If you are having trouble redefining perfection, practicing forgiveness, and acting with love, there is a good chance that you are attached to preconceived notions. If you have created an ideal or fantasy about what is going to happen, or what should happen, you can become rigid in your expectations. If reality does not match those expectations, you will become upset because of your attachment to your ideas.
With expectations we become attached to our judgments about right and wrong behavior which influences us to come from a place of wanting to control behavior to achieve a desired result. When that happens, we have trouble acting with love, forgiving behavior, and appreciating the innate perfection of the moment.
How do you let go of your attachment to preconceived outcomes? Don’t you need goals in order to make forward progress? Won’t the horse walk all over you if you have no attachment to the way in which he behaves?
These are all valid concerns. The first thing to remember is that no matter how well you plan for anything in life, you have no way to predict how things will turn out. You cannot ensure others will behave in the way you desire. You cannot predict outside influences that will affect your circumstances. You cannot control every little detail to accurately mold a situation or another being’s behavior and attitude. This can feel very out of control and vulnerable which leads us to create rules about behavior and judgments that confirm when things do or do not match our preconceived notions.
The behavior or outcome in any situation is the same regardless of whether we label it as good or bad. Only our judgment about it differs. The only thing that we have control over is the way that we choose to feel, based on our perception, about the circumstances. When we learn to recognize this, it is easier to approach life with nonattachment. What will be will be. We have the ability to make a goal, take action toward that goal, and to choose to react positively or negatively to the triumphs and challenges along the way.
Letting go of your attachment to the way things should be does not mean that you surrender your goals or let the horse have his way all the time. It means that you remain flexible in the manner in which you achieve your goal. If you are rigid in your thinking, then a successful outcome can feel like a failure. You can also limit yourself if you think that only one outcome is acceptable.
What behaviors or training outcomes are you really attached to? Are you limiting your approach to training based on your preconceived ideas? Are there any other possibilities that you can think of that would be acceptable? Why or why not?
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
This post is part of a year-long series of heart reflections based on the book Soulful Horsemanship, A Path to Emotional Freedom for the Horse and Human. Soulful Horsemanship is a spiritual approach to working with horses with the goal of developing empowerment, authenticity, and inner peace for the horse and human alike. The entire collection of heart opening essays is available as a book – check it out.