Solitaire as a Life Lesson

Lately I’ve been really into playing regular old Solitaire on my phone to take a mental break here and there throughout the day. I started thinking about why I love it so much, especially lately as I’ve been practicing my own Mindful Acceptance.

Some valuable lessons solitaire can teach us include:

  • There’s only so much you can control
  • A large part of solitaire is dependent on Chance, the “luck of the draw”
  • Another part is based on the constant decisions a player makes
  • The player’s decision, of course, directly affects the game, but only in varying degrees at different times, combined with what cards they currently have available to them
  • If they don’t take any “do-overs” the player must live with each choice they’ve made and continue forward to make the best of what they have now, even if it’s not exactly the result they wanted
  • The player can constantly learn and improve by experimenting and making different choices in the future
  • Sometimes the player must observe the playing field carefully to see if they’ve missed anything that might help them
  • If the player’s not careful, they might miss a great opportunity to further the game
  • The player can’t assume they already know how things will turn out, nor can they simply give up when all seems lost
  • In short, they must accept the hand they’ve been dealt and navigate decisions to work best with whatever they have in front of them.

What other lessons do you take from everyday experiences around you?

  • Featured Arcana: Knight of Coins

    The Knight is of the Air Element (Thought); the Coins are of the Earth (Material Reality). Earth will be reshaped by Air, but only very slowly… The simple message of this Knight is:

    Trust the Journey

    …even if it’s a slow, arduous climb. The Journey is sometimes worth more than the Destination.

    Prana: Something to Take With You Today

    I’ve been determined these past few weeks to meditate every single day, and it’s been extremely helpful for my practice of internal balance and individuation.

    I decided to do a 25-minute long session today, unguided — meaning, I was left alone with none but myself for 25 whole minutes, haha!

    What I kept coming back to was my breath. I kept reminding myself that, while my body changes over these 25 minutes (I started sweating, my foot started falling asleep, my back needed to be reminded to rest on the easy flow from my diaphragm, etc…) — while all of that was happening, my breath never changed.

    Prana is defined as “life force”:

    [It] comprises all cosmic energies that permeate the Universe on all levels… In living beings, this universal energy is considered responsible for all bodily functions through five types of prana… Indologist Georg Feuerstein explains, “The Chinese call it chi, the Polynesians mana, the Amerindians orenda, and the ancient Germans od. It is an all-pervasive ‘organic’ energy.” — wikipedia

    While some techniques of pranayama are meant to control the breath and life force, ceasing what is thought of as the origin of our mental restlessness, we can also focus on simply accepting and relying upon our prana, our breath. (I’ve been working on acceptance of my Shadow and other parts lately.)

    So, to recap what I learned, my body will undergo changes throughout the day, my mind will stir with endless thoughts and feelings and beliefs… but my breath is always there, always flowing… in and out… and I can focus and rely on that regular pulsation of Life throughout my day. ❤

    Choose Your Biofeedback Loop

    Being Aware… Bringing yourself into the present moment…

    What is biofeedback?

    Biofeedback is just the idea that your brain is always sensing what is happening in your body and it reviews that information to decide how it should feel about the world.

    …Since most stimuli that we experience is ambiguous, if you start to push the probability in the positive direction then that’s going to have a really beneficial effect. (Source)

    When I sit and meditate on my breath I am choosing to direct my focus on how my physical body feels. When I’m sitting in the calm of this present moment, I recognize that my body feels relaxed.

    True, my thoughts will often wander, especially when I’m in a chaotic season of my career (as I often am). But by letting those thoughts simply float away and by redirecting my focus onto the calm in my body, I am actively choosing to create a biofeedback loop based on the relaxation I presently feel. And in this manner, my thoughts are better able to fall in line.

    Then, though my mind may be stirring, it holds no direct power over my mindset; indeed I am better able to direct my thoughts in the directions I choose them to go.

    The Knight of Pentacles represents the element of Air (Thought) surrounded and grounded by Earth (Physical Reality)

    It’s All in Your Perspective…

    Are you a Supplicant —

    one who Receives from the Father of the All and from Mother Wisdom,

    one who sits with open palms and is grateful for all that is given,

    that which will suffice for Today alone,

    One day at a time, without Attachment…

    Or are you a Taker —

    a Go-Getter, one who sees all as your oyster,

    the field ready for the Harvest,

    you are the Cause, and all Effect is your own doing…

    Both are the same; though in one, at its root, there is Peace and Graciousness, and in the other there is great Energy and Force. The Universe does not change its method according to our own perceptions of it. In Perspective, however, lies our re-actions (how we act in response) to this Life and all that is around us. May we be attuned to our personal perspectives each day, and be willing to adjust as necessary, in order that we may be kinder to ourselves and to others.

    Be Kind to Yourself Today

    Through the churning storms of my Mind,
    In the one True Silence that is All,
    that is Me,
    I heard a voice say,
    “Be kind to yourself.”

