Ever heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Go read Revelation 6. According to Emmet Fox, New Thought Spiritual Leader, the Four Horsemen stand for the four parts or elements of human nature. The Pale Horse is the physical body, the Red Horse is emotional nature, the Black Horse is intellect and the White Horse is spiritual nature.
There are many interpretations and more in depth meaning attached to the Horsemen as described in Revelations but I appreciated Fox’s simplicity and could easily relate. If you’re living ONLY for worldly pursuits – money, position, material position – then you’re riding the Pale Horse. If you find that your emotions control you rather than you mastering your emotions then you’re riding the Red Horse. Fox says that riding the Black Horse is letting your intellect dominate to the exclusion of the emotional and ESPECIALLY of the spiritual nature. “It is a good thing to have the intellect well trained,” he says “but it is misfortune to let it be the master.” The man or woman riding the White Horse achieves freedom and joy, and ultimate happiness and harmony.
When you look at the four elements of our nature in this way, it’s a no-brainer: the White Horse is OBVIOUSLY the horse to ride yet we live most of our lives riding the Black Horse of intellect while trying to reap the benefits of the Pale Horse journey and getting constantly derailed by out of control emotions that take us on the Red Horse route! No wonder we’re not getting anywhere fast.
We look at the world. We look at the rich and the famous. We look at the movie stars and rap moguls. It’s possible now for anyone to be famous and any activity to become entertaining or entertainment. We are seduced by how easy the lives of others look if only we could get the “big break”.
We see the glitz, the glamour, the nice homes, the jewelry, the travel, oh my God “if only I could…” and we feverishly urge our Pale Horse to move forward in hot pursuit of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is the life we know we want. Ask anyone what they want and money is usually the response – lots of it. We set huge goals – nothing less than multimillionaire status – because we understand that in today’s world one million could only take us so far. Enter the Black Horse. We plan. We strategize. We set timeframes. But it doesn’t quite pan out as it was supposed to. Didn’t the plan say that in 90 days or less that I could set the foundation for future millions? Now my credit card is maxed out and worst of all I just found out my little girl needs to get spectacles. Why now? The timing couldn’t be worse. Oh yes and I promised my brother that in three months I would pay him back the $2,500 I borrowed from him to cover my expenses en route to financial freedom. What am I going to do? In rides the Red Horse. Life sucks. Things never work out for me! Where did I go wrong? I know – (and once again we mount the Black Horse) I needed to follow Guru X instead of Guru Y. Let me go buy her new book. Once I do that – I’ll be all set!
Except that you won’t. Because contrary to popular belief – life is not so clean cut and organized. The best advice that I’ve heard to date, for attaining success is something that Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist used to tell his students often: “Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run – in the long run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had FORGOTTEN to think of it”
The idea surfaces and there is brief excitement and then we reason (read intellectualize) why it’s not the right time, or not for us, or that we need something BEFORE we can pursue whatever it is. Note what Frankl says “listen to what your conscience commands you to do” and carry that out to the best of your ability. Our intellectual self wants to figure it all out neatly from start to finish. The self driven by material rewards wants it now. And our emotions remind us regularly how ill prepared we are. Doubt in our own ability is our constant companion.
We were born fully loaded with everything we need for our journey. This is the spiritual aspect of our lives that we refuse to tap into because it does not come in a specific shape walking the earth so we have a hard time believing in, and discerning what is real and important. Perhaps too much time is spent riding the Black Horse. Steven Pressfield, author of Do the Work admonishes “Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.” And so I encourage you to take a step in faith and act on that thing your conscience keeps needling you to act upon. The way will open for you but it will be revealed moment by moment. Don’t be stressed by time. Whatever is supposed to happen will happen for you in due season. If you say that you want freedom, happiness, success, harmony and abundance in your life – then it’s time to mount the White Horse.