To paraphrase the poet – trust in God but tether your horse

Aliya gallops.  Photo: Candida Baker

Aliya gallops. Photo: Candida Baker

 Living in conscious awareness of the moment, in the same way horses do, can dramatically increase our sense of well-being, writes Beate Sommer from Take Time to Smell the Horses.

I’m going to begin by telling one of my favourite stories from Wisdom of the Sands – Discourses on Sufism (Vol.1) by Osho. It’s a slightly modified version, because I’m replacing the traditional camel in the story with a horse.

A Master was travelling with his disciple. The disciple was in charge of taking care of the horse. They came to an inn later that night and it was the disciple’s duty to tether the horse, only he didn’t bother and simply prayed to God ‘Take care of the horse’.

The next morning the horse was gone. The Master asked, ‘Where is the horse?’ The disciple answered, ‘I don’t know. Ask God. I told him to look after it. I am not responsible because I asked God very clearly! And don’t you go on teaching “Trust God” and so I trusted.’ The Master said, ‘Trust in God but tether your horse first – God has no other hands than yours.’

It is easy to trust in God/Spirit and be lazy. It is also easy to not trust in God/Spirit and be a doer. It takes practice to trust in God/Spirit and be a doer at the same time! God/Spirit is the real doer. We are just instruments in his/her hands. Every little action is God/Spirit working through us

Our life energy plus divine support is embodied trust. We need both – acting with strength and surrendering. Our most powerful tool is the breath, breathing our own breath and being breathed by Divine Breath. Going through life we find ourselves in a diverse range of experiences – sad, happy, successful, difficult, busy, peaceful – and it is important to live with compassion for the world for every sentient being and for ourselves. In my studies of the Aramaic Beatitudes (see my blog: I recently came across this definition of compassion: Compassion is the joyful suffering of growing which replaces the anxiety of not trusting life.

So what does all of this have to do with horses other than that in the story I have changed a camel for a horse

Well, it is in the horse’s nature to be relaxed and trusting and when a situation requires attention to deal with it efficiently and then go back to relaxed grazing. It seems to me that horses live from a still and peaceful inner place from which all activity arises, unfolding and expanding from this sacred space within. Society, however, is built on distracting us from being in this stillness, which causes us stress, tension and pain.

In my studies of Sufism I also came across the following: From a still centerpoint we unfold into a larger circle with definite boundaries; this begins by our rediscovering sacred space inside. (The Sufi Book of Life, 99 Pathways of the Heart by Neil Douglas-Klotz)


Being with horses can teach us to become fully aware of ourselves and how to truly be in each moment, connected to this sacred space within, connected with others and our environment and connected with God/Spirit. This connection is the beginning of a deep relaxation, letting go of the stress and tension we have let build in our bodies. Being around horses encourages us to explore the stillness in our center and how to let all activity arise from there

Take some time today in nature and with the animals and rediscover the connection and awareness of all the various parts of yourself, including a broad range of emotions. Do this through breath, your own breath (as in conscious breath exercises) and Divine Breath (allow your natural breath by allowing your body to breathe you). Breathe and be breathed. Herein lies your empowerment and joy.

The horse possesses the grounded power of Earth and the whispers of wisdom found in Spirit. Taking time to be with them is a way to access earthly and divine power.

You can contact Beate Maria Sommer on







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