When Things Are Not As They Seem

I love the Tales that Tarot Cards can Tell!

“Yes, the cards are random. Yes, my mind by nature seeks out it’s own meaning from the cards I see before me. And, yes, that’s the point of it all. I look at what meaning my mind draws currently from the randomly drawn cards, and I am able to gain insight into my current state of mind. I am able to decide how I might chose to address my current state of mind; to encourage parts of it, or change other parts to better face my day ahead.”

One of the more intriguing aspects of tarot interpretation comes when the supposedly “bad” cards are found in “good” places, and vice-versa.

I’ve had a series of really powerful spreads to reflect upon since I did my Yuletide Sabbat Reading in December. It’s been a steady reminder to sometimes embrace my disappointments or mental defeats…

The above photo is the “quickey” Daily Oracle I drew for today. Side note: it impressed me doubly that the first card at the left was the same card I drew a couple days ago, as my “first step” toward resolving my inner issues; and, likewise, the third card, at the right, was the card in that same prior reading as one of my sources of inner strength I could draw from.

So, let me explain these cards and their basic meanings:

  • On the left, we have the 7 of Water (Emotion), or Debauchery.
  • On the right, we have the 5 of Water (Emotion), or Disappointment.
  • And in the center is the 7 of Fire (Energy/Action), or Valor.
  • The placement of these cards is as follows: Left = Where I am right now; Center = the Root of my obstacles today; Right = the recommended response to learning from or overcoming that obstacle.

So, we might say, then, that Valor is my problem and Disappointment is my answer. Say what?

This is where a deeper look into ourselves comes in handy. A Buddhist ideal is that “bad” and “good” have no intrinsic values on their own. They are simply labels that we humans attach to any given thing or event, depending on how we see it at the moment.

So, taking Debauchery (7 Cups): in this setting, it means I’m on the right track. I’ve taken the first step recommended in the prior spread; I’m in a good place. A deeper look at the concept of this card reveals that this state of Emotion doesn’t have to be “bad.”

Debauchery is defined as “excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.” So, there is a word of caution that comes with it: one shouldn’t wallow in stagnate emotions for too long, or the waters will rot. But, sometimes, it may be necessary to lie still in your Emotions and enjoy their sensual pleasures for a spell–just be aware that you will have to move on at some point.

Valor (7 Wands): it is a card of fiery Action! A pushing forward past obstacles using the sheer energy of your passion! And, weirdly enough, for today that is what is the Root of my difficulties I either face now or will face today. Valor is an honorable trait, to be sure. But often, our Fires of Passion can run over others and get us into trouble, burning up our surroundings that we have built with those same energies. Wouldn’t you agree?

Lastly, Disappointment (5 Cups): How can this possibly work as a “good” card–an answer to the “problem” of Valor??

One of the traits of water is to cool fire. Our Emotions can at times be the vehicle by which our passionate energies are cooled, allowing us to step back and think on things a little more. Deeper still, the principle of Emotional Disappointment is a state of non-equilibrium. We are, of course, not content to stay in Disappointment for long. The Waters of Disappointment seek to flow to calmer or more stable grounds.

When Disappointment is meant as a suggested response, it is wise to look straight into the face of your emotional upset and allow it to carry you along to a better emotional place.

Many times, we must not shrink from unpleasant emotions but embrace them and let them carry us forward.

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.

A Dramatic Realization

I suddenly had the most intriguing revelation this morning upon waking. This is perhaps a bit off-topic, yet this blog is, of course, an online journal of discovery, so perhaps it’s not so much a derailment of thought… 🙂

Social Networking: Appropriate-Social-Network-Behaviour-300x299

I love Facebook! It has connected me with friends and relatives and fans of my work like I could only have imagined before there was the internet (and, yes, I do remember those days, though I was only a child, haha)!

I always strive to be real; I never want to present myself as something other than myself. And, out of respect for others, I have never ever made it a practice to “unfriend” those in the digital-social arena whose political or religious or cultural values differ from mine. Unfortunately, however, there are a couple people my Unconscious — my Higher Self — brought to my mind very strongly this morning; people  who I know and with whom I have interacted personally in real life — who I did end up de-friending after a long, long time of frustration.

