The Paradigm of InterBeingness

by: Sabina Cox

The whole universe is sentient. Notice how it is always expressing, always in direct communication, always in an authentic stance of Beingness. For many humans it feels hard to remember how alive and interconnected this field of life is and especially difficult, at times, to sense how sentient the unseen world is. Our human collective is, for the most part, not focused on this field of Interbeingness. Nevertheless, I am certain this focus is shifting, because I witness it blossoming inside of me.

It may seem impossible to perceive with faculties of direct perception – the ones which bypass the mind. It may seem unlikely that we can hear the whispering in the wind, or the insights that the clouds are sharing.  But, when a thousand pound lifeform in the shape of a Horse looks you softly and deeply in the eye and your heart bursts forth, offering a key that unlocks a hidden inner door, it is hard to deny that sentience is communicating with itself. There is a field of Interbeingness and it is being birthed anew by you and I simply by recognizing it.

Just two weekends ago I flew into Arizona for a rare long weekend pilgrimage, to share in the Healing With Horses Symposium. When I entered the group space, created by an extraordinary visionary, Diedre West, I sensed a field of light. It was circulating and held by powerful pioneers in the field, by wise teachers, both equine and human in the field of healing and horses, and by the tremendous open hearts of all present. I experienced an explosion of  soul-inspiration which I still feel reverberating. The energy of such a transmission came out of the ground of the collective awareness of Interbeingness. We were in our human forms but not limited by them. We formed a herd, sharing the same Source of sentience. Although specifically focused on the horse and the collective wisdom they share, also wide open to the sky, the wind, the grass, the water and to one another in a way that recognized this truth.

The paradigm of Interbeingness is being birthed and it is growing among us, within us. Of this I am sure. Of course Interbeingness simply is. But a magic happens when we acknowledge it, allow ourselves to be humbled by it, and embrace it as our very self.

Thank you to the horses for leading the way. Thank you to the humans for allowing this paradigm to be birthed, for dissolving barriers which obscure true seeing. Thank you to the Unseen world – the midwife of this New Earth.

 

photo by Michelle Pendegrass

 

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Chapter 5: The words of Buddha

Welcome and thank you for being here.  Each post on this blog may stand alone as a contemplation. Yet, if you have not already done so, I suggest beginning with Chapter 1 and reading onwards to the most recent post. In this way the context of the journey will be more complete.

Omar is here and he is not. It feels like the magic is gone from the very molecules on the land here and in our life, and yet, the butterflies still dance and the willow tree still smiles. WIth deep sincerity. I ask, where is the magic and who is the polestar now, since Omar is not here physically?

On a silent retreat, this past New Year’s Day, I sat in silence with our teacher, Rimpoche Anam Thubten. A few days prior to the retreat, a pivotal event had occurred, priming me for deeper receptivity of the energies available for awakening. The unique relationship I had with our youngest horse, Taz,  my “baby”, had abruptly shifted. Over the course of our relationship, I had fallen into a pattern of merging with her. It felt very familiar, for it was how my “Mama” had merged with me throughout my life. Taz was an extension of me and I of her. It is true Taz and I are sacred mirrors of one another. There are specific aspects of Taz’s and my evolution which are transforming in similar ways, but merging in such a limited way, filled with projections and anthropomorphic interpretations is not helpful or true (though it felt very comforting to the empty part of myself.)

Taz, bless her heart, changed all that in one night while I was feeding her hay, causing me to revisit the way  I love.  Last in the “pecking order”and caught in the high energy of the darkness and wind, Taz decided she had waited long enough for her hay, everyone else had theirs, and she would intimidate me into allowing her to claim hers before the hay net was in place. She began to have a little tantrum and kicked out at me, two or three times successively. I felt the air currents between her hoof and my body. After herding her around the corral, she eventually communicated with me more appropriately and then enjoyed her hay. But, something had been severed and it was not just our relationship, it was the whole way I was set up with the world!  Contemplating this experience, I saw many things about the way I had arranged the flow of my love to her, with manipulative strings attached, so that this love would ensure my safety.  In an instant, those strings were scythed. I began to see another layer of a path I had oft examined, of a way to love that was not based on controlling the world, or other beings, in exchange for this love.  I saw that I had  woven a false reality out of this false type of love, one in which my love was assurance that I would always be safe and loved. In a flash, I watched this crumble.

As I sat in meditation on retreat with Anam, my whole being was primed to transform: Buddha said, “Be a lamp unto yourself.”   Anam recounted that, when he first heard those words spoken as a young boy, he felt it was not the most comforting or kindest of messages.  But, over time, he was able to see that it was a highly compassionate pointer to the end of suffering.

