Thursday, February 24, 2011
To cultivate prosperity, put four drops of cinnamon essential oil in a spray bottle of water and mist the air.
Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:
Thursday, February 24th, 2011
General Meaning: The situation calls for confronting a knotty conflict and cutting through it. Somehow, the way to harmony and unity is blocked or frustrated — perhaps by a tangle of misunderstandings or outright deceit. Like Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian knot, assert yourself now and you will meet with good fortune. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit. The ability to take corrective measures when they are needed is an essential trait of true leadership.
But those who bring discipline to bear must, above all, be honest — with others, and with themselves. Honesty is the hallmark of the strong and self-confident. The successful person masters the art of honesty much as a swordsman masters fencing. When lies, delusions and game playing are getting in the way of teamwork, a swift sword of honest action, perhaps even correction, must be wielded to protect one’s integrity and values. Decisiveness with integrity brings good fortune.
Though your actions be vigorous, they must not be hasty, severe or arbitrary. Be sure to carefully consider all the circumstances. In the case of a serious disruption of relations, you must forgive, but not forget to give a person a chance to make reparations for his mistakes. If some penalty or punishment is necessary, make certain that it fits the crime. When boundaries have become slack and useless, only through the institution of clear and swift correction can their effectiveness be restored.
In situations where serious issues of justice are at stake, keep careful records and do not hesitate to go public with the truth.
Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:
This Tarot Deck: Folklore
The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.
The truth may not sit well with you today, yet you have an opportunity to become aware of what you have been avoiding. Unfortunately, any impulsive decisions you make now won’t likely bring you happiness. Keep your worries to yourself, since talking about them prematurely can dissipate your tension before you fully understand what’s going on and can figure out the best plan of action.
You have been so keenly focused on your status at work that you might have lost sight of your long-term goals. Today it’s time to shift gears and start thinking about your future, rather than the present. Naturally, you still must meet any current obligations, but you should be able to do that while also reconnecting with the very same dreams you set aside to get where you are. Don’t wait any longer to make a wish that you want to come true.
You’ve been lost in fantasyland while imagining ways to escape from your mundane responsibilities. Whatever your idea of Utopia may be, you are scheming your way through the day and trying to manifest your dreams. However, there is an energetic shift today that reminds you of the promises you have not yet fulfilled. Fortunately, you can still feel free if you graciously accept what you must do, rather than attempting to avoid it.
A fresh batch of ideas is blowing new life into old plans that you mistakenly thought were beyond resuscitation. Don’t let go of your goals; instead, it’s time to refine them. Nevertheless, you may already feel somewhat nostalgic about what you have to leave behind. Thankfully, you won’t likely miss the past too much once you realize how hopeful you feel about your newly unfolding future.
Exploring new approaches to business and personal relationships has been an important theme in your life and it continues to be significant. However, now you are less concerned with being true to yourself than how you interact with others. The current pile-up of planets in your 8th House of Intimacy indicates that you must build on what you have already established while continuing to seek more meaning in everything that you do.
The recent concentration of planets in your 6th House of Details required you to pay close attention to your daily work routine. However, your 7th House of Relationships is now being emphasized and your awareness shifts to include those around you. Consider what you need from others and what you are able to offer them in return. Consciously expanding your horizons gives you a whole new perspective on your life.
Considering how to be more effective on the job is now more important than starting anything new. You may choose to put your energy into your work today while passing on the possibility of an artistic pursuit or a romantic distraction. However, don’t get discouraged if you run into obstacles. Instead of trying to accomplish too much too fast, take baby steps in whatever you do.
Although your upbeat energy might seem more emotional than intellectual today, you are moving into a very creative phase as several planets dance through your 5th House of Self-Expression. However, you may have a hard time being spontaneous now. Additional planning will help you be more efficient, but overdoing it will take the excitement out of your day. Balancing your enthusiasm with a dash of common sense is the best strategy at this time.
Strong tides are pulling you into deep waters, yet the Moon’s return to your sign enables you to go with the flow. Nevertheless, no matter how flexible your thinking is today, it’s still hard to let go of old fears that return when you are not in control. Thankfully, your adventurous spirit wins out in the end and the unknown calls with a compulsive lure; you have no choice but to go forward. Don’t get discouraged if you change your mind a few times in the process of unfolding your new destiny.
