Imagine it’s the year 1800 here on Earth. And we’re from another planet that is exactly like Earth, except for one thing: instead of horses, on our planet people ride giant kangaroo-type animals that makes leaps 10 car-lengths long.
Obviously, riding an animal that travels in 15 meter (almost 50 foot) jumps would require a different set of skills and a different riding style than we’d use for riding a four-legged horse.
Imagine us with a bunch of other riders who are also from this other kangaroo planet. When we all get together, all of us are riding these horses making these weird motions, like we’re on the back of a whale or something.
It’s bizarre and it makes no sense but it’s what our minds are trained to do and we’ll be super serious about it. We’ll argue with people if they try to tell us we should do things differently. How we ride is an aspect of our identity.
But. If we forget who we’ve been; if we surrender into the moment and feel the movement of the actual live horse beneath us, then we’ll start to find a way to cooperate with its movement in that state of presence.
As we get more in touch, our horse-soul and our rider-ego can ride smoothly together –on most terrain. Of course the world will always make us run up and down some steep hills. But riding the soul we’re on is always better than riding on one soul while we think about another.
Our soul is our soul. Trying to change it is like trying to change our horse into a giant kangaroo. That has super low odds of happening. ‘Be yourself’ as the old saying goes. We have to stop wanting to ride using what our history points to, and we need to trade those thoughts for presence.
The ego will suffer if it tries to think it’s desire for a kangaroo will help it ride a horse. But if we accept the horse, and we become present with it, we can suddenly realize that we also weren’t originally accustomed to kangaroos either –we learned to ride those from others around us.
And in the end that’s all society is. We all teach each other how to dress, act, and what to believe in. But those are always just beliefs, subject to change. All we really need is food, shelter, and each other.
Think again about us crazy kangaroo planet people here on Earth in the year 1800, bouncing around on our horses. If we, nor any of our other fellow interplanetary visitors has a revelation about it, for generations we could all be here on Earth, teaching our kids to ride horses like they’re kangaroos. Every day would be a rodeo. And in many ways this still happens.
Even today, there are parents who are unwittingly teaching their children really unfortunate and uninformed ideas about other kinds of people.
The children learning those things are all innocent, just as the people teaching it to them were, and just like the later generations of kangaroo riders would be. Kids don’t learn racist or not-racist –we learn whatever our parents and society models to us.
Presuming they’re mentally healthy in a biological sense, even a racist will naturally dislike seeing any human being actually suffer in any meaningful way. That’s a reaction from our soul, the horse. The racism is in the rider, who manufactured it in their ego, using untrue thoughts.
As they think those thoughts that do not align with their souls, they end up bumping around on top of their soul. That’s why people like this are often very disruptive in society. They are out of alignment.
In an attempt to calm themselves down, an ego will yank on the bridle as though it should be in charge. But our egos are tiny when compared to the strength of the soul. Souls are wise and loving and cooperative.
Egos get easily frightened and that makes them confused, which makes them dangerous advocates for anything positive. If we want to change others toward love, we are best to use love. We do this because those we disagree with are not bad, they are confused. Their horse is fine, it’s the rider that’s lost in thought.
Love can allow a person the space necessary to allow them to untie their own confusion with only a little help from us. And once that’s done, we can all go riding together. Which is great, because, after all, we’ve got lots to cooperate on in this world.
If we need help changing the world, it’s worth remembering that, when we’re trying to seek the best in others, we are wisest to appeal to the horse and not the rider.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.