How often do you exercise the full capabilities and capacities of your mind; using your imagination for fun activities like creating, working on your critical thinking and logical problem-solving skills, or exercising competencies like deep contemplative observation, as opposed to simply “surviving,” ruminating, living in the past, or worrying and fantasizing about the future?
There are many ways to settle the mind and exercise the parts of it that are lacking in attention and may need stronger neurological reinforcement in order to become more well-pronounced in our lives through our perspectives and expressions. And there are just as many ways to gather insight from the mind, and to use one’s creative imagination and abilities to problem solve and give oneself the workout, or gateway, that is needed in order to effectively use these full capabilities in practical ways as well.
When we were young and just starting to learn new life skills (like language, mathematics, tying our shoes, staying away from fire, etc), our teachers and guardians employed numerous creative and technical exercises and tools to get our learning juices flowing and our brains understanding different ideas, concepts, functions, materials, etc for survival in our complex families, communities, and societies.
As a teacher of meditation and Yoga, one of my duties is to offer tools and education on the mind, breath, and body that will help my students gain a deeper connection to their spirit and highest self-expression, which will then prepare them for higher states of consciousness and the better utilization of their brain in order to reduce suffering and improve their standards of experiential living through inner peace and joy (regardless of external circumstances).
One of my favorite tools for helping my students use their creative imagination to problem solve when they are “feeling stuck” mentally in any way, is a tarot deck. Not only is it a fun game to play, but it is also a useful instrument for collecting insight for creative contemplation as well in appropriate contexts.
This game/tool has been traditionally used for centuries as a divination tool associated with magic in the fantastical belief form (outside of it’s performance-based form used as entertainment that plays upon the dynamics of perception), but if we think of what the game/tool is designed to do, and it’s function in society, it is hard not to also call the tarot a useful and practical tool/technology in our species’ work in the field of the science of the mind/Yoga as well.
As humans, we use the power of our brain for many things, after all, it is one of the control centers of our being.
And one of these things is to creatively problem-solve inquiries and gain deep insight into the world and into our self.
The tarot is a really fun tool for creatively stimulating shifts in perspective and understanding/mental “seeing” (which is why it has probably stuck around in our history for so long).
If one is new to meditation and may need a little push with getting started on directly utilizing tools to get their mind to think in a different way than they are used to (which is often enough to create the deep insight and understanding that they are seeking), the tarot can sometimes be a good starting point if approached with neutrality.
With this in mind, is this game, therefore, real magic or witchcraft, or just an ancient tool in the science of the mind (and therefore the overall canon of humanity’s global practice of Yoga); utilizing symbiology as one of the most advanced forms of communication and creative expression that we possess as a species to create shifts in our perspectives that allow us to see our way forward more clearly (if, of course, we are able to separate reality from fantasy and simultaneously observe how the two can sometimes seem to overlap)?