My wife’s Horse Pilgrimage

This weekend my wife drove with her friend down to Kentucky to attend the World Equestrian Games for five days.  My wife told me that this week set a world record for the most horses flying in the air (by aircraft) in a few days!   She was incredibly excited about her trip. And before she left I said to her “This is sort of a Pilgrimage for you!”  But she denied it and said she had no clue what I could mean by that.

Then I explained:

“You have practiced dressage (a type of riding) for 15 years.  You love horses.  You work cleaning stalls for fun (and for “free” riding lessons).  You have our children riding.  You have used riding for peace of mind, confidence, release, fun, community and much more.  And now, all the riding-greats are gathering on one spot in the USA and this won’t happen again for decades to come.  You are making a pilgrimage to sacred grounds.  Horse riding is somewhat sacred to you — set apart, special, imbibed with more meaning than the words imply.  This location will now incarnate much of what you idealize and value in riding.  Many people from all over the world will be going there with similar attitudes about your interests and this will amplify the experience to make the whole package a kind of Pilgrimage.”

She laughed and said, “Gee, I guess you are right!”

So, why this post?  Well that encounter between us made me think of two issues which I’d love to hear readers’ responses to:

  1. Religious Temperament: My wife was raised Catholic but she is an atheist and perhaps is a “natural atheist” in that she never really got the “god thing”.  But she was sort of an anti-religion atheist in ways I wasn’t when we met.  But she softened towards religion a bit after she used meditation/relaxation techniques to have our children without drugs and with minimal discomfort (we listed to Yoga meditation guidance tapes I had from my days studying Yoga).  She also brought our children with me to a Zen center for several months and now wishes she meditated more.  So she softened in her anti-religiousness because of seeing the benefit of contemplative traditions.
  2. Religious Language: When I use the religious words, as I did here with “Pilgrimage”, they don’t naturally ring true for my wife at all.  So my mind seems much more religiously inclined in such a weird way.  And for me, over the years, I have decided to reclaim religious words and broaden them to dis-empower their pretentious holiness while still capturing their usefulness.  That is my style and it has been helpful to me.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

13 responses to “My wife’s Horse Pilgrimage

  1. Richard C Brown

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I tend to use religious terms in non-religious ways. We have many pilgrimages in our society. I know back when I was a much bigger Apple fan I dreamed of going to the Mac World Expo. Everything these days has a “con” ie. Comicon, etc. They are all pilgrimages for people.

    I will also sometimes resist religious terms instinctively and have to force myself to shake off the religious dust attached to them.

  3. Ed

    Sabio… still loving your blog. Your thinking process matches up to mine in that you can make me think differently about things. Also you are the most spiritual atheist I have ever encountered. Your wife’s trip was obviously spiritual in nature… but not really religious. My daughters and I did horses for a number of years and had a small 17 acre horse ranch in Wisconsin. Wonderful.

  4. Sabio

    @ Ed
    Glad you are enjoying. Yeah, concerning “religious”, “spiritual”: I would actually not tell her that the trip had either attributes. I don’t embrace “spiritual” or “religious” but I will confiscate their jargon ! sMiLe
    Yeah, I tried the horses a few times – not my cup of tea. Your girls sound like they had a wonderful childhood.

  5. johnl

    My experience of meditation vis a vis attitudes toward religion was pretty similar to your wife’s (minus the childbirth part, of course!). I used to feel uncomfortable going to a church service, like for a wedding or funeral or whatever. But now, even if it is a sect or tradition I don’t really like, I can enjoy picking out aspects of the ceremony or the building/sacred space that encourage meditation–like music for example. I believe that raising the eyes upward encourages an alpha wave state in the brain, which is the portal to meditation. So rose windows high in the wall, etc. seem to work for this. That may be why St Theresa and other saints are rolling their eyes skyward!

  6. @ Johnl
    Never heard the “eye-back-roll Alpha-Wave” theory. Interesting theory.
    Anyway, that is the cool part about the practical aspects of meditation — they can quickly get people to see that traditions housed in religious garbs can have real benefits that anybody would value.
    Thanks for stopping in.
    Here is rolling my eyes to get a little bliss:

  7. When my brother and sister-in-law had their kids, it suddenly became important to him to get back to church. My sister-in-law was quite reluctant at first. They had both grown up in UCC families but had since come to their own conclusions about church and faith and religiousness.

    She has since been won over because “If there is any problem with my kids, I know they can go to this person or that person in the neghborhood. People recognize my children.”

    So it’s not so much the religion. She softened in her anti-religiousness because of seeing the benefit of community traditions.

    About the religious language thing — yea. It is terribly important to make religious people aware they don’t own words and don’t have some special power in controlling words.

  8. johnl

    @ Sabio
    Maybe getting too far off topic here, but in the interest of credit where it is due, that comes from the Jose Silva Mind Control Method–and in the interest of accuracy, it is not just rolling the eyes upward, it also involves concentrating a bit of attention on that spot between your eyebrows–sounds weird but it was a great help to me. Now…back to the topic!

  9. @ Andrew
    Exactly ! Ironically, this “REAL” reason for embracing a religion (“community”) is one of the ones I wrote in a post that is coming up today. You predicted my post — you are psychic.

    It is refreshing when people can say the real grounding they have in their behavior. Thanks

  10. Nice, thanks for the Mind Control hints ! 🙂

  11. The mention of Jose Silva Mind Control Method reminds me of an incident that happened years ago. Some friends of mine have a child who needed some tutoring and in this area we have a chain of tutoring facilities called Sylvan Learning Centers. My friend’s wife wanted to take their son there, but my friend was vehemently opposed because he thought it had something to do with Silvan Mind Control. 😉 I explained to him that they were unrelated.

  12. @Sab,
    Naw, I’m not psychic.

    I’m just hacking into your wordpress account, stealing your posts!

  13. SpringChicken

    I did end up bowing before the statue of the horse doing a half pass at the trot and burning flowers at the feet of Stephan Peters. It did turn out to be a religious experience!!!

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