little stream. Obstructions everywhere. If you can handle them like the little stream does, your life or ventures will be an adventurous beautiful voyage. When you reach the valley and you look back at the big mountain you conquered, you will know your value, even when you often despaired.
The meaning of life is living it.
JIAN: The character represents a foot and 'block' or 'plug' (the two images at right). Karlgren: “The seal has 廾 two hands (below) and four 工 in the middle (picture of bricks?): wall up, block up 宀 a house”
JIAN: lame, crippled, feeble, slow, difficult, hard, trouble, danger, haughty, lofty.
The trigrams: Water above Mountain.
There are clouds aboven the mountain: limping. The noble one reverses his being to cultivate virtue.
In the front of the picture above, the rainshadow of the mountainrange is a desert. But on the other side of the mountains is a fertile green valley. Mountains give and take.
For a creature it means, that your 'self' has fears or feelings towards the outer world, and the solution is to find your own road. The road well-traveled is not right for you.
"reverses his being to cultivate virtue" (făn shēn xiū dé).
Făn: turn over, return; counter, revolt; rebel, oppose; combat
Shēn: body, personally.
Together as two-syllable word: făn shēn: self, reflexive.
Dé: morality, heart, kindness
Together as two-syllable word: xiū dé: cultivate virtue
In old texts characters are often on their own, not combined to one two-syllable meaning. I think of the little mountainstream: combats self, cultivates virtue. If you tackle the big struggle for life yourself, you build up your character.