I’m riding an exquisite creature, an incredibly complex, intelligent creature. It’s not mine. I had nothing to do with its creation. It was designed for a consciousness to spend some quality time in—on loan you might say.
My responsibility, or at least the invitation and gift offered to me, is to learn how to ride this creature . . . machine . . . vehicle . . . so that together we can make the best use of its brilliant design and fully honor and enjoy the gift. My responsibility is to somehow get through the thicket of received ideas about what works or doesn’t work, what’s allowed or not allowed, and just pay attention and learn for myself through experience.
Horse riding metaphors come to mind. To ride well you can’t interfere with the free flowing rhythm of the horse’s elegant movement, you can’t be afraid of that energy and power, you can’t squeeze too tight on those reins. (It’s been labeled the “death grip” by riding instructors.) You have to relax into synchronized harmony, become one with the horse. As you ride the horse, the horse rides you. You’re the master but only in that synchronized unity. Tsa-la-gi (Cherokee) horse master GaWaNi Pony Boy counsels students to let the horse teach them instead of trying to teach the horse. Another teacher of horse riding calls it “passive leadership.” Yet another way to say it is that you have to let go of control to control skillfully.
This quote comes from horsewisdom.ca. “Horses are emotionally authentic by nature. They do not lie, pretend, or show false face. They respond instantly, instinctively, and individually to the people with whom they engage. They also lack ego and superiority complexes. This makes them honest, non-judgmental teachers. Their messages are kind, clear, and consistent. Understanding the horse’s response to you, as a person, can teach you about yourself, and show you how you can make positive changes in your life.”
Does that ring any metaphorical bells? The horse is pure and uncompromising in the sense that it can only be horse. The wisdom body is like that too. It has its ways. So much of it functions without any assistance from us—the Autonomic Nervous System for example—and it functions most elegantly when we get out of our own way. In that sense the body is egoless and instinctive like the horse, while the ego is the mind’s confused struggle to figure out how to navigate in this vehicle. Scientist and entheogenic visionary Dr. Bruce Damer tells a story about how the Spirit of ayahuasca once said to him, “You silly monkeys. Stop trying to figure it out. If you want to know something, become it.”
Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose
And then Spirit—or what Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa called “authentic presence”— is like that too – like horse, like body. They can only be what they are, staying in their place. Trungpa taught another useful concept on this theme: “synchronizing mind and body.” He loved horse riding and used riding a horse as a metaphor for riding the mindbody. Another one of his teachings on this theme was “not too tight, not too loose.”
For about a dozen years I often went down to Washington State to participate in Native American Church peyote prayer ceremonies. The roadman (ceremony leader) would occasionally say something like, “Relatives, this medicine wants to meet you. But it can only meet you where it is. You can make that meeting hard or you can make it easy.”
So . . . our dis-eases are the particular elements or components of the organism that aren’t functioning properly and because of that are interfering with the effective functioning of the whole. We have to get to know this organism really well and if necessary find out where, how and why the consciousness has sent and is still sending dysfunctional messages (signals) to the component parts, why the consciousness is actually blocking the movement of waves through the system.
Historically (including present ‘history’) humans have tried to impose our will on the naturally existing patterns of energy flow, based on beliefs, agendas, and projections—without humility, without listening, without feeling our way. That’s what has got us into the planetary pickle we’re in now. Humans have been largely disconnected from the unconditioned recognition of our interwoven interdependence with all.
There’s relevance here for the Cannabis and Spirituality project as well. Although of course not the only way to learn to synchronize mind and body, when used skillfully, with intention and attention, cannabis opens up channels, amplifying the free flow of intelligence-stimulating, health-giving and life-supporting energy. With some level of disciplined attention she can help us slow down the speed of mind and skillfully and gracefully fall into synch with self-existing patterns of energy movement. For many of us—maybe most of us—that requires a learning process where we give the herb our full relaxed attention and through such practice allow it to do its best work of rebalancing and awakening the organism.
She wants to see us healed, happy, relaxed, vigorous, and open hearted.