Linda Grace

I recently attended a Zen Mind Zen Horse Workshop with author and brain surgeon Dr. Allan Hamilton and his psychotherapist wife Jane at Rancho Bosque in Tuscon, Arizona. One night they gave us the homework to find a personal spiritual principal and to demonstrate that with our horses the next day.

My idea was about the life-sustaining benefits of creating safe places for shared success to occur.  It has been my experience in being with horses that when I acknowledge my own successful moments that I am happy and can notice and support the success of others. I am also able to accept and feel the encouragement from others when I am feeling good myself. Feelings of trust arise and a sense of harmony and belonging develops. Deep healing occurs on a soul level and authentic community is possible. Blending this concept with the present moment step-by-step Zen way of being led to the above simple equation. During the drive in to the ranch that morning I had a vision of how to bring each step of my idea into action with the people and the horses. Here’s how I integrated it in class, on that new moon of November 2013.

Sacred Space can be created simply by breathing deeply and consciously in the present moment. This opens up our senses to the natural world within and around us on a deeper level allowing harmony to be experienced.


When I finished grooming Mahto, Dr. Hamilton asked if I would share my presentation first. I said yes, and went to retrieve the items to fulfill my vision. The class gathered in a circle in the arena. I shared the first step of my vision, which was for people to bring their horses into the circle. I arranged the floral batik cloth on the desert floor and set the Tibetan brass bowl on it. Then I went to get Mahto.


Jane held Mahto as I stepped to the center of the circle surrounded by horses and horse lovers. I picked up the Tibetan bowl and took a big breath in followed by a grounding exhale. When the timing was right, I struck the bowl with the padded mallet and a comforting resonance vibrated from the singing bowl for all to hear.  Next I thanked the wind and called everyone’s attention to the clouds moving above us. We noticed the temperature of the air, the heat of the sun, and honored the previous night’s rain. We gave thanks to the Catalina Mountains that stood to the north, desert trees, horses, and ancestors who made it all possible.

+ Supportive People. Next, I walked clockwise inside the circle and tapped the bowl in front of each person’s heart. The horses stood quietly, some gently curious receiving the sound vibrations along with their human partners.


When light-hearted humans gather and support each other with unconditional acceptance and support for where there are in their lives at the moment, hearts open and minds expand. Everyone strives to be the best they can be starting from where they are. After a spiritual gathering we all go back to the rest of our lives as better people with inspiration to share.

+ Horses. Our big four legged companions are extraordinary teachers and healers at this time on the planet. They help us develop our sensitive, intuitive, and compassionate natures in a grounded way.  They can teach us how to get along in a group, how to set healthy boundaries, and how to relax and enjoy life.

Once the sound sharing walk around the inside of the circle was complete, I remembered the next step in the sequence of my vision.  It was for all of us to walk in a circle with our horses.

As we walked we sang the song:

We are one with the Spirit, We are one with the horse.

We are one with the Spirit, We are one with the horse.

We are one with the Spirit We are one with the horse.

And they’ll know we’re horse people by our love, by our love,

and they’ll know that we’re horse people by our love.

=  Shared Success by All. The heart felt movement of people and horses was profound as if we were resurrecting ancient memories in this circle ceremony. With each step, a feeling of joy and peace filled the arena and was held by the trees and surrounding mountains, as if they were thankful for this great remembering. The procession came to a stop once we were back where we started. Quiet smiles radiated from peoples hearts and faces as the horses calmly stood by.

Gratitude was shared with Dr. and Jane Hamilton by offering a braid of sweet grass from the Coeur d’ Alene Indians in north Idaho. This was all part of the simple ritual that I created to celebrate my spiritual formula in action. By reading this you are all part of the formula too: Sacred Space + Supportive Humans + Horses = Shared Success for All.


May your success and joy multiple with each step you take.