Tarot as a Spiritual Tool

by Monte Farber & Amy Zerner

Divination systems, also known as “oracles,” based on tarot, astrology, love, prosperity, rune stones, serenity, alchemy, The Goddess, voodoo, Native American spirituality, and almost every other subject that you can buy a book about, continue to be one of the strongest selling items in bookstores. It is easy to see why; people have questions and they want answers, especially in this frightening and uncertain time, and a well-designed oracle is designed to help people find answers to their questions.

The Tarot can be used for the purpose of divination by using the images on the cards and their meanings to trigger insights from your Higher Self, the part of us that provides guidance by supplying us with those ‘irrational’ hunches, intuitions and flashes of inspiration that can make everyday life sometimes seem so extraordinary.

By shuffling and selecting one or more cards from the deck as you calmly and sincerely ask for guidance about your situation, you cause your Higher Self to guide you to select the proper card. Your state of mind at that moment implies a future course of events in regards to the situation you are asking about. Shuffling the cards of The Tarot at the same moment you are concentrating on your question causes your question and the cards you select in answer to your question to be linked together by the power of your intention and concentration. They are connected in a meaningful way because they are happening at the same time.

This may or may not be the Age of Aquarius or The New Age, but it is certainly The Now Age; everything has to be done now. Cell phones, computers, texting, and the Internet have destroyed the cushion of time that used to enable us to thoughtfully consider our situations. Here in The Now Age, information overload overwhelms. How can we find and stay on the path to a life of quality and meaning in The Now Age? How can there be time to pray when there’s hardly time to play?

Like prayer, a well-designed divination system reminds us of our seamless connection to All-There-Is. As an added bonus, using an oracle with sincerity and regularity ads a needed element of ritual to our lives. Approach all your readings with a sense of ceremony, sincerity and humility and all will be revealed.

Our Instant Tarot system has been designed to help you properly access the tarot’s ancient truths and put them to immediate use. It is our sincere desire that our book, the first and only one of its kind in the tarot’s long history, will help you to better understand your own inner voice and its ability to direct you.

The user-friendly layout of Instant Tarot allows individuals to also ask any question using a one-card, three-card or full eleven card “Celtic Cross” spread to get revealing, inspiring answers to your burning questions about life. It’s great to do with small groups of friends and especially by yourself where, undisturbed, you will often see subtle and formerly hidden meanings emerge from the text.

The tarot helps you to be more mindful by helping you tune into a deeper, inner level of awareness.  It is a way to journey into yourself and discover your spiritual center.  The 78 cards portray all the cycles of human experience – it is a “book” of knowledge.  Using the tarot, a focusing mechanism, also helps in the development of your psychic abilities and empowers you to make the best choices in your life.


Monte Farber and Amy Zerner are the authors of 45 popular spiritual books and oracles, with more than 2,000,000 books—including Karma Cards, The Psychic Circle, Quantum Affirmations, Sun Sign Secrets, and The Enchanted Tarot—in print around the world and in 14 languages. They are bloggers and conscious-content contributors to several websites and blogs. Visit them at www.enchantedworld.com.

The Astral Body, the Chakras & The Magical Arts

by John L. Steadman

The relationship between the astral body, the chakras and the physical body is often misunderstood by novice magickal practitioners. What is meant by the term “astral” body, indeed, is subject to differing interpretations; occultists tend to associate the astral body with the etheric, which they envision as a plane of invisible, subtle matter that serves, in turn, as a pattern or prototype for the physical word, and they use such terms as the Etheric Double, or the Body of Light interchangeably with the Astral Body; all of this tends to create obfuscation rather than clarity. Likewise, occultists, seeking to explain exactly what the chakras are, offer definitions that end up confusing the novice; they speak of the chakras (rightly) as linked to actual physical nerve plexi and glands, and yet, they assert that these chakras are “potent energy sources” in themselves, and thus, beyond the physical.  Again, obfuscation rather than clarity is the result.

In attempting to explain the connection between the astral body, the chakras and the physical body, then, I think that it is important initially to recognize and to accept two basic premises.  First, the human mind is not “in” the brain, nor is it “in” the body; instead, the reverse is true; the brain and the body are “in” the mind.  The mind, thus, exists equally independent from the rarified activity known as cognition as well as the basic, often distasteful rag and bone shop of horrors that characterizes human emotions and instinctive human activity.  Second, the sole, genuine power of the mind is the Imagination.  As the root word “image” suggests, the Imagination makes images.  Even more importantly, it creates images.  Most of these images are anchored in the familiar word that we are born into and are imprisoned in by our perceptions.  But a fraction of these images are separate from the physical world, and these latter images exist, like the mind itself, behind or apart from the physical world.  The mind, as it imagines, then, is very much like the God of Abraham, spoken of in the first book of the Old Testament, a free, creative spirit that moves upon the face of a great void and then simply does what it is in its nature to do, to create.

