Last week in my Tai Chi class, our teacher remarked on how the Tai Chi masters are able to access a timeless quality in their mind, how a single moment can last almost indefinitely.

This is what it means to be truly present. Most humans are in too much of a hurry to linger in a timeless presence, always looking forward to the next place where they would rather be or dwelling on some past event and unable to let go of the associated negative emotions. Animals on the whole also experience this timeless presence – they are unaware of time passing and have no need to watch the clock. This is why many can find it so hard to truly find the authentic connection with their animals which we all seek. We can only connect authentically in the present moment – and we both have to be there.

Unfortunately domesticated animals can be less present than their native counterparts. Why is this? Look at animals in the wild, even the herd of antelope can be quiet and calm with a lion near by if he does not happen to be looking for his next lunch at the time. The only time wild animals experience a sense of urgency is when their safety and survival depend on it. How often are we humans going about our everyday activities with a sense of urgency, because it all has to be done within a certain time frame – our animals feel this, and inadvertantly we put them on red alert for danger.

Have you noticed how your horse responds when you appear with a halter, or your dog with a lead? Are they really excited to see us and about what we are about to do next? Maybe they are already putting themselves on red alert in response to the sense of urgency we bring with us, together with an item which means a degree of constraint and therefore removing the chance of escape from this impending situation.

How can we change this feeling? By accessing that feeling of timeless presence which exists in all of us when we remove the pressure of time. Being fully present and working at the animal’s pace during the time we share with them, has health and well being benefits for all concerned.

This is my mission, to access this place of timeless presence, to work at an animal’s pace towards a mutually beneficial goal which is not only enjoyable for one half of the partnership; and as a teacher to help others to do the same.

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