Taming the Wild Self

Learning to live takes a lifetime. I liken myself to an untamed mustang. So often I have felt out of control. Some incident occurs and I throw my head back, kick up my heels and just run aimlessly to nowhere so violently that it exhausts me. But with meditation practice, with running at the fences and  the resultant electrocution repeatedly enforcing a lesson, I am starting to get the hang of it.

And part of that wildness came from a sense of being trapped.

Comparisons always left me feeling short changed. Others seemed to have more, to move more easily through life, to achieve more. And the principle reason for that was that I saw myself as handicapped.

Sitting in a classroom with bruises under my lovely dress, left me feeling “other”. However, the greatest gift of having intellectual curiosity is that through my readings I have come to understand that nobody gets out alive. No matter how porcelain sky blue your tea cup; no matter how elegantly lifted your pinky finger is, underneath it all you are a wild animal. The body brings with it lessons, humiliations, limitations, crises and a great rooted heaviness.

To learn that there is no comparison because ultimately we are all under-going our own training of the wild, untamed, undisciplined, damaged self is an immense relief. Each of us is in our own paddock. And the greatest error of all is to suppose that anyone else is not working really legitimately truly deeply with his or her own perceived handicap.

The breath teaches us how to reconnect to the body, to ground in the unique physicality of our existence here-now. And through the process of watching self, there are even those out of control moments when we can step back and look at the muscularity and beauty of our thrashing strength. Being patient with our own wildness, our own charging stupidity can in itself tame our spirits.

And a sense of humour about all of the ferocity of struggle is immediately calming. It is why we laugh at the stories others tell about their own childlike errors. It gives us hope. They ran heedlessly for the fences as well. And isn’t it magnificent to see our shared feral attempts to escape consequences and from that to learn to just settle down into the fenced meadow.

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