Anything that starts with spiritual can sound a bit woo woo, but spiritual can just mean having a relationship based on a profound level of mental or emotional communication.
When I was a girl I clearly remember being told to imagine what it was like for the horse, to think about things from the horse’s perspective; but how do you tune into the horse? How do you connect on a level where you can listen to what he is saying?
In order to have such a relationship with either human or horse, it’s necessary to be fully present, to be light, to clear a space inside of you for them, to give energy, and probably most importantly, to listen. Then to know what to say or do, you have to trust your intuition, which you might call trusting your instincts, or trusting the angels, or giving up control with absolute certainty and trust that your good intent will guide you. Reading that back, it sounds kind of nuts, but really it’s just about finding your own way to connect with others, be they human or animal, to be on their wavelength.
Personally, I just think of it as listening to my heart, trusting my intuition to do what feels right at the time. Always with the wellbeing of the horse first. I don’t believe that it’s possible to tune into either the horse or the rider, without listening to your heart, and that it’s the mechanical and ego based training that has done (is still doing) so much damage both physically and mentally to our horses.
Of course we need the knowledge first, and we have to coach within our level of experience and expertise; but once we are confident in our ability we can trust our intuition, we can feel what is right in the moment. You may have a great training schedule, or lesson plan written out, but when you tune in, when you listen to the horse, or the horse with it’s rider, those plans may well be put on a back burner, you teach what you see and feel on the day.
As a coach this may be seen as an important skill to master, as giving someone energy without having to say a word has got to be a great start! If you focus your attention on something you can fix your intention to direct your energy to it. Thoughts are energy. Think loving thoughts, when you look at someone, their energy levels increase, think nasty thoughts then their energy levels drop. This works to such an extent that when muscle tested, the person who is sent love is strong, and the person who is sent bad thoughts is weak. Just by thinking good thoughts about a person they feel good, they feel strong, good intent may be enough to give energy, and therefore to give strength to both human and equine alike.
To-Me > By-Me > Through-Me > As-Me
In his model of the levels of consciousness, Shore Slocum describes through-me as the point beyond by-me. Through-me is the place where we lighten the ego and give up control; this is when we stop making it happen, and start to allow it to happen.
Through me, is about getting out of the head and into the heart, acting from instinct, trusting that love will always lead in the right direction. Having sought the knowledge, the right questions and answers will come from the subconscious if we just allow them to.
(For interest; the person who is a To-Me is a victim, things happen ‘to’ them and they have no choice or responsibility. Something or someone made it happen to them, & something or someone made them feel that way. In order to move to By-Me a To-Me has to give up the blame. Of course, the greatest examples of As-Me are Jesus, The Buddha & the Prophet Muhammad . At this level, everything is as one. These great leaders see themselves in others, there is no judgement, there is no separateness.)
Spiritual coaching may sound to some like something done by slightly nutty people whilst dancing naked under a full moon; but really, it’s just a way of talking about tuning in, and listening to those who we seek to share our knowledge with.
“How do we train for a journey of spiritual transformation alone? The truth is we need a spiritual coach, a sensei to teach us – to show us how to focus our attention & to demonstrate how to live in the present & how to achieve Zen like tranquillity. We need a teacher to show us how to see ourselves – not just with heightened objectivity but also with greater forgiveness. For that job there is a master: a sage who can teach any willing student the way. That sage is the horse.” Allan J Hamilton MD