The Horse Who Swallowed A Wolf


Sometimes I get up very early, say 4 or 5 in the morning and I read poetry on my computer. The internet is a wonderful resource for poetry. I have found poems that have reached into my gut and pulled me inside out and twisted up my soul and then spat me out again, just for sport. Good poetry will do that to you. Small dream-like sentences that ring like a psychic tuning fork in your head.

Also the quotes of philosophers and thinkers move me. This morning I was up at 4.15am because my brain turned on when I heard my dog scratching so here we are. I read this.

There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. Another man standing alongside the road, shouts, “Where are you going?” and the first man replies, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!” This is also our story. We are riding a horse, we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless. We struggle all the time, even during our sleep. We are at war within ourselves…We have to learn the art of stopping – stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness, the strong emotions that rule us.

~ Thích Nhât Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation (Broadway Books; New edition, June 8, 1999)

Oh I know that horse. I am that horse. The horse has had free rein of late. Time to recentre, time to pop that nag in the stable. The stable nag. That’s me!

Then I read another quote.

Swallowing the wolf
1. Swallowing the wolf means claiming your personal power by following your own guidance and standards, not those of the external world.
2. Two fears keep us from claiming this power: fear that we have no internal guidance or standards, and fear that we have them but they will mislead us.
3. Noticing the impact of acting authentically can help lessen these fears.
4. At the point you realize that you use your internal guides more often than external ones, you have swallowed your wolf.
5. Ignore these rules and discover your own.
- Julia Mossbridge

I am a horse who needs to swallow the wolf to return to myself. I get it. I mean it won’t be easy but Christ, I turned into a fucking horse, so how hard can it be to swallow a wolf.

Anyway, just early morning food for thought, so to speak.