Monday, December 29, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: The Beginning

I entered the Fourth Dimension, literally, one blustery afternoon in 1993. Let me explain… a small child, I had a mystical consciousness. I experienced Oneness as a matter of course. My parents, though, thought that this awareness was immature and childish and, subsequently, thought that ‘good parenting’ involved guiding me away from these ideas. My parents, mainstream community, schools, colleges and graduate institutes all did their part; well intentioned, albeit mistaken, to condition my thinking toward materialistic, dualistic values and beliefs. By 1993, I was a fully conditioned person. In looking back, I can see that I was ego-identified, exteriorized and enculturated. I, though, was clueless, thinking that everything was right on target. In retrospect, however, I can see that I was sadly derailed! One Wintery late afternoon in 1993, I was riding a particularly difficult young horse in my quiet indoor arena through the figures of the manege, when, out of nowhere, I was struck, as if with a lightening bolt, with Pure Awareness. I felt Love pulsating throughout me and I felt as if I was a whole new being. I fused completely with the horse and we were One. There was nothing left of me, and equally nothing left of him. We just Were. Pure Presence. Consciousness. There was only The Moment. I remember, though, wondering what would happen when I dismounted….but what happened was that I continued to see the whole world this way. The boundaries were gone, duality resolved. There was no right and wrong, no male and female, no night and day. I remember, again, wondering what would happen when I had dinner with my family that night. But, I was visibly transformed. My children asked me why I was “glowing”. Love. Finally, I remember wondering if I would feel like this forever….and, for the past 15 years, I have. Sometimes the Light glows softly and sometimes it bursts into full flame, but it is always there. Nothing about my human existence has ever been the same….and all this, thanks to a difficult horse on a late Winter afternoon. Right Here, Right Now!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: What IS the Fourth Dimension Anyways?

What IS the Fourth Dimension Anyways?

Horses are pure…unconditioned by consensual reality, the Maya. They are Present, in The Moment. They have not been conditioned by the strictly third-dimensional sphere of material existence and, consequently, they operate in a higher dimension of existence, a fourth dimension of spirit. This is the lesson that horses offer anyone who wishes to honestly communicate with them. When horse and rider work intimately in this fourth dimension, a creative-zero-point opens up in which consciousness and unconsciousness become momentarily unified. This provides the rider with an opportunity to merge with unitary reality, wherein there is no permanence, because all is transformation. In the fourth dimension, the rider escapes the prison of time and the limitations of ego-bound consciousness. S/he accepts that s/he is spirit, realizing his or her own immortality and, consequently, freedom.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Endorsement from Linda Benedik

"Dressage in the Fourth Dimension is invaluable for the modern equestrian who seeks to understand the essence of riding and pursue a classical education in the art of dressage. To experience a true manifestation of union or yoga with the horse, Sherry Ackerman’s work inspires dressage artists to cultivate a humble approach and take responsibility for integrating mind-body-spirit-horse. In so doing, she reemphasizes that a rider’s greatest life-lessons and source of fulfillment are found in the journey…not the end result."

Linda Benedik, author of Longeing the Rider for a Perfect Seat, Yoga for Equestrians, and the Yoga & Riding Techniques video series.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Endorsement from Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling

"Dressage in the Fourth Dimension offers us an important piece in building a complete picture of the horse. Sherry Ackerman convincingly articulates the weighty main message of this book: horses have the ability to either liberate us or hurt us."

"Sherry offers the reader an abundance of valuable, coherant and considered thinking, inspiring and encouraging learning in how to distinguish one from the other. She also describes empathetically, on different levels, how we humans can approach the horse in an holistic way mindful of the cultural, natural and symbolic aspects the horse shows us."

--Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Statement of Philosophy

We all need to stop talking about classical equestrian ideals….that just makes us dressage fundamentalists. Be Here, Now. We’re not stuck in the boxes created by previous century masters. This is not the Renaissance…it is This Moment. The art de vivre is alive…and so are our horses. Trying to ride dressage from your head kills it…and when dressage dies, so does the horse.

You don’t ride a theory…a method…or a style. You ride the horse…and it is you that does the riding. It is not “your body”. You are more than just your body….and, when you ride the the horse, s/he is extremely affected by you. No-one can teach you how to ride. No-one can tell you what to do. All a good teacher can do is be a finger pointing at the Moon.

Dressage is the Moon. I can point you toward it, but that is all. You have to find it on your own. We each own our individual experiences. Until we stop insisting that a teacher do it for us…and begin to find it on our own….we are like caged rats. I see students run from teacher to teacher…book to book….video to video….in a search for dressage. What they don’t do is feel, experience, gestalt. Until the student really rides….from within…s/he will remain the caged rat. Ride, ride, ride until your sense of feel wakes up. Get out of your head and into YOU. Deconstruct everything that you have ever been taught and reconstruct it as you experience it. Own it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Book Announcement

This book represents an incredible act of courage and vision. In 1997, when Dressage in the Fourth Dimension was originally published, bestsellers like Susan Chernak McElroy’s Animals as Teachers and Healers and Monty Roberts’ The Man Who Listens to Horses were a couple of years away from becoming bestsellers.

At that time, those of us who did, in fact, see horses as sentient beings, and even as teachers and healers, kept quiet about it for the most part. To say that you were riding for any reason other than sport or recreation was suspect. The phrase “horse lover” was applied with disdain. And anyone who admitted to having a spiritual experience in the presence of one of these amazing creatures was considered eccentric at best and more than likely delusional.

Along came Sherry Ackerman, an accomplished equestrian and philosopher who not only suggested that riding could be used as a path of transformation but also all but guaranteed that anyone who learns to ride well can’t help but be transformed.

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension was a pioneer work in awakening consciousness, a finger pointing at the moon. Now in its second edition, its message is right on time. It requires readers to deconstruct every assumption they have ever held, to ask “Why?” and become okay with not-knowing. Humanity’s alienation from nature can no longer be ignored. The enormity and immediacy of the crisis is evident.

--From the Foreword, by Linda Kohanov, author of Tao of Equus and Riding Between the Worlds

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Welcome

“A decade ago, Dressage in the Fourth Dimension acknowledged my particular point of view. I wrote what I needed to know, at that time, for my particular level of maturity. Ten years have deepened those insights, amplified my understanding, and crystallized my vision. And still, though, what I have written there is what I need to know. In the same way that the archetype of the horse is not autonomous, neither am I. In fully honoring my collaboration with the horses, the geometry, the motion, and the ideas, I find that the fourth dimension has become a space that I can more naturally, and authentically, inhabit. “