Naturally, the frustration was over political differences, stark differences. The odd thing about my situation was that, with both of these people, I only engaged very rarely with them in heated discussions (online, in the comment sections); I wound up unfriending them only after being constantly reminded of their staunch positions through the memes and comments they shared with me via my feed. I had decided, I don’t need to be reminded of our stark differences by seeing this in my feed every day.

What struck me as interesting and unique this morning, was that there are plenty of other diverse things that are shared with me constantly via that Facebook feed every day. Why should I be so bothered by these few? I think perhaps it is because in real, face-to-face life, I would never have engaged in such heated commentary with them, and indeed I would probably never have even seen this side of their views so vividly, knowing them and their in-person, quiet natures. And, even if I had, knowing myself well enough, I realized I would simply have nodded my head in respect of their opinions and loved them anyway, rather than engaging their ire further with my dissenting viewpoints.

So, my Unconscious asked my Conscious this morning, what would I “share” verbally in face-to-face communication with my friends, if I were to speak with this collection of diverse individuals in person? I know myself well enough to know that I would not be so quick to blurt out to everyone any such heat-worthy news bites or strident memes that catch my fancy at any given point, without instigation. I tend to be the person, in real life, who normally listens more than speaks when it comes to hot-button issues of the day, unless I am asked for my opinion. Thus, when I am invited to share in the discussion, the discussion is instantly understood to be on more friendly terms, and not an opportunity for scathing commentary back and forth.

I realized, too, that on my personal Facebook wall, I only share with “Friends” and not the “Public.” Which begs the question, again, if I were personally, physically, surrounded by these friends today, what would I actually share with them? Would I bare my soul so destructively and without discernment? Or would I more likely nod my head in enthusiastic agreement with those things said with which I concur, and smile with patient understanding and polite silence when faced with opinions I don’t agree with? Yes, having done so confidently in the past, and knowing this is who I am, that is what I would do. Therefore, I have committed to a grand personal experiment on social media: Rather than sharing blatantly anything and everything that strikes my fancy (and, understand, I already tend to be judicious in what I choose to share; I share those things that seem highly important to me — but it’s important only to me, without concern for others at the time; that’s the point), I have decided: I will only “share” that which I would personally say to anyone in my circle face-to-face. 

  • I will freely “Like” those things that strike my fancy, however. It’s my enthusiastic “nod of the head” of agreement.
  • I will “Share” those things that I personally would only say in public, in physical actuality, face-to-face.
  • I will not engage in heated back-and-forth commentary in the manner to which I have become accustomed in this faceless internet age. And if I do participate in discussions, I will only do so as I would if I were standing there with this person face-to-face: with love, patience, silence, and understanding.

To the internet’s credit, I have become much bolder in expressing myself, and for that I am grateful. But I have realized that I — and perhaps, we all, dare I say? — have gotten too comfortable in engaging each other’s ire from the comfort of hiding behind our smiling profile photos, from behind the safety of our own monitors in our own homes. I, for one, will aim to be more “realistic” in my engagement with others online. At the very least, I will be truer to myself, and in doing so, there is great Peace.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

–Jesus, Luke 6:31

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

–Proverbs 15:1

keep-calm-and-be-true-to-yourself-7

How Easy…

How easy it is for us to slip into our emotional skin and become utterly entrenched in the passions of our current opinions and viewpoints, angered with those who disagree with us. A Culture War may be more dangerous than any other in the way it consumes the inside of its very host.

May we call to mind Big Brother Mountain and Father Sky, who simply look on from beyond, observing, unattached, the goings-on below. If we can slip into the mentality of the Observer we can see more clearly the reality of the things around us and will be capable of extending the respect to others that All deserve.

Let us wake from our virtual reality and ceaseless running today.

Emotional Attachment

Why must there be so much hatred? Why do we run so quickly to judgement fueled by emotion, rather than objective understanding, leading to peace and harmony? It makes me very sad when I encounter it and cannot break through….

Memorial "the Holodomor" 1932-1933 (death by hunger) in Kyiv, UkraineAlas, these too, are all Attachment and Aversion… They float in and out like clouds across the Spaciousness Within. We need not claim any as our own… Still, as a regular human being, how I wish I could talk sense into others around me regarding these truths!!

