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Reflection in the Mirrror
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Karla D.
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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 05:56 am
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Dr. Deb:                                                                                                                               I watched Buck the Movie this evening and then I read the thread about the movie again.  However I do not understand the deeper meaning within the concept "a horse is a mirror reflection of its' owner". 

Buck spoke about the things that the owner should have done with the stud colt and how she contributed/caused its rogue behavior.  So within the context of skills and knowledge,  the stud colt mirrored the owner's skills and knowledge or lack thereof.                                                                                                       

But Buck implied that there was a deeper meaning within that scenario.  I believe he said that the owner had "baggage' as well. 

When I apply the concept of "reflection" to my horses, I can see that they are a product of how I have handled them.  But how do I come to understand the deeper meaning within that concept?  What is that about? 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 04:58 pm
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Karla, what do you figure the issues were, actually, with the yellow colt's owner? Reply by making a list. -- Dr. Deb

Karla D.
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 Posted: Thu Jan 5th, 2012 06:13 am
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Dr. Deb:

At the clinic, the owner's presenting issue was that she wanted Buck to work with her colt because she was worried that the colt would injury someone someday.  I think that she meant that she wanted Buck to fix the colt because she was worried the colt would injury her again.

The issues that culminated into the colt becoming a rogue included:

- the owner resuscitated him at birth even though she did not know how long he had been deprived of oxygen

- the owner bottle fed him and kept him in her house

- she refused to geld him

- she refused to provide a natural habitat with appropriate herdmates so that the colt could learn how to be a horse ie socialization, herd behavior, survival skills and whatever else it is that older horses teach the youngsters in the pasture

- she did not set boundaries or make corrections when she interacted with the colt

On a deeper level:

- Buck said that she was a hoarder of horses and he made a statement about her right to be happy or something about her happiness ??

- The colt reflected the owner's handling methods or lack thereof

Now this is where I get uncertain as to what the mirror reflection means and how deep one is meant to look into that mirror.  Some of the things that I wondered about included:

- I think she was emotional blunted.  Although she was empathetic to the injured handler and she cried when Buck talked about her happiness, I think she was somewhat emotionally numb re: the outcome for her horse.  So is it possible that she was really a very angry person who coped by repressing her anger and her horse relfected her true feelings.  Now I am interpretting the horse's actions as aggressive rather than fear based aggression.

- I think that the owner did not follow any societal norm in her barnyard.  She housed horses together that were ungelded, she refused to seek advice on how to deal with her horses, etc, etc.  And her horse did not follow any rules neither.  In that sense they were both defiant. ?

- I think there was something off with her survival skills too.  Her colt had beat her up and mistreated her for 3 years before she she asked for help.  I suppose her instinct was to take flight rather than fight.  Her horse's instinct seemed to be to fight.  So she became the victim and the horse became the aggressor.  Perhaps that was evident in her personal relationships as well.  Maybe she doesn't know how to connect with people or horses. ?

- Her decision to keep the foal alive might have been against what nature decided for that foal.  She raised the foal in an unnatural manner as well.  I think there is something there as well. ?

So - this is where my mind wonders off to when I start thinking about the mirror.  Then I wonder about my own reflection and if I am looking too deeply into situations.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jan 5th, 2012 07:20 am
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Karla, how deep you're supposed to look into that mirror is: as deep as it could possibly go. As deep as it does go.

Your list is helpful, but I wasn't really asking for a psychoanalysis in psychoanalytical terms. This is not what 'looking into the mirror' really means. "Going deeper into the mirror" does not mean assigning technical terms, or judgemental terms, to anything.

What it really means is learning to be completely honest with yourself. The lady in the movie was brought to a point of at least beginning to be honest with herself and with everybody else through being prodded by Buck. The need for her to get more honest, and to deal more realistically with the horse's needs, was brought on by the sorry state of her horse. If she hadn't brought such a screwed up horse to Buck, Buck certainly would not have prodded her. So the lady wrote her own ticket.

And it was good she did, good that the tears came out, because that is often the first breakthrough, the first admission on the person's part that there are some areas that they haven't been willing to look at or see for what they really are in themselves.

To be a competent horsewoman, Karla, you have to be able to find out or guess pretty accurately what your animal's needs are. The lady in the movie was absolutely unable to do that, from the git-go: for example, horses DO NOT need to be inside peoples' houses. They DO NOT need a human "mommy" -- even if the human has an unacknowledged drive within themselves to BE a mommy. Horses DO need appropriate herdmates. They DO NOT need imprinting (it is implied, but not directly brought out, in the movie that the woman had tried 'imprinting' the colt, and I have yet to see any 'imprinted' colt come out mentally or emotionally normal, sane, or biddable). Horses DO need somebody -- herdmates, and if they are going to be around humans, then also humans -- to set firm and clear limits, i.e. to teach them manners.

