Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Widening our circle

Which one of us could create this?

It seems like ol' Albert is becoming our most-quoted expert here. I don't mind that one bit! Helene found this one:
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
These are beautiful words, truly beautiful. If we could even barely touch on the reality that they point to, the world would be transformed. As I see it, the biggest stumbling block is that we think that we are already liberated from the prison of our personal desires and affection for the few people or animals we know best. We might think "others" are still stuck but not you and I. You might even be able to walk up to a person on the street and give her a dollar, and think that makes you a good, caring and compassionate person.

The plan, the web is so much bigger than that. That we think that we can do some action that will prove that we are "good" or "compassionate" is merely a reflection of our human arrogance, and fear. We are very small, fragile beings who are given the gift of this next breath, this next heartbeat. If you have ever been in a state where you weren't able to take these gifts for granted you'll know what I am referring to. Even the most brilliant of us humans has limited intelligence compared to the intelligence that knows how to string together DNA, to create a baby from two cells, to turn a substance from dough to bread, to rotate the planets and birth a star.

How then can we fragile, minuscule human beings take on the task that Einstein suggests? How can we free ourselves from the prison of our personal desires and circumstantial affection for the few persons nearest to us?

The answer to that question is what I am on a quest to find now.

Here were the answers I found today:

A big storm moved in last night and spent the day playing amongst the trees.

As the sun touched the horizon it broke through the clouds, at least from my vantage point.

As Sunny and I walked down to the horses, the last rays were touching the treetops.

Rounding the corner here's what we found.

In the horse pasture I found two Canadian geese singing a sonata. I think the title was "Beware! Don't come near us!"

Then I found these three creatures in there. They were singing a different tune. I might be wrong, but I think they called it, "Where's dinner?"

I've had one correct answer for the mystery plant and another person is hot on the trail. Keep your guesses coming to stormy@stormymay.com


  1. Thank you, Stormy, for bringing us back to the wisdom and beauty of Mother N, and the horses. As I took in your photos and videos, I could actually feel myself relax, soften and breathe more deeply. When I was reading the dialogue of the past few days, I could feel myself tighten and tense. The difference between simply receiving the gifts of day, and needing to wrestle with them maybe? I'm not sure. How interesting.

  2. I think St. Paul says it well in 1 Corinthians 12:
    "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord..........The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. .....Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body...... If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

    Stormy asks: "How then can we fragile, minuscule human beings take on the task that Einstein suggests?" The answer is we have to orient ourselves toward our creator, as we have no idea how everything fits together - only the creator knows how the foot relates to the ear.

  3. You actually used this quote before 

    It is such an inspiring thought that allies the rare combination of absolute simplicity to profound truth – a multifaceted precious jewel.
    It can fit the most elementary levels of daily life or serve as a base to more spiritual debates. The scientist will relate it to matter, the theologian to ether and the philosopher to …blabber!

    From a practical point of view, from the horses and animal life point of view, I like to take it literally and (try) putting it to immediate effective use:

    “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

    I translate this simply: Be open minded, practice tolerance and accept all others form of life without judging and most importantly trying changing them or teaching them Latin.

    Widening the circle of compassion can take many forms but in my view the more effective forms are these that translate in practical applications.
    Carolyn Resnick advocates teaching compassionate horsemanship by example and not confrontation. It is a great advice that is also in keeping with this quote.
    However, for others (I am thinking of the outstanding Madeleine Pickens) it will mean assuming more pro-active legal/political roles to bring about urgently needed changes for horses.
    Your inspiring film the Path of the Horse was also a result of such practical application.

    But the question remains: What is the ultimate goal of this new natural horsemanship? Is it just a philosophical debate among sporadic groups on how to bring measured improvements to the captive horses?
    Or is it perhaps simply the promising new seed of some future significant application?!


  4. I don't have a goal - I'm answering a call.

  5. You know, like:
    Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!.... I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.