To straighten the crooked you must first do a harder thing — straighten yourself.

The Dhammapada of Guatama.

 

When they kept on questioning him [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John 8:7

 

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Jesus, Matthew 7:1-5

 

How easy it is to immediately say: Well! In this particular instance I know what I am talking about; therefore I will close my ears to you and what you have to say and tell you what’s what!

But the wise men of ages past knew and have told us what it is to be wise — to judge not, to embrace The Shadow in all of us, and realize we are all exactly the same; we are connected to each other. We are all of The One. It is not our place to judge the actions of another, especially not solely based on our initial emotional reactions to it! But we must seek to understand, and above all, Love. And Perfect Love is not judgmental or conditional, it simply Is… Mother Earth, indeed the cosmos around us, from which we ultimately came, exhibits a perfect love for us in that the Universe does not judge us for our constant pettiness and smallness and arrogance; the sun still circles around us, the earth still rotates, It does not speak, It does not complain…

Unconditional love feels like nothing… emotions, feelings, judgements — these are all conditions. (Visit this page for more on the Witness State of Unconditional Love.)

Indeed – if we rather turned our attention inward and only sought to straighten ourselves and not others, what a marvelously beautiful world this could become! To attain a state of simply Being, and allowing others that same respect, is a path toward Peace.

Ultimately, however sorrowful I may feel from time to time, it is all up to me and the straightening of myself within, and not the pressure or conditions I feel like placing on others.

May Namaste  — I, the Divine in me, bow to the Divine Spark within you — be the sincere word among us all, to tie us together.

namaste

 

The Inner and The Outer

…just as he who wishes to see the intelligible nature will contemplate what is beyond the perceptible if he has no mental image of the perceptible, so he who wishes to contemplate what is beyond the intelligible will contemplate it when he has let all the intelligible go…we in our (aporia) do not know what we ought to say, and are speaking of what cannot be spoken, and give it a name because we want to indicate it to ourselves as best we can…

—from “Apophasis”

Evolution, Goddess Gaia, if you will, has granted us a most astonishing gift… Our brains, our mind, our consciousness, our perceptions — this intricate interweaving of grey matter with electric impulses and tissue and muscle and bone has, over the expansive eons, given us not merely a thinking mind by which to behold and contemplate our surroundings, but almost another, outer mind beyond this natural mind, by which we are able to contemplate our own selves as well! We are able to Observe the Observer.

In this sense, we might say that we are capable of, at its most basic, two focuses, or ways of looking and experiencing. This concept has already been beautifully and plainly described in the study of Open Focus, and I highly recommend you explore Kurt Keefner’s writings on the subject at the aforementioned link! Additionally, the Buddha would call this very concept and practice Mindfulness. But, too, let us consider the pragmatic implications of this kind of understanding in regard to our personal and societal interactions…

In our American society at present, there seems to be a great struggle tearing us violently apart, pitting basic religious and social viewpoints against each other. This debate is very near and dear to my heart at present, as I have experienced both sides of the struggle in the full and complicated extent of my own personal journey, and I feel I’ve at least been able to grasp the basic concepts rooted at the heart of the struggle. “The Devil is in the details,” it is said, but from an eagle’s eye view, I see the broad lack of understanding on the whole as a resistance against accepting Open Focus or allowing oneself to Observe the Observer in a mindful manner.

Consider this:

What is it that drives our current breakthroughs in Science, that which enhances our knowledge of the Universe and our place in it, that which enables us to create technological advances to enable us to understand more? Is it not the scientific process of careful and testable Observation and Experience through experimentation? What is it that enables us to live our daily lives and make basic decisions? Is it not the result of our current and past observations, built upon habit and understanding? How is it that a child learns what is not particularly beneficial to their well-being but by testing and observing and getting hurt and thereby learning in the process? We live our lives, we observe, we learn, we grow… and we develop frames within which our experiences fit — frames that seem to explain our experiences and by which we are able to categorize future experience and observation, frames that will guide our future decisions if we let them. One might call this living life through the Ego Filter

I would also call this the Inner Experience. This is the realm in which most “normal” life is lived, without thought, without mindfulness. This framework we build and with which we shelter our Egos and Perceptions could very well be called rigid religious structure. It is protective, offers guidance, and seems reliable in an apparently unreliable world. It gives meaning and explanation to the uncertain. And, when it is attacked by other emerging viewpoints, it is defended violently.

