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

ten_bulls

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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.

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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.

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Towards freedom.

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

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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.

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Does it really matter what type of bull one tames?

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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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