There’s a massive difference between caring and worrying, between approaching known or new situations from a trusting place versus from a distrusting place. Situations are situations, nothing more, nothing less. Anything can happen to anyone, great, good, neutral, bad, or horrible. It’s how we experience them that makes the difference, that creates a good quality of inner and ultimately outer life.
In most Buddhist countries, one witnesses a certain peace and calm in most people despite deep poverty and rampant hardship. For a Westerner, it is truly hard to grasp – we are trained to work hard to make things better. In and of itself, this isn’t a bad trait to have. But taken to extreme, this can become a state of mind that’s never satisfied with the current situation, with what one has now, how things are in the present moment.
It’s not that Buddhists don’t care about their future or that of their children’s. It’s not that they don’t work hard to make things easier for everyone, including themselves, their families, the elderly, the animals, and the community. They care – they care a lot. To a Westerner, this might not seem so, because we associate caring with worrying, stress, overworking, even burnout.
Caring is a positive experience. Even caring for and about a sick loved one can be a positive experience we can give ourselves to it, cherish the moments we have with our beloved instead of stressing out about tomorrow or what might happen later. By worrying about the future, we steal from the present; we steal big.
Tarot has a magnificent card that puts this state of being in an image, depicting it with symbols. It’s Seven of Swords – a Minor Arcana card, representing the qualities of the soul’s day to day journey on earth. For those of you who are not familiar with Tarot, the classic Tarot deck has seventy eight cards – twenty-two Major Arcana cards that show our life purpose, the reason for our reincarnation, our karma; and fifty-six Minor Arcana cards that pertain to daily lessons.
Worry is something we experience on a daily or weekly basis. It isn’t anybody’s soul purpose. One soul purpose can be to learn to trust the universe, to open to the vastness of consciousness, to go with the flow – all depicted in Major Arcana. In order to make these purposes happen, we then focus on what we can do today, this moment – and that’s depicted in Minor Arcana.
Going back to Seven of Swords, in this card we see a figure stealing four swords from a seemingly prosperous tent community. His body, his movement, his face, the way he is holding the swords all suggest this is a furtive affair. From a spiritual perspective, we take this to connote a subconscious or unconscious event. The figure depicted is stealing only from himself.
In Tarot, if we draw a straight line down the middle of any card, the right side of the card represents your future while the left shows your past. Of course, the middle is the present. In some cards, this understanding becomes truly clear, like in Seven of Swords. The figure is stealing swords from the right side of the card (his future), bringing them to the present, and moving even into the past — showing us that not only is he sabotaging his future, he also has some unresolved issues from the past that continue to drag his psyche.
He is stealing swords – what does a sword mean? And what do five swords mean – the number of words he is stealing? A sword represents mental activity, our meditativeness, or lack of. It represents our relationship with our minds. An upright sword signifies mental clarity, ease of thought, how easily we can grasp situations, how open we are to new ways of thinking, how flexible we are in our worldview and personal understanding of life and people.
The number five refers to the fifth chakra, that of living truthfully, from a place of honesty, not just to others but also, and especially, to ourselves. Stealing five swords would mean preventing a truthful future thanks to our deceitful actions today. We may be lying to ourselves about what truly makes us happy, trying so hard to bury our head in the sand, denying what’s right in front of us.
For example, you might be in a relationship that is not serving you anymore. Somewhere deep down you might already know it’s time to move on but due to different reasons – some of which might be very valid – you might be choosing to stay put. Maybe your partner financially supports you and you don’t want to lose that. Maybe you have a business or a house together and you don’t want to risk losing what you own. So you might be choosing to stay put even though emotionally it’s over.
Seven of Swords would mean you need to stop doing what you’re doing and start building a new future right away. Otherwise what’s coming will not be to your liking – it’ll either be more of the same (yet making you feel heavier and worse), or what’s coming might actually be worse because you’re not emotionally invested in the relationship anymore.
Like the difference between caring and worrying – there are two ways you can go about this. If you find yourself lacking trust in your own abilities, address that. If you find yourself afraid of your partner, seek outside help. There are always things you can do to improve the situation. Seek incremental changes if possible, instead of changing everything overnight. Don’t traumatize your system with such sudden changes unless they are called for.
To stop worrying, realize that the universe can never guarantee anyone – even the richest person out there or the healthiest – that things will stay the same. We are all extremely vulnerable. This is a universal human truth whether we like it or not. At any moment even the ceiling can collapse. What we need to realize is that more often than not, we are safe. Whether we feel it or not, most of the time life is quite all right. Especially for those of us who don’t live in war zones or who aren’t in life-threatening situations.
To accept our vulnerability would mean to realize that we can’t control life or outcomes. It would mean learning to go with the flow. It would mean eating the fruit of life when it’s ripe, knowing it might not be ripe tomorrow. If you can accept your own vulnerability, you’ll learn to live in the moment – that thing you read about in so many articles but never quite achieve. It’s through accepting our openness to life, our susceptibility to so many different factors, that we can finally let go and enjoy what’s right here right now in front of us.
Feeling anxious? Still? No worries. It takes practice. In the meantime, feel free to get a psychic reading to understand what your near future might bring. But don’t forget to continue to work on yourself and make incremental changes to create the life you want in the long run!