THE WATER BUFFALO
as told by Al Turtle
In old India, motive power was expensive and scarce. In many parts of the country they used water buffalo for heavy chores. But a water buffalo is a picky animal and will be obedient to only one master, that they accept as their "ruler." That means for every water buffalo they had to set aside one keeper. So that becomes expensive manpower. Well, as an old culture they figured out this problem. They used a 42 lb boy to control 1200 lb water buffalo.
How do they do this? Well, first they capture a water buffalo and over a period of weeks, using a sharp stick and salt, the create a wound, an open ulcer on the animal's rear hip. The wound is about the size of a half dollar. Like a giant canker sore in your mouth, this wound is very sore to the touch. Next they take a little boy and tell him, "That is your water buffalo. For the next month, your entire job is to get it to stand, and to move it around the compound for 20 minutes, three times a day. If it doesn't do what you want, use this stick to poke that wound." So the little boy wanders over and stands in front of the peacefully chewing water buffalo lying in the dust. He talks to it. It ignores him. He yells at it. It chews on. Then he takes the stick and tries to poke the wound. He misses and the animal continues to ignore him. Finally his stick finds the wound and with a great below the beast stands up. The boy is pleased; the animal is wary. The two of them practice this routine. Day by day the boy becomes more accurate. Day by day the water buffalo gets wiser. Pretty soon all the boy has to do is point the stick at the spot and the animal jumps. Later all the boy has to do is flip his wrist in the right direction and the great animal moves. Then finally the trainers take the stick away as the boy mostly doesn't need it, and can always get one if the water buffalo forgets. Hand gestures or words work fine.
I think of us humans as water buffaloes with about 4 to 10 sores on us, sores that came out of childhood. Just walking through the forest is risky cause random sticks (triggers) may dig into our wounds. Ouch!. So we avoid forests. But we meet people who, thrashing around, poke/trigger our wounds. So we try to stop them. As I said before I call this behavior "blaming the stick," and I don't find it to work. One reason is that their behavior makes sense to them, and I am now ordering them around – which doesn't seem to work. Another reason it doesn't work is that I am trying to make them responsible for my upset, when more accurately, I am responsible for my upset. And anyway, I think this is kind of dumb. Avoiding sticks/triggers is not the way to go – as Imago teaches.
Restructure the situation. Heal the wound. Put a bandage on it. Get some nice salve – maybe some anti-biotic. Heal the wound. Then you can walk through the forest with ease. So I teach myself to take every chance when I get upset to notice more and more where my wounds are. On what part of my great body do I carry an open ulcer? I withdraw from the wounding situation temporarily, then I start applying healing to that spot. Sometimes I visit a doctor/friend/my partner for some comforting and for help at applying the healing remedy. When the wound is healed I don't have to worry about sticks/triggers.
So I suggest, "Forget about blaming the stick." That works under the age of 7 when you have caretakers who are supposed to be responsible. Now that I am an adult, "healing my wound" seems the way to go, as I am responsible now.
For more on Healing those Wounds Click Here.