If any being in my daily life taught me how this could be done and what it feels like to be complete in oneself and nourished by one’s inner beingness, It was Omar. He was so complete, contained and always radiating steadfast beingness. I somehow feel he would not have left his body unless he had inside knowledge that I was ready to embody Reality. But for so much of this life I have been set up to circulate love, watch it blossom, and to then nourish myself with the “fruits.”  This meant that if the fruits did not come or if I missed harvesting them, I felt an unquenchable hunger. This is making love into a marketplace. It now seemed clear that not only was this type of love not pure love, it was also fuel for great disappointment, disillusionment and despair.

I decided then and there that “Be a lamp unto yourself” was the path for the New Year ahead. I did not know at the time that Omar would help me fully embody this with his disembodiment.

Every time I looked at Omar, and every time he looked into my eyes, with pools of light and love, my lamp was lit. Again and again. He was the wise oak tree that had been the witness to life’s vicissitudes and who knew the secret to life itself. I felt that just be being near him, he could pass on this secret of absolute contentmentomarsaboakcropsmaller. Omar was a lamp unto himself and he spent countless moments entraining me  and teaching me where that lamp is, and he is still showing me. Sometimes I feel so very blind to his wayshowing. Sometimes I have the eyes to see the eternal flame that Omar points me towards, the lamp unto myself.

There is a lamp within us and the flame actually never dies. Being nourished by that lamp is the art of remembering who we are. It is the art of unconditional love. I have not mastered this art by far, but the canvas is empty and the brush is in my open hand.

 

 

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Chapter 4: A Path Carved By The Soul’s Intention

Welcome and thank you for being here.  Each post on this blog may stand alone as a contemplation. Yet, if you have not already done so, I suggest beginning with Chapter 1 and reading onwards to the most recent post. In this way the context of the journey will be more complete.

Before Omar came to us we were two women and three horses with a somewhat inconsistent history. At times it seemed as though we were open to the flow of wisdom from the universe. At other times it seemed our actions were confused, contracted and greatly fear based. The long journey toward understanding the difference was a sacred path that Omar’s wisdom helped us travel.

We never would have ended up with horses if we hadn’t been tempted to move to Indiana. Our love for the children we were caring for caused us to consider the idea when we learned their family was moving. But we could not imagine being away from the expansive consciousness available in Northern California. One day, Alani said she would be willing to move if we had a horse. Yes, she could live in Indiana, she said, if she had a horse as a touchstone for the Real. I must say this caught me by surprise. Alani had never mentioned horses before in our many years together. She had been studying with Pir Zia, The Sufi Master, Hazrat Inayat Khan’s grandson, for two years, so it seemed natural to her to offer the decision up to a higher wisdom. She opened one of Inayat Khan’s eighteen 600 page volumes of spiritual discourse at random and put her thumb on this passage…”and then he told the young man who had once been rich but now was reduced to being a groom for horses in a stables to go to a certain city where he would become a horse trainer to wealthy people…” To say the least we were struck dumb. The books were about spiritual topics, not horses. The word horse was hardly mentioned anywhere in thousands of pages of dialog. And yet, when we asked whether we should get horses and opened to a random passage, this is the one that we saw. Needless to say, after that, we were willing to take the plunge.

One would think that Omar would have appeared immediately. Not so. Alani had fallen in love with an utterly beautiful bay mare she had seen on the internet and no amount of reasonable prudence had any effect on her determination to buy her. But this mare had a little herd of her own, and they would be orphans without her. Couldn’t we take them all, the owners pleaded. Having no experience with horses, and by now caught in a whirlwind of emotions and expectations, we agreed.

So one sunny day three very frightened Tennessee Walkers emerged from a thirteen hour trailer ride into a tiny corral at a boarding facility greeted by their new owners, us. Needless to say the Indiana trip had disappeared as the mirage it was, but we still had our horses. The next few days and months were spent doing all the wrong things since we didn’t know any of the right things. But we were marvelously happy and loved them dearly. In fact, my heart was so heavy at not being able to live with them and spend more time with them, that we ended up leaving our apartment in Silicon Valley, moving to the country and living in an RV, which we parked next to the corral where we could see them from our bedroom window and watch them from the patio we constructed under the lush pepper trees that shaded their enclosure. We were in heaven. They were the greatest, most heart-centered, loving, amazing beings we had ever encountered, and we spent hours brushing them, lying down with them when they lay down, having picnics in their corral, meditating with them and, in general, treating them like the great friends they were becoming.

