The Path of Wisdom
As I walk along an unexplored trail through the forest, I take notice that there are no obstructions in my way. There are no brambles waiting to snag me with their thorns. There are no fallen trees to stumble over. There is no wayward stream forcing me to forage across. There is only the solitude of the woods and the associated sounds of woodland life.
Above me in the branches of an old Elm tree are a couple of birds that are singing a morning duet. It is a song about joy and the happiness of life. Could this be a romantic tryst? Up ahead of me a King snake goes slithering quietly across the path. He emanates an indifference to his surroundings as he ponders solitary thoughts. Alas, a creature of stealth and mystery that one is.
In the creek that runs parallel to the path, are shiny black salamanders, gleefully enjoying the gentle currents of cool water. It glides over them, while they undulate like strands of dark grass beneath the surface of the shallow stream. Their thoughts may be minute but their existence is in tune with their surroundings.
As I pass an old Oak tree, I can see the tracks of a raccoon leading to a well-used hole situated in the base of the tree. Without a doubt, this young denizen is nestled deep within the trunk of this abiding oak, lost in a deep slumber. For a moment I wonder what it may be that she is dreaming of.
Suddenly I hear the splash of a small fish as it propels itself out of its natural environment into a momentary altered state of experience. Much like a human who has astral projected for the first time. I wonder if there is a change in its sense of reality as it briefly goes from one element to another. Or is it a fleeting experience that passes by un-noticed?
These thoughts lead me to think of my spiritual path which unlike this forest trail is fraught with obstacles placed by fellow humans. For unlike the many denizens of this quiet forest, humans do not adapt well to the environment in which they live. For as long as I can remember I have walked my personal path as an individual and yet many have been the obstacles placed before me by others who have stumbled across my path. The light glows before them but their eyes remain tightly closed.
Spiritual growth is the unique experience of each who walks such a trail and yet many are those who would insist otherwise. The mysteries of life are an experience that is related to the lessons each individual person requires to move forth. And yet there are many who will posture and claim to know the answers that are hidden from them within the mists. Fear of such unknowns spawns a false sense of arrogance and thus limits the ability to truly experience and thus find the understanding that is there for us all.
A spiritual path requires the freedom of mind and heart and the willpower and desire to achieve it. Empty words cast forth from a mass of humanity, is akin to a lonely sigh on a secluded mountaintop. No one truly hears it for there is none about to listen. For those who speak little but listen much, indeed, they will hear the whisper of wisdom as it goes quietly by like a soft springtime breeze. And yet there are many who would gladly lend their voices to the maddening din of transparent experiences, egos rising like a flock of geese, thus offering naught but another obstacle to one’s spiritual path.
We are each as different as the blades of grass that make up a vast field. Perhaps the sage approach is to listen as we each have a unique tale to tell. Though we may each walk a spiritual path our footfalls will not be exactly identical, each step along the path an experience within itself. But rather then live in synchronicity with each other, each of us striving to attain an awareness and understanding of our purpose in life, we would rather place obstacles one before the other.
And woe, are our bitter fruits, given to us by those who would choose to take shortcuts along the path of life. Such folks as these are the loudest of all who seek to place obstacles before others. And little do they care to be listening as the lessons of life present themselves to each of us whom walk this path. For such folks are spiritually apathetic and as such they continually seek the shortest route.
But as I walk along this unexplored path through the forest, I realize the parallels inherent between this woodland trail and my spiritual path. Knowing not where the shortcuts may lead, would I not prefer to follow the trail in its entirety and thus have the opportunity to absorb the experience of life as a whole?
Would I personally want to chance on missing out on important lessons that may advance my understanding of life and thus my spiritual growth by taking shortcuts? And would I choose to hide my lack of such knowledge gained through such an experience by being loud and boastful and eager to set obstacles before others who may be walking beside me? Or would I choose to be silent and let the sounds of this forest and in essence of life, make their presence known to me?
Alas, if I am to be true to the tenets of being an individual who is walking the path of life, then I can only answer for myself. I cannot pretend to be able to answer for others, for though their life experiences may be similar, they are still unique to that traveler. And the only way for me to learn from the experiences of others is to be silent and willing to listen.
