Dutch on Spirit and the Nature of Suffering

Summer, 2004

Dutch is a 36-year-old retired Quarter Horse. In his hay day he was a champion barrel racer. He had this to say on the subject of spirituality.

Dutch: “It was a different spiritual culture back then, when I was born. One that emphasized letting go into a bigger world so I would not, as a horse, suffer. And being light and free with myself was important. Buddy and Ellie are much younger and they are going with the flow of the current times, in which Eastern thought is very influential, more than it was when I was growing up, Western-minded.

Carole: Then these beliefs we see in you and my other horses reflect the times in which we live? Thirty-five years ago, I was just graduating from high school. As a matter of fact, I just celebrated my 35th High School Reunion with all my friends. As Hippies we were just beginning to learn to meditate, with the help of the Beatles we found out about Eastern thought and culture and meditation. We were just beginning to appreciate the beauty in Eastern philosophy.

Dutch: I never did change to that way of thinking and being. I remained steady and faithful to what I was raised to believe in and it is still serving me. I don’t believe people have to suffer to become enlightened. Or that we are suffering for a reason or for karma. Buddhism is predicated on the idea that suffering is a fact of life and that it is unavoidable. But I disagree. There is something in the light that if taken to heart gives a life that is free from suffering. Maybe what we need is to discover this truth in ourselves and we will allow suffering to fade away.

Carole: Excellent thought, Dutch. I would love to not suffer. But, I know that karma does make me face things I have not faced in the past, or denied in the past, and sometimes these can be difficult. Suffering comes when we do not have courage to face our inner self. The self that knows why we came to Earth and what we are supposed to do.

Dutch: Suffering is an important thing to consider when one is a horse, as horses are born slaves to humans. We suffer because we are not free and because we do not want to serve under the humans. But, if we do what we are asked we are often proud of that, and we are then well-cared for. But we often are taken advantage of then. And I never gave up my faith and I have won the jack pot at the end of the rainbow.

It is a few days later and I would like to continue the dialogue I was having with Dutch about his spiritual views on suffering.

Carole: Dutch can you tell me more about your spiritual life?

Dutch: I have asked you to brush my back more and more and I need blood to my spine. This is the center of communication for a horse from his spirit to his body and my heart is slowing down and the muscle is not pumping blood to that area as much as needed.

Carole: Okay, Dutch I will make sure I do that for you every day.


Carole and Dutch