Holding yourself back

Today’s card: Eight of Swords

For the chariot card, I mentioned that the energy was all about not being afraid to move forward, well this card is all about confronting that fear. The first thing that comes to mind is a quote by the Butthole Surfers: “It is better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do.” Basically, if you think of things the right way, it is always better to take action and move while you are learning and progressing, rather than standing in one place and retarding your growth. Movement through life is key, otherwise you are wasting your here on this earth.

In the past I have been guilty many times of not moving; I was scared to put myself out there. I always thought of it through the analogy of floating down a river:

I am going down the river in a raft and I can hear around the river bend what sounds like a waterfall. I am afraid to go any farther, and out of fear I grab onto a branch on the side of the river and hold on. The current is moving fast and it takes a lot of effort to hold on and not get swept away by the current. Other people are floating by, and some of them I yell out to, warning them of the danger of going down the river. There are some who are also scared and they join me in holding onto a branch or whatever they can get a hold of on the side of the river. I am able to hold on for a very ling time, but eventually I start to grow tired so I have to let go. After I do, the river takes me around the dreaded bend and I come to find out there was no waterfall but simply a small rapids that I easily navigate. Farther down the river I discover that the water and surrounding landscape is calm and serene. There was more to fear about just sitting there, more danger holding on then there was in just letting go.

It does not seem like it when you are holding on, but it is harder to hold on and resist the current, to stay in one place, than it is to just face the fear and go with the flow. When you get stuck in once place, whether it is voluntary or by circumstances seemingly beyond your control, it can make you feel overwhelmed and unsure about yourself and your abilities. This, in turn will affect everything that you do. It makes everything feel like a chore, a burden to escape from. This is because all of your energy is being spent just trying to hold on. Once you let go, there is no need to feel that way anymore because all of your energy becomes available to you once again. The burden of holding on and fighting the current lifts from you and you are able to act without feeling like there is something constantly holding you back.

Events start to unfold and present opportunities to you. Using the power of discernment we are able to figure out the right path down the river. You are able to do the work to navigate the river of life without the burden of holding yourself back. Once you are moving all things become possible for you. There are many ways to hold on: Drugs, drinking, dead end jobs, through supposed friends, lovers who are not right but to which you cling. There are many ways to hold on, but the catalyst for all inaction is always the same: FEAR. Put the fear away and stop holding yourself back! Quickly you will discover that the river current is your friend and not an enemy.

The Journey

For today’s card I received the ‘Eight of Cups’. At first I don’t know what to make of this card. I have been getting it often so there has to be some sort of deeper meaning than the negative sounding words of “material gain abandoned”. Overall this seems to be a card of moving on.

Even if you have worked for a lot and have gained much, there comes a time when you must let it all go and just move on. This card can represent both external and internal change, but I see it’s message personally as pointing more toward the internal.

The night before last, I had a dream that I was fighting with myself (yes, physically in a fight with myself!) over something that had to do with my old job which was a dead-end job in an office where I was not happy. In the dream I was able to overcome myself and gain the upper-hand, but when I woke up I knew that this was some sort of sign that I needed to move on past this ‘old’ life and into my new one. This dream reflected an internal struggle that I was having on a sub-conscious level; between the old self and the new self that I was trying to become.

It is not easy to move forward sometimes, even if you really want to because your body and more importantly, your mind, will still be ‘stuck’ so to speak in the old patterns that your sub-conscious is still acting out. The journey is especially hard to obtain when it’s value is high or when the searching and direction being sought is of a spiritual nature. Just imagine how hard it is to abandon something physical that you have worked hard on, not think about how this is done on a massive, all encompassing scale when you proceed on a spiritual quest. Getting this card at a point in life when I am trying to move forward and beyond the old is actually a good sign.

I see this card as being a voluntary version of the forced energy of change found in ‘The Tower’. With the tower, material things are taken away from you in a cataclysm, whereas with the eight of cups, the energy is solemn but the ‘loss’ is voluntary. Nothing is forcing this man to leave his work behind. This is a more powerful card spiritually because it shows a willingness to accept material losses in order to continue on a spiritual journey. There is a recognition here that the material has little value when it is compared with the value of the spiritual. When the mind concerns itself with spiritual matters, the material world melts away and one sees that there was nothing there of value to begin with. The material value is just an illusion.

This card also shows that this is just the beginning of the journey. Often, it is easy for me to get caught up in the day to day dealings and to imagine to myself that I am progressing faster than I really am, and that I have gone farther than I really have. This card is much like ‘The Fool’ in this case, just starting to commence the journey whereas a card like ‘The World’ or a number 10 card would show the nearing towards, or the straight completion of a journey.

