Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Horse With No Name

Every man is divinity in disguise.
It is God playing the fool.
“I See You” by MHopkins © 2014
Now I’ve been up close and personal with some animals—dogs, cats, monkeys, raccoons, bears, even some endangered species like the lynx and bobcat that visit my land—but never a the middle of the road...on a dark and snowy night.
I suppose stranger things have happened.
‘Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and I was on my way home from a holiday musical extravaganza sponsored by the Unity Church of Boulder.
With a new moon rising and snow clouds hanging low in the sky, visibility was limited as I wound my way up the familiar stretch of Boulder Canyon toward my home. Sticking close to the canyon wall, I drove through the snow, all the while contemplating the meaning of “Unity.” What does it really mean—this concept of oneness?
Suddenly, out of nowhere, I came upon a horse running wildly back-and-forth across the narrow, two-lane road, sliding as she maneuvered uphill in the snow. The unexpected sight of her scared me half to death; she was scared, too. So I stopped and turned on my hazard lights, not sure what to do next, but this much I knew: Boulder Canyon is no place for a horse, especially at night when it’s snowing.
For a brief moment I watched her and, she, looking over her shoulder, watched me. And then I did the only thing I could think of to do: I rolled down my window and talked to her.
“Don’t be scared . . . I’m not going to hurt you,” I said softly. “Please, you have to get out of the road before you cause an accident.”
She stopped running, eyeing me suspiciously.
“Please, come here . . . you have to get out of the road,” I pleaded.
Slowly, she turned and walked toward me.
“Come here, girl, I’m not going to hurt you. I want to help you,” I continued, coaxing her with promises of safety while holding out my hand to her through the open window.
She approached my car, towering high above it, and lowered her head to meet me at eye level. As I reached out to touch the side of her face I saw something in her eyes that moved me. In that moment, I caught a glimpse of her spirit and I understood with acute awareness what I had only intellectualized until then—that the same life force that moved through her flowed through me. The same vital energy that animated her form, gave life to mine, albeit in different packages.
It was as if time stood still for me and that horse on the canyon. I whispered, “I see you.”
Just then a car came barreling around the corner and slammed on the brakes. My new friend freaked out and started running around my car. She had no bridle or halter to grab, so there was little I could do but work out a plan with the man in the car behind me to get the horse out of the road. We agreed—he would stay with the horse and warn oncoming cars with flashing lights, and I would drive the remaining three miles up the canyon and get the local police to help us.
The rest of the story played out like a scene from The Andy Griffith Show. I ran into the police station and exclaimed with excitement: “There’s a horse in the middle of the canyon.” To which the officer replied, “Yeah, what does the horse look like?”  
Four legs a tail and a gorgeous mane?  So I described the horse and told them of the man I had left behind on the canyon waiting for help, and I discovered that the officers knew the horse—or at least they knew the horse’s guardian—and they followed me out to remedy the situation. The horse was rescued. Crisis averted. It was surreal.
Later, as I pulled into my driveway, I could not shake the intensity of my experience with that horse—the moment of connection with her living spirit. What a precious gift to see and truly understand the essence of this spiritual principle, which reminds us that we are all unique expressions of the same Creative Source, interconnected with everyone and everything else. Call that Source whatever you like—God, Allah, Great Spirit, Creator, the “Big C”—it matters not, because there is only One from which all things flow.
You are at once a beating heart
and a single heartbeat in the body called humanity.
~Dr. Wayne Dyer
Oneness is a concept emphasized by many, and has been, perhaps, one of the toughest ideas for me to wrap my mind around. It is simple enough in theory to say that we’re all one, but when I see my neighbor in his yard shoveling snow and I’m standing across the street in my own yard—physically separate from him—it’s hard to make the connection. It is especially challenging for me to find the common thread when I look at the most vile criminal offenders—rapists, murderers and child molesters—for it is here that I am most keen to distinguish myself in every conceivable way. It’s even more difficult to conceptualize my oneness with the creek flowing through my back yard or the horse in the middle of the canyon, particularly when I consider the differences in our physical constitutions.
To grasp this concept requires that we open our minds and see beyond our physical limitations. Analogies help. For instance, if I pour wine from a bottle into your glass, what do you have? A glass of wine—the same wine that’s still in the bottle, only now a portion of it has been transferred to another container. The same is true of me, the horse and the vital energy that flows through us, bringing our “containers” to life. True, our containers are quite different and come with unique bells and whistles—in that way, we’re definitely not the same—but we come from One, which makes us all related in a wonderfully abstract way.
Spiritual teachers and mystics across time have urged us to consider that what we do to one we do to all; that we cannot hurt another without also, in some way, hurting ourselves. And while many of us may find it easy to extend that thought pattern and courtesy to a handful of people we're close to (our immediate family and loved ones) how often do we reach out to help strangers or animals or the environment in the spirit of unity and oneness?
And so this was my Gift of the Magi—wisdom and recognition shared between a girl and a horse on a dark canyon road, and now I pass it on to you.
As we begin a new year, may you connect with the peace that comes with understanding your connection to the One.

1 comment:

Flora Diehl said...

Such a beautiful story and the power of connection. I held my breath as I thought about the connection with criminals, etc. I guess we are some unknown degree of separation from everyone and everything in the universe. Like the ocean. Such a strong connection. Such a strong story. Love it.