Light is the Mother of Life, Different Pandemic Rhythms, and Tarot Wisdom

Okay.  I just like that thought!  Light is the Mother of Life.  This thought arrived on Mother’s Day while engaged in the “Art of Just Being”.  Here I am reflecting on different rhythms.  And I’m going to do a little reading with my cards here today too.   Anyway, it seems I’m doing a lot of that ‘just being’ lately and as usual lots of self-analysis along with it.

I’m working on a painting of a shooting star while thinking about following my own star.  I may have lost track of it but it’s okay, its never far away– just a bit of attention and intention is needed and I’ll find it again.  We are all, I’m sure, with this pandemic energy living our lives in a different rhythm.

Here’s a crazy fact that I recently came upon.  We breathe 23,040 times a day.  I don’t know who figured that out or if it’s true.  I read it in some book.  If we accept this number is about right, how many breaths are we actually aware of?  We can’t be fully mindful of all of them but how about just 10 at a time now and then?  That’s do-able.  We bring inside of our body, mind, and soul (our life) what we focus upon — breath is chi (life force energy) or also written as Qi as in Qigong.  I’ve been doing some QiGong exercises since the pandemic.  Good stuff.  If you haven’t tried it, my recommendation is to give it a go.

I’ve also been cutting my own hair (just the bangs, like 3 times now–or is it 4?–since the lockdown).  Our hair salons may open on the 22nd of May but our COVID-19 escalated dramatically since the Phase 1 re-opening.  The governor in our state says people are not distancing and masking and thus cases are going up and this next phase may not happen on the 22nd.

I’ve been jogging too since the gyms closed since i have to get my cardio somehow — things are progressing with that as my knees cooperate.  The happiest moments since the pandemic is that I’ve been Zoom–ing with my 4-year-old granddaughter, reading her library books.  Yes, our library lets you put books on hold, and then they call you about when to pick them up in the storage area at a designated time.  She was asking about volcanoes and so I read some library books about that on video conferencing.

I brought out my drum and tried connecting to the heartbeat of the earth — doing a drumming meditation is special.  Haven’t used my drum in ages!

What to ask the cards today?  I’m looking for wisdom, not necessarily a prediction of any kind.  Going forward what should be the focus?  Or better said What should the focus be right now?  Where should I/we/you put your attention?  I ask this because rambling around in the mind is the thing I wrote above.  Here it is again:  We bring inside of our body, mind, and soul (our life) what we focus upon.  So I will draw 3 cards and see what wisdom can be derived from those.  For myself, I am really thinkin’ of how to find my star again which really means how to connect with my inner creativity and joy.  Yeah, so that’s the focus of these 3 cards.  This is for you, too, reader if you choose to participate and want to connect 9more deeply) with your star too.

Five of Cups; King of Pentacles; Knight of Wands: 

a bit of Divination

Well, right off we can see 5 of cups really represent that feeling of loss and maybe some depression and anxiety — any of us can have a mixture of any or all of those feelings or experiences in any combination or degree during a pandemic.  The 5 of cups is the card that typically represents a setback of some type.  Essentially, to me, this first card represents the situation that is being addressed in this question.  The loss of connection to one’s star is due to a loss or setback of some kind.  There is disappointment about some events which is would be natural but one wonders if the feelings that one experiences are due to making wrong choices of some kind.  What is lost is lost and what is gone is gone and the more we want to go back to what was, the more we suffer.  Maybe you see some of yourself in this description.  In my own situation, I gave up some things and now wonder …well, I wonder what those two cups that are still standing in that card represent for me.  I am looking for that — the new passion and creativity.  How can I find it?  I am going to look now at the other two cards for some insight.  Intuitively, first I have to accept that I did NOT make wrong choices and this will lift my spirit.  Then I can see those other cups.