There were only a few glitches. They were virtually untrained, frequently anxious, terrified and occasionally dangerous. We knew this. Yoshi had often spooked when we rode her, and Alani had broken her shoulder on one of these spooks when the saddle girth loosened and the saddle came off. But we had beginner’s faith in our ability to learn. So we read books, talked to horse people, went to trainers and were slowly getting the idea about what horses needed from us to feel safe and to be connected and loving companions.

But, no matter what we did, Yoshi’s anxiety remained and grew. At last we decided this crisis could not be solved by a human being. We would turn to a horse being. We would get Yoshi a new head of the herd who would take over the great burden she was taking on of trying to keep her inexperienced youngsters safe as herd mama. We would find a great, kind, wise horse for Yoshi.

In the end we did. That is how Omar came to us. He never overtly took over as head of the herd. He always seemed (at least in Yoshi’s eyes) to remain second in command. However, he let Yoshi know he had her back and she became more relaxed and more embodied. But what became evident from the first was what Yoshi did for Omar. Yoshi is all heart. Every fiber of her being radiates love. And she became Omar’s battery. He always stood with her, head to tail, recharging with her love.

And this is the mystery. Omar did not come to us first, Yoshi and her brood did. Was it a circle closing when Omar came? Were the energies completed by his presence and her love? And what part did our crazy, irrational willingness to give up everything, to do all the wrong things, play in all this? Our willingness to bring four horses into our lives made no sense on so many levels. And yet, on the one level that matters the most, it did.

Looked at from the outside our decision was crazy. Financially, it was far beyond our caregiver’s salary. Living in the city was not appropriate for horses, and the move to the country cost us a three hour daily commute in rush hour traffic. We were hardly horsemen and suffered from our ignorance as Alani’s broken shoulder attested. Yet, we were implacable in our desire. And not content with three, we added a fourth. The entire process seemed unhinged from reality.

Looking back, remembering the feeling with which we made these decisions, I sense two different energetic strains at work. Each of these strains had a very different quality. Like many of us, there are times that Alani and I are captured by an almost unbearable internal stress and anxiety. Ultimately, this is the ego’s response to the lack of control we have over events and our innate fear that things will go wrong if we can’t control them. This leads to a constant internal monitoring and thinking, thinking, thinking about our situation, creating concepts and developing mental patterns about what’s going on and how to make it better. We became distracted and separated from our true experience and unable to see clearly and recognize the truth that having horses will not answer this deep inner yearning for something that the mind cannot provide.

For awhile, however, the distraction was successful. Our ability to believe in a happy future of bliss with horses kept the voices at bay for a time. Whenever they got too close we just filled our mind with the happy future and we felt better. Ultimately it was unsuccessful. But, when it faltered we just doubled down on the myth and day dreamed about how good it would be once we were all together, living in the country with our dear equine friends, and could spend even more time with them.

But there was also another energy at work in our decisions. And we could also feel that contrasting quality at times. This was an open, soft, relaxed knowing, very different from the forced, contracted, relentless compulsion that often controlled our actions. This energy also led to decisions and action, but of a very different sort. In this process we were free from the contractions of mind and heart that propelled us to distract our minds from our anxiety with plans for the future and distorted ideas of the present. We relaxed deeply into just what is, and felt the space around us as alive and conscious and free. And from that space came a soft breeze of knowing that propelled our actions. And, from that place, Alani answered an ad for a black horse and Omar came to us.

Much of the teaching Omar imparted involves the ability to know the difference between these two energies. To make decisions based on this alive and open space, free from contraction. Becoming sensitive to the quality of his energy helped us to sense the presence of contraction in our reactions and intentions and to step back from it. At the very least, if we could not free ourselves from this compulsive energy, to be aware of it as it grips us and determines our actions, and to allow it to be infused with an awareness of what is happening that, in itself, changes everything.

I am not sorry that we were, at times, so helpless against this contracted, compulsive energy. Seeing it in action has taught us so much about our unthinking response to life. And, through it all, the connection with a deeper, more alive knowing has steered us toward the right track. We ultimately did move to live next to our four horses. We did throw caution to the winds and acquire more horses than we could handle. We followed some half-understood wisdom that brought us Omar and the beginning of a relationship with a being that transformed our relationship to ourselves and to life. And for this naive responsiveness to something still only half understood we are eternally grateful.

