Lojong Cards (self-published, 2014). These feature beautiful photography, and a handy little booklet to help explain the Buddhist Lojong slogans, as well as giving insight into the imagery chosen.
I wasn't sure how appopriate my regular spread would be, so decided instead to ask "This... and also this..."
This... 44 - Train in the three difficulties
The difficulties are the kleshas, and in this slogan it's about getting mugged by your emotions, and then putting yourself back in the exact same situation! The image is of three ant lion sandtraps. What a great way to illustrate this, as emotions can certainly feel like quicksand!
So, a warning to look out for situations where I get myself in an emotional trap, and the advice to use these difficulties to become more aware of my emotional blocks.
And also this... 57 - Don't be jealous
In the image, a cactus leans away from a begonia, jealous of its beauty, perhaps? As Beverly explains in her description, jealousy leaves us feeling prickly, and closes our heart. Instead, there's a recommendation to practise 'sympathetic joy'. "When we celebrate their happiness as if it were our own, we cultivate loving-kindness and weed out jealousy."
It's not very pleasant to think of myself getting trapped in an emotional morass of jealousy. However, no matter how fortunate I am, nor how much I try to be an open-hearted, generous person, it's true that we all have our sticking points, our emotional patterns. This card asks us how much of what we do is driven by a desire for recognition? And if we do good to have it recognised, does that detract from the good we do?
I think it's almost impossible to entirely avoid the desire to be seen for what we do: we are socially interdependent creatures, who see ourselves through the eyes of others. The point is to accept that we want others to value us, and in the same way know that others want us to value them. Generously giving our attention and appreciation to others takes the focus away from just ourself. So, while I'm working on some things for next year that I hope will garner a degree of success and recognition, perhaps this week I can focus on how I can applaud and encourage others...
And if you'd like to read some journal prompts inspired by these cards, you can find them here.