By Christine Cole
Living in Sebastopol, California, I am fortunate to be only minutes from the ocean, a powerful source for inspiration and a much-needed reminder of life’s natural rhythms. Life offers many such reminders, some taking a more active role perhaps. I have found horses to be incredible teachers for me. By demonstration of their keen awareness of rhythm and natural magnetism towards harmony, coupled with their willingness to interact with people, they offer healing. By entering the world of horses, I am reminded of the pulse that connects us all, as does the ocean.
The ocean has such power as to feel “bigger than life,” especially if like myself, you do not know much about it. I think I would be hard pressed to find anyone in the world who did not have a fascination with the ocean or, at the very least, an appreciation for it’s hidden depths and immensity. This is true of horses, as well. There are millions of people, young and old, drawn to horses. For those who are not, there still exists a respect for the size and flawless beauty of the horse. The ocean is not for everyone and neither are horses, yet they are similar in the lessons they teach.
Due to the apparent docility of most domesticated horses, there is a rather common belief that humans have the right to control horses and that we are their trainers. Indeed, millions believe they do train horses. We use myriad ways to enforce our ideas upon horses and to move them where we want them. We punish them for not having the answers we want to hear to questions we didn’t even consciously ask. We only touch the surface of their true value to us. The majority of what lives in the horse swims out of sight for the casually entertained.
However, as most would acknowledge, there is a formidable challenge in any casual acquaintance with a horse that no spur, bit or whip can eliminate. To participate with horses, as an observer might view a movie, is foolish and risky. It is as foolish as turning your back on the waves or going out in a boat on the ocean with no knowledge of how to navigate. Yet, there are those who know the risk is merely an invitation to rise above the mundane in our self, to realize our potential in the sea of life.
Life is relationship and all life is in constant motion, as is the sea and the horse. Harmony results from a cooperative interaction between two or more expressions of life and the natural state of life is harmonious. Harmony is rhythmic, thus, if I pay attention to the rhythms in my relationships, including that which I hold with myself, I can participate consciously in creating harmony. I am in relationship with the ground as I walk on it, the tree as I pass by it, the air as I breathe and move through it, etc. Any scientist would confirm the fact that motion exists on a molecular level constantly.
Movement exists within and surrounds all the connections we experience. Timing is essential and requires no less than total involvement for harmony to ensue. To the degree we break rhythm, we risk falling or sinking. To consider our connection to be one of overpowering is naive. To allow unresisting involvement is to sense the reasons for being human and beginning to experience this as a way of life is to know true intimacy.
The rhythmic rise and fall of ocean tides, the smell of salt and seaweed, the ever-receding horizon; these beckon to the soul. The flick of the horse’s ear, flare of her nostril, soft breath and whiskers on your cheek, the sound of steady hoof beats on a forest path and the infinite winding away of that path also beckon. We can learn to listen well enough to hear the heart beat within all our relationships, joining without interruption the inherent drumming of life. When we are lost and unaware of our connections to each other, it is giant reflections of life, like the ocean or horses that remind us of the rightness of our existence. It is up to each individual to discover which reflection resonates most within him or her.