By Daniel Nseyo, Lagos, Nigeria
On a quiet morning I drove to my office on Victoria Island, a large and sophisticated urban area in Lagos near beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. Although there initially weren’t many cars on the road, traffic started to build up as the result of a malfunctioning stoplight. This meant I had to sit alone in my car while waiting to move forward. But I wasn’t alone for long.
Along the highway and near my car, a grassy median strip separated traffic lanes. The city council had recently built orange fence rails to protect the green grass.
The grass attracts horses that occasionally wander into the city from Kuramo Beach, where luxury residential and office apartments have been built. Stables at the reclaimed beach offer horseback rides to visitors and tourists. Stray horses that may have escaped from these stables are often seen grazing in the highway median.
Now while I sat in my car, a large Barb, or Berber, horse—a breed that migrated from northern Africa to Nigeria over a thousand years ago, stood next to my window. Although this type of horse is known to have a fiery temperament, my new traffic companion contentedly grazed on a patch of greens and ignored me.
“Just an Animal”
I know that in some places, some people would only see this massive creature as a lowly animal. But while watching the horse, I began to appreciate it as Soul. I looked beyond the physical embodiment and thought of the horse as not “just an animal.” I started to wonder, How can Soul be all It can be in that physical body? Could Soul be Its best as a horse in this lifetime?
Suddenly it occurred to me that all Souls respond to God’s love. I should give this Soul love regardless of the differences between human and horse bodies. To experiment with the idea of giving love to Soul in any form, I decided to sing HU, a nondirected prayer that is sung as a love song to God. HU expresses a universal language of love without any expectations.
I filled my heart with love and appreciation for this Soul and sang HU inwardly and silently. To my surprise, the horse paused from grazing, and its ears started twitching. Looking around as if searching for the inner sound of HU, it fixed on me and stared for a few seconds. Then the horse showed its teeth and gave me a broad grin. After we exchanged smiles for a moment, the horse returned to grazing.
Love for All Life
The traffic began to move again, and as I continued my drive to work, I thought more about my Soul-to-Soul connection with the stray horse. As Soul, we have the God-knowledge within us. The teachings of ECK and spiritual exercises, such as singing HU, awaken Soul’s love for the divine that is already in our hearts. I believe this horse felt God’s love in the HU and returned it to me.
Through this experience I came to appreciate that animals are more than their physical bodies. They don’t express themselves through human words. But as Soul, they feel God’s love and interact with other life forms through love.
—First and second photos by Daniel Nseyo