Attention; how important, how simple and how difficult. Being present, being aware, being mindful, the sacrament of the present moment, the power of now….reinforced by so many traditions and teachers, it all comes down to paying attention.
I have had a teacher of horsemanship who emphasises over and over ‘pay attention to me’. I can hear her voice saying it as I type these words. Her emphasis is that your horse should pay attention to you when you are with him. And she insists on bringing him back to you again and again. And it is very important, because if they are not paying attention to you what are they paying attention to? Their environment of course, alert for danger and certainly my two will either knock me down (Ben) or run through me (Cloud) if they spook and are not paying attention to me.
But it is more fundamental than that. If I am not paying attention to me, being present and centered and at the same time aware of what is around me: the movement of the air, the sunlight through the trees, the sounds, smells and feelings of nature that surrounds me and the wonderful, enormous presence of these ponies, well then, I am invisible to them and I am invisible to myself. When I have that attention, I have the ponies’ attention with no effort at all.
When I don’t, if I am tired, worried or generally distracted, well that is the time to sit and rest and relax as they munch through their hay, keeping a certain distance in fairness to myself and to them.
Ben, paying attention to the lake: