I have been away on retreat for a week and so have been unavailable to write any posts. Thank you to everybody who has sent supportive comments about Dee. She has returned a second negative swab result so we are pretty much in the clear with her now. We have spent an enjoyable couple of hours with the horses this afternoon, and also met Jayne’s new mare. Her loan agreement expires in a week, so we shall be spending more time with Red again soon. Life is starting to return to normal at the yard after the strangles scare, except for the one horse that was infected who will have to remain in quarantine for a little longer.
Our retreat was wonderful. We have been learning practices connected with Ling Gésar – the legendary warrior king of Tibet; and also gar’cham – ritual dance. When we tell people that we shall be on retreat for a week they often go a little starry eyed and say how lucky we are to have such a relaxing spiritual experience. We are indeed lucky, but people don’t seem to realise that retreats are in fact quite demanding and not ‘relaxing’ in the usual sense of the word – it is not like being on holiday. We rise early and have two hours of meditation practice before breakfast; we spend many hours concentrating listening to teachings; we engage in physical yogic practices; and we also have to look after ourselves including cooking all our meals and cleaning up. Relaxation is certainly the ultimate result of such intensive spiritual practice – and interacting with one’s Lamas and spiritual brothers and sisters – but this is the relaxation of mastery gained through long-term commitment. It is the ease and comfort in the saddle after years of riding experience … or the apparently magical communication between horse and handler through a deep understanding of natural horsemanship. Years of experience of meditation practice and recognition of the nature of mind produces the capacity to relax totally into the natural state – but arriving at this point requires concentrated effort.
Dee seemed glad to see us, and was a little mischievous as we took her out to her field. She has not been ridden for a month now, so I think she needs to work a little. I am looking forward to working with her again next week.