This morning sitting for my morning spiritual practice was like rounding up wild horses. Even though I have had a fairly consistent spiritual practice for almost forty years, I still struggle sometimes to maintain my focus on the Divine.
After wrestling with myself to even start my prayers and meditations on the Light of God, I found myself sitting in my prayer chair tapping my feet and my mind running forward into my day. I felt like part of me was a runaway or avoidant horse.
So, while I was trying to pray, I allowed my mind to wander for a moment to what I would do if I had a wild and avoidant horse in the round corral. In that circumstance, I would calm myself at all levels and attempt to connect with the horse. The art of “hook-up” with a horse means that the person and the horse quietly go through a non-verbal communication and pressure and release process in which the horse chooses to be with the human. In this process the horse is drawn toward the person and will follow without the aid of a rope or halter.
As I sat in my prayer chair feeling my avoidant and wild parts trying to avoid being present for my devotions, I pondered treating those parts like I would a horse in the round corral. I focused on quieting myself and filling myself with peace, love, and softness just like I would in the round corral. I noticed my feet tapping and I softly suggested to my body to see how it would feel if I stopped tapping. As soon as my body quieted, I relieved the soft focus on my body for wiggling, just like I would relieve soft pressure from a horse in the round corral.
As a result of this process, I found moments of total focus on my prayers and devotions and felt the oneness. Also, I realized that the more I know myself, the more I realize that much of my outer ways of being are habits of a lifetime. Since my childhood had trauma, my nervous system, psychology, and physiology are all wired to the fight or flight response. Unfortunately, it seems that my body sometimes interprets the greater oneness I feel during prayer and my devotional practice with a red alert response. Literally this means that parts of me want to scatter, run, and avoid my practice just like wild horses.
Since it is the end of the year and I believe that another yearly cycle is close to closing its door, I want to be as consistent with my morning devotions as I can. My experience is that I am more able to make the right choices on the inner and outer, and be in the right place physically and consciously, if I devote time in the morning to connecting with the Divine Light that is available to all of us.
I realize that when working with a horse that does not yet trust me, that the fundamentals of connection and round corral work are the most important work I can do. Similarly, when parts of me are skittish and do not want to be present for prayer or in other parts of my life, in my experience the best thing I can do is slow down, go into my heart, and provide a safe place for these parts to come home. Sometimes, I wonder if following in Jesus’ footsteps is first and foremost creating a hearth inside of my heart, worthy of the Holy family. It seems that when I take time for spiritual devotions each morning that I have inner balance and connection to respond to the challenges of the day. It also seems that if I allow my wild horses to fight inside rather than seek “hook-up” and peace in my devotions, then the rest of the day I will be more likely to respond with fight, flight or freeze, which never seems to help the situation.
My hope during these last weeks of the year is that many may find the inner quietude to listen to the still small voice that connects them to their spiritual path. I hope that we can all slow down and go into our hearts so that we can be a focus of Light during the season of the longest night of the year. This is the season for going deep within and finding greater connection with the Divine Light. I hope we start a Revolution for Wholeness that starts at home inside of us, and from that foundation of “hook-up” with Divine Light let us embody the Light that will heal our family, communities, towns/cities, our nations and all the earth to be the place we dream of.