If, however, one could from time to time, emerge from within this rigid framework in order to observe its colors and shapes and structural intricacies from without, then I would call this the Outer Experience. It is this mind-existing-outside-the-mind observational phenomenon that allows Science to double-check itself for validity. It is the realm in which Understanding and most perfect, unconditional Love dwell. It is the place from which we can come to understand our Egos and its decisions and perceptions, and the place we can come to embrace our Shadow and realize that we are One…

One dwelling in the Inner realm is one who holds to their ideology, for there is nothing else beyond it; it is all they are. One dwelling in the Outer realm is one who does not take part emotionally in anything that is seen, but rather only watches and studies and accepts. From this vantage point, there is much to be learned, and much wisdom and peace to be attained.

Align the Universe Within

Some Carl Sagan wisdom (excerpts from “Cosmos“, in no particular order):

We are made of stellar ash. Our origin and evolution have been tied to distant cosmic events. The exploration of the cosmos is a voyage of self-discovery.

We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose.

And you are made of a hundred trillion cells. We are, each of us, a multitude.

We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.

Some part of our being knows this is where we came from… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

The juxtaposition of mind and body vs. spirit is a topic that has been explored in many a myth and philosophical exercise across the ages. We all somehow sense that there is more to us than this mere physical body which we inhabit. Yet it is still an elusive mystery…

What can we say about the nature of who we are?

  • The Fundamental Forces
    The Fundamental Forces

    We are a “mini universe”, we are a multitude; in a sense, our ultimate Personal Consciousness is built upon the delicate balance of myriad other “lesser” consciousnesses, if you will. My cells, genes, every bodily function readily perceived and not, even operations on the quantum level upon which the operations of the entire Universe are based, are all directed, expressed, and controlled by various processes: such as the quantum-mechanical forces, DNA and RNA, energy cycles, and much, much more. Because of our amazing evolutionary legacy, this “mini-verse” of ours is able to operate at its current utmost via its own cyclical system of communication processes, without Me getting involved, aside from providing it the necessary fuel and energy sources it needs to continue normal operations.

  • Incidentally, this is why I so enjoy and resonate with the notion of the fractal multiverse; we ourselves — and all of nature around us — are a smaller version of the intricate interweaving of processes and structures that make up the larger cosmos we inhabit! All is unfolding and overlapping in fractal symmetry; Nature begets after its kind in ever-evolving improvement and adaptation to changing surroundings. The truth of these things is all around us to behold. All we have to do is observe and understand…
  • The evolution of the human brain is wondrous and revelatory!

    …moving from the simple to the complex over an extended period of time. The billions of cells that work together to make the brain and body function harmoniously have numerous critical functions. …the brain has adhered to Charles Darwin’s “natural selection” methodology by ridding itself of less important functions while enhancing the more essential ones over time.

    It is a fact that as man evolved, certain mutations took place within the nervous system that forced it to evolve in time with the body. …mutations in the nervous system were also forced to prove their might against environmental challenges.

    …as man’s ability to survive began to necessitate increasingly complex actions and reactions to his environment, the nervous system was also compelled to adapt accordingly. –(from The Evolution of the Human Brain)
    –>(Next segment from Consciousness In The Cosmos: Perspective of Mind: Carl Sagan):
    Sagan notes that in “the human intrauterine development we run through stages very much like fish, reptiles and nonprimate mammals before we become recognizably human.” And thus it is not surprising that we possess a corresponding “Triune Brain.” [Carl Sagan, THE DRAGONS OF EDEN: SPECULATIONS ON THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE, Ballantine Books, 1977, p. 59.]

    The schematic of a human’s Triune Brain is as follows: * The Reptilian Complex * The Limbic System * The Neocortex

    Declaring that there is considerable evidence for the localization of brain function–as well as discussing in detail the electrochemical nature of brain function–Sagan lays the groundwork with his depth discussion of the Triune Brain.

