June 2004 Tarot Passages Spread of the Month

Mindfulness Spread by Mary K. Greer
Spread based on The Feeling Buddha by John Brazier (NY: Fromm, 2000)

This spread is based on John Brazier's nontraditional explication of Buddhism's Four Noble Truths. Afflictions are a part of life, and serve to make us more conscious and aware. In response to a problem, affliction or unsatisfactory state (1), feelings arise (2), based on prior experiences (3). These feelings can make our life hell or, as pure energy, can be harnessed to take us along a constructive path toward psychological maturity. This spread can help you explore distressing circumstances and the emotions that arise with them. It shows your habitual (most likely) response (4) and, through stopping for a moment of mindfulness, an alternate way to direct your energy (5), in light of a higher purpose or potential (6)."



                                Past                                Present                                    Future

                                                                                               problems         Card 6
                                                                                               only exist     Higher Purpose
                                                                                            in relation to
                                                                                           some purpose   
                                                                                                we have

                                                                        Card 1

                               Card 3                              arises                                      Card 4
                               Cause                                with                                       Impulse/

                                                                        Card 2               Shamatha
                                                                        Emotion/ --->     Stopping
                                                                                                     to harm
                                                                                                     or good     Card 5

Identify a situation in which you experience a strong emotional reaction. Look through the deck, face up, and find a card that best expresses Position 2. Draw the rest as usual.

Position 1:    A present event. The problem, affliction, suffering or discomfort that disturbs you. Dukka. It is the provocation or stimulus for what follows, and an opportunity for growth.

Position 2: [pre-chosen, face-up] Thirst; craving, desire. The emotion and feelings that arise with the stimulus. This is what motivates the action of 4 or 5. Samudaya. It is pure fire energy that can wantonly spread or be tamed and used for good.

Position 3: A past experience, earlier decision, prior judgment, or aspect of character that caused the event to elicit an emotional response within you. Also can be tensions or drives regarding recognition, approval, security, need for attention. Karma.

Between Emotion and Act can be a moment of choice--a possible 'Stopping' (Shamatha). We either open the gate of Hell (harm) or the gate of Heaven (good). Through stillness and observation (mindfulness), craving is contained by bringing to mind what is constructive and satisfying.

Position 4: Object. An automatic, habitual response; conditioned need; compulsion to act; often self-defeating. It is a fixation, drive towards or impulse based on meaningless, destructive gestures. Samjna. There is no real connection between Cause and Object.

Position 5: The containment, harnessing and directing of feelings toward a meaningful, wholesome, constructive end. Nirodha. This represents an alternate, mindful response.

Position 6: Higher Purpose. It answers the question: What am I here for?" This represents some aspect of a life commitment made by your Compassionate Self.

What habitual path do cards 3-1-4 describe? How do cards 2-5-6 represent a new and mindful choice? How does 1 relate to 6? In what way does 5 fulfill 6 better than 4 does?

Spread 2004 Mary K. Greer
Page 2004 Diane Wilkes