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Ace of Swords — Spiritual Message of the Day

March 8, 2012

Ace of Swords -- Tarot of the Masters

Whenever you think of God, you are in the sanctuary. — Swami Prabhavananda

In Religion in Practice, Swami Prabhavananda advises us to think about the presence of God whenever we can. He tells us that if we practice this “constant recollectedness” of the Divine, we will eventually see the presence of the Divine in other people and in the world around us. Similarly, in his book The Eternal Companion, he quotes Brahmananda’s succinct explanation of a means to divine union (called “the way of constant recollectedness”) as follows:

Repeat the name of the Lord. Whatever you do, let the name of God flow like a current within you.

But how do we find a way to recall the Divine often? Certainly, a constant recollection of the Divine is not easy at first, but many spiritual traditions provide some tangible means of assistance. In some traditions, people chant a name of the Divine. Followers of the Hare Krishna movement, for example, are quite well-known for this. Even a simple affirmation, such as “God is with me always” can serve this purpose.

In other spiritual traditions, a ubiquitous icon (such as a cross or crucifix in Christianity) is used as a reminder, or a talisman of some sort (such as prayer beads) is kept on one’s person so that touching it may recall the mind to the presence of the Divine. In the latter case, even a Tarot card with a divine depiction on it (such as, perhaps, the Ace of Swords) may be used.

Note: Although a given icon or chant may not seem to work for some people, it’s not the tool, it’s the incorrect or haphazard use of it that’s the problem.

If you enjoy these words of spiritual advice from the cards, you will love my new Tarot book called The Soul’s Journey: Finding Spiritual Messages in the Tarot.

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2 Comments
  1. A useful line of thought. Bringing ourselves into great harmony with the Divine can only help! I found all your examples to be useful. But you ask for other ideas….

    The “Jesus Prayer” comes to mind as an example. There is a short book entitled “The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way” which is the combination of two very short books discussing one persons jounrney with this very idea in mind. Wiki has a page discussing some of this, and the title is widely available:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Way_of_a_Pilgrim

    I wear an ankh cross for a number of reasons but one of them is with the hope it will help me to be more mindful of my relationship with/to the Divine.

    I also found that Thich Nhat Hanh offered a suggestion I find to be useful. He remarks about the bells in his home land temples and how they serve as a reminder for everyone to pause for a moment’s reflection. He also observed very few such bells in the United States. (When is the last time you heard a church bell? I can’t even remember the last time I heard one, other than in movies.)

    So instead he suggested picking a different “personal bell” – a signal that normally brings about the opposite reaction in one’s spirit. Perhaps it is catching a red light, or when some one speaks harshly. Whatever one’s personal bell, use that as a reminder to pause if even only a moment. Let that be your signal to seek common-union with the Divine in your life.

    I personally tie this to another suggestion he offers which is to breathe in and relax; breathe out and smile. A Mona Lisa smile is ok 🙂 For me this shares the role of a very short moment of mediatation, reflection, and serves as a reminder to seek a brief respite with a sense of the Divine.

    • Erik,
      Thank you so much for your (as usual) wonderful comments and for the book reference. It looks interesting; I’ll have to look into it more.
      Also interesting that you would mention Thich Nhat Hanh’s comment about bells. My recent idea was to start wearing a small bell (sort of a jingle bell) on a leather necklace to serve this purpose. I also like TNH’s idea of “personal bells” — things that are common but not generally interpreted positively. I’ll have to think of one to try.
      Best,
      James

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