There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping
quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important.
Another man, standing alongside the road, shouts, « Where are you going? » and the
first man replies, « I don’t know! Ask the horse! » This is also our story. We are
riding a horse, we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t stop. The horse is
our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless. We are always running,
and it has become a habit. We struggle all the time, even during our sleep. We are
at war within ourselves, and we can easily start a war with others. We have to
learn the art of stopping – stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness,
the strong emotions that rule us. When an emotion rushes through us like a storm,
we have no peace. We turn on the TV and then we turn it off. We pick up a book and
then we put it down.
How can we stop this state of agitation? How can we stop our fear, despair, anger,
and craving? We can stop by practicing mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful
smiling, and deep looking in order to understand. When we are mindful, touching
deeply the present moment, the fruits are always understanding, acceptance, love,
and the desire to relieve suffering and bring joy.
–Thich Naht Hanh