Given these two premises, it is possible to examine the elements of the individual human being.  Following the eastern esoteric tradition, which begins its analysis from the lower, material levels to the spiritual, we will move from the less subtle to the subtler. The most basic element of the human being is the physical body and this is – well – the physical body.  It gives the impression of being real, so much so, in fact, that most non-occultists think that it is real.  But this body isn’t physical at the subatomic level; as Quantum Physics suggests, it is, if anything, nothing more than a probabilistic pattern of particles in a constant state of flux held together by our pre-conditioning and perception.  After a time, perception proves to be too weak to keep the body together and it dissipates.   The reason for this can be found in the first premise articulated above: the brain & the body are “in” the mind.  The mind, therefore, exists outside the physical. It may be, for convenience, linked to perception, which is the mind’s most inconsequential power. But there is not any real link.   Accordingly, as the body declines, the powers of perception decline as well, and ultimately, the mind ends up unable (or unwilling) to prevent the dissipation and the body dies.

The second element of the individual human being are the chakras. The chakras are associated with the nerve plexi and the glandular centers of the human being.  There are seven of them: the crown of the head (sahasrara-padma); the brow (ajna), throat (visuddha), heart (anahata), solar plexus (manipura), sacrum or navel (svadhishana), and spine (muladhara).  It is not accurate to directly attribute the chakras to these physical centers of the body; they are best understood as invisible, unmeasurable, energy- sources, which, in turn, can be channeled at the nerve points.  The chakras, thus, are arguably etheric meridians, as some occultists will have it.   And yet, the charkas are still indissolvably linked to these physical areas of the body.  In fact, they really cannot function without the physical links in place.  The chakras cannot even be understood or comprehended separate from the physical links.  Thus, as the body ages and grows weaker, and as the hold of the mind on the body weakens as well via the declining powers of perception, the chakras grow weaker and their energies decline.  Again, it is worth remembering: the brain & the body are “in” the mind.  Therefore, we observe the same situation expressed before with regard to the body & the brain; the mind stands back, inviolate, as the brain and the body slowly dissipate; and the chakras, correspondingly, dissipate as well.  And when the body eventually dies, the chakras die along with it, their energies dispersed as readily as the life force of any merely physical thing.

The third element of the individual human being, the astral body, is radically different than the physical body and the chakras.   There are those occultists who refer to the astral body as the “second” body, and they like to assert that the astral body is the invisible double of the physical body and that it, likewise, serves as a kind of pattern upon which the physical body is built.  These occultists, in short, equate the astral body with the etheric. Many of these occultists, in fact, even go as far as to claim the etheric body is actually a probability distribution that ultimately determines the shape and disposition of the human body.  In making such an argument, these occultists are literally imposing a neo-platonic paradigm on Quantum theory, which is, of course, unjustifiable.   J. H. Brennan, occultist and author, describes very accurately the difference between the astral body and the etheric and, in the process, highlights the confusion that often ensues when the astral body is mistakenly identified as etheric.

Your etheric body is your invisible double.   It interpenetrates your physical body and some schools of thought believe with the physicists it is essentially a pattern of force on which your physical body is built.  It is closer to matter than to mind…it seems to function as a link between your physical body and your mind… [But] your astral body is a step beyond the etheric.  And this step takes you into the realms of the psychic proper.  The astral body is composed of mind-stuff: or more accurately, imagination stuff. [i]

The imagination, as I have suggested previously, is the mind’s primary, creative power.  Furthermore, I think that it is safe to assert that the astral body, as a product of the imagination, is the mind’s most essential creation.  It is important to note, however, is that the creation, in this case, shares the same quality as the creator; that is, the astral body, like the mind itself, stands apart from the body & the brain.  The astral body can be perceived, as can the physical body and the chakras.  But when the body & the brain decay, and when perception declines and weakens, neither the mind nor the astral body are affected.  For, indeed, the mind and the astral body are not “in” the body or the brain; they are separate.  They are inviolate, not subject to dissipation, decay and death.