As I think over this story of Omar’s coming and how we were led to it, a few reflections come to me, reflections about this limited, contracted mind, and the vastness of the unconditioned mind. To me, our journey of initially choosing a path with horses, or more precisely, of allowing it to choose us, midlife, with no prior experience, wasn’t a path created by the compulsive, contracted mind, what the Buddhists have called conditioned mind. This conditioned mind creates a categorized slot for everything in order to feign safety, and even, once in a while, to produce short term happiness, which it always sells as lasting. It creates a world based on its preprogrammed ideas. It operates from what it knows, and what fits into the self-identity it has spent years finely crafting. In thinking about it, this path we embarked upon with horses feels more like the path of meditation – a dive into unknown terrain. It is a lot like the messy and sacred journey of the waking up of Consciousness – a path carved out by the power of the seed intention of the soul. That is why there is a bottomless stream of trust in and surrender to the process.

This is not to say that the conditioned mind did not jump in often and persuasively along the way. It is also not to say that the conditioned mind is devoid of wisdom, for if it is seen and held within the vastness of the unconditioned mind, how could it be absent of wisdom? Along the way, with the horses, these two minds danced and dueled often. Yet, each flow of action which came from conditioned mind was accompanied by an anxiety or a contraction which was either on the surface or buried beneath it. In contrast, there was a distinctive quality of presence in the unconditioned mind: pristine, real, and vitally alive and intimate. It is, after all, essentially who we are.

By this time on our journey, Alani and I had embraced a life stance of offering ourselves as fully as we could to the evolution of consciousness, however it wanted to manifest through us. That was our internal compass. We were seeking a path carved out by the power of this seed intention of the soul. That is why when the seemingly obscure desire to have a horse appeared in Alani’s heart, it was looked at with the glance of deep discernment and an honoring given to the signposts that appeared along the way.

Reflecting on the events that culminated in Omar’s arrival, I glimpse their perfection and their mystery. If these events had not been created as bi-products in this experiment of consciousness, if conditioned mind and unconditioned mind had not danced together in the vast laboratory of the soul’s pure intention, the results would have been different, I am certain. Our intention of surrender to the evolution of consciousness charged the path with great magnetism. Omar rode that wave of intention as a surrendered, yet focused ray of light. Once a great Being comes into your world with such magnetism, and such intense and essential light, dying to the old is inevitable, and so is resurrection to the Real.

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Chapter 3: Breathing with Omar

Welcome and thank you for being here.  Each post on this blog may stand alone as a contemplation. Yet, if you have not already done so, I suggest beginning with Chapter 1 and reading onwards to the most recent post. In this way the context of the journey will be more complete.

Perhaps it is because of the grief which is unleashed from Omar’s passing that it feels mighty difficult to find the words to share more of his story. But, the center point of this grief is love, unconditional love, and from that place, I will try to allow words to emerge.

Before Omar arrived, after my partenr, Alani, had met him, made her decision and he was on his way home,  I could, clear as day, hear a melody singing through the atmosphere. I could literally hear his vibration entering our world. Beneath every outer occurrence, this melody was quietly humming. It was haunting and powerful, joyful and simultaneously melancholic, and oh so familiar… and it came out of my heart as I attuned to him.

We had creatively set up a tiny area right outside of the front door of our RV (Harvey the RV – which we bought 6 months after the herd’s arrival, so that we could “move in” with them – yes, that is another story) complete with a tiny outdoor pop up  shade canopy for him. When he arrived and we finally met face to face, my heart burst. I found myself spontaneously laying down at his feet, on my back, looking up at him, heart as wide as the sky, and he licked and nuzzled my heart. It was love and surrender and deep, intimate friendship expressed through the silent language of devotion. We had countless of these expressions throughout the journey of our brief 3 years together.omarreadssmall

Omar lived in this little paddock for a month or so until he and the herd let us know they were ready to mingle. It was a rare, rare blessing to live in such a unique close proximity to such a large and sentient equine being and it was truly magical. He seemed very content and we were over the moon. Omar could come in our front door, which is not large enough for his whole body, but perfect for him to extend his head, neck and beautiful face in, perusing our books and joining us in such an eccentric way. He was exactly eye level to the windows of the RV and each night I would slide open the window and nuzzle with him from the nest of my cozy bed, saying goodnight. I felt like I had entered a realm of heaven on earth.

One night, out of the soundest of sleep, in the arms of a silent night sky, I woke and abruptly sat up . There was electric energy zipping through me, not adrenaline, but a dynamic and charged force.  I looked out the window and Omar was intently gazing upon me. His Presence was deeply magnetic, a polestar of love and peace. I opened the window and we nuzzled faces. He took his teeth and ever so meticulously groomed my eyebrow! Then we breathed together, my mouth and nose as big as his nostril, silently breathing a circulation of breath.  A breath with no giver and no receiver. We simply became the breath.