And they DO need to find a way to find life sweet, yes very sweet indeed, even though they are not running the show. But the woman's yellow horse found life hard and bitter, even though it made continual strong efforts to always be running the show. Interesting how that one works -- it's the same in my neighborhood -- the children of drug or alcohol-addled women, who are never 'present' for their kids in order to teach them where the boundaries are, are restive, squally, inattentive and delinquent. The children of our Mennonite community, where they have supportive and attentive parents and the guidance and constant companionship of their extended family and their church, are calm, easily focused, generally happy, obedient, and helpful; and they grow up to be productive citizens.

A major difference, too, is that it is the MAIN intention of the Mennonite parents that their children grow up to be productive citizens. Whereas the main concern of the addled parent is that, no matter what else, her children should love her. This is an exact parallel to the yellow colt's "mother". In other words, Karla, a good horsewoman has no needs whatsoever that the horse is required to fulfill.

Are you a regular newspaper reader, Karla? I have to say I am. And every Friday, our local paper prints the mug shots of all the people who have been caught attempting to steal a car in Modesto. As Modesto CA is the car-theft capital of the world, you may imagine there are ten or a dozen of them in there every week. Having looked at hundreds of these "booking photos" over the years, I find that the expression on all the different faces is much the same. Whether it's a gang-banger pursing his lips to say "kiss my butt" or whether it's a wino with his eyes rolled up, or a kid barely twenty trying to look tough, one and all, underneath the surface the expression is: "I am not grateful. Life owes me more than what I'm getting. I have a right to get all I can get." It's a hard and bitter attitude -- the human equivalent of the yellow colt. Now you will recall, Karla, that each and every one of the men in those photos was once a little boy and once had a mother. And what the mother was, the grown man reflects exactly.

That's what the reflection in the mirror means, as clear as I can explain it. Your horse knows more about you, Karla, than you nor any shrink or guru will ever know. He was sent to you in order to teach you and help you. The more transparent you are, the more honest you are with yourself, the more authentic you can be with your horse; and the more you are that to him, the more he will mirror that back to you through being happy, biddable, soft, interested, obedient, and trustworthy. -- Dr. Deb 

 

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 05:56 am
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I came accross this line in a response from Dr Deb regarding the validity of animal communicators.

The post was ended with this:

"I leave them by inviting them to do two things immediately:
2. Go and teach their horse how to mount the circus drum....there is no greater exercise for bringing the person into face-to-face, mirrored encounter with all that is ugly within himself. When that gets a little more cleared up, progress is possible. -- Dr. Deb"


I think this seems to pertain somewhat to this thread and I was intersted in how drum work relates to 'The man in the glass'?

I think I have an idea... as I have introduced the mounting the drum to 3 of my horses, all of which have had different life experiences and I believe it showed in how they delt with what I aksed them to do.... but maybe I am off?

So as not to leave out what #1 was above it was this:
1. Obtain a copy of J. Allen Boone's "Kinship With All Life" -- study, read, believe, and integrate what it teaches into daily life

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 06:02 am
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Kim, I'm delighted to hear that you're regularly using the drum in training a variety of horses.

So, to answer your question which is indeed pertinent to this thread, I want you to go back in your mind and remember the FIRST horse you taught to mount up on the drum.

Did the animal hop right up there the very first time you brought him near the drum? Might have happened, but I bet not actually.

So then it probably took some "explaining" from you to help him get the idea. And probably, even though you had explained it or showed him or tapped him on the leg or whatever -- probably, even then it was some trials and some partial successes and some failures where he walked around the drum or clumsily stumbled over it or else tried to turn away and go graze instead of get on there. Right? Remember that?

Now, here's the question. How did it make you FEEL when the horse did not get on the drum right away? -- Dr. Deb

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 07:10 am
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Interesting.
Well the first horse that I showed the drum to pretty much did just step up the first time I asked her! She is 4, we've had her since she was 9months and we have never done anything to betray her trust really. I think thats why all I had to do was put her one foot up and then I encouraged her to shift her weight onto the foot on the block and she just popped up there. A look sort of washed over her face, she was happy. The next time I took her to the drum I barely had a chance to ask her to go up and she was up there proud as punch. When I asked her to step down (after grooming and scratching) she lifted her one front foot up and pawed at the air. She wanted to stay up there!