Balancing one’s ego is a difficult task, but then the ego is attached to the earthbound soul and once freed from the path of humanity, it is left behind as the spirit sheds such obstacles and flies freely back home. And so as we travel our spiritual path, each individual must decide which is more important, the short-lived desires of the mundane human existence or the long-term goal of spiritual growth.
And so as I walk the last remaining yards of this forest path free of any obstacles, I know that within my heart I will continue to bypass and overcome the obstacles that my fellow humans will surely present me on the path of humanity.
A very, very few of us are fortunate to be born wise. For most of us our Wisdom evolves, grows as we move through life gathering experience and knowledge. Wisdom denotes your thoughts and feelings derived from the melding of your life experiences with all that you have learned. Our Wisdom can get us through the difficult moments in our lives as well as provide the mental and spiritual tools we need to succeed.
As a daily card, Wisdom indicates a time when you should rely heavily on past experiences and knowledge attained to make important decisions in your life. This is a time where reflection and planning should guide your actions. To act rashly, on impulse at this time may well cost you in the future. Go slow, think things out, weigh all of your options carefully and then proceed.
While physical travel may be involved, The Journey represents an individual’s spiritual trek from one point to another. The Journey is represented by a sailboat gliding across an open sea. Like those traversing the ocean The Journey requires that we move off the firm ground of our present state and strike out for a new destination. The trip itself may well be full of adventure and challenges. There may be times when we lose sight of where we came from and possibly not even know where we’re going. Storms may crop up without warning. Diversions may slow our progress to our destination down. While it’s good to have an idea of where you want to go, it’s equally important to remember that often it’s the getting there and not the destination that is the most rewarding. To take such a spiritual voyage takes courage and conviction that direction in which your are moving is right for you.
As a daily card, The Journey indicates a time in which you are likely to derive insight and spiritual growth by moving off your everyday path. Although the time span is short, this movement may have a profound and enduring effect on your life. Indeed you may be on the verge of experiencing a revelation, or enjoying a period of self actualization. Be open to new paths and you may well end up with some very positive changes in your life.
Ways We Numb Ourselves
Numbing yourself prevents you from confronting your issues and keeps you from ever finding resolution or peace.
We are born equipped to experience a complex array of diverse emotions. Many of us, however, are uncomfortable confronting our most powerful emotions. We may shy away from delight and despair and deny life’s colors by retreating into a world of monotone grey. We may numb ourselves to what we are truly feeling. It’s easier to suppress our emotions than to deal with them, so we may momentarily turn to pleasures such as alcohol, food, sugar, shopping and too much television. We may even numb our hearts. While it’s normal to temporarily seek distractions as a means of coping with intense emotions, numbing yourself prevents you from confronting your issues and keeps you from ever finding resolution or peace. When you are numb, there is no pain or powerlessness, but there can also be no joy or healing.
The activities that numb you may seem harmless or pleasurable, but using them to numb yourself diminishes the quality of your life. Numbing yourself so that you don’t have to feel intense emotions can often satisfy a surface need while blocking your awareness of a deeper need. You may find solace in food or shopping when what you really need is spiritual nourishment. The less you feel, the less alive you feel. Your feelings add vividness to your experiences and serve to connect you to the world around you. It is possible to disavow yourself of numbing behaviors a little at a time and once again taste life’s rich flavors. When you sense that you are engaging in a particular behavior simply to deaden your emotions, stop and ask yourself why. Examining the feelings that drive you to numb yourself can help you understand what is triggering your desire to emotionally fade out.
With each numbing activity that you cut out of your life, you’ll find yourself being more aware and experiencing a greater emotionally acuity. Senses once shrouded by the fog of numbness become sharp and acute. Traumas and pain long hidden will emerge to the forefront of your consciousness and reveal themselves so that you can heal them. You’ll discover a deeper you—a self that is comfortable experiencing and working through intense emotions with courage and grace.
Taking time for yourself
Making time for the activities that contribute to your spiritual growth has little to do with being selfish.
Modern life compels us to rush. Because we feel pressured to make the most of our time each day, the activities that sustain us, rejuvenate us, and help us evolve are often the first to be sacrificed when we are in a hurry or faced with a new obligation. It is importa
nt we remember that there is more to life than achieving success, making money, and even caring for others. Your spiritual needs should occupy an important spot on your list of priorities. Each task you undertake and each relationship you nurture draws from the wellspring of your spiritual vitality. Taking the time to engage in spiritually fulfilling activities replenishes that well and readies you to face another day. Making time for the activities that contribute to your spiritual growth has little to do with being selfish and everything to do with your well-being. Regularly taking the time to focus on your soul’s needs ensures that you are able to nurture yourself, spend time with your thoughts, experience tranquility, and expand your spiritual boundaries.
