Cowboy Meditation with Butch & Sundance



Near the end of the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” there is an exchange between Butch and Sundance when they know they are trapped and about to die. They tease each other playfully about how they got into this predicament. Butch asks Sundance  “ You call that shootin’??” and Sundance asks Butch “You call that thinkin’??” I found this to be the most touching scene in the movie since I thought it was guytalk for “I know we are about to die and I want to remind you that I love you very much.”


When I notice that my awareness has taken one of its inevitable excursions away from my breath while I am meditating I now hear a voice from the cowboy mystique of my Colorado childhood lovingly chiding “You call that meditatin’??” as I bring my awareness back to my breath with a smile.


My other favorite scene from the movie is the jump off the cliff into the river far below.  Sundance is embarrassed to admit that he is afraid to jump because he doesn’t know how to swim.  When he finally acknowledges this fear Butch reassures him by saying something to the effect: “Swim?  Hell, the fall will probably kill ya!”  I know there is an important lesson here about how the experience of ego death can reduce the fear of physical death and hope someday I will be able to put it into words.


John Rhead

Columbia, MD