Culturally We Are Experiencing A Collective “Great Loneliness Of Spirit”
Chief Seattle, the Native American after whom the city of Seattle was named was prescient when he said, “What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.” I am reminded of these wise words every day as I work with my horses and especially when my horses work with other humans in corporate and individual training sessions.
A Deep, Natural And Powerful Relationship
Less than 150 years ago, horses and humans were in relationship every day and all the time. Horses lived on our farms. They were tied up in town as people milled about and conducted their businesses and did their errands and shopping. The kids rode horses to school. Horses were the main mode of transportation. They helped build homes, fight wars and settle our nation.
Artificial Intelligence Says It All
Flash forward to the 21st Century where what was once known as “horse sense” or intuitive wisdom has been replaced largely by the dependence on machines and technology. We worship and adore our handheld devices for doing our bidding. However, feeling our way through life is something more and more people struggle with. Gut instincts are typically second-guessed and over-ridden as we become more and more dependent on artificial intelligence (AI) and more distant from our own animal/intuitive nature.
The Human Animal
Yes, despite most humans losing sight of this, the fact is humans are also animals, mammals of the order of primates. Like horses, humans are hierarchal social animals. Social systems exist to coordinate around resources for survival. That’s true in the wild and in our ‘civilized world.’ Of the thousands of species on the planet only about 14 of them have ever been domesticated.
Horses were domesticated to be our beasts of burden and as such have served us well and have gotten to know us well. The horse reads human intentions constantly. The horse is always reading the human’s desire to make something happen and the commitment a particular human has to follow through. It is no accident that the relationship between humans and horses exist.
Horses Know Humans Better Than Humans Know Humans
Horses have an extraordinary ability to help us humans remember our intuitive sensibilities. They help us remember that we are not separate from web of life, but that we are an integral part of it. Before we venture too far into the “virtual world” it may serve us well to reconnect with our horse sense. Spend a few days in the presence of these amazing creatures that have helped us in the past and will continue to help us make our way into the future more balanced and understanding of our role as the animal with the biggest brain and hopefully the biggest heart.
Reclaiming Our Intuition Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult
The reclaiming of our intuitive self is not an arduous path. Remembering that we are animals in connection with all of life can be a joyous endeavor. In fact, I turn to one of my favorite poets, the late, great Mary Oliver who so succinctly stated in her poem, The Wild Geese
You do not have to be good
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
Love what it loves