Existing in a chronic state of crisis is not an easy place to be. The mind grasps for easy solutions to flee the discomfort and uncertainty. It wants to oversimplify things in an attempt to gain (a false sense of) control.

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I love this yoga mudra because I think it so neatly encapsulates our human tendency to narrow cognitive functioning in the face of a crisis. As this was taught to me, the three fingers represent attraction, repulsion and indifference. These map on nicely to the three primal physiological reactions to an immediate threat: fight, flight or freeze. Extremely useful for emergency situations, life saving actually, but not all that useful for… everything else.

Knowing this has saved me from making pretty dumb decisions in the past. Instead of attacking without thinking, avoiding/running away from shit or becoming numb with apathy, I trash all three approaches and instead, work on being receptive enough to reframe a threatening situation differently and reorient myself along the lines of understanding, honesty, genuine suffering, etc. rather something reactionary. I won’t lie, this process can be fairly unpleasant, but in time, the binds of one’s narrowed perception will loosen. Let it relax wider and wider, and wider still, until the heart speaks. Then you will know the ethical way forward.

Anyways, give the wisdom of this mudra a whirl sometime when you find yourself framing something in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of way. Life is rarely lose-lose.

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Just finished reading How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer, a layman’s book about neurology and decision making. It’s basically all head, meaning there is very little discussion about the role physiological processes play in perception and cognition, but nevertheless, an interesting and easily digestible read about how we make decisions and the role of emotions in judgment. I liked how he emphasized how emotions can be an integral part of good decision making e.g. allowing you to factor in what’s more salient to you, even if you are unconscious of something. (Personally, I’ve always liked how Jung placed emotions on the rational access of the four functions with thinking, because emotions can be very reasonable, much more so than logic at times.)



Another conclusion Lehrer drew that was basically the main take-away of the book, was that you arrive at better decision making the more aware you are of your decision making processes. Sounds like this and mindfulness meditation are on the same page to me.

So, how can astrology help out in this aspect? You might be able to find your decision making tendencies by examining your natal chart. Now there’s no easy formula to do this, so I’ll give you some examples. I think you will need to take multiple placements into consideration – especially the moon, Mercury and the rest of the first seven planets as well as strong/weak elements or modalities. You might have read some books about Mercury (symbolizing the mind) and how an afflicted or combust Mercury signifies problems with the mind, but in my experience, that is complete garbage and I’ve never seen a correlation. Which brings me to my first example.

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