It is important to keep in mind that I am not taking any shortcuts because in the end they will get you nowhere. The journey I am on is a long one and I am merely at the mercy of the goal of the universe. Nothing more nothing less. I am not a part of the whole, but the whole itself. All things shall be love to me, but it will take time to get to the truth, to gain wisdom out of knowledge. The last thing to remind myself is not to give up hope. Do not abandon your progress in spiritual matters, but leave behind all of the material boons. Do not lose hope for in time all goals are certain to be reached!


Tapas. The purifying fire. This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve been trying to see the truth in everything. By seeing the truth, I mean seeing love and light in everything. That is the true reality of everything, it is only that we cannot see it because our perspective is wrong. We are seeing things with the wrong attitude. Flavoring the universal with our perceived individuality. This individuality is what brings the perspective which makes us think that there is something called good and bad. Black and white. Evil and righteous. None of those things exist.

There is nothing such as good without bad. The truth is neither exists apart from the other because they are only relative. A wonderful truth is this; good and evil are always in the exact same amount relative to each other. There is never more evil than good, nor more good than evil. They are always in equal amounts. It is only the perspective that changes. This is a factual statement because evil and good are relative to each other. Is is only their amount relative to the point of perspective that changes, not the amount of good or the amount of evil.

Take a line for instance with two ends. On one end is good and the other is evil. The line itself can be stretched out and the ‘distance’ between the two ends can increase or decrease, but their relative distance will never change. Now, add a point on the line. This dot represents your ‘individual’ viewpoint. The point from which you perceive the external from. This point can be moved up and down the line. More towards the one side or towards the other, but until this point exists, there is neither more good or more evil. Without the individual perspective there is no quantity of good or evil in the world.

This point, the individual perspective is the cause of the perception of good and evil in a situation. How can evil be inflicted on a rock. The rock does not have a perspective and therefore no harm can ever come to it. It is never any different than all the other rocks. So we can see that it is not the world that has good and evil ‘in’ it. We ‘put’ the good and the evil in the world based on our perspective.

If your perspective is too far to one side or the other, then you will perceive the world as either good or evil and everything you experience will be one or the other. If you are viewing things from a happy perspective as many Christians will do, then things will become more and more happy for you. You will find happiness in all things and you will forget about evil all together.

Then there are people who put their perspective too far to the evil side. They are always having problems and can never get anything done. Everything in the world is working against them. They are constantly spitting into the wind so to speak. In the study of the occult, this side is known as the left-hand-path. They are always having to work hard just to get the simplest things done. The universe becomes their adversary (the Hebrew word ha-satan means adversary) and they find life to be dark and cold.

There are those who’s point is in the middle, exactly between the two ends of the line. It is like the Buddhist to take the middle path. To find the balance between the two imaginary sides. With this perspective of balance you find calm peace and tranquil waters. Things are seen not as good or bad, just as being. They see the good man as equal to the evil man for there is no good or evil to them. This middle path seems to be the most perfect and the most powerful and it is. The problem comes when you try to maintain this viewpoint. Without a perfect balance, you end up on one side or the other and the entire perspective falls apart.

You can see where so much emphasis on meditation and control over the senses comes from in religious practice. It is very difficult to maintain this balance, this middle way and it takes great power to obtain its perspective in this world. The universal instinct for balance is so powerful that all life springs from this desire. Reincarnation is nothing but the working out of vibrations to one side or the other. This brings me back to my main topic: Tapas.

Tapas is the burning of karma. Tapas means heat or gestation. From what I can tell it is originally the word used to describe, in the most ancient texts, the act of a mother bird covering her young for warmth. I think the most direct modern parallel would be an electric incubator. Something that keeps another thing warm in order for life to be born. Another good way of explaining the word would be the mothers womb. The heat of the womb that gestates the life of the child.

We are like the child in the womb that is this universe. The entire universe is her to keep us alive through its tapas, its warming fires. The most direct manifestation of this tapas is the heat of the sun. Without the heat of the sun there would be no life on this world. Its heat creates all energy on this planet in all its forms. It is the sun’s tapas, its warming fires which keeps the earth alive. Within each one of us too is a tapas; the tapas of the Atman or the soul.

Within us lies the greatest potential for generating this life giving heat. But in order to get this heat, one must be in perfect balance. So the word tapas has become, overtime to mean the practice of generating this heat, of practicing the actions that lead to balance. Normally these actions are austerities and meditation, but the actual goal of these things, the great secret of these practices is to place the perspective in the perfect middle of the line. The perspective at the heart of all things, seeing the truth in all things as a result.

This is the point where you understand that you ARE all things. That there is nothing outside of yourself because you are all things. These actions are the generator of the fire that warms the gestation inside of us. Tapas are cause of all things everywhere. Tapas births the true self. The Atman.