When it comes to the practice of the magickal arts, particularly the “high” magickal arts, the astral body is of utmost importance.   Among occultists, there is a distinction between “high” and “low” magick.  Low magick involves the use of magick for physical, psychological, or emotional purposes.  A good example of low magick would be cleansing the chakras; this procedure tends to promote the physical well-being of an individual.  Another example of a low magickal operation would be casting a spell to attract a lover; the purpose here is twofold: part physical gratification, part emotional satisfaction.  Low magickal goals are best handed by a simple generation of magickal force.  As described in the terms of chakra mythology, magickal force results when the kundalini at the base of the muladhara chakra is stimulated via the use of magickal techniques; the energy then rises throughout the body, stimulating the other chakras as well as it moves up the body and then ultimately emerges in the physical world.  This process does not involve the astral body at all, unless the magickal practitioner sees a need to bring the astral body into the mix.  In contrast, the practice of high magick – i.e. evocation, invocation & conjuration- is best accomplished by the astral body.  A magickal practitioner performs high magick for two purposes: knowledge and/or power.  The rites themselves invariably involve the full use of the elements of magickal practice.  The magickal practitioner makes use of symbolic objects- the customary wand, cup, sword, and pentacle.  The practitioner, also, starts out her working in a stylized setting, whether real-time, akashic or virtual.  Then, at some point, the magickal practitioner finds herself performing the rite in the astral body.  Here, the imagination has reached an apotheosis.  The experience becomes, in effect, pure mind and pure perception.

[i] Brennan, J. H. Magick for Beginners: The Power to Change Your World. St Paul, MN, Llewellyn Publications, Inc., 1998, 68.


John L. Steadman is the author of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition, a scholar of H. P. Lovecraft and western occultism and has been a magickal practitioner for more than thirty years. He is currently a college English professor at Olivet College in Michigan.

Peace Begins with Me

by Karen Casey

I remember as though it were yesterday the first time I heard “The Peace Song.” It was at the close of a Sunday service at the Unity Church in Golden Valley, MN. I was just a few months sober and had gone to Unity at the suggestion of one of my new friends in AA. At the close of the service all the congregants stood and held hands. And then the singing began.

I was mesmerized. As the tears streamed down my face, I stood transfixed by the simple beauty of the words, the beauty of the voices that surrounded me and the quiet beauty of the truth of the message those words carried. I knew at that moment that my life was truly changing. I just didn’t have any idea of the extent of that change.

Fast forward 41 years. I am still sober, of course and still growing, still discovering transformation through the many encounters I have been privileged to experience since that Sunday so long ago. Over these many decades of sobriety and spiritual growth through recovery, I have come to cherish a certain few principles which I will share with you that have allowed me to walk more securely along the many pathways that brought me here, to this moment in time, with you.

There were obstacles along the way of course. There always are. They are the opportunities we have been gifted with to stretch us and push us to becoming the companions our many fellow travelers have needed to encounter so that they, too, could become who they were meant to be. I truly embrace the idea that we will always meet those individuals we need to encounter, not just for our own edification and growth, but their’s too. This is not an “accidental course” we are on. Indeed not. I am here as are you because of the divinity of the journey we have agreed to share.

To reiterate, choosing to live my life these many years being governed by a few very simple principles has given me the quiet well-being that I usually experience. However, those moments of quiet peace that slip out of my grasp are the result of my inattentiveness to here, now. But the introduction to a third pathway to peace has enhanced my awareness of “this moment.”

How very grateful I am that A Course in Miracles, my third pathway, blessed my life nearly thirty years ago. I had no idea I was searching for its particular message; I only knew that I needed something more. AA and Al-Anon were, and still are, the
cornerstones of my spiritual growth; cornerstones that I will never wander away from. But I continued to yearn for a closer sense of “the presence” of the Spirit that I had been assured accompanied me everywhere.

It was while reading the words so beautifully conveyed to Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM, that I heard the messages that God, through the Voice of Jesus, was intending for me to hear. And I was ready for them. I have remained ready for them. Not unlike 12 Step Programs, we aren’t really ever done with hearing and rehearing the messages that are meant for us in the many gatherings that invite us in, the many books that cry for rereading, the many moments of quiet reflection on all that we have come to know.

I have been a proponent of “the course,” coupled with the spiritual principles so embedded in 12 Step Philosophy since that very first moment that I knew I had been called to carry this message too, in my workshops, my books, my very being. Having received such a clear direction has allowed me to move forward confidently and purposefully, with the full intent of imparting that which I have gleaned from those many “voices” that have spoken to me.

