EQUUS - - Conformati­on Insights -

This con­cept is taught in martial arts, yoga and many re­li­gions, and it’s part of horse­man­ship, too. C. S. Lewis said, “The present is the point where the flow of time touches the eter­nal.” If your horse could talk, and you asked him, “What time is it?” he would re­ply, “Why---it’s right now. That’s what time it is: It’s now.”

This is why talking on the cell phone while you’re rid­ing or han­dling your horse is not only dan­ger­ous, but thought­less and dis­re­spect­ful. It’s also the es­sen­tial rea­son why the Dab­bler, the Ob­ses­sive, the Hacker and the Fan­ta­sizer never achieve mas­tery: They live in the past, or they live in the fu­ture. The one place they never live is in the now.

Horse­man­ship clin­i­cian Harry Whit­ney talks about “see­ing things from the horse’s point of view.” That’s the prac­ti­cal def­i­ni­tion of “liv­ing in the now” as far as horse­man­ship goes. If you can’t do this, you will never get all the en­joy­ment in be­ing with your horse that it is pos­si­ble to have. Un­less you fig­ure out how to live in the now--- how to be “present” ev­ery mo­ment you’re with your horse; to per­ceive what he per­ceives at nearly the same mo­ment as he per­ceives it---you will never be able to get your horse to where he’d rather be with you than any­where else. Why? Be­cause un­less you’re “present” as he is al­ways “present,” he can’t even lo­cate you. He can’t con­nect with you.

Leonard sums up: “Goals and con­tin­gen­cies … are im­por­tant. But they ex­ist in the fu­ture and the past, be­yond the pale of the sen­sory realm. Prac­tice, the path of mas­tery, ex­ists only in the present. You can see it, hear it, smell it, feel it. To love the plateau is to love the eter­nal now, to en­joy the in­evitable spurts of progress and the fruits of ac­com­plish­ment, then serenely to ac­cept the new plateau that waits just be­yond them. To love the plateau is to love what is most es­sen­tial and en­dur­ing in your life.”

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