Training the Horse


My body is a taxi for my brain. How do I transcend the machine?

I approach the problem from a mental standpoint. This is helpful in its own way, but even with philosophy, the mind has its limits: It allows me to remain unaware of my body. I think; therefore, I am? No. I feel; therefore, I am.

In threatening situations, like the ones that brought me into the world, it’s painful to be aware of the present — to be in the body. The only thing I could do back then was use my mind to escape. Eyes looking out on the world. Trying to make sense of it.

So the mind became the answer. It was an answer of isolation. I went into myself to escape people who sought escape.

Ironically, with meditation, it seems you inflict the same wound upon yourself: you escape the world by going inward. But in reality, you work to escape an illusion, an unconscious belief that you’re still back in the past. The goal is to bring your awareness to the world as it is today.

This is all theory because I have yet to achieve it. I’m only at the beginning of a practice that I hope will take hold this time because meditation is beginning to make sense.

In the past — that phrase again — meditation was threatening because I couldn’t see a way out of history. Sitting meant marinating in incoherence, the separation between mind and body. I would go to a low state of energy in which the only possibility was to fall asleep so I could escape the inner battle. Sitting felt like the same old trap, and my body found a way out. I checked out instead of in.

In those moments, the experience was frustrating. But now I see: My body always tells me where it’s been. And awareness of my history in the present moment presents new possibilities. I can choose to come back to myself. I can choose to embody coherence.

Each time I bring my focus back to the present moment and I tell the mindbody “horse” to stay, to direct its attention and power where I tell it — to the now — I train the horse to turn away from the historical path and to remain here with me in the now.

I step out of the taxi (machine) and climb onto the (animal) horse. We breathe as one. Each with respect for the power of the other. Let’s see where we take each other.