In a bunch of older movies, I remember seeing the concept of “breaking” a horse. A horse is cornered or just penned-in, but if the cowpoke attempts to get on, the colt or stallion bucks and throws him off. But if he keeps gettin’ on, holdin’ tight, maintainin’ his balance – the horse eventually relents and accepts the rider. In other words, the fire’s out and it becomes tame.
Of course there’s other methods in other movies too. Like feeding the horse a carrot, speaking to it gently, giving it a soft pat while slowly sliding onto its back. By one way or another, a horse has its perspective changed. “Rider bad” becomes “rider good”. And oftentimes, the cowpoke takes the taming of a particular horse as a personal challenge and dedicates himself to the endeavor.
My point is this: what if my consciousness took on the challenge of taming a wild and unruly human? Consciousness jumps on, the human bucks and resists, always trying to throw consciousness off – yet if consciousness keeps at it, perhaps the human relents and accepts the rider. Maybe the fire goes out and it becomes tame.
This doesn’t feel far from my experience, frankly. Me, the consciousness, is out for a pleasant ride through life. But unfortunately I’m on a bucking bronco that doesn’t accept my commands and repeatedly throws me into a pile of unpleasantness. I’d much rather be riding a tamed beast. So I wonder, what method of human-taming is most effective?
Beat it into submission through harsh ascetic practices — keeping it away from delightful indulgences and everything it desires, subduing it with an iron fist? From what I heard, the Buddha tried this method and rejected it. He recommended a middle path – but how does one find that balance? Should I allow this human to eat treats while slyly persuading it to behave in the way I prefer?
As the cowpoke that took on this taming as a personal challenge, I suppose I just have to experiment until I find what works. I can say this though: the calmer/gentler approach seems to work best thus far. But I don’t think complete indulgence works, as it tends to spoil, providing all the reward without requiring cooperation. And lastly, I believe the human must be steered into a creative endeavor – he’s gotta make something that he’s semi-satisfied with.