New emotions surface at a fast pace these days, but you may not be able to express your feelings. It isn’t that you need to keep secrets; you want to share your process as your emotions change. However, the right words are difficult to find now. Don’t be too critical because you’ll accomplish more in the days ahead with the support of your co-workers if you go easy on yourself and others.
You are still adapting to the shift of several planets out of your sign and into your 2nd House of Self-Worth, refocusing your concerns from self-expression to stabilizing recent gains. Although money issues may be emphasized now, keep in mind that your income can be affected by your thoughts. Feeling good about yourself doesn’t guarantee riches, but raising your self-esteem can better your chances for success.
Although you may be feeling more positive about your ability to get what you want, you still could face a minor setback today. However, your attitude plays a much more significant role in overcoming obstacles than you might imagine. If you mislead yourself into believing that you don’t deserve success, then today’s problems could grow larger than life. However, your dreams become more real when you accept that you have as much right to happiness as anyone else.
According to Buddhist scripture, even if people are learned, as long as they do not put their learning into practice, they are no different from the ignorant. This is also true of mundane activities; to understand the principles and talk about them may be quite easy, but actual performance is not so easy.
Many learned people only profess and do not actually refine their minds. This is why they do not reach the attainments of the sages whose books they study.
When Confucius was alive he taught his students the principles of humaneness, justice, courtesy, intelligence, and truthfulness and had them practice these principles. When Confucius testified that so-and-so had learned humaneness, or so-in-son had learned justice, he was referring to people whose hearts were humane or just, not to people who had merely learned how to talk about humaneness and justice but had no humaneness or justice in their hearts.
Later students of Confucianism however, claimed to be masters of Confucian teaching as soon as they had learned definitions of humaneness and justice, without having cultivated humaneness or justice in their hearts.
The same was also true of Buddhism. When Buddha was in the world, not all of his followers were geniuses who attained liberation promptly and became free, but even those of mediocre and lesser faculties who heeded Buddha’s instructions and put them into practice attained benefits according to their abilities. Even after Buddha’s death, all those who practiced the teaching appropriately gained some benefit. This was because they followed Buddhism only for liberation and for the salvation of all living beings, not for social status and material profit.
In later times, many people, both laity and clergy, followed and studied Buddhism for the sake of reputation and material profit. Therefore they did not advance in actual self-cultivation and refinement. They thought it was enough to learn the doctrines of the various schools. As a result, the more learned they were, the more conceited they became.
In consequence of all this, whereas ordinary people have just the usual personal ego, students of Buddhism added to that a religious ego. Therefore even scholars of outstanding erudition might be no different from the most wretched miscreants in terms of their actual way of living and manner of being.
Zen teaching says that it is better to practice a little than to talk a lot. Zen masters have therefore recommended that learned understanding be subordinated to study through personal experience.
The time nevertheless came when even Zen students were given to literary pursuits and became so proud of their erudition that they were not ashamed of having no real experience of enlightenment.
No Set Track
Zen teaching has no set track or fixed pattern. Sometimes it explains mundane principles, sometimes it expounds transmundane doctrines. In any case, the purpose is to dissolve people’s sticking points and relieve them of their bondage. Therefore there is no dogma or doctrinal orthodoxy; the only issue is what will effectively liberate and enlighten people.
According to an ancient Zen saying, “If you understand, you can use it on the road; if you do not understand, it becomes a mundane convention.” Even if people are given mystic teachings for transcendence, if they do not understand them, the teachings become conventional doctrines.
On the other hand, if hearing explanation of worldly principles frees people from clinging and bondage, with the result that they unite directly with the fundamental, then these worldly principles are in that sense profound teachings.
Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)
Excerpted from Dream Conversations On Buddhism and Zen translated by Thomas Cleary 1994
Muso is touching on points we have covered many times over the years. It is so easy to fool ourselves with our understandings. Too often there is confusion in thinking that knowing the meaning of a word equals the experience and manifestation of that principle. Muso aptly draws on Confucius and his style of teaching, where his students had to really incorporate the principles into their actions to master the teaching.
To whatever degree we live the principles we aspire to, we become the real manifestation of Buddhism, Zen, or even Confucian ideals. Otherwise the teachings become like superficial encounters, very inspiring during a lecture or retreat, but just another experience that ultimately fades without any deep impact.
What an open mind to recognize also that liberation can come from many places…, “the only issue is what will effectively liberate and enlighten people.”
Whether we have a teacher or not, it is still up to us to take the teaching into ourselves, stay with it long enough to see what to do with it, and then remember it each day….our life koan we refine over a lifetime.