It's your choice.
If we don’t like what we see when we look in the mirror, we don’t try to paint something different or paste collage on the mirror to change what we see. We understand the mirror is a reflection, so we change ourselves, what we are wearing, how our hair is arranged, our makeup and our clothes. However when we don’t like our reflection from our life, we try to change the mirror, our life on the outside, rather than change what is being reflected, our inner state of being.
I love the movie Buck, the documentary about Buck Branaman, the man who was the inspiration for the both the book and the movie Horse Whisperer. Buck also served as Robert Redford’s coach on the movie set. In real life he teaches horse owners and riders how to get what they want from their horses. The key is not about changing the horse, because the horse is just the rider or horse owner’s mirror. It is about changing the where the rider is ‘coming from,’ their state of being as expressed in their own behavior. The horse is simple intimately relating too and reflecting back what is going on inside and being expressed by the person. The horse is responding perfectly to what it is receiving.
The horse is like the rest of life. What is happening in our life is responding perfectly to what is happening inside of us, just like the mirror showing us what we look like. Life, like the horse, is showing us how we are being inside of ourselves.
An amazing life-changing, empowering adventure begins when we realize this intimate relationship with life responding to us, to our inner being, our energy, emotions and thoughts. Many people who attend Buck Branaman’s horse clinics become converts to an exciting new relational way of working with horses.
Similarly, when we discover the power of our creative inner life and begin to experience how life is deeply responsive to our inner state of being and reflects it back to us. We stop feeling like we are on the receiving end of the stick, struggling to get what we want in our life on the outside. We stop trying to paint on the mirror, or beating the horse into submitting to our will. Life becomes exciting, empowering, deeply intriguing and much, much easier. It is all about intimate relationship, our own intimate inner relationship with life.
When we begin to realize this, we no longer need to suffer the bad relationship, the crappy job, the stresses that overwhelm us. We now have a choice. We begin to look inside to what is really happening there. What is the habituated knee-jerk inner choice we are making, that is so painful both inside and outside? When we identify that choice — THAT is a huge win. We have identified the real source of our pain. From there we just need to find the inner choice that feels good. That is the choice that will effect a new outer reflection that also feels good, one much more to our liking, both as we experience it first of all inside our self and therefore as it is reflected back to us on the outside.
Instead of believing that the feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, the sense of loss, defeat, confusion are solely due to the circumstances of life, we can begin to see how those life circumstances are largely a reflection of our beliefs, our false perceptions, the inner state of being we are choosing to hold onto inside of ourselves. As we look inward and become aware of those unconscious painful beliefs that we are choosing to entertain inside, we are now able to make a different choice. When we change that choice, when we make a kinder choice for ourselves, we will feel an inner shift and like the horse, life will also feel that shift and respond to it and reflect that kindness back to us.
It is not a quick fix. It is a relational fix. We all crave relationship. Why? Because life is an all-encompassing relationship in which we are embedded. But to experience that relationship we need to relate to it, respond to it, be present in it within ourselves, not through strategic actions. That is our choice. To make that choice we need to be fully aware of how we are relating in the moment to life and witness how it is responding to us, how it is reflecting our beliefs, energy, emotions back to us. That is our choice in each moment.
So how do we start to engage in this empowering adventure?
Stop struggling. Feel in your body, where the stress of struggle is. Breathe into it. Don’t try to change it. Accept it. Consciously embrace it. Witness it relax. Give it as much time as it needs to relax as much as it will right now. Don’t seek ‘perfection.’ It is already perfectly reflecting your beliefs in this moment.
2. Allow the mind to be quiet.
Be aware of your own awareness, the amazing consciousness within you that witnesses whatever you choose to focus on. Focus on that very consciousness. Allow the mind and thinking to fade in the presence of your awareness of the very consciousness that you are. Witness its vibrant stillness, its expansiveness, its peaceful inner sound, its lightness. Let it nourish you, nourish your soul. In this highly awake stillness, found as you focus on your very consciousness, let it provide the anchor in your life. Let it feed you deeply, as it desires to do, let it love you deeply, as it desires to do. Let the bliss of life itself into your awareness. This is the energy you wish to share with life and it is the energy life is wanting to reflect back to you on the outside. This vibrant loving stillness is what your soul craves. It is the love you desire and as you receive it, you will find love reflected back to you from all people and events in your life. You will naturally find the love of your life on the outside in another person, because you have already found it inside yourself.
3. Let go of strategy
It always comes from force and weakness, meaning it is the hard way. Come to life from your innate power, the love that you are, your intuitive inner knowing that comes in the moment when it is useful from that quiet inner voice, not from the repetitive thinking of the false identity or ego mind.
4. Be Gentle, Patient And Kind
Don’t fake it, breathe and come from your center, the center of your conscious awareness. In that presence, gentle, patient kindness is who you are.
5. Be Honest With Yourself
Honesty is always the best policy!
6. Don’t Blame
We are all doing the best we know how in each moment. If we knew better we would do better.
7. Accept who you are in this moment.
God does. Why shouldn’t you?
Life gets increasingly easier on the outside as we bring consistent kindness to our inner experience, the state of being we choose to embody, to gift ourselves with and receive it reflected back to us by all of life around us.
Interestingly these are all the skills that work with horses. That is the cooperative loving power from which Buck is able to create in a few minutes cooperative behavior that traditional horse training methods of force and ‘power over’ could not come close to in weeks and weeks of extreme effort with the horse. It is not about becoming a ‘softie.’ Buck isn’t. It is about being resolute, relational, direct, honest, kind, patient and present.
Life is such an exciting adventure when we begin to live life with these skills. That is why I describe my work with people as ‘guide service for adventures in soul.’
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