The next horse was my sad eyes gelding. Of course he steped up after once trying to step right over the other side of the drum besause he thought that was what I was asking. No big deal. He doesnt believe me yet that we are going to start doing things that that feel good and are fun but he will eventualy. He hasn't taken a big deep breath in yet but he is now letting big breaths out while he is up there and I rub his shoulder muscles.

Now, the next mare (also coming 5) has yet to actually put both front feet on the drum after 3 attemtps on different days.
The first thing I felt when it started to not go well was dissapointed because I realized that it was me (although not directly) who allowed her to get to a place where she had a hard time believing that I was going to offer her a good deal. (She flunked out of getting broke after only two weeks with a trainer this past spring...she just wouldnt de-sensitize...that was pre ESI and Josh Nichol, I know now why it didnt work, I think we will both be better for it actually)
So after some dancing around a bit when she realized I was asking her to do something out of her comfort zone, I called her to me and got her soft and 'ok' and then I place one foot up there, rubbed her and then I put her foot back on the ground for her before she thought about taking it off herself. Today she attempted to step up, she weighted the foot on the block for a nano second, and the same thing when I put the other foot up, she tried while staying soft in her eye and body.
See, the old me would have got greedy and I would have got more insistant with her, but that would have pushed her to throwing her head up and getting tight and scared and I am really trying to get her back to being the confident gal she was before she had the bad experince.
So thats what happend...I think the only negative feeling I had was regret and I could feel frustration creeping in there but I didnt let it happen.

One thing that is helping me THE MOST these days is I read somewhere you asked a girl to explain to you what would happen if she was out on a trail ride alone and something happed like a branch loudly broke and fell right beside her and spooked her horse and to explain what the horses reaction would be and what would happen to the horses body as a result. So I think it went like this:
head high, eyes wild, birdie taking off, muscles tight, 'U' shaped horse. - VS - Calm horse, with birdie and rider, soft eye, soft muscles. Like Josh says "once they are soft you can then access/talk to their brain. So thats my motto these days with everything... I need to help them get/become soft so I can access their brain and I think thats why things seem to be going really well, with the drum at least.

Last edited on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 07:27 am by kcooper

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 08:34 am
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Yes, Kim. But you haven't really told me how you FELT. You did mention some frustration.

Don't tell me about how well it is going -- that's not what I'm after here. You asked, very relevantly in the post before last, how the drum could possibly be a mirror for the handler.

But Kim, you have a fair amount of difficulty seeing the mirror! It's like you glance and then shy away. Be brave enough to LOOK IN THERE and tell me ALL ABOUT how you FELT.

And don't tell me about 'the old you' and 'the new you'. It was the old you who raised your other horse from a foal. And it is the same you who is working with the horse that hasn't yet gotten up there successfully. YOU have not changed; there has not been time for that at all yet. And neither, even when you are transformed, will you ever lose any element of the complete stable of monsters that are in there.

So, a feeling of frustration when the horse doesn't get it right away, yes, that's a start. What else though? Because there is indeed more, Kim, and some of it isn't real pretty. But you understand that there are one thousand other people reading this who are ahead of you on this path, they have already put a horse or two up on the drum, and all of them have felt all those same not-so-pretty feelings. So it will be quite safe for you to mention them out loud here. -- Dr. Deb

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 02:31 pm
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Lets try this again.

When I had things set up and ready to try with the first horse I was masking feeling SICK to my stomach and WORRIED that just maybe this was not going to go well on my own with never having been shown in person how to do it.

The first horse made me feel RELIEVED. Honestly. I asked her once, she said "sure". I was surprised.

The second horse did get up after I asked him a few times (there was no dancing around but it did take convincing,) I knew he was going to get up there with little fuss but I felt GUILTY and SAD because he is practically joyless about anything I do with him.

With the third horse I felt SURPRISED and then maybe WORRIED because there was more squirming around then I had expected there would be and so then I felt GUILTY because it was my fault that she is now suspicious of anything asked of her. Feeling GUILTY made me feel and realize that I had no bloody right to be FRUSTRATED with HER!
Hence the new found PATIENCE.

I have changed enough to be able to realize that FRUSTRATION as it arises out of being a greedy guts does no good....especially when it manifests itself physically in some way.
Perhaps if I had tried having this horse mount the drum first I might have felt like a FAILURE but since the first two went well I knew that she eventually will step up, I know I dont actually suck at everything, but it will be crucial that I DONT get frustrated.

