This is one of my favourite Zen teaching stories.
"A horse suddenly came galloping quickly down the road.
It seemed as though the man had somewhere important to go.
Another man, who was standing alongside the road, shouted,
"Where are you going?"
and the man on the horse replied,
"I don't know! Ask the horse!"
Does this feel familiar?
How often do we feel like someone else is in control! The horse represents our habits, and it shows us how we generally live at the mercy of our patterns, behaviours and general busy-ness that we haven't intentionally chosen but which has chosen us by society and life.
In the story, the horse is in control. It's pulling us along, making us run here and there, hurrying everywhere and yet we generally don't even know why. If you stopped to ask yourself from time to time why exactly you're running around so much, sometimes you might have an answer, but it's never a very good one. You're just used to it, it's perhaps how you're used to living, a habit and something that you've practiced maybe your whole life.
But as much as we run, it gets us nowhere. It's like running on a treadmill but never reaching our destination. There will always be lists, there will always be things to do, there will always be pressures and expectations etc We can only learn how to take back the reigns and let the horse know who's boss.
Step off the treadmill every so often and just be.
Next Mindfulness 8 week course begins Monday 20th Jan, classes at 10am or 7pm for 90 minutes.