The King of Pentacles is about mastering life on Earth.  Master of materiality etc. is always my first thought when I see this card. This energy is about seeing opportunity (in this case for passion, creativity, and joy) everywhere.  This card is reminding me that I just need to open my eyes and draw from what is around me and that’s how I can recognize those 2 leftover cups in the 5 of cups.  For me, however, the word opportunity doesn’t feel exactly right.  There is a steadiness and a feeling of grounded routine that comes with this card.  Mastering life on the earth at this time with a steady even temperament.    The King of Pentacles can take most any idea and can make it work.  Maybe this is something that I am denying in myself?  The phrase about the ability of the King of Pentacles to draw from what is around him really sparks in me visions of writing.  I work on a book and then abandon it.  Writers do that, you know?  They use people, places, and experiences around them as characters, settings, and events in a book. This is something that I’ve tried but so far have not really been able to embrace and utilize very well.  I think that this card has re-awakened a part of my star.  It’s about writing!  And the pandemic is giving out more than enough material for the kind of sci-fi fantasy ideas that I’ve been working with already.   I wonder how this card meaning would apply to a reader of this blog.  I hope something that I wrote above about the King of Pentacles has been helpful to you.

What else will help with seeing those other cups and finding my (and/or your) star again?  There is one more card.  The Knight of Wands.  One meaning of this card that always comes to mind relates to awkwardness — this knight is not real polished and maybe rushes into things and then falls off his horse.  Well, that describes my book writing attempts just perfectly really! He goes off half-cocked as the saying goes and either is way too overly confident and then at the first sign of a problem becomes frustrated and even angry when things don’t come together as imagined.  This, too, describes my feelings with the off and on writing that I’ve done over the years.  BALANCE is the keyword that arrives in my intuition right now.  This Knight of Wands has some trouble staying balanced with his efforts.   There needs to be daring and detail both at the same time in order to remain in balance.  If the King of Pentacles energy can combine with and help the Knight of Wands, this could help with the commitment and patience that is needed with writing a book.  I wrote above how the King of Pentacles is steady and even-tempered and that energy is within each of us and we can draw upon it to help our Knight of Wands awkwardness and impatience. We can do that if we can let go of our real or perceived setbacks and get over what hasn’t worked in the past and remember that there are 2 cups that contain joy, creativity, and passion leading to a reconnection to our star.

Well, this post is twice as long as was intended.  However, it is my hope that while I worked out this wisdom and guidance using my intuition and the tarot that it has been helpful to others in some way.

A few parting shots based on the above tarot wisdom:  Are you in a rut with me? Try something new or go back to what you’ve been wanting to do and have maybe given up on.  Are you planning every last detail? Try winging it.  Make an outline but be flexible whatever you do, stay balanced–that last part from someone with firsthand knowledge of the importance of balance . . .  Sun, Neptune, Moon stellium in Libra.  

 

The Body Intelligence

The body intelligence is the name of this bit of writing; best that could be for the moment, this day and time.  Anyway . . .

The flu!  The wretched thing!  Seems a few years now since even a head cold entered my bodily private domain.  Yet, it gives time for writing, contemplating and if my energy holds up later maybe even painting (pastel artwork).  Sometimes, however, it can be good to practice death. No, this isn’t me being overly dramatic—just listen a moment.  You can’t turn from it even though you would rather not be anywhere in its shadows, yet inevitably the body will shut down sense organs one after another.  NO wait, don’t stop reading.  Because oh, but what a gift close encounters, even if they are not our very own (family, friend or foe who may be sick or in a phase of transition—but no, let’s say the really scary word, death!) . . . like I was saying, any encounter with the endpoint from any distance offers us a gift if we keep our eyes open!  What gift?  Embracing the opposite of course – Life!  A deeper and more joyful appreciation of good health and the ability to do something, anything, which comes from our ‘creative-will’ our personal expression of ‘life’ – even if that is only a pleasant conversation with another.  Any expression of being alive on any level that is possible can potentially become a truly joyous event.

The local hospital has accepted me as a volunteer and promoted me to be the top person for patient relations.  The job is not as impressive as the title may sound.   Actually,  it only involves offering a smile, a hello and passing out a card from the auxiliary and offering magazines, newspapers, crossword puzzles and the like.

Yesterday here at home, life played out with chills and fever next to a pile of Kleenex feeling as if my throat was on fire was another glimpse, another close encounter – another good practice for the last page in the last chapter of this life as I know it to be now.  And my thoughts wandered to the hospital patients as it does now writing this.

