Back in the day–and I’m talking a long time ago–the ox had a close relationship with humans. Before we fell in love with our metal cars, motorcycles and even bicycles as a mode of transportation, we humans relied on animals like the ox for their innate ability to withstand hard labour. While we in modern cities have ‘upgraded’ to metal beasts of burden; the use of oxen for ploughing and transportation continues in agricultural communities. The ox may work slowly, but it was prized for its strong power to work tenaciously for a long period of time.
Similarly in life, before you discount an individual as ‘a slow learner’ or complain that they’re taking a long time to get to their destination, you must contemplate on whether he or she is simply displaying the traits of endurance, fortitude and stamina.
In Chinese culture, the ox is seen as gentle, stable, straight, outspoken and vital. Yes, they can sometimes be stubborn or headstrong, but they are great at achieving their goals as they simply will not drop out of the race. If you ever have the opportunity to see an ox in action, you will see that they chew, swallow and regurgitate the same food over and over again. Similarly, an ox person is someone who possesses the inherent quality to ruminate over matters. If you ask me, there is nothing wrong with taking the time necessary to reach a decision. But let me tell you, once these people reach a decision, they are unyielding. They will complete each task they start and will not allow themselves to be swayed by silly distractions.
A nice energy to have around you, don’t you think?
Like all of Mother Nature’s creations, the ox embodies a contradictory duality. They can be patient and steady; and yet they can reveal a terrible temper if provoked unnecessarily. Therefore, ox people work best in stable professions like: education, counselling, medicine or even a role in the government. As they can be inflexible, they can come across as arrogant or prejudiced. But the truth is, they simply love their routines and are happy to do the same thing over and over again and see little need for lasting change.
To balance this energy, they need to learn how to listen to the people around them and hear their needs instead of imposing their own ideas on others. If this need for regiment and routines is expressed in a negative manner, it can lead to dictator-like behaviour and let’s face it–no one likes that. Most people only follow rules when they make sense. To avoid going down a path of loneliness and isolation, ox people should also incorporate the ideas of others in a slow and stable way to get the most out of their relationships.
Speaking of which, one common problem with ox people is that they tend to overwork. Needlessly sticking to regimens can lead to exhaustion which leads them to overreact one day with no forewarning. As such, they need to take time to have a good rest to return to their centre. As a highly stable being, the ox is like a colossal mountain that cannot be moved. Accordingly, they can–and ideally should–meditate on how they may best be able to complete their tasks in a way that allows them to achieve their goals. All they need to do is ruminate on their thoughts and cultivate a more versatile attitude which takes into account that not everyone is a mountain like they are.
The ox is associated with yang qi masculine energy that gets stronger with time. One of the reasons why the ox person may appear slow is because most of their changes are taking place beneath the earth. The ox understands the importance of holding our energy back while we wait for the right opportunity to spring forth. But when the right moment comes, the ox must charge ahead. It cannot allow itself to be stuck in its routines. Mother Nature allows each and every single one of Her creations to blossom in the time that is due to it.
One of the most admirable traits of the ox is that it never gives up–not even in the face of terrible adversity. I suppose the most important thing for the ox to do is decide where to focus its energy so that it doesn’t dissipate it on the wrong goals.
To do this, the ox person simply needs to conserve their energy and hold it within themselves till its ready to burst forth during the coming of spring. And what a beautiful spring it will be.
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