Desolate through forests and fearful in jungles,
he is seeking an Ox which he does not find.
Up and down dark, nameless, wide-flowing rivers,
in deep mountain thickets he treads many bypaths.
Bone-tired, heart-weary, he carries on his search
for this something which he yet cannot find.
At evening he hears cicadas chirping in the trees.
After a while you become disillusioned. You want more from life, but nothing you do or own gives you want you really need. You may not even be sure what you really need, you just know something is wrong. You may experience a loss of purpose and direction, and begin to question everything in your life. This could be as simple as feeling mildly perturbed and a bit grouchy, or it could be a full-blown dark night of the soul. This can happen at any time in your life. You’re not sure what you want, you just know you don’t have it.
Whatever happens, the start of the journey always involves a leap of faith. You don't know what to do or even what you're searching for, but you know there must be more to life than what you've found so far.
The feeling of bewilderment and uncertainty may not be fun, but it's essential. Without the great doubt at the heart of your life, you wouldn't begin the search for more. Finally, you stop looking for answers in the outside world and turn inward and start to ask what your life really means.
So the search begins...
Next: Finding the Tracks
Painting by Jikihara Gyokusei and Verse by Kuoan Shiyuan
First posted: https://jessicadavidson.co.uk/2015/10/05/ox-herding-pictures-seeking-ox/