Oakville Zen Meditation

#36.Are you riding a bull in a rodeo?

When life is rough and tough it seems that we are riding a bull during a rodeo. Especially when events are very hard to swallow, the temptation to let go and fall on the floor is great. The wild bull can be financial pressures, health issues, work, aging parents, difficult child, love relationship, etc. The bull will keep kicking and toasting us up and down. These events acute or repetitive will induce significant stress related medical complications such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain and many more.

It’s easy to get off the bull by engaging in comfort behavior which may be detrimental such as overeating, over drinking, using drug, addiction to sex or to gambling or being in front of the TV or computer screen for hours. If you fall off the bull, the challenge is to get back on the beast and keep riding. Remember Life is what it is. It has its good days and bad days for all of us. Life does not care too much about each of the 7 billions human beings living on this planet. It will go on whatever and it is up to us to adapt to it and not vice versa that is expecting Life to adapt to each of us.

Meditation can help you develop bull-riding skills. As you sit and focus on your breathing (or something else), the meditation seats (seat on the chair + seat in our mind) become the saddle. Hold on to each moment and don’t let yourself be bounced up and down by the vigorous jumping and shaking of your mind.

The ego mind hates meditation the same way the bull abhors the cowboy above him. Our mind is wild and wants to control us every minutes of our life including during meditation. When a thought pops out be mindful to it and go back to your anchor. Pretty boring stuff but this practice will help us to handle the bull in everyday life. The key is to stay on the bull when this wild beast is jumping around non-stop.

Meditation can and will be very challenging with ongoing daily frustration while riding the bull. You may say to yourself: “I do not progress”, “What the point?”, “I cannot control my thoughts after 2 months of practice”, “I am still over stressed”, “It is too difficult”, “I gave it a try and it does not work”, “Life did not change”, “I have no patience”, etc. You may think there is no point in meditating with such a battle and turmoil going on between you and your mind. But do not capitulate and keep riding the bull anyway. Sooner or later the bull will become more docile and you will become the master instead of the bull being yours.

If you can ride the bull during meditation you will be able to ride most of your challenges that we are all facing during our lifetime.


Ven. Ji Gong Sunim.