    Be kind to yourself;
    Violence only begets more violence,
    for it is a form of Energy,
    an active, restless, moving, driving force
    of Energy; it pushes others, and stirs up the surroundings from within.
    Serenity, stillness, calmness, Peace,
    these are a lack of energy or force —
    Yes, a stronger Force still,
    for is not the Sky itself
    greater than the winds and the clouds?
    The calm from the Storm,
    in the Storm,
    of the Storm,
    A letting go, and letting Be:
    Acceptance, Faith.

    All that is within
    is consequently projected
    on the world without.
    So, be kind to yourself.
    Now and always.

    Divine Beloved
    Painting by Janet J.E. Chui.

    Return to Your Roots

    Cliffside-Tree-Roots

    Let us take a lesson from Sister Flora, who draws nourishment from deep down within the Earth. It is the connection of the roots, drawing energy and nourishment from the Earth that sustains the Tree.

    Jesus said it this way:

    See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these…that is how God clothes the grass of the field…will he not much more clothe you… So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …your heavenly Father knows that you need them. –Matthew 6:28-32

    Sister Flora does not work or toil or worry, she only draws up the energy from Mother Earth to bring through her veins everything she needs. Likewise, we too, if we reconnect ourselves to the Earth and cosmos from which we came — within which our roots still exist from the beginnings of Evolution eons ago:

    — we will find all the energy, creativity, love, and sustenance that we could ever need. 

    Similarly, our roots interconnect and intertwine with the roots of others who are connected rootsto this planet, who were birthed here. And when we are aware of this intimate connection with The All, The All is entirely open to us: we are It, and It is us. We are each other, and we are Everything. Therefore, again, we lack for nothing.

    In this manner, it is strikingly evident what Carl Sagan has said in regard to us and the Universe:

    The cosmos is also within us… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

    If through Evolution, the cosmos has begun to open itself and search within itself all of its own possibilities, then we are a powerful part of that search — that Knowledge and Unearthly Wisdom! Let us reconnect ourselves and draw that into us.

    One more thought for encouragement. I often behold the apparent restrictions human civilization has put on Sister Flora, confining her to certain zones, if you will, where she is allowed to flourish among us, surrounded by concrete. But then I consider, how awesome it is that, as long as her roots are connected to the Earth and drawing all she needs from within the Heart of it, then, in fact, she is not restrained in the truest sense! Likewise, while it may seem at times that we are imprisoned in our own emotions and minds and societal situations we’ve gotten ourselves into, nonetheless, there is always Freedom, there is always Wisdom, deep down at the Heart of Creation, waiting to be tapped.

    May we continue to strengthen our connection with the Earth, our Mother, and reach our roots down deep to draw upon her nourishment and wisdom.

    spiritual-abundance2

    A Breathing-Meditation

    Surely a spirit is in man, And the breath of the Mighty One Doth cause them to understand. (Job 32:8, Young’s Literal Translation)

     

    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7, KJV Cambridge Ed.)

     

    Breath is… Spirit and Life…

     

    As you ground yourself, slip your mindful awareness to your breath. It can be likened to your very spirit, rising and falling, flowing as a stream, within you. It flows from your toes to your head, and vice versa; it feeds every cell within–fueling and lighting your mini-verse.

    Sense your breath–
    Is it tight and restricted?
    Is it free going in but short coming out?
    Is it shallow coming in, leaving a sense of emptiness or constriction?
    Is it quick, or slow?
    Is your belly soft and relaxed?
    Are your shoulders or chest tight and unmoving?

    Your breathing-muscles are intimately attached to all that your body does and senses. Your breath may be an excellent mirror by which one can view the state of one’s mind– Is it preoccupied with the past or the future? Is it riddled with strong emotion? Is it fixated on thought, planning, contemplations? Chances are, then, the breath is also caught in this fixation and obsession, as the body reacts and holds the fixation in its muscles, and the flow of breath–of spirit–is affected in such a manner.

     

    Breath is… Boring…

     
    Consider how our minds tend to wander and frolic into areas of interest, whether it be areas of interest that are beneficial to us or not. The point is, watching our breath in silence is, well, boring; and how quickly our minds run off to play like little children! But, notice this: our bodies remain here, in the Now. Nevertheless, far too often, our minds and thoughts are elsewhere– either planning the future or regretting and remembering the past.

    By focusing our attention on our breath and watching with acute awareness how our breath flows, we reunite our body and mind in the same place, in the here and now– and peaceful bliss will be the response. By bringing our awareness to immediate sensation rather than interpretive thought — which by necessity occurs after the impulse of sensation: the thing that occurs versus the mind’s interpretation of and associations with it — we are settling our mind on the immediacy of the sensation and the ever-changing nature of its impulses; we are taking refuge in what is happening here and now, reigning the mind in from its spastic wanderings to the past or future. We are realigning our full being and opening ourselves to unity, wholeness, and peace.

