Plato speaks of the chariot, pulled by one black horse and one white. If the horses do not pull together, under the guidance of the charioteer, no forward movement is made.
We all have thoughts, impulses, emotions, needs, and desires. Our parts are often in conflict. Sometimes, through attention, practice, and presence, we learn to get all of these pulling together. Other times, one horse overpowers another. Still other times, they try to move in opposing directions.
Since this is true in us, it is also true in our relationships with others, within community, within countries, within the world. When it happens within ourselves, we stall out in various ways, or run in loops, or ratchet back and forth between things. When it happens between people, or in communities, there is polarization and this can sometimes cause deep or flaring conflict. And yet, the Reality is, we are all made of the same substance. Our molecules interchange with one another. But we are different, too. Every cell in the body has its mandate and its job. Every cell, though part of a functioning whole, has a cell wall. There is wholeness, and yet, within wholeness, this separation. Both are simultaneously true, and necessary, and this is what keeps us alive.
In California, we have divorces that come about through “irreconcilable differences”. The third body of the couple that formed the charioteer is no longer strong enough to keep the disparate horses pulling in the same direction. This happens in communities and traditions, as well. It happens in class wars, and in political upheaval. My core tradition – Feri – a tradition I no longer teach within, but am still of, has split because of irreconcilable differences amongst what some are now considering to be two trunks of the same tree. I write my version of this story elsewhere. Many others have written theirs…
Because of the situation, I had a restless night last night, and awakened thinking this: Perhaps Victor and Cora Anderson – founders of the tradition – were our charioteers. In their absence, we tried to keep pulling together, but it seems that we must pull apart. This is sad, upsetting, the source of pain, and yet, it is the way of things. Most of us are still trying to talk to each other during this divorce, though hurtful things get written or said. This is also the way of things.
Somewhere, we are still whole. Somehow, we are still trying. Growth and change is never easy, nor is the management of all our parts. I’m trying, as always, to reign in my horses. Or in a different system, trying to hold the vibrating pillars of the Tree of Life in order to generate the energy that gives rise to that great middle within me. I trust that my brothers and sisters are doing the same, in their own ways.
These are the times we live in, and the two poles are once again our teachers. The Divine Twins of black and white, hot and cold, up and down, the horse moving East and the horse moving West. And so, it is said, the world is continuously created and destroyed. The tree is ever in process, budding, ripening, and falling, until the cycle starts again. The whole cosmos is in process. The stars are in process. The Gods themselves can change.
In the larger scheme of things, I cannot know what pattern is working itself out through us – I can only have my opinions about it -but I can try to pay attention. And when one horse gets loose, I can call upon my God Soul, my charioteer, and lead it back to harness, until once again, the wheels of my life are moving in the direction of desire.