Vague variations on the ten bulls. A Zen parable on taming the mind in solitude.



Whenever life confined me to solitude (with loneliness and feelings of abandonment being my most frequent tormentor), I tried to turn it around and remember that at age 10 … or 8 … I don’t remember … I wanted to be a monk.

I try to tell myself,

Look, this is the Himalaya you’ve wanted as a child.

You’re getting a chance at a monastic life.

You don’t have a sangha (buddhist term for the community of practitioners) … you don’t really have a dharma (teaching to follow … or truth to manifest) …

… but hey, you’ve got so much time on your hands to face, in meditation, every single vault and level of your various inner hells.


I tried that when I had an attic in myself, silent, isolated, although in the very centre of a huge city.

At that time I was younger and still thought meditation would save me (from something) or move me (towards somewhere).

Perhaps it would save me from my feelings (the feelings of a gender-confused, probably trans, undiagnosed autistic individualist with extensive experience of migration, outsiderhood, family conflicts, endless identity conflicts, traumas) …

… perhaps it would move me towards wholeness … whatever that is … or towards finally standing at the peak of a mountain, seeing – clarity.


Towards freedom.

Freedom from crises, freedom from my mind and emotions getting out of hand; freedom from a constant, diffuse, yet maddening, background suffering.


Now I’m feeling abandoned, lost, confused, alone again – alone, not talking with close people face to face for weeks or months.

I’m thinking, maybe I don’t need meditation; I need concrete actions.

But still, for those I need to restore my mind.

Again and again. And again.


When thinking of taming the bull, I’m realising now that that’s an autistic bull – one that goes down far narrower roads far more intensely and unstoppably than is usual.

Does that make a difference?

I’m not sure. I think the metaphor is still universal. It’s good to have more knowledge about the bull. Which is, in a sense, both the “enemy” (initially) and to some degree the tool … at least it can offer or facilitate tools.


Does it really matter what type of bull one tames?



Maybe the wilder it is, the more capacity the soul has to grow. Which it either does or doesn’t; nothing guaranteed.

I also thought recently that life is a constant creative adaptation crisis … not just in evolution.

(Related: Positive disintegration.)

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