     

    Breath is… Kinship with Nature…

     

    “What a marvelous cooperative arrangement – plants and animals each inhaling each other’s exhalations, a kind of planet-wide mutual mouth-to-stoma resuscitation, the entire elegant cycle powered by a star 150 million kilometers away.” –Carl Sagan, Cosmos

    • close your eyes, settled in meditative position
    • begin the Grounding Meditation as your anchoring connection to Goddess Gaia
    • see the light of the universe from above pour into your form through your crown chakra as it unfurls, opening as a lotus flower
    • this pure light trickles down, filling your form with light until it streams outward from you through the surface of the earth upon which you sit, rushing down through the layers of crust below, flooding the Earth Heart Chakra with light — Gaia’s crystal at the center of the earth — until this light, enhanced by the power of the fiery crystal, bursts back up toward you, igniting the base of your spine with radiant energy! This pristine energy and light flow up the track of your spine, lighting every fiber of your being, until the mighty stream bursts upward from your opened Crown Chakra! It reignites the light source shining down upon you from above and envelops you in an aura of light and energy.

    Up until this point, this is really only a simplified picture of the grounding meditation…. Now, let’s incorporate the intimacy of our breath and take this experience to another level….

    • Unite the flow of your breath with the stream of Light and Energy
    • feel the light enter your form from the earth’s heart below and travel upward along your spine with every breath drawn in; feel the light burst through the crown chakra and envelop you with every breath outward
    • your breath is the stream by which the light travels
    • Imagine the graceful give-and-take, the intricate balance of Nature: With each in-breath, gratefully acknowledge the gift of Sister Flora, Gaia’s grace and provision; with every out-breath, give back to Gaia and Sister Flora
    • Release your breath and pour all of yourself out as an offering, as you exhale and clear yourself of impurities
    • Accept the next breath with joy, feel it flood your cells with life, allow it to fill every abyss within, without force— simply open the floodgates and feel the life and spirit flow and rush to fill the emptinesses
    • we are each other’s survival, us and the earth, intricately joined together and intertwined

    Oh, the stability, joy, life, and peace of the unhindered stream of Breath!

    The question then remains:

    Where do you end and the world begins?

    When this becomes unanswerable, indeed nonsensical, you have rejoined the All in consciousness; you have returned home, and all of the universe is available to your intuition.

    20130305-225920.jpg

    The Four Types of Clinging

    The Buddha’s Four Types of Clinging bear reposting: 🙂

    • Attachment to sensuality– “the fundamental desire for gratification, pleasure and stimulation. The sensual hit that seems to make life worth living… the belief…that seeking gratification is better than doing nothing.”
    • Attachment to views– “the tendency of the mind to seek out a viewpoint or opinion where everything is clear… Now everything is safe and comfortable for me… The Buddha is pointing to our tendency to seek security, peace, well-being and happiness in our views and perspectives.”
    • Attachment to “to rules and vows, to precepts and practices that one assumes will lead to purity.”– “The idea of ‘I’m doing the practice’ gets in the way of being attentive to what’s happening in the heart and mind.When we are attentive, we can actually do the practice and enjoy it, delight in it and benefit from the results.”
    • Attachment to self– “The self has a function, but we get caught up believing in the story or even the doctrine of it, which then creates havoc. It’s important to recognize how the sense of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ insinuates itself all the time — craving and clinging around the feelings of ‘”I” need to have this, it has to be this way for “me”.’”

    As I grow and learn, I’m finding my Ego likes to change the Story on me. Yes, I am changing, I am improving and leaning toward the Light on the other side of the Prism (my neuro-pathways are realigning, adjusting my personality). But, this adjusted Ego can so easily fool me into thinking that I am completely free of Attachments, at first because these new attachments, or new view of my attachments, are unrecognized as such. But, sooner rather than later, my power chakra’s “karma alarm” goes off and lets me know…. I’m Attached… And perhaps about to base my actions on my related karma…

    Be grounded today, open and trust your chakras and the Observer, refrain from all judgements… Go through the Four Types of Clinging within yourself — trust your Inner Guide — and release them each to Heaven…. Be in love with yourself and find peace.

    The Stickiness of Attachments

    As you walk through your day today, take a moment to examine your power chakra, the center of duality, Ego, and boundaries.

    Do you feel a tightness in your gut? Butterflies? A sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach?

    Stop a moment — it only takes a moment! — and get grounded; be connected with the Source of All. Then, simply observe; are there Attachments clinging to your Ego today, biding for your attention? It’s amazing how attachments crop up in the most unexpected of times and places!

    Are you attached to that duty or project you must work on? Then… are you attached to your meditation practice to clear the attachments??

    Remember this aspect of attachments:

    Attachment to “to rules and vows, to precepts and practices that one assumes will lead to purity.”– “The idea of ‘I’m doing the practice’ gets in the way of being attentive to what’s happening in the heart and mind. When we are attentive, we can actually do the practice and enjoy it, delight in it and benefit from the results.”

    This is the immense value of mindful observation. The Witness, the eye of your Soul, is free from the constraints of all fear and consists of pure, truly unconditional love. Release your attachments to heaven — to your angels or your Divine Beloved — as you notice them today… And be not even attached to the practice of needing to release attachments as you practice, either!!

    Simply Be, as the mountains are… Be, I AM.

    Align yourself and be at peace today.