Breath unfettered by thought.
Breath freed from identity.
Becoming the breath.

This is integrity of the breath. This is when the breath itself becomes a gift. A high ideal which I now know is possible.

Omar was entraining me to the truest part of myself, the part where we all meet- the timeless place of the One Heart. No identity or thoughts live here. Here breath is prana- the inner conduit of life- of spirit itself.  It is everpresent. When we can free our habitual consciousness and surrender to the embrace of the unconditioned mind and the Presence of the boundless heart, that is what remains.

Omar taught me that this is the purest love we can give. He is still teaching me. He has shown me- is showing me that this prana does not die when the form dissolves…again, a mystery to be contemplated for all of my days.

Well, it seems that I found the words, somehow, to tell you a bit more. Thank you for creating this sacred space, where we can breathe together, in…and out…again and again. Thank you for meeting me here- in the One Heart.

 

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Chapter 2: Integrity of The Breath

Welcome and thank you for being here.  Each post on this blog may stand alone as a contemplation. Yet, if you have not already done so, I suggest beginning with Chapter 1 and reading onwards to the most recent post. In this way the context of the journey will be more complete.

In the last post the words, “Omar imparted the teaching of integrity of the breath,” landed on the page before I even knew I was typing them.  As you may have noticed, I very soon ended that post, stopping to breathe with you all and contemplating if I even know what those words meant, inviting us all to breathe together for a reverent moment.  Now a few things have come to light.

Some of us have been around horses, some intimately, some briefly and some simply through stories and dreams. I had not experienced horses during my first 40 years.  I did not know anything about them, until 3 young Tennessee Walking Horses emerged from a trailer and looked to me as their herd family.  It is hard to put into words,  but if that moment were a fragrance it would be one that exuded  pure rightness, total trust, courage and innocence and it was intoxicating.   The entirety of the yes that I became in that very moment is imprinted in me as the greatest yoga posture ever.

When I lifted up their hooves for the first time I was horrified by the strange world under there that I was supposed to clean out regularly.  Even more horrific was the name of that area under there – “frog!”  But, I digress…what I am meaning to say is that I did not know anything about horses.  What I did know about and had dedicated decades of my life to was the inner world- the subtle centers, intuition, and developing some awareness of the mind and the breath and the way the soul and the mind/body dance. I had been to India on a pilgrimage to all of the holy sites that Paramahansa Yogananda had visited in his lifetime, I had been initiated into an ancient lineage of Kriya Yoga, a refined breathing practice that is a whole universe of an inner yoga. I had felt the familiarity of the Himalayas and of the caves hidden throughout those endless mountains, where Rishis still sit, breathing awakening into the atmosphere. Up until their arrival, I still had only skimmed the surface, but the surface immediately got deeper when these horse beings stepped over the threshold of my heart. It was not until Omar detected that intoxicating fragrance wafting through the air, and agreed to live right at our doorstep (literally- and that is another story) that I really began to experience how horses transmit intelligence, how they entrain one another- nostril to nostril through the breath.

I will continue to contemplate this till the end of my days, for it is so mysterious and at the the same time, so real.  But for now, I can tell you that this teaching Omar clearly imparted- integrity of the breath.  What that means to me at this stage of the journey I will explore next time.

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Chapter 1: The New Era Of Omar

It is a new Era. Just by looking with our usual eyes, we can’t tell. But it is. Trust me.  No, trust “Omar.”  Who is Omar you may ask…well, he came to us 4 years ago, as unexpectedly as the 3 horses came to us a year prior to his arrival. But, their arrival is another story to be shared, in its own time.  We were feeling our way through this new path of the Horse which had chosen us, seemingly out of the blue. And it was obvious, we needed help.  Not from a human, but from a wiser, more experienced horse. We needed a being disguised as a horse who was really a Master Teacher and the Holder of the energy of our highest vibrational ideal.  Quite miraculously – that is who came. That is “who” is still here, although his magnificent stallion-like, solid black body is not.

This is hard to write. My heart is galloping, my eyes raining tears. There is a lump in my throat the size of a horse hoof and I stop to take a breath, for I do not want these words to be infused with the adrenaline that proceeds weeping, or the nervous layer of exposing such holiness in this medium of words.  I want the words and the spaces in between them to be holders of this vibrational ideal….so let us breathe together for just a moment, creating integrity through the breath.  That is what Omar imparted, still imparts, and will always impart.

So for now, we breathe in this new Era.  Of course there is more to the “story.” And I will tell you more next time we meet.

 

 

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