And, of course, as one could expect, with fever back to normal today, am gifted with a deeper appreciation of life and the ability to affect the lives of others and my own in a positive way.  To create, to play, to appreciate, to breathe life into this body deeply and with more gratitude for the vehicle that enables my stay here upon the good earth.

People who know me or follow my posts are familiar with the mention of the history of losing consciousness; yep, I’m one of those “fainters”.  Physical or emotional overwhelm and out I go!  I realize how this is like a mini-death of sorts and one of the last times (in the hospital ER with an acute bladder infection), there was this awesomely peaceful kind of limbo state, vast and not-empty but full somehow.  No words can describe it.  Voices were calling me back into this world and I did not wish to return.  On another occasion, when I lost consciousness due to a gall bladder issue, a “code” was called because I could not be revived after losing consciousness.  That time, however, I didn’t recall the blissful openness and fullness as the time before.  My point here?  Forgive this writer still under the influence of Nyquil cold and flu medicine.  Well, I guess, my purpose in writing this has to do with me being grateful for these moments in which the body and I get to practice our final act.  Meanwhile, there is a turning toward life with eyes of gratitude.

One final thing.  It’s floating around in this woozy head and I’d like to try to grab at it the next time if floats by.  Here we go.  It has to do with the shutting down part.  How to say it?  Like yesterday, the focus was deeply inward – the body seemed very busy focusing on itself – dealing with the invader flu.  I guess in the death process (oh, this is how the Tibetans tell it and in the Book of The Living and The Dead), how the various bodily senses begin to shut down.  The body, I’d assume, is very preoccupied doing this – and there’s not much energy for anything in the external world.

Body intelligence is pretty amazing.  Think about it.  The body knows how to keep its balance, digest food, breathe – oh, so many things – without your or me consciously telling it to!  A good thing too, I’d say!  The body knows how to get a spoonful of food into the mouth straight away without us having to give directions—a little to the left, no down a little—in other words, the food doesn’t go into our eye or nose; the body knows what to do without our conscious mind directing.  Recovering from illness or shutting down to go into transition, it’s the same way.  The body and soul know what to do.

No big summary ending.  There’s only me picturing the self in the act of sorting through my pastel colors and placing them in trays according to color and hue.  So off I go with my box of Kleenex and a project to do, celebrating life all the way through!

Nimitta – progress signs of Samadhi Meditation

I am going to post this on each of my website blogs as well as my newsletter.  Why? Some information that recently crossed my path explained many of my meditation experiences of the past and currently as well.  Many students of the psychic development class and those interested in spiritual and psychic/intuitive development may have had similar ‘signs’ of their spiritual progress or evolution.

Before I go into what those are, it’s probably best to offer the disclaimer that if one looks for these signs or tries to manifest them, they will be blocking their energy and possibly delaying further consciousness expansion in some way.  My teachers have always guided me not to get “hung up” on manifestations and to take with a grain of salt.  It is just the natural process of the mind—don’t be overly concerned, they’d say.

If you have read much on my website (www.psychicjoystar.com), you will see that I’ve mentioned mysterious occurrences that came about as part of my meditative absorption over the years.  Those were a total and complete mystery to me until this past week!

The history of experience for this life has always evolved in a way that much later explanations arrive that validate occurrences and I’ve always been grateful for that as it assures me that there was no conscious influence on my part.

As many readers may know, my tendency is to reach toward eastern philosophy my deeply personal effort to understand life, the mind, and of reality itself.  My studies and meditation time have not been in vain and have helped me to cope with some very difficult life circumstances.  Yet, there were always those mysterious events lingering in the memory of my mind.  Up until now, there were not fully explained in any kind of satisfactory way.

