The fool had heard that it's a good idea for a rider to have a precise picture in mind of what one would like to do, together with the horse.
Now his great fear was that the horse might run away with him, and that had happened often enough, and he did not want it anymore. But it was difficult for him to imagine a picture of this not-running-away. For days he racked his brains about it, and he had almost given up when suddenly there was talk that the painter-at-court was planning to prepare an exhibition soon.
The painter! Of course! — And already he hastened to the atelier, knocked on the open door and asked if the painter wouldn't please draw him a little sketch of a horse which isn't running away.
The painter was of the good-natured kind, and in three or four strokes of coal he threw a horse onto the paper, standing by the wayside, peacefully grazing. No, that's not what he meant, the fool objected, he didn't mean a horse that's grazing, but a horse that's running away indeed, only that, instead of running away, it did not run away.
"Shoemaker, stick to your last — Fool-at-court, stick to your cap!" the painter grumbled, a bit gruff now nevertheless, and left in order to start preparing himself for the preparations for his exhibition. But then he looked back again and told the fool that here at the court there was a small group of "Those-who-work-with-the-not", and that they perhaps could show him what he wanted to know.
When the fool arrived at their place, he saw one with a spade, turning over a garden patch. Others were weeding, or pruning or trellising vines or fruit-trees, a few repairing a roof, yet others building a shed or mending a pathway, and a woman on the grass in front of the sanitary facilities was swinging her sickle with striking precision.
"The painter sends me", the fool said to the one with the spade. "But I believe I'm in the wrong place."
"You believe that he sent you to the lazybones, however politely rephrased, is it?"
"Yes, well, at least not work, at any rate —"
"This misunderstanding happens occasionally: we don't idle, but work with the not, like others might work with horses; and right now we are enjoying one of our little diversions, which for some of us are a sort of recreational pauses. So if you have a question, go and ask the cook."
In the kitchen big pots were being washed, vegetables cleaned, some of them cut into fine pieces, and here like outside an odd composed serenity prevailed. Most of those present were silent, a few chatted, at times someone would laugh, and all of them radiated a kind of inner calm, in strange unison with their buzz of activity.
When the fool looked at the cook, he got a terrible shock. Those friendly eyes welcoming him seemed to see straight into his own and to reach down through everything inside him to his very foundations.
There was no threat in them, no danger emanating from them — and yet the fool was sick with fear.
He realised that the cook had nothing to hide, that anyone could look into him as much as they might wish to, that he needn't be afraid of anything; whilst he, the fool, suddenly became aware, as though through the eyes of the cook, of how much he himself could never dare let be known, not at any cost, of all the disgusting black stuff which he was full of, inwardly, right up to the top, and which nobody must ever ever get the slightest glimpse of.
It was a bit like when his horse looked into him and mirrored his soul, only much worse. Because the horse saw and mirrored, whereas the cook also knew and recognised and was himself evidence that it was possible to go beyond.
"Welcome in the House of Non-Fear", the cook said. "What can I do for you?"
"The painter sends me", the fool collected what willpower he could. "I had asked him for a picture of a horse that is not running away with me, because I cannot imagine that myself, and because they say one should have such a picture in mind, so that the horse more easily understands us. For I'm frightened each time the horse runs away — and even beforehand."
And while the cook was wondering what answer he should make to this, he added in a small voice: "And to say the truth, almost always actually..."
Meanwhile, the cook had got the fool's idea: "For your picture, we are not competent here. That you must figure out yourself, depending on the situation. Now grazing, now go at a walk, now a side pass, now a volte, depending on the situation. Horses are not able to do what we do here; and even among humans it is only becoming for few of them, that's why we are a small group. We work with the not — if a horse tries that, it immediately gets frightened in a totally incomparable way, the so-called cold dread.
If you were one of our group, I might possibly suggest: 'Do not work with the not with a horse', but you aren't, and you wouldn't know why I'd say that.
Now I don't know much about horses, and so I ought not really give you any advice, but for outsiders one might say perhaps: 'For a horse, take only positive pictures, without expressions like not or un-; get yourself used, with patience and forbearance, to figure carefully enough until you've found an adequate picture for the given situation; and gradually develop a picture making reflex — if indeed you really have to.'"
"So there is no standard not-run-away picture, fitting all cases, but only ever new singular pictures?"
"Thus one might say, more or less. After all, riding is an art, a constant new beginning, and not a science. By the way, ideas like that of a not-run-away picture are generally specific fear-reactions, which may lead to all kinds of avoidance coping. Thus whole worlds have already been shrunk away, without the remains becoming significantly better for it. Not to want something is often a big problem for humans; we here call this problem 'suffering'. But that needn't concern you, of course."
"And you here make fear and suffering disappear?"
"No, we don't. We couldn't, even if we wished to. We work with the not, but not in order to conjure things up, or away. We can't afford to botch our jobs, because fear has a thousand razor sharp eyes and would immediately detect each of our mistakes and take advantage of it. We are under strict supervision, as it were, and must learn to deliver sound, honest work."
Last edited by Jean Fournell
on Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target —
to say nothing of the horse.
♪... for a while ♪
♪... for a little while... ♪
(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)