I know that insecurity is something a lot of people deal with and if I am insecure I am unable to recognize it. I dont feel insecure in my life outside of horse. I feel good in my skin. And I know I am now in good hands when it comes to helping my horses.

OK, that is the best I can do.

Last edited on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 03:21 pm by kcooper

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 04:44 pm
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I just wanted to mention that I really had to dig in and come up with those feelings above... I really approached the drum in the same way as I would have approached trailer loading.... my horses all step up into the trailer with no issues (even the last one I mentioned) so I never expected it to work out any other way.
I have wrote in about my horse that bucks me off, he came to me that way and I don't know if I can fix it.... I know that there is as area where I have bad feelings. But I am not sure if that is a manifestation of 'the man in the glass' or not and if it is I don't know what to do about it.

Last edited on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 04:45 pm by kcooper

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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 05:14 pm
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Is it ok for others to join this conversation?

When I first started working on focussing and mannering with the halter and lead rope, I took a lot of what have been referred to as false steps elsewhere on this forum. I recall feeling helpless, because I didn't know what to do or how to do it. When things went well, I felt happy, upbeat, and optimistic and looked forward to doing it again. When things went badly, e.g. I couldn't keep the horse's attention, I felt so bad I didn't want to go back to the barn. I felt like I'd done something unforgiveable, or let someone or something down terribly and there was no going back.

Early on it took weeks of reflection before I could separate my emotions from the actual facts enough to analyze the situation and come up with a new plan.

After a few more rounds of this, I recognized that false steps were learning steps and was able to get past the emoting more quickly.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2012 09:19 pm
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  This thread is absolutedly making me itch to join in because I too have had some of those ugly feelings I believe Dr Deb is speaking about.  Though I'm not particularly proud of it, I'd say I have gotten frustrated and then angry with the horse at times.   I do realize it is not the horses' fault he hasn't understood me but that is the reaction I've had.  Getting angry hasn't always been my reaction but sometimes, to my shame, it has.   Have to dig deeper in myself to be a better horsewoman at all times.

          Robin

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jan 7th, 2012 06:06 am
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Yes, Robin, you and Val are both far more able to FEEL than Kim is. And because you both allow yourselves to actually FEEL THE FEELINGS -- great and lovely, and bad and ugly, all of them -- then because of that you are both also far more able to articulate or put a label on what those feelings are.

Particularly, I am pleased with your ability, Robin, to articulate that what you were sometimes feeling is ANGER. Kim is also angry -- almost all the time in fact -- but she has been taught through her lifetime that this must not be looked at directly or ever admitted. It's too hot a potato for her. So instead she says "I felt guilty" -- yes, she feels guilty because she is not "supposed" to ever experience anger!

Let me tell you who on this board OUGHT to feel guilty, is not Kim but Sonoma. What a vast difference there truly is between Kim and Sonoma! For Kim really does care about her animal, whereas Sonoma is merely a bimbo or an airhead -- very immature -- like "Boopsie" in "Doonesbury". Although, we have seen Boopsie mature quite a bit in recent years, since her husband came back from Iraq missing a leg -- turns out she actually HAS cogent thoughts and ideas!

The problem with Kim is quite different, then, from Sonoma. Kim is mixed up between feeling anger and what the person DOES with it. Because of course, it is totally OK to FEEL anger, or any other feeling. However, the mature horsewoman never brings the anger to the horse. Ray Hunt was the greatest teacher of this I ever knew. He could be angry -- I mean, I tell you what, you could feel the anger absolutely just radiating out of him sometimes, particularly if a horse had smashed into him or run over him. Or sometimes because he had just been arguing heatedly with somebody. I can't tell you how many times, though, I stood there feeling the heat of Ray's anger and yet watched him working with a horse right then, and he NEVER took that anger to the horse. In short, he was completely able to separate those two things -- the anger vs. what you DO with the anger.

So Kim, let's go at this one more time -- Val and Robin are helping you enormously here. The question at hand, as you may recall, is "so why do you say the drum is such a great tool for helping people to look in the mirror?" The answer is: because there isn't one single person on earth where, when their horse didn't get on the drum the first time, who failed to feel frustration and anger. The drum is simply a great vehicle whereby the handler can get to know themselves a little better, because almost all people at first will try to "pry" the horse up there on their own time schedule, and this just makes the horse not want to get on there even more. And that gets them really frustrated and angry. And they also find out that they're really REALLY anxious that the horse should get up there so that they can LOOK SUCCESSFUL TO OTHER PEOPLE, and if they are willing to think about that a little bit they find out that this is so seductive as to be addictive -- it is the whole reason that underlies most peoples' desire to go to shows or competitions and win.

