Last week a gentleman called about my Animal Reiki and Communication workshops in New Paltz and we talked for awhile about his new-found passion for horseback riding. He stated that his true goal was to experience “union with a horse.” I knew immediately he was coming to the right place, yet I had no clue exactly how magnificently we would all experience his heart’s longing.
The “Holy Grail” of all spiritual seekers is the experience of Unity Consciousness, or Oneness– the Merge of flesh into Spirit, the pure knowing that we are not separate but One Mind, One Heart, One Consciousness expressing through all form. Other ways to attempt to express this delectable yet inexpressible space beyond words: Going Home to the Heart of All that Is; The Bliss of the Self; A Joining of Hearts; Melting and dissolving into No Mind; Unconditional or Divine Love; Ecstatic Union.
Well this is also the ultimate destination and delicious nectar of possibility of all that I teach. Not the least of which can happen in my work with animals, though it has never happened so undeniably with a group present as it did this Sunday in my Animal Communication workshop at LaLuna Farm.
And it was doubly sweet because it happened with a difficult horse named Categorica; she was a miserable being when we first met over a year ago, and challenged everyone with her mean temper, her fear and skittishness, and her flat out refusal to jump (especially disappointing for a jumper). In short, she was downright dangerous and her owner reasonably refused to have anything to do with her and couldn’t even give her away. (Read more about her in my last blog.)
I saw her twice in Wellington, and her owner continued to work with me, often over the phone, since our first session the spring of 2009. They both made generally steady progress with a few pitfalls and injuries along the way, so I couldn’t wait to see Categorica in person again.
I visited her stall last Friday evening with the same gentlemen, Joseph, and though she seemed fairly friendly with me, some of her old mistrust returned when faced with a new person approaching her. Joseph was understandably afraid of her as she flicked her ears and jerked her head around nervously and a bit threateningly, though nothing like the menacing mare I met our first day.
On Saturday we opted to work with several other horses to practice Reiki with as I felt Categorica would have trouble tolerating lots of new people touching her, and frankly did not think it was safe for the students. The other horses we chose all responded with great big sighs and gentle nickerings of “more, more, don’t stop the Reiki.”
But the big surprise came on Sunday when we all went to the barn to practice our telepathic communication skills. Categorica had just come in from a walk, and her owner Julie brought her towards our group on just a halter and lead rope. Julie stopped a bit of a distance away so Categorica would feel safe, and we all sent an energetic “hello” as we had been practicing that morning.
Miracle number one happened – Categorica moved forward toward us and extended her muzzle toward every single person until they offered their hand and she ever so gently sniffed and licked us all in a row in an unmistakable greeting. A noise in the barn caused her to turn her head before she officially greeted the remaining two students. Immediately after she checked out the noise, she went back to exactly the two people she had missed and again offered her muzzle and touched their hands in the sweetest most profound and intentional “hello” I had ever witnessed.
She was completely at ease, head lowered, soft and sweet with eyes fluttering dreamily and kindly, all her movements very slow and trusting. Her owner kept commenting that she had never done anything like this before.
Then came the second miracle. She fixed her gaze on me directly and moved forward again till she was just a few inches away from my face, staring straight into my eyes for what seemed like an eternity. Several minutes of total silence and complete stillness ensued, and I felt my heart center burst open and my whole body begin to resonate with what I can only describe as the “Great Big Heart Love of a Horse” filled with the deepest tones of gratitude and a depth of knowingness that I have only experienced with true spiritual masters.
About 10 minutes went by in this exquisite equine embrace, and I felt her have a momentary flicker of doubt. She conveyed to me that she was a bit concerned that the raw power of her BIG- HEART-HORSE-LOVE may be too much for some of the students. So I spoke out loud finally, and articulated what was happening to me as best I could; sharing her concern. I asked everyone to make a conscious choice to receive her potent prying heart-opening expression of her true being, so that she could continue knowing that everyone was willing to receive the enormity of her gift.
Luckily, everyone was enthralled and receptive to having their heart burst open in this very direct and powerful way, and so Categorica felt permission to continue and began again to stare right into my eyes allowing everyone else to bear witness.
I told her mentally that I could hold everything she was transmitting, and I would send it right back. It felt like my body was a mad rushing river in springtime, nothing to hold onto sweeping everything in its path downstream. Relinquishing all boundaries, I merged into a huge undulating current of the most forceful energy I ever felt, a love so fierce and powerful that it would not allow me to withhold anything. This love was not soft and fluttery but so bold and raw and enveloping that it’s dynamite blast pried my chest cavity open quite palpably.
I could hold onto nothing. I could only agree to be flooded, to let go of all smallness and holding back, to feel my own greatness as I felt hers, not separate and smaller but uniting and matching. This Big-Heart-Horse-Love demanded that just as I accept the bigness of who she is, I must immediately and fully accept that largesse within myself and reflect it right back in order to keep the flow going. Anything less would have diminished both of us.
This immense Presence and great expanded awareness is what I saw in her that first day, underneath the terrible display of resentment toward all of life. I remembered telling her owner that if she could get through the many layers of fear and mistrust and anger and disappointment this mare had built up about humans, that she would have the most amazing horse and the greatest teacher she would ever know. And now I stood before her, in all of that great potential unmasked, and I whispered silently in my heart: “Categorica, I see you for the great spiritual being that you are,” residing at times in a very ill-fitting and uncomfortable horsey form. And she continued to pry me open with her massive spiritual presence, first my heart chakra flung far and wide, then on to my solar plexus, the third chakra of power, and then to the lower first and second chakras that began to buzz and tingle and expand, until I felt like I had been dissected and peeled open wide to my core, a complete unveiling for both of us.
My sister Meg, standing to my right, said the only other time she felt anything like this was sitting in front of Ma, one of my Meditation Masters. And this is exactly why I am working so much with animals, for I have found them to be incredible spiritual teachers in general, and a handful of them are highly evolved Teachers on par with some world renowned Masters that I have had the great good fortune to live and study with. Yet rarely have they revealed themselves with so many others around me, and never before in a workshop setting. This is a testament to the participants’ ability to become still, quiet the noise of the mind, and open their hearts. For often, the willingness to receive such a blessing of pure bliss is key.
So before I left this exquisite moment with this newly awakened Teacher in horse clothing, I wanted to let Categorica know that I would honor her by telling people about her true essence, and without skipping a beat, she replied: “And I will be telling others about YOU!” Straight from the horses mouth!