I love the outdoor life here in the Perthshire hills, as it keeps me in touch with nature and it’s abundant wildlife. It is a wonderful counterbalance to my sedentary and creative working life which I also love. When I am with my horses all of life’s challenges, work issues and general concerns and worries fade into oblivion. I play with them in their field, mostly at liberty, and watch as the bond between us becomes more apparent. How we learn to understand each other through love, patience, fun and trust. It is times like this that make all of life worthwhile, that make the days special. They are my family and we will be together for all our lives. I cannot imagine life without them.
I have a great interest in human development and have to stop myself from getting too despondent over how slow we human beings seem to grow, and how it takes making the same mistake over and over, to learn that something doesn’t work. I know this from personal experience as I have made many mistakes in my life, but also from observing others, particularly loved ones and friends. We as humans are all creatures of habit and the old maxim “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” works best if each time you change something in the approach.
I suppose I was lucky in some ways to have grown up with a family that I loved and loved me. With parents that loved each other and stayed together their whole lives. My father taught me many things but the two most poignant things were, integrity, and never let the sun go down on a grudge, and I grew up with these firmly assimilated into my being.
I try to bring out the best in everyone I meet, not in a patronising way, but because I know that everyone is unique and I like the discovery process. I think people can shine, every day, and that light illuminates everyone and everything within its glow. This is warm and heartening and every human being is capable of it and it can be frustrating and saddening when humanity succumbs to the capital vices – particularly, greed, envy and pride that bring a darkness to the soul, and reinforce the illusion of separation from nature and each other.
The less I have the richer I feel. The less I have the closer to nature I feel. “Ownership” is a false concept which perpetuates separation and inequality. The native americans and other indigenous tribes throughout the world had no understanding or word for this idea, seeing themselves as part of, and custodians of the natural world. This made all men equal with a universal purpose. Everything was done only for the good of all.
Sometimes I wonder whether the belief of a divine principle greater than my own spirit steals from me the chance to be the master of my own destiny. A premise that invokes a flawed notion that someone else is responsible for my existence, and any negative circumstances that may subsequently come my way. I prefer to think that God is not so much a divine being and creator of all that exists, but more a “collective experience of ecstatic and pure love”. An experience that can only be realised on a subconscious level, unconstrained by ego, and on plane of existence perhaps not so far removed from this one, where there is no need for earthly trappings born out of physical limitations. With this concept a knowing awakens in me that the true and full experience of love and compassion is realised only beyond the realms of the life we know. Where we can feel the joy, warmth and sanctity of interconnectedness with everything and each other. Heaven if you like. I have a feeling that this is where horses go when they die, as do all animals, and is a natural progression for humans as we awaken to each others true nature and see the reflection of our own soul in each other.
Great pain is often inflicted in the name of love and religion, both of which are often saddled with conditions. Both have very narrow precepts and are often understood to be limiting and binding, constrictions that the human being by his very nature would consciously or subconsciously always try to escape from, being drawn towards freedom and independence. Do not priests, monks, Rabbis, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus etc all talk of “sacrifice” when embracing their chosen religion? Has not every army in all of history hailed “God on its side” just before breaking his most sensitive commandment? These conditions that we place on love and religion in order for them to serve our purpose, causes us to remain detached from one another, thus, again, failing to embrace our own true nature. As a direct result of this separation from each other, we are exposed to the vicissitudes of the world, and are forced to hide our fear and sense of vulnerability, the suppression of which is often projected onto others as a condition of “weakness”.
Integrity is the only true path in this life, in this world. It may keep you poor, it may not help your business, it may even sometimes hurt loved ones and friends, but complete honesty is where the true path lies and it is where strength, courage and trust can be found. Strength to carry the burdens and challenges of life, courage to find and express our uniqueness and truth, and trust so that our example can be seen and emulated. This is the road to unconditional love. And the rest of the journey we all have to face sooner or later will be unencumbered by fear or regret.
Finally, I think politics needs radical reform if society and governance are to restore any kind of mutual trust. Politicians should be paid a scaled salary similar to many other administrative civil service positions. They should not be allowed to have any association whatsoever with corporate businesses. This simple implementation would clear the path of temptation and enable clarity in a vocational task of truly representing the wishes of the people of this country. There should be referendums on all major issues concerning food, health, environment and education. The Monopolies Commission should be re-introduced. Banks should be regulated in the strictest manner possible. All corporate decisions that affect society should come under government review and subsequent referendum before implementation. IMHO. This would be a good start.
I feel safe when I am with my horses because they allow me in to their world. I like to think that there is a part of them that will always remains wild. Out there all day and every day, all night and every night, no matter what nature throws at them. Their spirit, their strength and their bond with each other and nature is the soul of their existence and though they don’t need us, they are willing to help us, to be with us, to do our bidding. This to me is virtuous, true greatness, and I am thankful to be a small part of their lives and have them in my care and close to my heart.