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?

  • When Awareness Leads to Revelation

    Lately I’ve really been focusing on meditation (both with my tarot deck and by simply sitting down to close my eyes and meditate) as a means to tap into my Observer.

    Physically I haven’t been feeling the greatest lately. But I’ve been exercising my inner Observer by simply acknowledging my feelings and the emotions I experience, hour by hour, each day. I’m practicing separating myself from the physical sensations I encounter, simply acknowledging my various parts of myself. And I had a personal revelation today when doing so…

    Growing up, I was taught to believe that being physically ill and mentally troubled was a bad thing — and that it was my fault. (Thanks, Word of Faith, for that…) These things were absolutely curable and if I wasn’t cured, it was because I was either lacking in faith or in enough church donations.

    And, today, when I simply acknowledged my feelings, I felt first a surge of those old thoughts– and I suddenly realized how deeply ingrained they are in me. The things we grow up with tend to be so deeply embedded within us that we don’t even realize they’re there! And, for me in this instance, that tension of feeling ill or bad only reinforced the physical sensations– and it becomes a feedback loop.

    The good news is, now that I’m aware of these things, I’m better able to embrace, acknowledge, and love myself even more than before.

    Simple acknowledgement and acceptance of ourselves, even those things that are hidden, is what it’s all about. What are you acknowledging about yourself today?

    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)

    Finding Your Own Reality Through Comparison

    I just finished a personally enlightening meditation (if you haven’t checked out the Pacifica app I highly recommend it!) and I wanted to share a bit of insight I got.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the nature of Reality, how there are several layers that constitute one’s Reality, and awareness. And in executing a very simple guided meditation of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, I was reminded that we only know our own physical reality.

    Humans have an amazing intuition for “guessing” others’ similar realities. But we can only truly know our own.

    For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? (1 Cor 2:11, KJV)

    So, when I strive to relax my shoulder muscles, how do I know exactly what relaxed is? We say relax, but for each body relaxed is its own definition. The only way to know what relaxed is for ourselves is to compare it to tense.

    By purposely tensing and then relaxing our own muscles — and becoming aware of what each feels like — we become acutely aware of what the relaxed and tensed states mean for us individually.

    Sometimes I become aware that I have unrealistic ideas of what something means for me, even something as basic as “relaxation”. We must remember to learn for ourselves what our realities truly are, so we can live more fully in them.

    Connections in the Horseshoe Spread

    I haven’t really used the 7-card Horseshoe Spread often, but I decided to use it today and I’ve suddenly become a lot more fond of this spread!! Let me show you what I found…

    The key observation that suddenly “lit the bulb” in my mind was that of horizontal connections between the cards. (Cards are numbered in order, from left to right.)

    • Cards 3 & 5: Influences, Inner and Outer respectively
      • In this case, inside my emotions are ruling and influencing my emotions further; outside, others’ thoughts are affecting me. Water and Air are both fluid elements and easily affect each other. Thus, my current state is like a permeable membrane, where the inner forces of Emotion and the outer forces of Thought easily influence one another.
      • The Obstacles (Card 4, at the top) are a result of Thought influencing my Action– So, the recommendation here is that I should allow the fluid elements to rage as they will, inside and outside, BUT not be too hasty to let the Thoughts of Others influence my Actions!!!
    • Cards 2 & 6: my Present Self meets the Action I should take
      • We often forget– Action can only physically occur in the Present!! Past and Future have no direct bearing on the Action itself, though they do create influences for an Action’s trajectory…
      • In this case, my cards were fascinating in the sense that the Hermit and Justice are direct mirror images of each other in the Triangle of Interpersonal Intent!!
      • I am currently in a place of withdrawing from the Constructive sense of Community to find Balance in my interactions with others. But the presence of Justice implies that I tend to overcompensate and jump to a complete, Deconstructive sense of rejection of others (which I do). Instead, Justice reminds me that I need to reign that tendency in and come back to Balance.
    • Cards 1 & 7: the Past meets Future Opportunities or Outcomes.
      • The elemental forces that led me here are a striving of the Earth (Reality) to find grounding in the midst of Emotion. The presence of the ten of pentacles across from the Page suggests that, of the Page’s two influences, I should lean toward those opportunities that bring a fulfillment of the Earth part.

