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.

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The Star

Today’s card is The Star – A very powerful and important card that shows hope for the future and gives inspiration for the present. This time in my life is full of this awaiting future expansion and blessings but it is also a time of fear for me because the future is not certain.

There are many people in this world who put security at the top most desire but those people never get to see their true self because of their fear of the unknown. For me, it is always important to not become complacent and to keep moving. Over the years, working at the office I was working at provided me with a secure income and allowed me to become lazy. I was stagnant for many of those years and I wasted a lot of time sitting still, when I could have been moving forward with my life. No one/nothing is to blame for this but me, myself and I.

Now days, I have become less afraid of taking leaps into the unknown, but I am still, from time to time, afraid to move forward. The unknown is just such a monster if you let it become that. The longer you wait, the more menacing the fear becomes. But that monster can be eliminated in an instance if you want it to for it is nothing but yourself. Only you can hold yourself back.

The Star is a card that shows one foot in the world and the other foot in another. That is because this card shows the method of great blessings being given to this world, the practical, shown by the foot on the earth. It also represents inspiration, the source of which comes from the sub-conscious mind shown by the foot in the water.

The blessings are being poured into both worlds, but often we can only see one or the other at one time. This card shows us both simultaneously and also explains through its imagery the interaction between these two worlds when things are harmonious.

A good illustration of the parallels between these two worlds is shown in the stars themselves. When it is day time, everything is bright and illuminated but the stars are not able to be seen. On the other hand when darkness falls, the world appears dark and scary; monsters come out during the night time. Even though the world becomes a scary place, when you look up you see the stars are shining (along with the moon). So this shows a parallel in that when we look inside, things may be dark and scary, but only by looking within can we connect with the universal, whereas when we look to the outside world, it may be comforting, but by doing so we loose part of our connection to the whole.

The star card shows us that the blessings flow into both worlds, the inside world and the external world. This flow comes not from either of these worlds but from a third place; the true self. The Atman is this true self, the perceiver of both worlds. This is the pure, universal intelligence that is above all things.

Tapas

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.