“Right principles are vital and primary. They bring the maximum of profit from mistakes, reduce the loss to a minimum. False pride perpetuates our mistakes, deters us from confessing them, debars us from repairing them and ceasing them.
Man’s attitude towards his mistakes is various and peculiar; some do not see them; some will not see them; some see without changing; some see and deplore, but keep on; some make the same mistakes over and over again, in principle not in form; some blame others for their own mistakes; some condemn others for mistakes seemingly unconscious that they themselves are committing similar ones; some excuse their mistakes by saying that others do the same things, as though a disease were less dangerous when it becomes— epidemic in a community.” William George Jordan
As we’ve considered through this series of posts, your attitude toward the mistakes you make determines in large measure the nature of your tomorrows. If you are prone to repeating mistakes – bad relationships, poor money choices, frequent traffic accidents – you have likely failed at some level to make the necessary adjustments in orientation that underlie all thought, words and deeds. If, however, you are the type who has developed a habit of never making the same mistake twice, you know what it takes to make the changes at the depth necessary to ensure a permanent correction.
I’ve observed an interesting phenomenon in the equestrian arts that serves as a useful symbol for what is required from an individual who seeks to improve upon the way he handles mistakes in life. Horses in their natural setting, undisturbed by human intervention, tend to move in ways that are not ideal when a rider is upon the horse’s back. The balances are just off. They lean where they shouldn’t, hollow their backs to the discomfort of their rider and so on.
Those skilled in the art of horsemanship can get the the horse to move in a new way quickly and with as little stress as possible. There is always going to be some stress or pressure involved, as new muscle must be built and exits must be closed off to prevent the horse form reverting to his natural way of going. But done artfully, tension, struggle and opposition are artfully dodged.
To get to this point as a rider you must typically have hundreds if not thousands of hours in the saddle. You must recognize and develop a feel for the many ways a horse uses to avoid the desired balances and then you learn how to block those exits. Newton’s Third Law comes into play for as with so many things in life, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Horses are by nature very intelligent creatures but they, like us, tend to be creatures of habit.
Once you learn a horse’s preferred modes of evasion and gain experience with respect to those leaks in the structure you are seeking to build, you can move quite quickly in the establishment of new levels of control, lightness, suppleness and balance. But you have to keep your head in the game! And to keep your mind focused and present you must have a clear and untroubled heart. Wisdom – the sense of the fitness of things – cannot manifest unless body, mind and heart are in alignment.
If you think of yourself as the horse and the rider your higher self, you can look at the challenge of handling mistakes more gracefully in a new way. You have been programmed – genetically, socially, through your life experiences to date – to handle mistakes in a certain likely predictable way. The fabulous Mr. Jordan mentioned a number of the most common evasions in the opening quote above, and there are certainly many others that come into play depending on how creative the individual proves himself to be. But why not listen more carefully to the spirit of wisdom that is present within you?
Your body, mind and heart are but the vehicle for the expression of the individual focus of creative brilliance within you. They are the horse and you are the rider. Your mind is not the rider, your body is not the rider and your heart is most certainly not the rider. You are the rider. The rest is the horse and the horse is here to provide the means by which your expression can be grounded into the earth of your circumstances.
At first the relationship is awkward. Like the untrained horse, your body, mind and heart do not tend to jibe with the winds of creative expression that blow from the particular focus of life that you are. But learn to apply Newton’s Third Law and your progress will blow you away! Learn to rise up to the inner call to greatness and meet it with sufficient opposing force in your heart and your mind and the actions you take with your body have no choice but to come into alignment.
Consciously, deliberately block the exits, the bad habits, and you will form a container that will allow for buildup of pressure necessary to move forward. It does not matter if you do this in relation to a new and fresh opportunity or in the face of the most chronic of your mistaken ways, the principle will work if given sufficient time and consistent attention.
Watching an accomplished rider work with a well-trained horse and you see a magical interplay that defies description and seems divinely inspired. The two become one. There is union. The same can happen to you in relation to your body, mind and heart. The inner qualities of you that relate to the particular focus of life that you are can mesh seamlessly with the outer capacities of body, mind and heart that you have, producing a magical display worthy of note.