I have been a proponent of “the course,” coupled with the spiritual principles so embedded in 12 Step Philosophy since that very first moment that I knew I had been called to carry this message too, in my workshops, my books, my very being. Having received such a clear direction has allowed me to move forward confidently and purposefully, with the full intent of imparting that which I have gleaned from those many “voices” that have spoken to me.

The message I herald is simple. And it’s not uncommon. It has been heard from the lips of Mother Teresa. In the writings of the Dalai Lama. Wayne Dyer too. AND MANY OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS WE SIT AMONG AT MEETINGS, DAY IN AND DAY OUT. It’s about being a messenger of peace, an expression of love, serving as a witness to the hearts and minds of all those men and women and children who have NOT WANDERED OUR WAY BY ACCIDENT.

It’s also about accepting that we are powerless over the lives of others but never powerless over how we acknowledge those others who pass us by. And it’s about forgiveness. Of all others and ourselves, particularly for our many judgments. As I read in the course so many years ago, “the ego speaks first; it speaks loudest, and it is always wrong.” It’s that very dominant voice in our minds that pushes us to be all that the Holy Spirit tries to steer us from being. With the ego in charge, we will never know peace.

The simple principles that continue calling to me also include these:
1. Detaching from the drama of others’ lives offers us peace of mind.
2. When others begin to bother you, change your focus.
3. Don’t let anyone else define who you are.
4. It’s a fact: we can not control any one else.
5. Letting go is an act that blesses everyone, everywhere.
6. Separation from others is an illusion.
7. We are joined in the Oneness of Spirit.
8. No experience is lacking in purpose. Seek to understand it.
9. Every encounter with another person is Holy.
10. Chance plays no part in God’s plan.

These are not the only principles that guide me, of course. There are dozens more. But I know after these many years on this spiritual path that any one of these principles, well honed, has the power to change the life we are living in the moment, and forever too. And any of these principles practiced any time by any one of us can impact the Universe that is the home of all of us. Seem farfetched? Think again. Every action, every thought emanates a vibration that moves beyond it. We do have the power to send forth whatever vibration we desire.

Why not make it a peaceful one?


Karen Casey is a writer and workshop facilitator for 12-step recovery. Her first book, Each Day a New Beginning, has sold more than 3 million copies. She has published 28 books since then including Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, which was a finalist for the MS Society Books for a Better Life Awards. She has traveled throughout North America and Europe carrying her message of hope for others on the road to recovery.

Healthy Living

by Marlene Houghton, PhD

As society has advanced and wonder drugs have taken over from folk medicines and self-sufficiency, we are discovering that there is a down side. We have found we cannot drug people to health. There are many side effects from drugs that are sometimes worse than the original problem and we have become dependent on the opinion of experts. This has resulted in huge waiting lists at the doctors and a society whose reliance on the expertise of others has removed self-knowledge and self-reliance. There are however many common problems that, although not serious, make life miserable and do not respond well to conventional medicine and this is where herbal medicine can help.

The medicinal benefits of herbs have been known to man for centuries. This does not mean we turn our back on the advances of modern medicine for serious problems but that we look to the empowerment model where the individual is in control of their health and takes active steps to prevent illness rather than looking for an instant cure with a drug.  Herbs contain a blend of chemicals that work more slowly and gently helping to perform many healing functions in the body. They can be used as preventatives before an illness sets in. Used wisely and appropriately, many ailments can benefit from the use of the right herbs nipping more serious problems in the bud and stopping a chronic disease from setting in. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I teach people health and wellness principles so that they can take their health into their own hands. This is so that a visit to a medical doctor becomes necessary only for a serious problem. I am not saying that every health issue can be avoided but herbal preparations kept in the home would be a very useful addition to your First Aid Box. Existing problems that modern medicine has not been able to tackle effectively may also respond.

Encouraging a holistic approach to health using herbs for every day ills that work with the body’s healing systems can improve all-around health helping a range of common complaints. The value that these powerful traditional herbal remedies have is you do not need to become unwell before you use them. Herbal medicines can be used regularly improving many aspects of your well being and helping you enjoy good health.

