I woke with a question today. Why don’t we do what we know is good for us?

To answer the question I went to my favourite Tarot deck Vision Quest Tarot and pulled the 0 Card – The Clown

The Clown in the Tarot relates to the Fool.

In essence the Clown relates to Freedom, humour, innocence, independent spirit, enthusiasm, love of life, ability to love, non-possessiveness, egolessness, in harmony with self and life.

For me in answering my question the answer lies in our individual quests for freedom – to rebel against what we think the world expects of us. This type of thinking relates to the core beliefs that we hold.

Core beliefs are basic beliefs about ourselves, other people, and the world we live in. They are things we hold to be absolute truths deep down, underneath all our “surface” thoughts. Essentially, core beliefs determine how you perceive and interpret the world.

Core beliefs dictate the rules we live by. Everybody has them. They are formed in the early years of our lives, and they are based on our thoughts about our experiences, about the things we see other people do, and about the advice others give us while we are growing up.

With our current restrictions and ever increasing rules it is highly likely that we will mainly be relying on our core beliefs to keep us safe because they are our default setting. They sit in the basement of our mind. When something happens like Covid-19 that threatens the safety of our known world, our mind will open the basement and consult the core belief that is most likely to keep us safe and defend us against the world.

Unfortunately often the result of acting on core beliefs is that we don’t often do what we know to be best for us because they are formed early in life and are steeped in child-like thinking. This type of thinking lacks the insight and understanding that comes with greater life experiences.

The Clown has a valuable wisdom to overcoming behaviour based on core beliefs. The Clown symbolises innocence and playfulness and the wisdom that each of us has innately within us. The Clown has realised that any bondage, as comforting and profitable as it may seem to the greedy ego, will only lead a person astray. When we act on impulses that are trying to resolve our unconscious beliefs we can easily self sabotage and not act according to what we do know will serve us best.

The Clown recognises that he is free to live his/her own truth, free to express who he/she really is because he/she has dropped all his/her mental fixations stemming from insecurity. This allows the Clown true freedom, the freedom to authentically express himself/herself without his/her masks forever because the Clown is wise enough to know that he/she has nothing to lose. This allows the Clown to laugh, specially to laugh at oneself and not take on life too seriously.

For me the Clown wisdom is exemplified by the wisdom of the Dalai Lama whose smile is contagious.

The Dalai Lama said:

“My practice when I see someone, is to smile”

That’s his actual practice! He does it as an act of kindness – to help lift people’s spirits. And he knows very well that it makes him feel great too. It’s what he calls ‘wise selfish behaviour’. 

The Dalai Lama even said smiling can be more valuable than meditating. [2]

If we can let the exuberance of the Clown spill over into our daily lives and wash away the limitations we believe about ourselves then we too can practice some ‘wise selfish behaviour’ by genuinely smiling at each other and help lift each other’s spirits in these challenging times.

[1] https://www.betterrelationships.org.au/well-being/core-beliefs-self-acceptance/

[2] https://www.shamashalidina.com/blog/dalai-lama-on-smiling