March 26, 2014

How to Gallop at Full Speed: My Heart Sutra.


My mind works like a runaway filly. 




If you try to control a horse, and you aren’t comfortable in your own body, mind, and soul, it won’t listen to you. If you try to look it in the eyes, and you are clear, stable, calm, and powerful, it will feel that peace. It will feel your power.

From my favorite cowgirl:

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ” 

~ Pema Chödrön

The reality: We can’t control others. We can control ourselves and we can control the way we feel. Sometimes, the way we feel really sucks—like a swift kick in the face from a freshly shoed horse.

The easiest way to control the horse in your brain? Mindfulness. Breathing. Getting stronger. Finding places we love.


From the sacred places in the West where I’ve ran, eaten, read, written, made love, ridden, prayed, cried, and fallen down into the dirty dust. From the depths of the trail the devil dragged me down, and from the top of the highest snow-capped peaks where I whispered to spirits and the wind. From my own, re-written, Idaho-Montana Heart Sutra

These are the things I have heard the Bluebirds singing about. The old man in the dust was living on the mountain by the sacred red gate with all the Bluebirds and Sunflowers and girls and boys in cowboy boots who wandered up there to drink coffee and let the wind blow through their hair. At the time, the old man in the dust was contemplating the ways in which the breeze dances…the ways in which the light illuminates the mountain. He drew in the dust a compass, and in trying to discover the ways in which the sun and wind affect the mountain, he realized that there were actually five directions in which the sun and wind tickle the mountains every day, and they are always changing and never steady.

Then, by the light of the Moon, the old man sat on the sacred red gate, kicked up a cloud of dust, and told the Bluebirds and Sunflowers and girls and boys in cowboy boots how any good child of the earth is supposed to figure out how the world turns.

“Bluebirds, Sunflowers, and blessed girls and boys in cowboy boots, any good son or daughter of the earth who wants to learn the way the world turns should realize that there are five directions in which the sun and wind tickle the mountains every day, and they are always changing and never steady.”

Everything is nothing, and nothing is everything; everything does not separate itself from nothing, and nothing does not separate itself from everything.

So, Bluebirds, the arrows on the compass are nothing…each direction is the same. They flow into each other like the wind and the river; they are not pure and they are not distinct, not ending and never beginning.

So, Bluebirds, in the arrows on the compass representing nothing, there is no knowing; there is no direction, no desire, no dirt, no sage, no rain, no horseback rides, no sound of coyotes howling, no taste of mountain air, no feeling of grass on your fingertips; no falcons, no butterflies, no spiders; no knowledge of life or death, no consciousness of what your footsteps do to the world underneath you, no start, no end, no sunrise, no sunset; likewise there can be no tears in your eyes, no end to the trails you walk on, no beginning to the infinite ridgeline, no zenith for the sun that beats down on your back and makes your neck sweat.

Therefore, Bluebirds, there is nothing to have or to hold in your wings; the girls in cowboy boots romp around carefree with the wind in their hair and laughter on the breeze because they fear not for the future; they fear not for what happens to the world underneath them as they scramble up through the slate.

Forgetting their compasses, they achieve true laughter; all the perfect ones existing in the three revolutions of the earth, following the directions of the heart, reach the sacred red gate; the prayer that comes with the sound of laughter is the prayer of knowing, of loving, the laughter that remedies all wounds because nothing is wrong.

The sound of true prayer, wind, galloping, and laughter:


In this way, Bluebirds, should a mountain boy and a girl in cowboy boots learn about the way the world turns.”

Then the old man in the dust got up from the sacred red gate and smiled at the man in the Moon, and the Sunflowers and the girls and boys in cowboy boots smiled, saying, “Well said, man in the dust by the sacred red gate!”

So that’s the way the wind blows, man in the dust by the sacred red gate; just as you have laughed should the way the wind blows be understood, and the Bluebirds will sing.  

Then the wind blew.

The Bluebirds, the Sunflowers, the girls and boys with tangled hair and cowboy boots and wind-chapped lips, and the whole world, the gathering of the dust at the hooves of horses, the wind, the rocks and water, the sage, the butterflies and spider, laughed and kicked up dust on the mountain. 


Now go! Yeehaw! Giddy up! 

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Photos: Courtesy of the author 

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Jenna Penielle Lyons  |  Contribution: 8,640