So you see, when our elderly teacher used to work with us on this, and he would see somebody getting impatient and angry -- very easy to read from their body language and you can bet that their horse was reading it too -- he would stop them before they actually started striking their horse (because they would have), and he would call them over to where he was and gently ask them, "and my dear, how old are you?" And the woman would say "26" or "35" or "42" or whatever. And then he would say "And are you married?" And she would either say "yes" or "no". And then he would ask "And do you have children?" And she would almost always say "no, Tom, we don't have children."

And then he would reply, " -- I thought not."

This was his way of giving somebody a whipping.

So next time you're out with your horses on the drum, Kim, this will be something you can be thinking about that will ultimately help you a lot. -- Dr. Deb

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 Posted: Sat Jan 7th, 2012 02:27 pm
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I have to say, in reading and stepping back and thinking about all of the things said in many of these threads, it's hugely introspective.

I feel anger when my horse doesn't do as I ask. I have an agenda in order to feel as though I'm successful, and it's being projected onto my horse. It's creating the opposite effect, however. My horse doesn't want to do what I ask because I am not taking her feelings into consideration enough, and she feels pressured to do it, instead of being allowed to make the decision herself. I think this is the first time I've been willing to admit it, instead of dancing around it. Especially with women, I've found most of us are discouraged from expressing our true feelings....but our horses know better.

So, how do we as humans go about creating the distinction between feeling and accepting the anger, and NOT taking that anger to the horse? For now, if I feel anger when working with my mare, we stop and go for a walk, or have a scratch. It's been my way of saying "I'm sorry" to her for bringing these things to her.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 7th, 2012 07:08 pm
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Good, Jam; very clearly put, and very clearly thought-out.

It's an excellent policy, an excellent choice, to just take a break whenever you NOTICE that you are starting to fill up with anger, or that there is a danger that the anger is going to take you over.

That's when the "other" -- the parasite -- starts running the "you-that-is-the-observer." But as Tolle explains in "The Power of Now", the very most effective thing (and really the only effective thing) that the person can do is to step back from yourself when you notice this happening.

You don't have to even hope that you have any power to stop the parasite once it gets going. It tends to be a juggernaut, and trying to step in front of the freight train to stop it will not work. Another book that talks about this is Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. in "My Stroke of Insight". She's an expert on physiology and brain chemistry, and she says that, once angry feelings get going, she just steps back and gives them thirty seconds to "wash over" her. After that, the liver starts already on clearing out the chemistry that the angry feelings provoke. After thirty seconds, she herself steps forward again. Tolle would say that she had stepped back to watch the whole process without judging herself (to get caught up in self-judgement is what the parasite wants you to do, because that will perpetuate the angry feelings).

So, you step back and you observe the parasite, and Tolle says (in concert with Meister Eckhart and the Dalai Lama and all the Zen masters) that this mere stepping back, this shining of the light of consciousness upon the parasite, is what shrivels it into nothing. The end of the first paragraph in the Gospel of John: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it." Alternative translation in the NIV: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it." Neither can it survive it.

One guy that used to ride with us in the old days, when a group of us were going around week-by-week to ride with Ray Hunt said: "When I'm riding a colt in the roundpen and I start to feel like I'm getting frustrated, I just get off him and take the bridle off and let him loose in there. And then I go in the tack room, get my copy of Tom Dorrance's book, sit down on a bucket, and open it to any page."

So you don't need to be SORRY for anything, Jam, unless you have permitted the parasite to take you over so far that it started to operate your body. That's when you WILL start taking your anger to the horse -- by actions which you will certainly later regret, when the "pain body" as Tolle calls it has had a good feed of negative energy and has temporarily gone back to sleep, giving you the illusion that the whole incident was "a temporary loss of control." The pain body or Jungian dark side will be in control so long as the person is not in the regular habit of stepping back to look at themselves -- at any time, all the time, not just in times of crisis. "And pray always," says St. Paul -- means the same thing, keep an eye all the time on what's going on in there.

In Buck's movie he says the same thing: you have to be in control of your emotions. What Taylor and Tolle and the Dalai Lama and Meister Eckhart and St. John and St. Paul are telling you is HOW to accomplish that. -- Dr. Deb


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