On the Life Path: Boulders, Vows, Evaluating Goals, Tarot 7 of Swords, Wood Bethony, and Buddhism

Imagine standing at the edge of a forest and  you want to reach the other side...
THE FOREST OF LIFE!  Imagine standing at the edge of a forest and you want to reach the other side…

Imagine standing at the edge of a forest, and that you want to reach the other side. 

Would you walk a straight line through it? Or, might the path meander in every possible direction, around boulders, between trees, along a stream, feeding the deer, conversing with the owls, and roasting marshmallows? 

Yeah, every possible direction, because this is how things are in a forest. 

Tree! 
    The Universe

[the clever lines above received by email this morning from tut.com]

I’d just been thinking such a similar set of mental phrases.  I sure am going the long way around wherever I’m going — and I quit trying to second-guess the ultimate destination a while back.  I adapted the attitude of one of my teachers who said, “… you go where you’re sent in life.”

Today I am also thinking of the Bodhisattva  vow:  May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.  May my action bodhichitta grow

Yeah, okay.  I’m doing my best–so don’t laugh!  And I seem to be meandering around a few boulders in the forest of life  this year in general and this week most recently, but as my grandmother used to say “little by little” progress is made. So T-minus 4 days to take off!  The next move is in 4 days and some final cleaning took place here in the kitchen yesterday and the skin on my fingertips are a  bit raw to prove it.  Never have gotten used to cleaning using rubber gloves.  Clumsy and too much time taking them on an off as I’m pulled in other directions while cleaning–take answering the phone  for one example.

Where is the ultimate destination?  I don’t know!  But I’m willing to let that be okay.  I’ve located a number of possible paths and applied for the hiking permit (so-to-speak, speaking symbolically) and we’ll see what opens up.

Meanwhile, I have two small mirrors to un-anchor from the wall and some things to drive over to storage before the end of the week, aside from that, I don’t know what more I can do as I’ve always applied that girl scout motto:  BE PREPARED

My trip to the rental office yesterday was productive in that I was able to tie up the loose ends and end the confusion about final notices and paperwork:  there was a change of staff right in the midst of the apartment change.  (Long story–don’t ask.)  All’s well that ends well and I’m ending my association with this particular apartment about as well as I can do it.

So on to the next adventure, around this boulder here in 4 days.  Maybe then I will see more clearly what’s ahead.  I think sometimes my vision is blocked for good reason–perhaps I’m being spared in some way and that’s a blessing.

As I sometimes do, let me pull a card and ask (reaching for my tarot cards)… let me ask what is ahead around this current boulder, perhaps the card will show me?  (I do love divination! but then I’m a psychic after all and should, right?)

For clarity sake, the boulder represents the current move into the new apartment with my sister.  What is beyond that?  At least for the near future–this is my question.  Near future representing let us say the next 6 months.  So here we go…  asking for just one card, just to get a feel for the energy beyond the T-minus 4 days….

7 of swords wood betony collage

Well, it’s the 7 of Swords.  Well first thing I get here is “confrontations being avoided” — and that may be a good thing.  The herb associated with this card is WOOD BETONY which some wear to avoid evil spirits.  That’s a bit dramatic.  Let’s just say that Wood Betony can help one release fearful visions of the future… that I’ll go with.   It helps with one’s nerves when used medicinally.  There’s some reference to hidden intentions and deceptions.  Sounds like honesty all around will be important on the other side of this boulder.

The affirmation for this card [according to the book] is:  “With a peaceful heart, I gather information and truth for my plans and goals.”

This card involves “keeping something to yourself”  and being a loner–like those blackbirds who keep to themselves and bow and then fly away when they see other birds.  (Just this past week many blackbirds have been coming to the feeder–highly unusual)  Blackbirds stay to them selves so much that it is said when you actually see two blackbirds together at once, it’s a good omen.

So this “keeping to one’s self” sounds like blackbird medicine advice.  This card is also about preferring solitude–and that of course is no secret about me.  This will likely not change is what the card is indicating.  This card involves “separation from others”.   And further, this card relates to self-reliance and using one’s own wits to solve problems and resources.

Boy O boy!  The feeling that I’m getting here is that my life won’t really change all that much from what it is now.  That “loner” and “self-reliant” energy that I carry (that blackbird energy) will not change.  That’s a comfort to me.

