I use tarot and oracle cards as tools for reflection and contemplation. Rather than divining the future, they are a way for me to look more deeply at the "now."
"The goal isn't to arrive, but to meander, to saunter, to make your life a holy wandering." ~ Rami Shapiro

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Don't Believe Every Thought You Think

From the Ellis Deck, the Knight of Swords; from the Brownies Oracle, "Facade:"
          The bloody talon attached to this Knight's helmet lets me know he means business. He's a combative sort of fellow, and being from the Swords Clan, he knows how to use his words and intellect as deadly weapons. Now these aren't bad character traits if you're trying to rid the world of injustice and right wrongs. But what happens when things are a bit dull and there's no oppression to overcome at the moment? I think this guy is a little addicted to the rush he gets in battle, so during a peaceful time he might go give someone a few pokes just for fun. He refuses to take off his armor, which is a nice introduction to the Brownies card, Facade. In architecture, this term means the front of a building; in everyday usage, it means a superficial appearance. What is our knight hiding from? Ajahn Brahmavamso writes: "Buddha compared restlessness to being a slave, continually having to jump to the orders of a tyrannical boss who always demands perfection and so never lets one stop." Hmmm... this sounds (and feels) familiar. But what's the solution? Gil Fronsdal offers a wise suggestion:
Paradoxically, restlessness is itself sometimes a symptom of not being able to be present for discomfort. Patience, discipline, and courage are needed to sit still and face it.
One of the more profound skills for working through restlessness and worry is to let go of the beliefs that keep them going. Strong opinions about what is or is not supposed to be happening incite the mind; judgments of good and bad seldom lead to calm. Attachment to a self-image also tends to be agitating. It can be liberating to realize that we don’t have to believe every thought we have.


  1. Mmm seeing my Ego as a "tyrannical boss who always demands perfection and so never lets one stop" is a very good explanation to why I do feel restless sometimes.It is a flight from what is real, from what needs attention and acceptance. Being busy all the time and filling every empty moment has done no one any good I guess
    I think that is why it is so hard for me to find time to meditate....

    1. According to Pema Chodron, your experience with meditation is very normal:

      "In meditation we discover our inherent restlessness. Sometimes we get up and leave. Sometimes we sit there but our bodies wiggle and squirm and our minds go far away. This can be so uncomfortable that we feel’s it’s impossible to stay. Yet this feeling can teach us not just about ourselves but what it is to be human…we really don’t want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present. These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down…"

  2. Ha ha, that bit about taking a poke when things are quiet so reminded me of a friend I saw just recently for the first time in a while. I'd never thought of his poking in that light before, but it makes perfect sense! :)

    1. Some people can't tolerate boredom of any kind! :D