We have a personal responsibility to keep ourselves well and the best way to prevent illness is to become knowledgeable in the use of herbs so that simple complaints can be tackled promptly. Making use of medicinal plants and herbs helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing force. There are herbal antibiotics, herbs that help digestion, colds, indigestion, irritable bowel, Candida and many other ailments that conventional medicine cannot deal with very effectively. There are herbs that can ease stress which can be damaging to the body’s equilibrium and herbal medicines that  sooth irritated skin. Herbs work with the body helping us get well if we are sick and helping the body defend itself against disease. Nature has a provided us with a range of healing herbs that have withstood the test of time and are a godsend for many common complaints. For home treatments and used at the onset of an illness their powerful healing actions will begin to work. Make use of these wonderful herbs that Nature has provided. They will work with your own innate healing system improving all-round health.


Marlene Houghton, PhD, is a nutritional counselor, educator, author, and lecturer on natural therapies and the historical use of herbs who teaches people how to stay well. She lives in London.

Undoing the Root of All Terrorism

by D. Patrick Miller

The world is often terrifying.

A toddler drops her toy underneath a table and screams in terror at its disappearance. A six-year-old faces going to school for the first time, seized with fear by having to leave his mother at the door and enter an unknown universe of strange kids and even stranger teachers. All this before we encounter the far more fearsome challenges of adolescence — including sexuality, heartbreaks, and deep confusion about identity and purpose.

If we manage to enter adulthood with any degree of confidence, the really big terrors await us. Not just the individual challenges of making our own way in the world, but the societal and political frights. At any given time, another culture, religion or nation is out to get our culture, religion or nation, and will use any violent means they can: bombings, hostage-taking, public massacres, or deadly drones.

While we’re all prone to blame others for our fears, the temptation to disguise the source of our terror is especially powerful at the political level. After all, those whom we identify as “terrorists” really do kill people, at which point it seems necessary to hunt down those terrorists and administer “justice” — which ultimately means killing them. But that doesn’t make us terrorists, of course, because we are just innocent, peace-loving people who are rightfully defending ourselves.

Over time, balances of power may shift and the particular names or identities of “terrorists” may change, but the endless cycle of attack, vengeance, and renewed attack never alters. That’s because hardly anyone seems to pay attention to the fundamental source of all the terrors we feel. As the contemporary spiritual teaching known as A Course in Miracles puts it:

“There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.”

This is the existential terror that befalls us from the moment we are expelled from the warmth and safety of our mother’s womb, and that dogs us to some degree in every waking or dreaming moment that follows. It is the nameless anxiety that keeps us awake at night, and the nervous compulsion that makes us seek wealth or comfort, or the reassurances of intimacy, or self-destructive addictions.  This is, in fact, the “human condition.”

This is why I believe that forgiveness has to be the basis of all our efforts to prevent terrorism. We need to admit that the world is a scary place, and that we are plagued by an “identity crisis” of the most fundamental sort.

If we do not see, feel, and take responsibility for the existential foundation of all our terrors, we will never find our way to undoing it.

But there’s another reason to recognize the fearful dilemma of not knowing who we are in a world seemingly beyond our control. As the Course suggests: “Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.”

Our normal self-awareness is what psychology calls the “ego.” It is basically an uneasy fiction that we keep telling ourselves is true, built from a selectively remembered past and all the shaky strategies we have devised for simply keeping it together from moment to moment. That the ego often fails us  is evidenced by the high incidence of addiction, depression, and anxiety in the general population — all forms of what might be called terrorism against ourselves. Those who choose to turn their terrors outward are simply coping less well than those who only suffer inwardly.

There is another way of being that can calm our terrors on a daily basis. When we acknowledge that our self-created identity is a fearful fiction, then our true identity can emerge from a deeper level. That reality is Love Itself, which can tell us What we are.

What this means on a practical basis is that when we know ourselves at a deeper level, we are enabled to act more wisely and compassionately in every kind of circumstance. Instead of automatically responding to threats with self-defense, we can instinctively respond with actions that will reduce everyone’s terror. Instead of judging others as less-than or more-dangerous-than ourselves, we recognize that everyone struggles with the same basic terrors — and there is a better way to deal with them than what we’re used to.

It may seem humiliating at first to admit that we really don’t know who or what we are, or what we’re doing here. But when we forgive this human condition, we can actually open ourselves up to enough love and wisdom to undo all terrors.


D. Patrick Miller is an author and literary agent living in Northern California. You can contact him at www.fearlessbooks.com.

