“Small minds select narrow roads; expand your mental vision and take to the broad road of helpfulness, compassion and service.”
–Sathya Sai Baba (Indian Spiritual Teacher, c.1926-2011)
“If we open our hearts to the suffering of the world, the healer in each of us is called forth to manifest the qualities of love and compassion and relieve suffering wherever we find it. In our effort to heal others, we also heal ourselves.”
–Frances Vaughan (American Transpersonal Psychologist and Writer)
“For human beings, love is the most important fruit of experience in the sensory world. Once we really understand the nature of love, or compassion, we will find that love is the way spirit expresses its truth in the world of the senses….”
–Rudolf Steiner (Croatian-born Austrian Mystic, Occultist, Social Philosopher, Architect and Founder of Anthroposophy, 1861-1925)
“Reflect on all the love expressed by people everywhere who want to give and receive love. Feel the unconditional love of healers everywhere who want to relieve suffering wherever they find it. Remember that you are among them. You can find the source of infinite, healing compassion in the depths of your own heart.”
–Frances Vaughan (American Transpersonal Psychologist and Writer)
“To pine for an alternative past is a waste of energy. In the pristine world of your infinite spiritual self, there is no sin or negative energy. There is only compassion, learning, and unconditional love and forgiveness. Remind yourself and those around you of this fact. In the light of God, everything is healed and seen to be perfect.”
–Stuart Wilde (English-born Author, Lecturer and Humorist 1946-)
“We must each lead a way of life with self-awareness and compassion, to do as much as we can. Then, whatever happens we will have no regrets.”
–The 14th Dalai Lama (a.k.a. Tenzin Gyatso, Tibetan Religious and Political Leader, 1935-)
“Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.
Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye.
But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed.
These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal.”
–Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Russian Author, Translator and Founder of the Theosophical Society, 1831-1891)
“Reason guides our attempt to understand the world about us. Both reason and compassion guide our efforts to apply that knowledge ethically, to understand other people, and have ethical relationships with other people.”
–Molleen Matsumura (Director of the National Center for Science Education, 1948-)
“Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.”
–Chögyam Trungpa (Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Teacher, Scholar, Artist and Founder of Naropa University, 1940-1987)
I live on a horse farm, so I see the interactions between horses and between horses and humans almost every day. Horses are extraordinarily sensitive creatures with their own sets of emotions and highly developed sense of propriety. They are also very good barometers for the emotional states of humans. We could not work out why one of the horses at another farm was consistently bratty with one particular rider, until we discovered that she was high on ecstasy. Her “energy” was a mess and it totally confused the horse.
On the other hand, horses are often used therapeutically with emotionally and mentally ill and handicapped children and adults. My old horse – Mr. Black – was a perfect therapy horse: nothing ever fazed him.
There is now some more research demonstrating one of the possible mechanisms by which horses may be able to pick up on a rider’s emotional states.
Some of their work is controversial, but most has been quite convincing.
I have for several years now been interested in the phenomenon of Heart Rate Variability (HRV). As the name implies, it is a measurement of the beat-to-beat variation in the heart’s rate. Alteration (primarily reductions) of HRV has been reported to be associated with various pathologic conditions like hypertension, hemorrhagic shock, and septic shock. It has found its role as a predictor of mortality after an acute myocardial infarction. It may also be disturbed in major depressive disorder.
I knew about it from the days that I worked at the National Heart Hospital in London, but Roger Callahan – the discover of Thought Field Therapy (TFT) – has been able to show that TFT is one of the few therapies that can normalize it. We also discussed it in the context of the vagal nerve and compassion.
From a pilot study by the Institute and Dr. Ellen Gehrke from Alliant University it appears that a horse’s heart rhythms reflect their emotional state and can respond to the emotional state of a nearby human. When in contact, a horse’s heart rate may mirror a human’s emotions, implying a close unspoken form of communication between the two.
The study took place at Dr. Gehrke’s ranch in San Diego, where electrocardiogram (ECG) recorders were placed on her and also on four of her horses. All five were monitored during a 24-hour period in which the horses were under a variety of normal conditions and activities such as eating, grooming or being alone. Measurements were also done while they were being ridden and accompanied by Dr. Gehrke.
The ECG recorders projected increased coherent HRV patterns for the horses during times of close, calm contact between them and Dr. Gehrke. Coherent HRV patterns have been shown to be the result of positive emotions and facilitate brain function.
Dr. Gehrke said, “Horses receive information from body language and give feedback. They don’t think very much, they feel. They are very emotional and honest. They also have a powerful impact on your sense of self and ability to lead.”
I don’t think that cardiac coherence is the whole story. They also respond to micro-movements – small movements of the legs, arms and trunk that are all but imperceptible to humans – and we have seen many of them sense events at long range. I travel a great deal and come home at odd times. But several witnesses saw Mr. Black start to become very excited 20-30 minutes before I would arrive home. In England, Rupert Sheldrake has amassed a considerable body of evidence to support those observations.
Nonetheless, this is very important research and I shall be very interested to see the final version once it has been subject to peer review.
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
–Sir Winston Churchill (English Statesman, British Prime Minister, 1940-1945 and 1951-1955, and, in 1953, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1874-1965)
“A man on a horse is spiritually as well as physically bigger than a man on foot.”
–John Steinbeck (American Writer and, in 1962, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1902-1968)
“Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization we will find the hoofprint of the horse beside it.”
–John Moore (American Man of Letters and Former Archivist and Librarian for the State of Tennessee, 1858-1929)
“I’d rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God’s sake.”
–J.D. Salinger (American Writer, Student of Advaita Vedanta and Recluse, 1919-)
“In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs – it’s something you just can’t get from a pet hamster!”