THE TIME IS “NOW”
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.”