Zen and the Art of Tarot III: Card as Koan

This is the third post in a series on the relationship between Zen Buddhism and the Tarot. It came about because I decided to try mixing Zen philosophy and visualization meditation in my attack on a personal issue of mine.


The personal issue, as I explained in depth in the previous posts, is a persistent feeling of unworthiness — of feeling like I do not deserve the good things and good people in my life. After all, there are so many all over the world who do not have the things I am blessed with; why should I have what they do not? Intellectually, I know that none of us really “deserve” what we have; 95% of everything in our lives — good and bad — can be traced to accidents of luck, birth and upbringing. But intellectual knowledge is not the same as feeling the truth of something. And the feeling of unworthiness was causing me to subconsciously sabotage my efforts to improve my life, and making me feel guilty for what I had.

When I drew Tarot cards on this issue, I got the Hermit, the Six of Wands, and Strength. I successfully used visualization meditation to figure out the meaning of the Hermit, and decided to use the same technique on the other two cards.

In this exercise, I was, in a way, treating the cards like koans.

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