02 July, 2009

The Shed

"When the world is ready to fall on your little shoulders, and when you're feeling LONELY and SMALL..."-JD Souther, from his song, You're Only Lonely

Sometimes, I wonder if there is a three-sided shelter that I can run into and find refuge from all that is really "bugging" me. Storms can rage outside, lightning can shatter the sky in half, drenching rain can fall and yet, inside, all is safe, warm and dry, including me.
"On life's journey Faith is nourishment,
Virtuous deeds are a shelter,
Wisdom is the light by day..."-Buddha
I think I am not so unique, in my desire to be happy and avoid suffering. You probably want the same too, right? I expend a lot of effort and time trying to improve my conditions and create a peaceful life. And yet, while I try to create peace, my mind is not at peace. So, why should I be surprised if my life reflects the chaos which is present in my mind?

Imagine if we approach our lives, in the same way that natural horsemen approach problem horses? We would just put our mind in the round pen, hoping to run out anger in all of its forms, keep it moving until we see our minds drop its head, lick and chew, while looking at us with both eyes, letting us know that “yes, I will no longer be bitter, resentful, jealous, greedy, depressed.”

I learn alot by watching my horses and one fact that is obviously clear is that horses, unlike people, live in the present moment. There are no mistakes from the past to dwell upon and no future to worry about. It's this moment, wait, stop, this moment…no, really, this moment. Horses are incredibly successful in making the most, out of every fraction of every second which tick-tock towards NOW.

Have you reached a point where you know you really need to do “something” but for the life of you, you can't figure out what that “something” is? Sometimes, I am overwhelmed and although I recognize what needs to be done to remedy the situation, I remain paralyzed, unable to prioritize what really needs to happen next. I look at my life, as if I am standing on a highway that is littered with the bloody carcasses of mistakes, bad decisions, poor problem-solving skills, painful hurts and stuff that really makes me mad.
When my daughter was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, I realized at the time, how very little we know about the human brain. The brain is like a new world in the time of Columbus; a rich and vast land, waiting to be discovered. And like our understanding of the brain, so, it is with the human mind. People may think of the brain as "the mind" but the brain is an object, a very real thing with mass, a part of our physical body, able to be seen through an X-ray or through surgery. The mind however, remains intangible, invisible to our eyes, even with an x-ray. I am awed by the power that our mind has and the influence that our thinking mind has over shaping our lives. That’s when I remember horses and their ability to “live in the present moment”. My horse, Rose, does not remain mad with her stablemate, Lady Rocker, because she bit her on the rump yesterday. That moment is over and they have moved on. Watching Rose, I learned how she treasures this moment, she savors it, she lives it, she makes it the very best moment, before another moment comes and wipes out the memory of this moment. So, while horses seek shelter from the annoyances that life may bring them, eventually, horses leave their shelter to enjoy the richness that the great, big wonderful world also offers. And in between the time spent in the shelter and the time spent outside grazing; horses never change and remain steadfast in who they are and how they feel. There is a lot of peace to be found, when living life is no bigger than living in the present moment. I think everything I have ever learned well, I learned from my horses. Happy summer you all.

EnJoy your life, EnJoy your horses,



laurence of arabians said...

Oh Ralph, so sorry about your little girl's disease...how unfair...how angry you may be feeling sometimes..

about "Brain" I found this fascinating TED talk:

Hope it helps you day!

Warm Regards,

Tzviah said...

Dear Ralph,
Your writing never fails to move me. Yes, I too long for a three-sided shed and for the wisdom to live always in the present, the wisdom that our horses demonstrate to us continually. To be grateful to all that we have in our lives, particularly our families, friends, and horses and to use every second that we are gifted to its fullest...to savour every precious moment and be aware of life's fleetingness.
Where do I sign up for the course?
Maybe I should shut down my home and move out to live with the herd for the rest of the summer and learn from the best....
Keep writing my friend, and my most positive prayers and vibes for your daughter,