How Horses Transformed My Life - A Lesson In Slowing Down & Presence
Slowing down makes all the difference. Horses are not big on multi-tasking. While they receive and process a lot of information in their environment, and do this instantaneously and constantly all day long; their conscious attention is usually focused on one thing at a time. In equine guided learning work, we invite ourselves and others to become more horse-like. To experience the environment and ourselves the way horses do.
What I have learned from this process has been amazing. First, I was surprised to learn how chaotic my thoughts were. My mind is a busy place that frequently creates more than what actually is. Multi-tasking isn’t really tasking; it isn’t “doing”, it’s just letting the mind nag about doing more things faster. Having the awareness and therefore the option to turn down the noise was a significant gift in itself.
Second; by slowing down and focusing my conscious attention on my body and my environment, I have opened up a whole new realm of self-awareness. When I quiet the incessant chatter in my mind and send my attention to my body, my body tells me my personal truth. I don’t have to be seated in lotus position in an empty room; I don’t have to be contorting my body into inverted positions to receive inner wisdom. I only need to slow down, breathe, and focus my awareness on myself. Once I am fully present and aware of my body’s rhythm and intelligence, I am open to clearly receiving what I need to know.
My whole body is my mind. My body is capable of receiving and processing information from the environment and from others. My heart and my gut receive this information and process it in a way that I can make sense of and use. The quality of this other knowingness is very different from the knowing I experience from my brain. Perhaps it is the difference between intuition and logic, between feeling and reasoning.
On numerous occasions I have wrestled with a problem; turning it over in my head, constructing if-then scenarios, sorting pros and cons, analyzing best case / worst case outcomes, doing all of the busy work, and finding no comfort in the conclusions. I have learned that when logic and reasoning do not provide a satisfactory resolution or conclusion, I need to look elsewhere. I need to look inward, focusing my awareness on my body and its wisdom. What comes up will usually be illuminating and provide an insight that feels much more congruent and satisfying than anything my logical brain was able to produce. This is what I have learned by becoming more horse-like and slowing down.