This card also carries a meaning that relates to “running away” in some way—and that has to do with confrontations being avoided in this case (or so it feels).  There’s a testy teenager who will be part of the household and since this card applies to my question about what is around the corner for me, the avoidance of confrontations (bow and fly away; blackbird energy) may be what this card indicates.  (Astrologically speaking:  If you’re an astrologer, this girl is a Leo Moon and Aries Sun with Saturn (in Aries)  in the 7th, Virgo rising–3rd house Pluto.  My Sun and Moon are  in her 1st house within orb of her Chiron.   Her Moon is on my 12th house Mars/Pluto/Saturn  stellium.  My sister is an very early Leo Sun and Aquarius Moon affecting her daughter’s 5th House Uranus.)  Yeah, that 7 of Swords and Blackbird loner stuff …. probably good advice.  A big message of the 7 of Swords has to do with the need to be calm and to keep things to yourself–I so get that.

I may re-evaluate my plans or goals once I get on the other side of the boulder too but meanwhile, I will meander just  as I have been through the forest of life and enjoy whatever is beyond the boulder or around the curve in the path.   Meanwhile, I will do my best to hold to my Bodhisattva vows and the 37 Practices.

I also may totally plan a get away camping trip for a week  or so in the mountains too, providing I have the increase in $$ to do so.   Anybody want to order a reading or sign up for my class?  🙂   Help!  LOL

Part of the Vow:

Just as all the previous Sugatas, the Buddhas
Generated the mind of enlightenment
And accomplished all the stages
Of the Bodhisattva training,
So will I too, for the sake of all beings,
Generate the mind of enlightenment
And accomplish all the stages
Of the Bodhisattva training

This includes practice the “six perfections”:  giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom in order to attain enlightenment for the sake of all beings.

Apathy and indifference when caught between a rock and a hard place – Knight of Wands

knight of wands herbal tarotApathy and indifference!  How to “handle that” when there’s a lot to do and you don’t feel like doing it?  I drew a tarot card for insight.  I have packing to do and my heart’s not exactly in that–except when the guy downstairs play’s his guitar and sings like a dog howling at the Moon.  That’s motivation!  But back to the card I drew.  We all have times like that, don’t we?  Stuff to do and we don’t feel like it and know we will never feel like doing that thing–right?  Well, the KNIGHT OF WANDS brings guidance.  He’s indifferent and apathetic at times on his negative side but he also has great courage and he moves forward, although awkwardly.  All he needs is a cause… to create an attitude of service to others and then the apathy disappears.

Fire within—there has to be some type of desire that is stronger than what you don’t want to do.  I don’t want to go in the direction that I have chosen to go but I don’t want to maintain the current course either—that feels like being “between the rock and the hard place” as that saying goes.  I don’t want to go where I’m going but I don’t want to stay here either and I know that I have to go—must go and really DO want to go!  But where I’m going doesn’t seem all that enticing either.  But I know I will be helping someone and will be able to save money.  And it’s only temporary—that last part is what I need to keep remembering!

So I have to pack and there’s the pickle!  I drew a card for my apathy and indifference and lack of motivation about that.

It’s interesting that the herbal tarot connects this card [Knight of Wands] with MONKSHOOD which is actually a very poisonous plant.   It’s a metabolic stimulant and in small doses can be a used [Chinese medicine] for low metabolism.

Suddenly I think of using this apathetic indifference about packing as an athletic challenge—use it as a “work out”.  Make it exercise, work fast and it becomes nearly aerobic.  Yeah, okay—maybe that is something that I could use to change the attitude and motivate self.

What about selfless service? I  could think about how I will be helping my sister save money and how we will both be using less energy—conserving mother earth; things like that.  Yeah, maybe I could expand that and make it work as an antidote to my apathy and indifference about packing.

I can think about the guitar player neighbor downstairs and his howling with his guitar and how I’ll be rid of that aversion.

I can think about how poisonous this angry kid’s energy is and how getting away from that will be a good thing.

Determination is what is needed when this card comes up in reply to a question.  In this case, the question or concern is about my not wanting to do what I know I must—continue packing!

Between a rock and a hard place!  That’s how I feel.  I can’t stay and I feel resistance to going where I’m going.  Where did that phrase come from anyway?   Of course we know that it means, “In difficulty, faced with a choice between two unsatisfactory options.”  Just like “between the devil and the deep blue sea”.

