Last night, we had our first class of the spring and our first since the launch of A Fool’s Inclination. And it was a great one!
I tried something new. The format was structured more like a group reading, but taught like a class.
Although I hadn’t prepared specific material ahead of time, spirit did. In a dream the night before class, they told me we would be discussing the 2, the 3 and the 4, but mostly the 2.
Just before class, I did a reading for myself and the 2 of Pentacles came up as the first card. I could feel it coming before I flipped it over and I saw it in my mind’s eye.
Then, in the class reading, we ended on the 2 of Swords.
We discussed a number of things during the 2+ hours, and a blog entry will not cover even a fraction of it, but there was a theme that does lend itself to this medium. To discuss that theme, I’m going to once again visit my childhood.
Do you remember in the cartoons like Bugs Bunny how the big brute of a bad guy got items out of the smaller guy? He knew you had money, or were hiding something on your person, and so he grabbed you by the ankles, held you upside-down, and shook. The harder he shook, the more fell out of your pockets, and usually, before it was over, something large fell out.
This principle is actually quite real and used often. When was the last time you shook sand or dirt off of a towel, or took a sheet out of a dryer and shook loose the stray socks that clung to it? In sports, when someone makes a mistake, we often say, “shake it off”.
In a way, life does that to us. Sometimes, there are things we hold on to long beyond their usefulness: a job, a boyfriend, holey socks. We just don’t want to let them go. We don’t want to do without and so we wait for the new job, the new boyfriend or the new pair of socks before throwing out the old ones.
A blog entry or two ago, I briefly compared the 3 of Swords and the 3 of Pentacles. The 3 of Swords is about the cutting away of the old. The 3 of Pentacles is about the skills we already have to do/create what we desire. Together, they represent what needs to go and what needs to stay.
Well, the act of separating the wheat from the chaff is a 2 process. It is the shaking back and forth that gets us to let go. The stuff that comes loose is what needed to go, and sometimes we have to be shaken violently to get the big things out.
Why is this process a 2?
The process of shaking is the moving from one side to the other, back and forth. Think about a young apple tree, limber yet tall. If we want an apple and can’t reach it, we shake the tree back and forth until one falls.
In physics, this is called resonance. It is also called constructive interference (despite the fact it can be quite destructive to things). Constructive interference is like that annoying feedback we get when a mic and a speaker are too close together. The sound coming out of the speaker goes back into the mic. Each time it moves from the mic to the speaker, it goes through the amplifier and thus gets louder and louder and louder. Constructive interference is also how we get the backyard swing moving higher and higher.
Resonance, given enough time, can rip apart anything. A classic example is the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge. Wind tore that bridge apart by playing it like a violin string.
But resonance is not all bad. It is what precedes the quantum leap.
Let’s say we are in the back yard on our swing. We are alone. We pull the swing back, lift our feet and go. Each time we go forward, we kick our legs forward and each time we swing back, we pull our feet back. This is constructive interference. We are effecting (implementing) the process and thus affecting (changing) the swing. [I’ve always wanted to write a sentence using the rare verb form of effect and the common verb form of affect at the same time – the geek that I am!]
Okay, so now we are swinging and “getting good air”. If we let go at the right time, we’ll fly off. In a sense, we’ll catapult ourselves forward. Acrobats use this principle all of the time. I’ve also seen people use this process to get a car unstuck from the mud.
Our backyard swing-set is really just an example of a pendulum. So is a slingshot, albeit a special one. What a slingshot highlights is that point furthest back where there is a pause. Tension is at its greatest and the system is said to contain potential energy. Once we let go, the potential energy converts to kinetic energy and then off we go! We don’t notice the pause when on the swing because it lasts just an instant, but we certainly know that feeling when holding a rubber band back as we take aim (scaring everyone in front of us).
The pendulum represents the 2, the 3 and the 4. Two because it swings back and forth: thus 2 directions. Within that motion, there is the 4 (the pause) because it actually stops twice, once at each end. And it represents 3 because of the creative aspect of the motion, the potential energy creating kinetic energy creating potential energy.
In an earthquake, everything becomes a pendulum and resonance is the actor of destruction.
However, just the way a slingshot can propel a projectile forward, resonance can propel us to the next level. Pain is a great motivator. “Need is the mother of all invention,” as they say.
So if you find yourself within a repeating pattern, a rocking back and forth, 2 steps forward and seemingly 3 steps back, really look at what’s happening. Maybe you are being shaken, and maybe you are being stretched, but maybe you are filled with potential energy and are about to fly! All that’s needed is to let go!
Towards the end of class, I was asked what I saw “coming” in the future. My answer was not necessarily new, but came out in a new way.
I’ve noticed the rocking. I’ve seen it in myself as highs and lows. I kept thinking that when the sadness returned, it meant I hadn’t succeeded, I hadn’t yet healed, I still had “work” to do. Yet each time I came out of that sadness (or apathy or anxiety or fear), I found myself further along some unseen path. I felt like I kept going back: back to the beginning, back to the place I wanted to leave; yet, overall, I was still progressing forward.
And then I started to see how this principle was playing itself out in society. It is easiest for me to see this in the economy. Since the beginning of history, economies swing between prosperity and loss, between expansion and compression (recession or depression). Yet the rocking is faster now, and the tension higher.
There are two realities fighting for our attention (and our intention) and we are oscillating between them. We can move forward into the new or we can hold on to the old. We are simultaneously in the 3 of Swords and the 3 of Pentacles, yet it is our asking, our desires that have created this resonance. With each swing, we ask for more. With each taste of joy, we seek bliss. And with the shaking, anything that falls is just what was not strong enough (or appropriate) for where we’re going.
For many of us, I doubt there will be a single event that will shoot us off the swing in a noticeable way. That’s because we are on many swings at once. We’ll shoot off one while we’re working on another, but in looking back, we’ll notice, “Hey! That issue is not happening any more!” or, “Look at that. I just noticed I got what I asked for and didn’t even do anything to make it happen.”
And what’s the reason for progress by oscillation? Refinement. Every time an economy shrinks, we refine our sense of value. When we can’t buy everything we want, we choose, and in choosing, we create. By going back and revisiting old “stuff”, we gain additional clarity. It is the journey from knowing in the mind what we want, to knowing in the heart what we want.
And it is the nature of vibration.
Resonance can feel like anxiety, but it can feel like exhilaration. It all depends on whether we’re looking back to where we’ve been, or looking forward to where we’re going; whether we’re holding on or letting go.
I remember as a kid, being on a rollercoaster and being scared. I held on with white knuckles. But then one day, something told me to let go. By releasing my grip, I moved with the motion instead of against it, and that was the first time I enjoyed the ride; that’s the first time it was fun!
No one can fully anticipate what is going to happen next or where. We are in a process of enfoldment. We are moving and momentum is growing. The potential energy had been building for a long time and is now turning into kinetic energy. And that is what we’ve been asking for. We want to move forward. We are tired of being stuck. Let go, face forward and enjoy the ride. The views are starting to get good. Yeah, some things are going to fall and crumble, but allow the universe to nudge you into the right place at the right time.
You are progressing. Don’t just look at whether you are moving forward, backward, or paused. Look at the whole system; rise above and you will see your progress.
And this just popped in. Look at how things move forward in nature: the wings of a bird, the legs and feet of a runner. If you look at only one aspect (the wing or the foot), you will see something moving up and down or back and forth. Yet it is that oscillatory motion that enables the whole system to move forward.
The forward and backward motion (the 2) and the pauses in between (the 4) are what enable and facilitate the overall progress (the 3).