How Horses Transformed My Life - A Lesson In Awareness
In previous articles I have shared how horses have opened me up, how I have more awareness of my inner wisdom now. Horses are very connected with their bodies and their senses. In fact their bodies are somewhat like big dish antennae that receive and process millions of bits of information. This is hardwired into them. Awareness of everything in their environment is a ‘skill’ that natural selection provided them over the course of their evolution. I think almost every species has some level of this extraordinary awareness, including humans. The difference is that we have deliberately chosen to ignore it.
From an early age we are told to be ‘logical’. We are told ‘it is just your imagination’. Grownups work in the world of facts, not feelings. Listening to our intuition, being sensitive and aware of what is going on around us has not been valued in our educational system or in our society. And we have lost a lot. Our disconnection between our mind and our bodies leads to other disconnections.
Perhaps the greatest loss of connection is the one between people. We are often so busy in our own thoughts that we are not tuned into what is happening around us: we are not aware of what our body is telling us about ourselves, our surroundings, or other beings. Higher level cognitive skills do not provide these insights.
In the last couple of days I have been around several people who were saying one thing, but their body language, expression, and personal energy were saying the exact opposite. Like a horse, I found this dissonance very uncomfortable. It made me feel suspicious and unsettled around them. Their incongruence made me feel a lack of trust.
While it isn’t always appropriate to call someone out on their contradictions, sometimes it is important to do so regardless of how uncomfortable it is. I did this. I told the person “you are saying ‘yes’, but your body language, tone and facial expressions are saying the opposite. So tell me what is really going on.” I did not enjoy confronting the person like this. But by bringing their incongruence to their awareness I was able to get a more open dialog started. Eventually we came to a true agreement that felt congruent.
I have begun to listen very carefully with all my senses, including my intuition. When I see or feel incongruence from someone, I approach with caution. Is this person someone who needs some extra support and compassion? Do I need to be on alert? What can be done to make this situation more comfortable, safe and authentic for everyone? When horses feel unsafe or unsettled by another’s incongruence, they often choose to remove themselves from the situation. This is an option too.