Riding a Horse

Clear vision requires clear direction.  Nothing in life does well with muddled directions.  Think of something as simple as riding a horse. Give a horse mixed messages and it will buck you off.

Growing up I lived on a farm.  My dad was my hero.  Why?  Well gosh darn it, he was a real deal cowboy.  And I wanted to be just like him. I just preferred to be called a Horse Girl (cause’ I didn’t ride cows, duh!).  He began training me on horses when I was about six years old and one day he took me out riding in an open field and wanted me to give series of commands to my horse.  At first I was doing pretty good, but then it took a quick turn for the worse.  I started getting confused, so I panicked and this in turn confused the horse.  I was pushing in my heals into the horse one time, two quick times, then one long time, tugging the reins two times, then quickly again with one long time and back and forth between endless mis-directions. The horse didn’t know what the heck to do.  The next thing I knew my horse started galloping at a speed beyond my control and headed right for a tree with a low hanging branch.  I ended up getting clipped at the branch at my chest and flung off like a bug to the ground.  When I got up, I kicked and spitted out words of anger and sadness, “This horse is stupid!”   My dad responded with an unforgettable lifetime lesson.  “It’s not the horse that was stupid, it was the rider”.

God has granted each of us with a golden blessing. The blessing of free will.  In most of the ancient scriptures, we are told we contain the ability to direct.  As the Bhagavad Gita simply displays, we hold the reins.  The reins to our minds. We are the conductors of our emotions, of our thoughts, of our decisions.  In yoga, the practice of training the mind is called Raja Yoga.  It teaches us to be “eka grata” with our consciousness; single mind focus.  When we have a vision, we have directions. When we know where we want to go, how we would like to serve the world and we see only that – the universe understands us and supports us.   When we see only where we are heading and let go of all the other debris in the mind (worry, fear, false obstacles) – we give ourselves clear directions.  And again, the universe knows how to respond.  When we are confused, or choose directions that are clearly not in alignment to our vision, the universe just stops playing.  It waits patiently until you know. 

My Guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, had a pet peeve.  He never liked when someone would say “I don’t know”.  He would always respond with “yes you do”.  You do know.  You know what you desire.  You know how you should serve the world.  You know what you should be doing.  You know where you want to go.  Never answer with “I don’t know”.  The universe does not know how to respond with that.  And sometimes Life, like a horse, is just as frustrated with you as you are with it!

Try giving confusing directions to a driver or a pilot or even to a child learning to ride a bike.  It does not work.  The confusion creates frustration. And frustration leads to accidents, loss of direction and sometimes hope.   To have a clear singular goal – without the chaos of excess words or wants, without multiple outcomes commanded– leads to an easier path.

Don’t be afraid to have a vision.  See only that vision. Lose all the debris, the fears, the obstacles. See how you can serve the world and the world will serve you!  Remember you hold the reins. Be the rider in command, with clear and precise directions for yourself and your life.  Life desires to serve you, it just needs you to do it with respectful confidence and clarity. You do know.  Grab the reins and go.

See you on your mat.  It is the perfect place to clean the vision and keep you riding life with calmness and grace.