Connection through Stillness
I believe the key for a better understanding of horses lies in our connection with all of nature, with all of life.
In a society where we have materialised the natural world as a resource to be exploited for our own gain and benefit, many of us are no longer able to see beyond this in our relationships with other beings and the world at large. Also, our society’s understanding and overvaluation of scientifically measurable results and observations as the only form of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ do not support this type of deeper connection. It puts our human mind – with its undeniably incredible capacities – at the centre of everything but leaves out a whole range of other ways to experience the world. If we remembered to see and feel the finer and broader nuances all around us not only with our mind but also with our bodies and all our senses, we could find a completely new experience also in the time we spend with our horses. It would open us up to a fuller, richer and therefore more honest connection with horses which is not primarily based on our minds with its preconceived ideas and agendas which generally lead to a pretty technical approach lacking heart and soul as well as the wisdom carried within our bodies.
If we look at this, it is not surprising that one important step to find this connection lies in ‘getting our minds out of the way’. By developing a quiet mind, we lay the foundation for a free flow of information between us and the natural world, including horses. As many of us are so used to ‘living’ in our minds with constant thoughts running through our heads, it is sometimes not so easy to reach this state.
Meditation, for example, is one way to learn to let go of our thoughts and become aware of ourselves as a whole in the present moment.
I personally love the way of developing a quiet mind by having a ‘sit spot’ practice. Your sit spot is a place in nature which you form a relationship with by visiting it at different times of the day, different times of the year, etc. (Preferably it is not far from where you live as you want to visit it often, even daily. If you live in a city it can be a tree in front of your balcony or similar.) At this place, you spent time in stillness cultivating a quiet mind and then starting to sense what is happening all around you without thinking about it and judging it. Use your senses one at a time, such as hearing, feeling, smelling, etc. and ask yourself what you perceive. In this way you will get to know a place very intimately and closely in all weathers and all seasons and you will learn what grows and who else lives there. This all will support you in opening up your senses which then leads to a whole new level of communication with the world around you.
In bringing this state of awareness to our horses, we have a whole new basis for being with them which involves deep understanding, empathy and compassion. It is in this stillness that we can experience a true connection where any perceived boundaries melt away and where we feel and sense the horses in front of us as they are. And I found it to be truly amazing, fulfilling and rewarding to build my relationships with horses on such level.