Then this past week there comes the information that does so!  I simply must share it.  It will be a brief outline and I will paraphrase some of it while keeping true to the text.  I will add some personal notes in parenthesis.  I hope this will be of use to others.
The signs of meditative concentration are known as “nimitta” and include the following:

  • For beginners, it is usually grey smoke color appearing in front of them.  When this occurs, the instruction is to concentrate on the natural breath; and gradually then, the breath and nimitta will become one.   In this stage the mind usually stays automatically will become one.  (Personal note:  when I would go hiking and be breathing more heavily, I would see more of this grey smoke in front of me.  By the way, it started out looking like black ink in the atmosphere, as if someone dumped a bucket of black ink in the sky.  I could see around it and through it and then gradually it lightened.)
  • As meditative concentration develops further, the gray smoky nimitta will change in color to white.  (This is exactly what happened to me.)  This is given the name of “the learning sign”.  As one continues to concentrate on the learning sign, the white form nimitta will change to a transparent nimitta and this is called “the counterpart sign”.  (I was in Sedona, Arizona atop a mountain at the time this occurred.  That was sometime in the late 1990’s.  I was still working as a Physical Therapist at the time.)  The instruction in the text is that one should concentrate on the transparent nimitta until a state of full absorption is reached.
  • The text says that unless one sees the counterpart sign, the meditative attentiveness or concentration is superficial.  (Again, I did not have any of this information until a few days ago and therefore did not know of the instruction to concentrate on the transparent nimitta.)
  • (In the eastern philosophy, the word used to describe these stages of meditation is called “jhana”.  I did not know that word until this past month actually.  And there is the discussion on audios that I’ve heard about maintaining states of absorption for 2 and 3 hours at a time without interruption.  This I was able to do when living alone in the mountains many times.  Since I’ve moved from the seclusion of the mountains–for approximately the past 6 years—that is rarely the case.)
  • The text says that once a person’s meditation practice is very clear they will, one day, see small particles, called “kalapas”.  When one see’s kalapas, they have reached the last stage of samatha(serenity/calm/tranquility) and the beginning stage of vipassana (insight/seeing things as they really are).   At this stage, one understands reality as small particles.

I must pause here to explain that this next part totally blew me out of my seat, so-to-speak!  I wrote about this on my website eons ago and this occurred, also, in the late 1990’s just before I moved (from Florida) to the mountains of North Carolina.  Here it is nearly 20 years later and it is only now that I understand what all of these experiences were about!  The book in which this information is contained was published in 2008, ten years ago.  Yet, it has taken me nearly all of the past ten years to adjust to the huge transitions in my life and to release a significant karmic relationship connection.  It hasn’t been until recently that my personal journey has directed me back to seek deeper levels of meditation, reaching for Samadhi again.  Anyway, this light, so white and so bright and it occurred when I was meditating on a star in the sky at twilight one evening.  I felt myself moving toward it and then the white brilliant light sort of frightened me.  It was everywhere I looked and lasted a good chunk of time and it faded finally as I looked at a large pine tree.   I’ve never seen it again all these many years.

  • The text says that there is a visual-like nimitta which is ‘the best one’.  (Again, the word nimitta means sign/mark/appearance.)  It is not seen with the physical eye.  It is purely a mental phenomenon.  It appears as if it is like a headlight in front of you, incredibly brilliant, so much so that you don’t think you can stare at it any longer.  (At the time I thought perhaps I drew the star right down in front of me – I’d been staring at a star during meditation at the time.)  This is not a visual thing at all and even though it is like looking at the sun, it is quite safe, because it is a pure metal image—according to the text.

If one tries to have any such experiences as described, the effort actually blocks the meditator’s tranquil absorption.  Actually, I recall trying to stare at a star again at various times in the past and could not reproduce that event –or any other unusual experiences of my past for that matter.
I wanted to put this out today so that it may be helpful to others.  Maybe I will save someone 20 years of wondering and never really knowing what those signs are really about!

The text that I’ve been referring to is called “The Experience of Samadhi” by Richard Shankman  and the specific information at nimitta were from interviews with Pa Auk Sayadaw, the abbot of a Forest Monastery in Burma and Ajahn Brahmavamso, who studied with Venerable Ajahn Chah and is the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery and Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society in Australia.
I am so personally grateful to them for the information shared in the text which has helped me considerably and renewed my meditative effort.

May it be that this information reaches the right person for the right reasons and be of the highest service.


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