It is easy to avoid using our free moments for spiritual enrichment. There is always something seemingly more pressing that needs to be done. Many people feel guilty when they use their free time to engage in pursuits where they are focusing on themselves because they feel as if they are neglecting their family or their work. To make time for yourself, it may be necessary to say no to people’s requests or refuse to take on extra responsibilities. Scheduling fifteen or thirty minutes of time each day for your spiritual needs can make you feel tranquil, give you more energy and allows you to feel more in touch with the universe. Writing in a journal, meditating, studying the words of wise women and men, and engaging in other spiritual practices can help you make the most of this time.
Making time to nurture your spirit may require that you sacrifice other, less vital activities. The more time you commit to soul-nurturing activities, the happier and more relaxed you will become. The time you devote to enriching your spirit will rejuvenate you and help you create a more restful life.
The Lotus represents the spiritual self in its purest form. It reminds us that for most achieving a well developed spirituality is a journey which can be long and arduous. The spirit of the Lotus is not of our secular world, and the presence of The Lotus suggests that what is needed can be found by exploring your relationship with the Universe not as a physical entity pursuing material gain, but as a divine soul in need of celestial sustenance.
As a daily card, The Lotus is indicative of a period in which your energies should be focused on your spiritual self. This doesn’t mean you should forsake your possessions or place in our secular world. It simply implies you might be well served by reaffirming or further developing your spiritual self at this time.
Each one of us has powerful inner guides to help us find our way along the path of our life-journey. These guides bring gifts for us and offer very specific help. When we connect with the guide we need in the moment, our journey becomes smoother, we feel supported, and we can make swift soul-progress.
Is your present guide a powerful Shaman King, spirit-centered Priestess Queen, questing Knight, or youthful Child? Find out with this quiz:
Make note of the numbers of the following statements that are TRUE for you.
1. I need to make wise plans for my future and set better boundaries and limits.
2. I would like to feel more safe and secure.
3. I feel out of connection and as if I’m living superficially–but I know there’s more to my life than this.
4. I am hungry for nurturing, passion, deep feeling, and/or inspiration.
5. I feel as if I have lost something important that would improve the quality of my life.
6. I need to feel more galvanized to go after what I need.
7. I need more playtime in my life: everything feels like a chore.
8. Old, painful memories and feelings have started to surface in my life and I am sick of repeating my old patterns.
9. I feel completely unsure of where I am at the moment, sort of lost in the fog–as if I know nothing at all.
If you answered TRUE to 1 or 2, the Shaman King is the guide who will help you now. Look to this grounded, wise, powerful part of your Self to help you feel stable, safe, and able to plan and protect yourself. Collect images of mature and stable power to keep with you. Give your Shaman King a name. Imagine being filled with his strength and certainty.
If you answered TRUE to 3 or 4, the Priestess Queen is your guide. This part of you can help you to feel more deeply connected to All That Is, deeply nourished and alive to the wonder of living. Find pictures of this archetypal helper to keep where you will see them and feel supported. Give your Priestess Queen a name. Visualize her walking beside you, sharing her qualities of spirit-filled grace and dignity with you.
If you answered TRUE to 5 or 6, the Knight can help you to find what you seek. This questing part of the Self is a great helper when you know there’s something you need. Visualize a bold companion who knows every step of the journey that leads to what you most deeply desire. Give this companion a name. Imagine him or her beside you as you venture into unfamiliar territory.
If you answered TRUE to 7 or 8, the Child will help you to reconnect with your playful inner child-self, who knew exactly what she loved to do. She can show you what you need to do in order to heal from old wounding and create healthier new patterns for yourself. Collect old photos of yourself and imagine asking that child-self for her input.
If you answered TRUE to 9, your guide is the Mystery. Difficult though it may be, you need to trust that you are not meant to know–AND that it is alright not to know right now. Eventually, things will become clearer. Right now, see if you can enjoy being in the place of not-knowing.