Plato described the harmony of the music of the spheres in both Timeaus and The Republic. The spheres in question were the celestial bodies of our solar system. And the music, the harmonic resonance of those bodies in motion.
Ok why is a horse healer and advocate taking early Greek astronomy as a starting point for a discussion.
I wanted to talk about the “silent” background noise.
So I start with a simple question, if these planets are making this music, why do we not hear it?
Well an answer might be: that sound has been there since were born, actually from our conception, it is a background noise to which we are so normalised that we simply do not hear it; no more than we feel the air as it passes through our lungs, but still we know it does.
And I found myself wondering, how many other places do we experience and behave unconsciously, or unconsciously unquestioning. If everyone else queues overnight for an new iPhone then its right. Or a horse is being evasive or naughty, if it ignores or “fights against” a riders request.
So I ask. What if we stopped. Stopped the self and deeply focussed in that universal moment. Might we hear the beautiful music of the heavens? So might we then wait a few days to acquire that new phone? Might we wonder if our horse had some genuine reason to not perform.
When we are with our horses we largely work with inherited wisdom – that of teachers, trainers, vets, big-mouth-smart-arse neighbours etc etc – but rarely our own feelings, or intuition. Part of this is because of false scenarios (or at least false for the horse) and part because we like our gurus, it helps us in this alien world of animal behaviour, it helps us to navigate the frisson of danger that goes with not really connecting with that independent brain beside or beneath us.
I recently caught on television an ex-UK politician travelling by train through Spain, he stopped to visit a equestrian facility in Andalusia to view the spectacle of a flamenco dancer performing with a beautiful stallion. Said dancer, beautiful and adorned with national dress, pirouetted around the sand school whilst the horse apparently danced beside her. But what did we actually see beside her.
Our ex-politician saw the majesty of the horse, the natural splendour, a incredible syncopation between horse and human. And then the camera pans out ……. And there is man beside the horse with a schooling whip tapping each beat on its hind quarters, all the while clasping strong draw reins attached to a brutal gag bit, ands head held deeply behind the vertical throughout.
With each beat of the music, each beat of the whip the horse is driven forward into the unmoving gag. Then we look closer, it’s mouth is frothing like a leaky lager barrel and its hooves barely touch the floor before being drawn back up again, so uncertain of its footing one wonders what little training tool might have helped develop that lightness of foot. And there is tension in the snout, protruding veins, and the white of an eye showing, we can continue if we chose.
So where is the music of these spheres? Well it is obscured in our commentator’s observation; he tells us about the beauty that the dancers and trainers explain, and his gushing superlatives of his aging guide book describe. We do not see the living being, we see the human project and the means by which we celebrate it. The horse is but a shadow. But if we stop. What if we try to hear the music.
The music of the spheres is the truth. Not the story.
How much music is out there? Beautiful or ugly, harmonious or dissonant, that is not the question. How much do not perceive because we simply do not apprehend it. Like in the Matrix films when the veils are lifted the illusion is broken. If we stop and question, might we hear more music too?
The beauty is really just there. It is not described, coerced or fabricated. It just is.
Tomorrow I challenge you to find your own music of the spheres. Find and hear it. Perhaps you may even dance to it.