When I worked for the Tarot Foundation I often would sit in my special (for no particular reason) old cane chair out on my verandah and have my coffee and lots of thoughts would come and go. It is my place to think about random things still. So I decided to continue posting what my pondering chair moments bring here, in my new home on this site.
Today it was the 3 of Cups that triggered my thoughts.
Happiness and inner peace. Something many of us desire and try to find.
Happiness is often confused with pleasure. This confusion can cause the search to end up perpetual and frustrating.
Pleasure is a state of feeling.
Feelings are changeable.As humans we struggle to control feelings. They are unpredictable and dependent on external factors. They come and go like waves on the shore. To be, that is something more stable, less prone to fluctuations.
I was studying the image of the Three of Cups. Looking at the way the figures were holding up their beautiful cups. I noticed the abundance of produce at their feet, the colour of the sky. The 3 lanterns burning along the steps.
The stand out thought in this image is gratitude for the blessings. We don’t know the back story here in this image. Or what the ritual or celebration is. There are 3 figures in the image. Sharing their pleasure.
3 is synonymous with growth, creativity. From 2 comes is born the 3rd. 3 is the completion of a phase and beginning of a new one. The 3 brings to mind our actions or thoughts, what they cause and then the consequence or effect they bring. The trinity is 3. Sacred, spiritual.
We know what the next card in the Cups progression is. The figure is alone again. Feelings are fleeting. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have this feeling of gratitude stored in our heart always?
Gratitude is a feeling. And as mentioned earlier, as humans our feelings are changeable.
We are a bundle of contradictions. That is part of being earthly.
We can be celebrating a birthday or a success, having the most wonderful time feeling happy and cheerful with friends and family, and still the next day wake up to our emptiness and disillusion again.
Yes, feelings are fleeting. Pleasure short lived. I often wonder about being content – what it truly means. Would I rather have random moments of amazing happiness and joy, or consistent contentment?
As mentioned earlier, life is variable too. Nothing ever staying steady or the same. Up and down, round and round. All that is external though. We can be steadily stable no matter what direction the wheel turns – by being.
Sometimes we lack gratitude. Especially ‘after the party’. That come down feeling we get. We begin to think of all that we don’t have, or haven’t done. For example at times we feel a failure. That our life is full of missed opportunities and we have achieved nothing of value. These feelings when we dwell on them fester and then begin to cause painful feelings of lack within. We compare ourselves to others and feel inferior. By doing this we place value on the very things our ego thrives on.
These moments are when we’ve jumped ship to dwell on chasing the feelings and perishable role of status rather than focusing on our blessings and way of being and living.
There is no celebration or gratitude in these ego phases. No delight is thought of under the warmth of the early season sun or the blessings of life itself.
How do we become grounded and at peace when this happens? First to be aware of what is happening. Then to ponder in the reality of what truly matters. And gratitude. Breathing in the air. Discard the worry of what we think others might think. Firstly it is not so because we thought it, secondly it shows a shallowness and weakness within us.
Next we must ponder why we are drawn to think in this way. Why would we believe others valued us based on our worldly success and achievements? The ones to celebrate? Perhaps this is how we view others? In order to truly live a life of joy and contentment we must look at things as they surface.
Do we want to live a life, this fast moving life based on – changeable, unreliable feelings, or on being?
True contentment, happiness, inner peace and gratitude come when we have cleaned out all our closets, accepted and understood our hidden feelings – then, after the celebration we can enjoy fond memories of love and laughter, and continue our life of being grateful and being at peace.
To share time with others, to be happy and merry and feel joy is wonderful, but I cannot help but think there is more to it sometimes. I want to wake up every day and raise my cup high to the sky in joy and gratitude for this life, and mean it.
To finish up, the 4 of Swords often reminds me of inner peace and contentment after we have overcome a struggle with our ego and managed to quiet it. To have lasting inner peace – that is another post all together!