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Why are you so joyful? You are guided on the path by the disciplines of the sun, the echo, and the bow and arrow. You have witnessed your basic goodness, taking joy in having nothing to hang onto. You have realized the fundamental NO. You are free from doubt and you have experienced a sense of renunciation. So whether the situation brings success or failure, it brings an unconditional good understanding. Therefore, your mind and body are constantly synchronized; there is no deficit of any kind in the body or the mind. Your experience becomes like music, which has rhythm and a melody that is constantly expanding and being recreated. So the sense of celebration is constant, inbuilt, in spite of the ups and downs of one’s personal life. That is continuously being joyful.

Having developed trust and appreciation, you can finally conquer fear, which is connected with the analogy of a saddle. In the Buddhist teachings we talk about developing such a good sense of mental balance that, if you become mindless, your awareness automatically brings you back, just as in the process of skidding on the ice and losing your balance, your body automatically rebalances itself to keep you from falling. As long as you have good posture and a good seat in the saddle, you can overcome any startling or unexpected moves your horse makes. So the idea of the saddle is taking a good seat in your life.

An overreaction or an exaggerated reaction to situations shouldn’t happen at this level. You have trust, you are constantly being joyful, and therefore you can’t be startled, either. This doesn’t mean that your life is monotone, but rather you feel established in this world. You belong here. You are one of the warriors in this world, so even if little unexpected things happen, good or bad, right or wrong, you don’t exaggerate them. You come back to your seat in the saddle and maintain your posture in the situation.

The warrior is never amazed by anything. If someone comes up to you and says, “I’m going to kill you right now,” you are not amazed. If someone says that are going to give you a million dollars, you think, “So what?” Assuming your seat in the saddle at this level is achieving inscrutability, in the positive sense.

It is also taking your seat on the earth. Once you have a good seat on the earth, you don’t need witnesses to validate you. Someone once asked the Buddha, “How do we know that you are enlightened?” And he touched the earth in what is called the earth-touching mudra, or gesture, and said, “Earth is my witness.” That is the same concept as holding your seat in the saddle. Someone might ask, “How do we know you won’t overreact to this situation?” You can say, “Just watch my posture in the saddle.”

Fearlessness in the warrior tradition is not a training in ultimate paranoia. It is based on training in ultimate solidity—which is basic goodness. You have to learn how to be regal. Trust is like becoming a good citizen, celebrating the journey is like becoming a good minister in the government, but holding your seat in the saddle is finally assuming command. It is how to be a king or queen.

At the same time, conquering fear is not based on blocking your sensitivity. Otherwise, you become a deaf and dumb monarch, a jellyfish king. Sitting on the horse requires balance, and as you acquire that balance in the saddle, you have more awareness of the horse. So when you sit in the saddle on your fickle horse, you feel completely exposed and gentle. If you feel aggressive, you don’t have a good seat. In fact, you are probably not even riding the horse. You don’t put your saddle on a fence railing. You have to saddle a real horse.

In this case, riding the horse is riding somebody else’s mind. It requires a complete connection. In the Buddhist tradition, this is called compassion, or working with somebody else. You are completely exposed in this situation. Otherwise, it’s like a medieval knight encased in his armor. It’s so heavy that he has to be cranked up onto the horse. Then he rides off to battle and usually falls off. There’s something wrong with that technology.

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