Being in Charge
by Hans-Michael Schoebinger
“Say to yourself, ‘This is my court.’ Pause for a moment (…) and let your eyes sweep over the entire area. As you do so, take ownership of everything involved in the game.”
After saying this to myself, I would focus on recollecting the objects of special interest to the horse, then turn to her and state: “This is my road and my blue truck that makes this obnoxious diesel noise. It is approaching us at my speed. There is my yellow plastic bag, that flutters in the wind – the wind, that I have ordered. I set this up for us.”
And in a way I really did set all this up and do own it all, as it was my idea to drag her out here and confront her with that situation. Hence it is my situation. So, I will have to accept ownership of and take responsibility for it as well.
If you are more into intellectual discourse, you might want to imagine Mr. Trump entering his NY tower uttering “This is my tower!” Get a sense for his feelings of ownership, as he walks into his entrance hall of his tower. Impressed by his architectural prowess he thinks out loud: “I built this.“
Then imagine yourself entering Trump tower, telling yourself “This is my tower”, while you stand in line at the visitor reception desk waiting for your ID to be checked. Obviously, that wouldn’t be too convincing for yourself and for your horse neither, would it?
Now here’s the punch line: there is no difference between you and Mr. Trump in that you are both just observing the sensations and feelings related to you, when a transient human life form enters a transient structure through a hole in one of the walls. Each form is bringing with it a mental concept of ownership and carrying it inside. There is no real connection between the human forms and the building besides the fact that each is physically residing in it for a finite time. Everything else, in both cases, is an intellectual construct only.
Thus, while from the outset it seemed quite clear that your claim for this road is fictional, it turns out, that so is Mr. Trump ‘s claim for this tower.
Lawyers even coined the term ‘legal fiction’ for such cases of having “no essential connection to the physical world” . The same lawyers also state, that if you claimed the road as yours for long enough with nobody objecting, by means of another mental construct termed ‘customary law’, that claim would even make it into ‘legal fiction’ status as well.
Also, from another very down-to-earth standpoint, your sensory perceptions plus memories plus feelings with which you label the former two, are your only means to experience roads, towers, trucks and plastic bags. There is no tower and no plastic bag besides the one you fabricate inside of you. Therefore, again, it is yours.
Still, applying the concept of taking ownership in our context comprises more of a spiritual practice than an intellectual fact-finding mission. Yet being a meditative approach makes it even more fitting our purpose, as by its very nature meditation transcends our standard humanoid way of thinking and suits the world of the horse so much better.
Once you own it, she then knows and, more importantly, feels, that this is a controlled situation, which frees her to pursue other interests than fear. Hence, by taking full responsibility in such a way you are both literally and figuratively overriding any uncertainties and doubts from her side. “Since you own this place, you can be a gracious host, welcoming everyone present (…) with a friendly word, a smile, or a pleasant glance. This is all done in a relaxed, powerful, and centered manner.” , Leonard illustrates further.
To keep up with the situation, as it develops, while continue to take responsibility for everything that arises, I have found it very useful to ask yourself “On a scale of 1 to 100, how much energy does this situation represent?”
This idea of Wendy Palmer makes sure that you are continuously on track with circumstances. Here. Now. You would just start perceiving and then continuously report the reading on your inner ‘energy meter’ to yourself (don’t worry, the horse will automatically listen as well): “63 – 55 – 59 – 74 – 91 – oops, getting hot – 85 – 85 – 70…” You get the point.
As long as you do not forget to breathe while measuring the energy level of the here and now, you will automatically stay fully aware of the current state of affairs, because if you were not, how could you detect its energy level?
The resulting, full attention of yours on the present moment will assure the horse of your being in charge, so that she has no need whatsoever to think about helping out in that regard and taking over. To the contrary, she can relax, wholeheartedly listen to you and follow your lead.
To own this court:
Experiment with and get used to employing the energy meter starting with non-horse situations. Be in for an interesting experience, when you try it in the passenger or back seat of a car and nothing much happens, until its readings suddenly go off the Richter scale in this fraction of a second, when the oncoming car on this ordinary highway passes you at standard speed of 50 mph. That brief, “instant rush of panic” , that Mark Rashid pointed out to me, is deeply rooted in us and allows for a direct view into the sensations a horse is often confronted with in our man-made environment.
Try to refrain from riding, if you don’t feel mentally up to it. It is inappropriate to burden the horse with your issues when you can avoid it. Also, you will be in for trouble, if you reach the point where you are just too much for her to handle. Therefore, whenever possible, first do your homework to get ready, and only then go to your horse. You probably noticed that I said the very same about those circumstances where you don’t feel physically up to.
Remember that making the case for ownership of your world is neither about convincing yourself nor the horse, because it is not an argument but a meditative practice. Therefore, there is nothing to convince anybody about anything.