Recent research indicates that human beings lie, on average, anywhere from two to twenty times a day! We are hardly even aware that we are even lying. Here’s a teaching exercise an expert on lying recently asked members of the audience to do. “Pull out your cell phones,” he said. “Look up all the calls you made, all the text messages you sent, and all of your emails you fired off over the last twenty-four hours. Run down the list carefully and honestly. How many times did you lie?”
I was blown away by the number of times I had slipped up and found myself lying because I thought it was easier than telling the truth. One call I said to a friend: “I’m on my way to meet you.” I hadn’t even started the car. Another to an editor was: “I’m just going over the final draft.” Truth was: I hadn’t even started writing the first one. Why did I do that? The question is: how do we make ourselves exhibit more integrity in what we do and say?
This is where having a horse as a close friend comes in very handy. You can tell them all the lies you want. Not one of them works. The only thing your horse is interested in—the only thing that he will respond to—is what you are truly feeling. You may say that you’re there to have a patient and productive training session in the round pen but if you are checking your watch to see when it’s time to get to your next appointment, your horse will know it. You horse will sense that you are not really there for him. You have some agenda that’s clouding your heart. And your horse knows when he can’t see clearly into your heart! For your horse, actions not only speak louder than words, they are the only language your horse hears.
Candidly, it’s a refreshing break for me to be able to spend some time with a creature that would rather accept me for who I am than who I feel I should be. It’s a blessed moment too when I feel that utter relief when I longer need to expend precious energy pretending. My horse helps me to understand how much time and effort I put into sustaining lies that never help me and often hurt me. And, finally, my horse teaches me that if I want to progress in this life, I’d best face up to the truth that the real obstacles holding me back are the ones I put there and most dangerous lies—the ones that hurt me the most–are the ones I tell myself. Not bad therapy for a twenty-minute session in the round pen.