    So, in general, let Thoughts and Emotions fluctuate as they do, but don’t let others’ thoughts rashly influence my actions. Seek the Mildness of balance in my interactions with others. And when facing the future, lean toward that which promotes a fulfillment of Material Wealth, not to be influenced by the ever-present sea of Emotion that brought me here.

    Enjoy exploring the deeper relationships in the cards of your favorite spreads! I’ve found that the extra time and effort is well-spent! 😉

    Be a Master, Be Free

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    Let not the Mind, in its attachment to the Past and to the Future, steal the Present from you. Let not the Reality of what Is, and is Now, be hidden from you. See what Is, in all its purity and reality. Let the same be true of the words we speak and the actions we perform. Let us study ourselves, and embrace the reality of what is true.

    Ascertaining Baseline Truth

    Don’t mistake the map for the landscape.

    “…night and day are ruled by the rising and setting of the sun, the rotation of the earth.” Building upon my previous thoughts on the illusory nature of Time, recall: “We would do well to keep in mind the arbitrariness of labeling”.

    When we label a certain time of day by way of our arbitrary societal grid of numbers maintained by clocks, or a season of the earth’s natural cycle as months and days and years, it is a system by which we are able to coordinate and communicate and organize our experiences within each Now. Let us simply bear in mind, that the number is not the Reality, but only a way to understand the occurrence.

    Likewise, we use maps to organize, systemize, and depict the nature of a landscape in which we find ourselves. Let us not forget, as we study the picture, that we are studying a representation of the Reality, and not Reality itself.

    Thoughts are important; we observe and accumulate observations, then categorize and organize them in order to derive overarching meaning. Let us simply bear in mind, and be ever Aware, that the Ideas floating through our mind are not necessarily the actual Reality. These thoughts are our own observations and our categorizations of realizations we have regarding our observations.

    Thoughts float along the river of our mind, and our Ego picks up each thought to cling onto it and identify with it.

    If we are aware of this, we can better recognize the impermanence of Thought and decide which thoughts are beneficial at any given moment, and which are not.

    Recall the second type of Clinging:

    • 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.”

    Does this mean, as some posit in various fashions, that there is no Reality and that all is simply a fabrication of our Perceptions? I tend to think not. There is Reality; we are of and from the Earth; we are firmly integrated and a part of the universe we see — we are children of the Stars. But, the thoughts we harbor regarding the Reality around us is a representation of that universe in which we find ourselves. To maintain this awareness is to foster universal understanding and peace.

    Let us not mistake the Idea, for the Truth.

    Mystery of Time

    I’ve mentioned before the illusory nature of Time. I considered it further the other day while enjoying a most beautiful meditative day in the mountains. 🙂

    Our senses depend upon change to take notice and develop interpretations of our state of being in relation to our environment. (Recall the science of color vision, for example:

    …black and gray are not produced simply by absence of light coming from an object or surface but arise when and only when the light from the object is less than the average of the light coming from the surrounding regions. White arises only when the surround is darker and when no hue is present….an object’s whiteness, blackness, or grayness depends on the light that the object reflects from some source, relative to the light reflected by the other objects in the scene…experiments showed convincingly that the sensation produced in one part of the visual field depends on the light coming from that place and on the light coming from everywhere else in the visual field….

    Etc…)

    Consider this: Time, as we think of and relate to it, is only an arbitrary grid of numbers we’ve attached meaning to over the eons. And the attachment of meaning is made all the stronger through the vastness of shared unconsciousness, to the point that it becomes our Reality.

    But, in truth, night and day are ruled by the rising and setting of the sun, the rotation of the earth. Our natural cycles that denote a passage of time to us, are only processes of Change that occur within the Now. We compare the change based upon recollections of the way things were before they changed, and label that The Past. We would do well to keep in mind the arbitrariness of labeling–that in a real sense, this is our collective mythology: a story to illuminate and make sense of what is occurring. Even aging is only a process of change, changing from Now…to Now…. 🙂 (Even our language reinforces the mythology of Time moving from place to place…) Remnants from those who came before us, what could be considered “evidence” of the Past, yet still exist Now, but in an altered state of being.

    This is Evolution at its heart! This is the unity of Change as the Universe’s heartbeat, with the Heavenly Now. This is Transformation and a certain kind of immortality. I challenge you to contemplate and embrace the marriage of Change and the Now, rather than bemoaning a mythical passage of time.