Karen and I went and saw Buck yesterday. A documentary about Buck Branaman, a guy who works with both human beings and horses to encourage to develop respect and evolve.
There are a lot of great points in the movie, however one of the most interesting parts to me was his work on what he called “emotional control” and what I would call emotional stability. In order to work in both the horse realm and the human realm he has to be completely standing in his self respect and have complete access to all his resources, while at the same time not allowing himself to be pulled into emotional reactions. There are several points in the movie where he digs into emotional empathy and comes forward with a fierce assertion and yet there is never a reaction. While others, both horses and humans, are clearly frightened he is not. When there is clearly a time to be reactively angry he is not. Now this “control” of emotions, in my understanding can have deep consequences as you move through life for most of us. It creates a wall of distance between us and other beings and it creates a wall between us knowing ourselves fully. It can also cause all sorts of physical problems when emotions get bottled up inside. I don’t think that Buck is suggesting that we bottle up our emotions or stuff them deep down inside of us. On the contrary he talks freely and openly about his life and the challenges that he has faced that would leave big emotional scars. It is clear that he faced those challenges and worked his way through them as opposed to letting them fester and turn into deadly emotional generators.
I think there is a Stake that he holds that is something like Respect and Truth. He holds that in his body and in his words. When you hold respect and truth with impeccability what happens to an emotion when it comes up is that you would respect it and be able to tell the truth about it and then you would be able to take the energy of that emotion and use it as a resource rather then let it run rough shod over you whenever it feels like it, which is how most of us run around in our emotional reactions. If I respect myself completely and stand firmly in that respect and tell the truth to myself and to who ever else I need to, then that circle of respect and truth expands beyond me to the other beings, in this case horses and humans, and they feel respected and they feel like they are being dealt with in a completely straight forward way. When I stand in that place I can then dip down into that emotional well of energy and bring up that energy and use it to emphasize, motivate, or deepen the experience. That is emotional stability and that is what Buck demonstrated so beautifully in that movie.
There are some remarkable demonstrations of presence and relationship in this movie as well. And I think I’ll stop here on this one.