“One thing that is very fundamental has to be remembered, and that is that whenever we are doing anything – astrology, future prediction, horoscope readings, palmistry, the I-Ching, tarot – anything that is concerned with the future, it is basically a reading of the unconscious of the person. It has nothing much to do with the future. It has more to do with th past, but because the future is created by the past, it is relevant to the future too. Because people live like mechanical things, the prediction is possible. If you know the past of the person, unless the person is a buddha, you will be able to predict his future because he is going to repeat it. If he has been an angry person in the past, he is carrying the tendency to be angry; that tendency will have effects in the future. Ordinarily, an unconscious being goes on repeating his past again and again. It is a wheel-like phenomenon, he repeats it; he cannot do anything else. He cannot bring any new thing into his life, he cannot have a breakthrough. That’s why all these sciences work. If people are more aware, more alert, they won’t work. You cannot read the horoscope of a buddha, or read his hand, because he is so free of the past and he is so empty in the present that there is nothing to read! There has been a great misunderstanding between life and time. Time is thought to consist of three tenses: past, present, future – which is wrong. Time consists only of past and future. It is life that consists of the present. So those who want to live, for them there is no other way than to live this moment. Only the present is existential. The past is simply a collection of memories, and the future is nothing but your imaginations, your dreams. Reality is here, now. Those who want just to think about life, about living, about love – for them, past and future are perfectly beautiful because they give infinite scope. They can decorate their past, make it as beautiful as they like – although they never lived it; when it was present they were not there. These are just shadows, reflections. They were continuously running, and while running they have seen a few things. They think they have lived. But in the past, only death is reality, not life. Those who have missed living in the past – automatically, to substitute for the gap – start dreaming about the future.Their future is only a projection out of the past. Whatever they have missed in the past, they are hoping for in the future; and between the two non-existences is the small, existent moment that is life. For those who want to live, not to think about it; to love, not to think about it; to be, not to philosophize about it – there is no other alternative. Drink the juices of the present moment, squeeze it totally because it is not going to come back again. Once gone, it is gone forever. But because of the misunderstanding, which has been almost as old as man – and all the cultures have joined in it – people have made the present part of time. And the present has nothing to do with time. If you are just here in this moment, there is no time. There is immense silence, stillness, no movement; nothing is passing, everything has come to a sudden stop. The present gives you the opportunity to dive deep into the water of life, or to fly high into the sky of life. But on both sides there are dangers – past and future are the most dangerous words in human language. Between past and future, living in the present is almost like walking on a tightrope – on both sides there is danger. But once you have tasted the juice of the present, you don’t care about dangers. Once you are in tune with life, then nothing matters. And to me, life is all there is. You can call it “God”, but that is not a good name because religions have contaminated it. You can call it “existence”, which is beautiful. But what you call it is not of any consequence. The understanding should be clear that you have only one moment in your hands – the real moment. And again and again you will get that real moment. Either you live it or you leave it unlived. Most people simply drag themselves from the cradle to the grave without living at all. I have heard a Sufi story about a man, when he died, who suddenly realized, “My God, I was alive.” Only death, as a contrast, made him aware that for seventy years he had been alive. But life itself had not enriched him. It is not the fault of life. It is our misunderstanding. Watchfulness will give you life without even thinking about it, because watchfulness can only be in the present. You can witness only the present. Live totally and live intensely, so that each moment becomes golden, and your whole life becomes a series of golden moments.
introduction of the book “Tarot in the spirit of Zen”.