Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Tao Of Equus

A few days ago I finished reading The Tao Of Equus . Tao means “path” or “way”. The Tao Of Equus - The way of the horse, is about the author Linda Kohanov and her journey of healing through the horses in her life. Especially a very special Arabian mare named Rasa. Later on in the book she takes her own experiences with horses as teachers and healers to help others by starting an Equine Therapy program. When I started to read the book I was surprised by how honest the author is with her own experiences and the unusual insight she has about her own learning process. Being a teacher, that was one of the first things that caught my eye. She describes the nightmare of her first marriage, her search to find herself again, moving out to the Arizona dessert and her reconnection with horses; about being congruent, true to your feelings, yourself and completely present in the moment. She is almost forced (by her own mind) to connect with her horse Rasa on new levels after the young mare becomes lame. That´s where her interesting journey begins for real. Her own spiritual awakening with Rasa led her to investigate the scientific and metaphysical bond between horses and humans. The book has some very strong, personal stories of the people she met through her work and how meeting with horses helped them to see and approach their past in a way that enriches their lives; as well as how the meetings with horses changed their lives forever. This book is very intense. I like her writing style, she is good with the language, and her writing is fluid. Sometimes it´s poetry, sometimes facts, and often about her own experiences described in a way that you feel like you´re there with her. It´s not exaggerated to say that it´s about a spiritual awakening that is made possible when we acknowledge horses as our teachers. The human mind and the equine mind have a lot in common.

 Linda takes a huge step beyond what is common belief and “truths” about horses.  Her passion and emotion burns through the 351 pages of the book. There is obviously a lot of research and thousands of hours spent with her own teachers (the horses in her life) behind the book. It´s her first book and something extraordinary. In a way very controversial because she relates to horses as equals to humans and not as animals acting on instinct. I can imagine that her belief that horses have a consciousness similar to our own is challenging for many trainers and horse people.

 In her book she investigates her own dreams, mind, spirit, history, myth, research of the human brain and psyche and the bond between horse and human from a completely new point of view. The Tao Of Equus is breath taking and like nothing else I ever read about what´s possible to experience with your horse. I said like nothing I ever read before, because I can totally relate to many of her experiences but have never seen it on paper. Before she published the book Linda thought that people would probably consider her crazy when reading her book because of her very different approach to the horse-human bond. She explains how the horses mirror us perfectly and if we listen they make us aware of our own fears, authenticity and emphatic sides. That makes them perfect healers of a tragic childhood, abuse, trauma etc. After the book got out she had a lot of responses from people all over the world that also experienced similar things with their horses. It´s a strong book and it made me more humble and eager to listen more to my horses. It certainly gave me a lot to think about. The book is an eye opener. It´s most inspiring; and it also made me more determined to work harder towards my goal of working with children that have special needs in an equine therapy program.

I would say that The Tao Of Equus is an introduction to what´s possible to experience with an open mind and a willingness to learn from nature itself; a ground breaking work. In Linda Kohanov´s second book Riding Between The Worlds, that I just started to read, she goes deeper into “what happens when we open our minds and our hearts to the possibility that other creatures have as much to teach us as we have to teach them – not as subjects for behavioral or medical experimentation, but as intelligent, soulful beings in their own right.” (From Linda Kohanov´s introduction to Riding Between The Worlds.)

After reading her first book I have high expectations about her second! So far I´m not disappointed.

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I´d love to hear what you think about todays post. Did you relate to the topic?