    The Reptilian Complex is the site from which our propensity arises for “aggressive behavior, territoriality, and the establishment of social hierarchies.” The Reptilian Complex still performs dinosaur functions, according to Sagan. [Ibid, pp. 62-63.]

    The Limbic System is mammalian. It is the base for our emotions. Our passions, our altruistic behavior, spawn from the Limbic System– which also is devoted to oral, gustatory, and sexual functions.

    The Neocortex is our third, newly human brain in terms of evolution. “Among other functions, the frontal lobes seem to be connected with deliberation and the regulation of action; the parietal lobes, with spatial perception and the exchange of information between the brain and the rest of the body; the temporal lobes with a variety of complex perceptual taks; and the occipital lobes, with vision, the dominant sense in humans…” Sagan suggests, too, that the Neocortex is the locus for abstract thinking and nonverbal intuition. The Neocortex is what makes possible our judgments, what makes for the moral knowledge of good and evil. It is also the site from which our creativity emerges. And the Neocortex is home to our sense of self. [Ibid, p. 98.] (Bold-facing my own emphasis.)

  • Might we then say, that our myths and concepts of achieving Enlightenment have an actual basis in science and biology? I like to think so!

Consider this:

…Sagan draws upon the Platonic metaphor about the human soul as an uneasy charioteer drawn by two horses in different directions. He considers this metaphor as remarkably similar to our “neural chassis.” The two horses correspond to our Reptilian Complex and Limbic System, and the charioteer to our Neocortex–which is barely in control.
…It is, however, the Neocortex where “matter is transformed into consciousness.” It comprises more than two-thirds of our brain mass. The realm of intuition and critical analysis,–it is the Neocortex where we have our ideas and inspirations, where we read and write, where we compose music or do mathematics. Sagan puts it thus: “It is the distinction of our species, the seat of our humanity. Civilization is the product of the cerebral cortex.” [COSMOS, p. 229.]
–(Ibid.)

It is an observable and scientifically established truth that our physical bodies are directly integrated within itself — all parts function together in harmony (or are meant to, at least!) — and therefore our bodies and physical brain matter are also an integral part of our minds and personal consciousness. Part of the practice of meditation is to position ourselves in such a mindful manner as to begin to simply observe — apart from judgement or reaction — the various parts of Us.

…This is my Ego, telling me how I should interpret and react…

…This is a manifestation of Karma, an unmindful gut reaction based on memory and, consequently, judgement…

…Etc…

So, perhaps this age-old struggle of our mind, soul, body, and sprit, is, in fact, the age-old struggle of the older Reptilian and Mammalian remnants of our evolved brain with our higher functions of the Neocortex.

Naturally, all parts are thus far integrated and are all important to life as we know it, right now; we cannot function without all portions of our brains intact! Perhaps one day in the distant evolutionary future, however, our brains will have but reduced these former forms of brain structure to naught. It is the former animalistic propensities for violence, domination, leadership, and blind judgement that I see in current Culture Wars and instability across the nations and earth in our present days. If all would turn inward and Align the Universe Within themselves — find reconciliation between the lower and higher forms of thought, and embrace their Higher, True Selves of the Neocortex — then, I believe, this race of humanity may be able to survive and heal, and continue to evolve toward greater and greater planes of consciousness.

Carl Sagan holds hope for human intelligence, for our extension of Mind. We are still people from divergent and cultural backgrounds, yet our intelligence is beckoning us toward greater webs of global relationships. In due course, he hopes that we will simply be the “whole human community, the entire planet Earth.” And further, Sagan dreams of our comprehension that we are a “local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness.” We have become “starstuff pondering the stars.” [Ibid, 286.] (Bold-facing is my own emphasis.)

Indeed, Carl Sagan has said that the evolution of our higher brain structure is an effort of freedom — a gift from the nature of evolution to liberate us from the necessity of merely storing information in our lower systems, liberating us from this limited universe of operation in our environment and enabling us to create and evaluate… in a sense, “helping” evolution along. But if we do not align ourselves within, will we allow the lower forms of brain function to control the tools and gifts our neocortex has bestowed upon us — more than likely bringing destruction upon ourselves? I sincerely hope we will awaken to our amazing legacy and heritage as inhabitants of the planet Earth, and work together in peace toward our unfathomable destiny!