Today’s card is Island of the Mill. Here we see people bearing sacks on their backs as they approach the mill. Oh boy, another moment of synchronicity. Talk about humping a heavy sack around! Here’s the background:
The Otherworldly mill is where the spectres of our greed are fed to us. What we desire binds us with unbreakable links so we are enslaved to it.
Niggardliness, possessiveness, scandalmongering, anger, jealousy, selfishness, co-dependency, grudges and feuds.
What are you holding on to that is unnecessary in your life? Let the gift of generosity come into your heart. Let other people live without your control. Lift burdens from others backs.
This is a timely reminder about control, or rather how it becomes a huge burden. We all like to control don’t we? ‘I don’t have a need to control!’ I hear you say. Yes you do, we all do! It’s part of human nature to want to control, part of the workings of the ego. We want to control others, ourselves, our lives…and so forth and etc. Even if we think we aren’t trying to control we are doing it unconsciously. controlling ourselves or others soothes our own inner sense of fear, of the unknown, of righteousness. It might work for a time but in the end it usually becomes too much.
And what a heavy burden it is, rather like those people in the picture humping their heavy sacks to the mill. So how do we get rid of those heavy sacks; the need to control, especially outcomes. Well, Buddhists advocate the idea of non-attachment. We only try to control what we are attached to (or as the book says ‘desire’). We invest emotional energy to things. By practising what the Buddhists call non-attachment we can free ourselves from the curse of the need to control. When I manage to do this I find my life going far more smoothly and feel a lot more together and calmer inside. It’s not about ‘not caring’ or having no compassion but rather just letting go, and not operating from ego.
Of course one has to be honest with oneself and it’s not easy to admit that we are operating from ego and attaching ourselves to something or someone. It makes you squirm actually but in order to free oneself from attachment you have to be really honest with yourself and do some hard self-reflection. But it’s ok and there’s no blame attached in realising that is, in fact, where we’re coming from. It’s all part of a human’s spiritual evolution. Next step is being mindful, living in each moment and being aware of each moment. We cannot live in the past because it’s gone, and we cannot live in the future because it has not manifested yet. The only place we can truly live is in the present…in the NOW.
Second thing is to give it up…give up the attachment you have…I do this by imagining myself on a high mountain top surrounded by alpine flowers. It is cool and the wind blows around me fresh and clean. The sun shines from a cloudless azure blue sky. I encapsulate whatever I’m attached to, whatever my ego control is, in a glistening iridescent bubble and allow it to float away. The Spirits of Air catch it and take it high up into the sky, up towards the sun. you could try this and see if it works for you. Of course I’ve had to practise this and have to continue to do so. holding on to things seems a natural thing for humans to do so it does take practise and maintenance but gradually it becomes easier.
So next time you feel as though you are carrying a huge burden on your back try climbing the mountain and giving that burden up to the heavens, and see what happens. Oh yes, and don’t forget to be mindful!