Well, Knights [in tarot] like adventure and change!  Moving from the mountains in the first place was that indeed!  And another move will be adventure and change too—moving in with my LEO sister and ARIES niece!  If you know astrology then, yeah, beginning to see why the lack of motivation and apathy?  But the good news is neither of them plays guitar (same notes over and over and over) while howling like a dog at the Moon.  I must think of myself as a monk going into a monastery!  devote my time for the benefit of all sentient beings and do my best to create some merit, somehow.  Must review the 37 practices of a Bodhisattva!  Must be a better Buddhist!

I don’t think Ram Das really said this but there was a recent quote on Facebook that read, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”   Oh, enlightenment and initiations and packing and never mind all that because my daughter just texted me about going to the Y for a work out.

Didn’t want to pack anyway!  It’s a no brainer; I’m outa here!  I’ll pack some more later or another day!  I think about Monkshood and motivation and attitude while I swim and maybe come back with a better attitude.  Something.   For now, I’m outahere!

Dense Fog, All These Forms, Bodhisattva Practice 18

  FOGSometimes Life Itself is like this photo:  Dense Fog!  And we can’t quite see what’s around the curve of Life and let’s face it, life is curvy.  The guitar dude downstairs neighbor  may agree with that one based on his behavior this morning.  He’s slammed the door  beneath me four times and screamed from the area of the parking lot, “You’re f____ing kidding me!!”  All on an otherwise very quiet Sunday morning!  Chances are he’d agree that life is curvy right now! LOL

Cha- cha- cha- chaaa-changes!!  As for me, it’s a little bit foggy but I did see our new apartment yesterday, being able to look upstairs at what will be my monastic cell.  Could be worse.  Not sure how this is all going to go since now the move date is in question, at least my own half of it.  I may be looking at boxes for a month longer than I originally thought since the only girl left in the office (the other two quit) can’t get an answer from the big boss regarding my particular apartment’s lease.  Geesh!

I’m looking hither, thither and yon trying to determine how the furniture is going to be in my room and have fingers, toes, and everything crossed that they can get the horrid smell out of the place before we get in.  Previous tenants had some real issues!  Yuck.

Yeah, foggy.  I don’t know how long I’ll have to be there before another place opens and with each box I pack, I wonder if its contents should go to storage or the garage sale/Goodwill pile.  Ahh, but it could be so much worse indeed!  At least there is someplace to go besides the street with a shopping cart!  Actually, I’m sort of getting ‘into’ the fog lately finding the humor in it while I sing the Buddhist song about form, appearance and emptiness!  That’s a song of enlightenment and always calms me and soothes me and restores happiness [lyrics below].

Meanwhile, I know the sun will shine again and all will be temporarily organized again even though there’s chaos now.  Then we have the next move after this one to who knows where for certain;  although I have a pretty good idea (being psychic and all).

Empty forms like a rainbow with a shining glow!  —  I try to hum this tune as I load the boxes.

Better go feeD my daughter’s cats now!  Today’s my last day of cat duty–that drive down the Interstate is way too exciting for my taste but shouldn’t be bad today being that it’s Sunday.  Good excuse to get away from the wailing guitar guys anger as he gives me opportunities to practice patience over and over as he slams the door yet again!  Wow, bad morning dude?  

The wall shakes when the door slams…   more Bodhisattva practice for me!!  thanks dude! 

Oh yeah, the Buddhist song…. the words….

It goes like this:

All these forms, appearance emptiness

Like a rainbow with it’s shining glow

In the reaches of of appearance emptiness

Just let go and go where no mind goes

Every sound is sound and emptiness

Like the sound of an echo’s roll

In the reaches of sound and emptiness

Just let go and go where no mind goes

Every feeling is bliss and emptiness

Way beyond what words can show

In the reaches of bliss and emptiness

Just let go and go where no mind goes

All awareness, awareness emptiness

Way beyond what thoughts can know

In the reaches of awareness emptiness

Let awareness go, OH, where no mind goes!

Bodhisattva Practice #18 on Discouragement and Compassion  (from the 37 practices of a Bodhisattva):  “… without discouragement take on the misdeeds and pain of all living beings.”

Tonglen!