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Tracy Courtney

Mind/Intellectual or Heart/Feeling Based Presence?

For those who don't know me at a personal level, during my spirals of understanding different subject materials, they are often accompanied by practical visual representations to facilitate my own process of understanding. In the beginning of dissecting & analyzing this unfolding process 10 years ago, I also used to receive visual mathematical equations to break the information into more digestible pieces. I chose not to include these in the articles because I wanted to focus on a strictly practical approach, as I always strive to make my journey through this process simple & available for everyone who might be interested. Although I don't have a formally acceptable education under my belt as is required in the views of many, Initially a scientist & later a psychologist is what I wanted to be, had I had an opportunity to pursue a formal education. This is how this mind seems to be wired in any event & in hindsight, having avoided the traditional dogma of the education system, I now feel this is a gift of not having the additional baggage to sort through & let go. The reasons for this & so much more have become known through the process, but we'll reserve these for later articles.


The way I view this process is like a big, twisted rope with many individual strings dangling from the end. When I grasp one of the strings, I become obsessive like a starving dog with a bone & I will pull on that string until I reach the end or hit a tangle, for which it will take considerably more time to unravel. These tangles often lead to many more interesting strings that sometimes come together like the pieces of a puzzle, rather than individual topics. This article stems from a tangle of strings that have taken a few years to unravel & piece together. One of the countless gifts this process has revealed, is how to not only trust in myself, but to trust that the answers will always come with a little patience. Some pieces aren't ready to be understood until other pieces of the puzzle are grasped, even at a basic level that will mature with more time.


A few years ago, 4 images were posted along with the "Assess & Address" article, referring to what I termed the Preservation Loop. It's a simple representation of expanded vs contracted awareness, how I have come to understand these common states of awareness & how they affect not only animal, but also human behaviour. Through the many personal experiments I have conducted, I decided to test what would happen with a completely quiet mind, without a single thought, during normal everyday activities, for an extended period of time. As a side note, this is where the concept of Walking Meditation found its roots.


As shown in the images of contracted awareness, the awareness can be minimized to reside in a small portion of the brain & is disconnected from the rest of the body. We all normally function from this limited space & we find animals & people who frequently trip, stumble & are incapable of staying focused on tasks or topics, as well as what are labeled PTSD symptoms. We have all know or heard of people & animals who have been called accident prone & seem to always find ways to injure themselves.


The thing that can be misleading is that this behaviour can be found at fast & slow speeds & can lead us to diagnose these behaviours as separate or a result of separate causes. They & many other behaviours are rooted in a single cause, which is functioning only from the shrapnel of a scattered & emotionally unbalanced mind that will habitually (largely) contract, largely disconnect from the body & as a result, also cause emotional as well as physical hypersensitivity.


These animals & people have little connection to their body, or frequently little sense of what it's doing from moment to moment & this is why they are prone to sudden bouts of explosions when they are touched, as well as difficulty with being touched. This is one of the many reasons people reach out to me for help with horses that suddenly explode "for no apparent reason". The "Rehabilitating Mischa" video offers a perfect example of this extreme physical hypersensitivity. The owners of these animals will always say that the horse is quiet & relaxed most of the time without issue, but will suddenly explode dramatically, (seemingly) for no reason. In these cases, the animal has never been relaxed, although we have mistaken their quiet behaviour for relaxation & compliance. These animals are just better at hiding their trauma until triggered.


During an emotionally elevated state, the already contracted awareness becomes even more contracted, to the point of almost leaving the body. Within the limits of this contraction, they lose all senses & connection to their environment as well as the body. They essentially become blind, or comatose while standing & have no idea that you're even there. If touched during this shut down, their awareness can suddenly jolt back into the body & become aware of the environment again, causing a panic attack that will result in the explosion. They can be popping in & out of awareness in repeated intervals over long periods of time & regaining minor physical, visual & auditory sensations at any moment, such as during a farrier visit. If triggered during a minor expansion, it's like you suddenly materialized out of thin air. This sudden appearance would startle any one of us, as though a ghost just suddenly appeared in the corner out of nowhere. 


Although I already knew beyond a doubt what was happening in these instances, I needed to find a way to reconstruct this phenomenon in a tangible way that could be repeated. Through already having perfected a completely still mind (without meditation or any of the other usual methods), I worked at contracting the awareness as far as possible & not changing anything in my life as I practiced. I was working for an employer at the time & continued to go to work every day, like everyone else does.


Luckily I was in an open space when the goal was accomplished the first time, because it caused the body to collapse. This resulted in a severely sprained ankle, injury to the hip, torn pants & several large bruises. The body wasn't the least bit graceful in its collapse & dropped like a sac of bricks. I surmised that this is the answer to a long standing personal question as to why the Master's always sat down to meditate. Never satisfied with a single result, I decided to try the experiment again two weeks later, much to the annoyance of my employer at the time. The second attempt resulted in a reinjury of the ankle, a fractured wrist & elbow, along with other scrapes & bruises. So, what does the title of this article have to do with all of this?


Through these & several other experiments, I was able to learn many fascinating things.  Although Parameters offers an introduction into expanding awareness & learning how to become quiet mentally, emotionally & physically, this is only the first step of the Fearless Process. When beginning to quiet the mind, we actually enter into a state of dull quietness in order to begin to redirect the habitual, scattered mind, but we must also be willing to continue on & transition from this dull quiet into a dynamic quiet. Through my experience, the dull quiet will not allow the mind to stay quiet for extended periods . There will always be recurring bouts of fear, stress, anxiety & the habitual chattering mindset.


Although we are able to experience great results within this dull quiet in relation to changing behaviour, we will inevitably reach a plateau. If we want to experience the deepest possible connection that I have found so far, we must be willing to move beyond our current state of contracted awareness & learn to permanently expand our awareness from our heads into our bodies & progressively down to our feet, for when we move into working with the neutral part of the brain. What I've learned is that this dull state of quiet is still centred around intellectual processes & we're still functioning from the mind & contracted awareness, but in a more subtle way. We have to make a choice to move beyond the limitations of the mind & time. When working with a horse who is carrying this nabitual human baggage, the first goal is to bring the awareness back to the feet. Only when the horse is fully present, can we begin to communicate, discuss & merge into one being, in the optimal state of comfort, relaxation, curiosity & retention.