The Tarot of Shop

paying attention, reading between the lines

The precise effect of the Observer in quantum experiments seems to be infinitely arguable; what is plain, however, is that there is an effect. Attention -- that by which the Observer observes -- is a force. When we engage that force, when we listen to someone or something, there's a sense of yielding, of surrender on our part; that's the "pay" in "paying attention." We also, however, give something: we become generators of that force, or perhaps conduits for it. The implications of this are enormous: our attention, at some level and in some way, affects reality. One begins to think of the power of prayer, which has been measured, and the happiness of houseplants when they're sung to. When we listen deeply, when we pay attention, we may be giving more than we know.

Alas, the fact is we rarely listen. We play at listening, pretend to listen, fool ourselves into believing we are listening while, actually, behind our "I"m listening" mask, we're unconsciously dodging the uncomfortable bits, lost in the reactions and fantasies spurred by the tidbits we do pick up, waiting for someone else's mouth to stop flapping so we can start flapping ours.

In order to truly listen, we must first have the intent to do so; then, enough continuity of presence to maintain that intention; and, finally, enough self-awareness to know whether we’re listening or not. It’s a subtle and slippery business. In addition to the inner distractions of our thoughts and feelings, there’s also the bodily tensions that arise from them -- all of these things weaken our attentive power. A hard-nosed determination to listen doesn’t seem to work -- it’s too attached, which is itself a distraction. A kind of relaxed presence seems to be the key; a broad observing -- absorbing, really -- of the other, along with an awareness of our continuing reactions, without a repressing or an indulging of those reactions.

When we draw the Listening card, the importance of listening and the question of whether we are listening or not comes to fore. Something is requiring or demanding our attention: we need to get our stuff -- our preconceived notions, our inner chatter, our opinions and neediness -- out of the way. Listening deeply is more than hearing words -- what’s not said is sometimes more important than what is. Deep listening allows us to hear what is truly needed.

To divine the meaning of this card in a casting, consider the Solfege Die it was drawn above or under.

Click here to learn more about the Compositional Cards as a whole.