when i come upon something i love, i want to go deeper.
when i want to go deeper, i find it helps to share the thing i love with others.
so it is with drumming, and so it is with reading cards “like the devil”.
my teacher, Camelia Elias (who teaches tarot, the Zen way) recently published this new piece on Patheos. It’s about Justice, vis-a-vis some of the spiritual/self-help topics that are so popular these days, especially those relating to ideas of “success” and “healing”.
Life has its ebbs and flows. There’s nothing special about having a bad hair day, nor is there anything special about being on top of the world. Neither lasts. Devising strategies of healing your hair, or maintaining your success is a complete waste of time. There are more important things to do, such as have fun, play a game, smell a flower, swim in the ocean.
i’m so completely in to this ebbing and flowing.
…at least in theory. i’ve loved the Buddhist notion of impermanence for years.
and yet, the struggle to let emotions flow on by, rather than getting swept up in them – is real.
if you’ve been reading my posts lately, you’ll know that i’ve been practicing meditation, and doing other small things to be less attached to my emotions.
i think i’ve become so interested in this because i’m finally seeing just how much i identify with my emotions and opinions. (thinking that i am my thoughts and feelings).
and i’ve seen it lead to madness.
what i love about Camelia’s perspective, which she explains more explicitly in her latest article, is this notion of Justice – the what’s what, beyond opinions, without any doubt.
she explains that you can engage in all the self-help stuff you like, but in the end, as long as you’re attached to labels and beliefs – like the ones that make you think you need constant healing and limitless success – all you’re left with is more wanting.
and endless loop that never brings real clarity.
i’ve noticed this cycle – in myself, and really everywhere. and the more i see it, the more certain i feel that i don’t want any part of it.
i want clarity. i want to watch as everything comes and goes, and have a good laugh.
i recently had the fortune of going to the mountains for a snow storm.
it finally snowed! so off we went. (you know how i love to snowboard, but it does require snow. and since we haven’t had much of it this year, it was definitely cause for celebration.)
aside from the anticipation of riding down a beautiful forested mountain, the thing i’ve really grown to love about snow is the stillness it brings. the snow falls and for a moment life stops. no more doing. (or at least much less.)
snow reminds me that it’s okay to slow down, enjoy the silence, and just be. there is nothing to fix. just sit and drink some tea and watch it fall.
it brings out the contemplative nature in me.
i like tarot for a similar reason. i sit (usually with a tasty beverage), ask a question, then see what cards may fall.
for many card readers, tarot is a system of meanings and stories based on archetypes; the “fool’s journey”, some like to say.
what i love about Camelia’s Zen style, is that you leave these made up stories to the side and simply “read the damn cards”.
Justice is the one that asks you: ‘What are you? Who are you? What is your point of reference, point of origin? Is it in the belly of a mother that you now hate, or in the spirit of an ancestor that you now fancy?
It’s not for me to say what I like or dislike about the world, or the spiritual world in particular where identity, self-empowerment, healing, and success are the major keywords everyone goes to.
But I will say this: None of these concepts are useful. Not even by a long shot. What’s useful is to answer the question of what you are, beyond resorting to yet another label.
she puts a question to the cards: What is my justice?
i turn to my cards and ask the same:
my Justice is in backing away from the endless loop, and the emotions i hold so dear.
my Justice is to simply sit and notice how everything is always in motion.
what’s your Justice?
read Camelia’s article for further insight and inspiration.
if you’d like to book a reading with me, leave a message in the comments.
*first image – artwork by Hokusai, Kirifuri Waterfall
**second image – a photograph from my recent trip to the mountains
***third image – my desk, featuring the Playing Marseille deck, by Ryan Edward