Are You Paying Attention? If Not, Tarot Cards Can Help!

In the latest installment of Laura Rowley’s Money & Happiness column on Yahoo Finance, she discusses a new book on the science of happiness. In the book, “Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life,” behavioral scientist writer Winifred Gallagher concludes that if you want to be happy, you need to pay attention.

“Pay attention to what?” you might ask.
“To whatever your brain is focusing on,” Gallagher would answer.

As she explains in her book, allowing your mind to become monopolized by negative thoughts only makes the situation worse. If you are constantly thinking about a negative situation, your conceptual reality and options are limited. You are not allowing your brain to recognize that alternatives to the current situation exist. You can even become paralyzed by the fear and anxiety that the situation causes. By trying to refocus your brain to think more positively, you broaden your conceptual horizon and are able to recognize more options. This leads to better decision-making on how to deal with the current situation.

Tarot cards can help with training your brain to refocus. The imagery on each card serves as a guide and literally gives your mind something on which to focus. The cards can help you view your circumstances in a different light.

One way to use tarot cards to broaden your conceptual horizon is through a daily reading. You can use your entire deck or just the cards of the Major Arcana. First, sit in a quiet part of your home and take a deep breath. Now spread your tarot cards, face down, in front of you and select one. Pay attention to the pictures and symbols on the card and what they mean to you. Do you identify with any of the figures on the card? What imagery on the card, if any, sends you a negative message? What imagery, if any, sends you a positive message? Now ask yourself how the situation at hand is influencing the way you view the card. Is there an alternative way to read the card?

For example, let’s say you drew The Tower for your daily reading. Initially, you may see the card’s imagery as only reinforcing how you already feel in your current situation — out of control, chaotic, disastrous. But is there another message here? Could it be that you feel overwhelmed because you are only focusing on things over which you have no control?

Instead, what if you began to focus on the parts of your situation that you can control? In doing so, you will have expanded your options and increased your ability to make a better decision. Instead of feeling helpless you can begin to pay attention to the things in your life that you can influence, however insignificant they may seem at the time.

Or what if the card is offering a suggestion on how to better handle the same situation in the future? On the card the tower is severely damaged by lightning, but what if the tower could be rebuilt to better withstand lightning? Notice, I’m not saying that it won’t ever be struck by lightning again. The lightning is an act of God and is not something that can be directly controlled. What I’m pointing out here is that, should lightning strike again, the tower could be better equipped to handle the blow in the future. How might you prepare yourself to deal with or avoid a similar situation in the future?

Again, the above illustration is only an example. The meanings you gather from your daily reading will depend entirely upon you and your circumstances. But it does illustrate how using tarot cards can help refocus your brain away from constant negativity and thereby help you to recognize alternatives.

The power of paying attention is nicely summarized by the poet W.H. Auden: “Choice of attention — to pay attention to this and ignore that — is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.”

Lisa Ray is the creator of the Ultimate Tarot Trainer, an easy-to-use software program that helps beginners learn to read tarot cards.
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