Beyond Brain Chemistry: Exploring the Wider Context of Mental Illness

by Hilary Smith

When I wrote the first edition of Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar But Were Too Freaked Out To Ask, my mission was to provide positive, engaging companionship for young people being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My goal with the second edition, Welcome to the Jungle: Facing Bipolar Without Freaking Out, was a little bit different: to help people understand the wider context of their diagnosis, and encourage them to think about bipolar as not only a matter of biochemistry, but as a complex interplay between a person and his or her cultural, social, economic, geographic, political and environmental contexts.

Why is it important to see bipolar disorder in a wider context? Didn’t that public service announcement I saw last week explain that bipolar disorder was a chemical imbalance, best managed by taking lifelong medication? While the biochemical model has been useful for some, it has had the unexpected consequence of blinding us to the other factors feeding into mental distress, and to the many free, healthy and safe ways that people experiencing mental distress can help themselves.

For example, the destruction of the natural world and lack of access to nature are both factors that increase a person’s stress levels, yet people diagnosed with bipolar are rarely encouraged to reconnect with nature. Homelessness and economic pressure can give people symptoms resembling mental illness, yet most books about bipolar disorder do not consider housing status or economic security. Social isolation, not brain chemistry, is one of the greatest predictors of suicide, yet the biochemical model of mental illness makes no allowance for this or other crucial facts.

My hope is that Welcome to the Jungle: Facing Bipolar Without Freaking Out will help individuals, their families and friends, and their doctors make wiser decisions about dealing with depression and mania—decisions that go beyond the limited “brain chemistry” model to take the whole person, and their whole environment, in mind.


The subject of mental health has fascinated Hilary Smith since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in college. She is the author of the novels Wild Awake and A Sense of the Infinite, both of which explore the themes of mental health and illness. She lives in Portland, OR. Visit her at www.hilarytsmith.com.

When Forgiveness Means Saying “Enough!”

by D. Patrick Miller

Over the years that I’ve been teaching and writing about forgiveness, the most common misperception I’ve heard about this spiritual discipline is that it means taking a weak or non-assertive stance toward the world.

People fear that if they forgive someone who has hurt them, or let go of resentment about a hurtful experience in their past, that they will open themselves up to being hurt again.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Properly understood and practiced, forgiveness is the key to increased clarity, power and creativity.

That’s because forgiveness is really about learning how to make your own mind work more effectively. It may begin with releasing a grievance against someone, but in doing so you also begin liberating your mind from patterns of self-punishment. And nothing dulls the mind more than habitual self-attack.

Many people who struggle with depression or even just a “normal” dissatisfaction with life are mostly unhappy with themselves — perhaps for reasons they don’t even recognize — and are hooked on finding targets in the world to take on the blame. It’s a common strategy that never works. Forgiveness means confronting one’s own malaise, resentment, and self-induced misery and saying “Enough!”

One common but often unrecognized cause of chronic unhappiness is living a life in which useful learning has slowed to a stop. And learning is slowed less by lack of intelligence than by a reluctance to let go of bankrupt ideas and exhausted ways of seeing. That is why some problems never seem to go away even when we can sense that solutions are possible, yet somehow just beyond our grasp.

When you feel cursed by fate, look to your own stubbornness; when you seem blocked by others’ stupidity or meanness, question your own perception and the way you communicate. When nothing seems to work, consider whether you have correctly identified the fundamental problem behind your struggles. The object of your blame will always prove to be less of an obstacle than your decision to blame.

When you’re always ready to blame, you will tend to be fearful. You expect to get hurt so you do, and every time you assign blame you also hand over some more of your power. Forgiveness replaces the need to anticipate fearfully with the capacity to accept gracefully and improvise brilliantly. It does not argue with fate, but recognizes the opportunities within it. If necessity is the mother of invention, forgiveness is the midwife of genius.

A forgiving state of mind cannot easily be annoyed, and does not waste time arguing with the unexpected.

This doesn’t mean that the forgiven life is simple or untroubled, and forgiveness certainly does not prevent misfortunes. With practice, however, forgiveness does reduce the severity and frequency of the misfortunes that we tend to arrange for ourselves.

Thus, you can forgive not with the idea that you are doing a favor for someone who hurt you, but that you are being merciful to yourself. To carry chronic anger against anyone or any circumstance is to poison your own heart, injecting more toxin every time you replay in your mind the injury done to you.

If you decline to repeat someone’s offense inwardly, your outward anger will dissipate. Then you can more effectively tell anyone who hurt you how things must change between you. But you must first learn to say “Enough!” to yourself.


D. Patrick Miller is an author and literary agent living in Northern California. You can contact him at www.fearlessbooks.com.