The person rides the horse. The horse doesn't ride the person. The horse doesn’t take the rider where they do not intend to go... unless the rider is little or unskillful.
I was taught as a kid, you have to learn how to being in harmony with the horse… how to move with it… how to hold the reins… to be connected and one with the horse. I quickly discovered these were facts being taught to me, not a theory… but it takes time, patience, and practice that intellect alone cannot resolve. We have to live though the experience, and discover our way through it, perhaps more that so-called “Figuring it out,” as so many of us try to do; when faced with a challenge.
That said, it's an observable fact that many many many people are being ridden and rode by the mind, and subsequent thoughts that are more static and noise, instead of substance and signal. Can we notice how many times we say... "I I I I," when they're talking? It’s subtle conditioning by the mind as it trains us, to follow it’s prompts of thought. There's a lot of "I think", "my thoughts are..." and "My feelings," which usually are more thought rather than feeling, if they stopped to introspect what's going on. To them we could ask, if these are really your thoughts and it's really your mind, and you really have control... tell it to shut the f*ck up and see if it stops, when it's got us rung up at 2:00am, tossing and turning cause it won't let you sleep. When it doesn't, that could tell you everything to know.
Zazen... not reading books, theorizing, or philosophizing about... true practice... changes the relationship with the mind. We can learn to ride the mind rather than being ridden by it. In recovery from addiction we have an expression... "The Steps don't work by magic." We turn towards the mind, instead of away. We feel, deal, assimilate, integrate, and heal the relationship with mind.
In Zen it doesn't work unless we're actively, consciously, and intentionally applying the Eightfold path, which i often invite people to apply in reverse: Depth in Joriki/Concentration, Depth in Mindfulness, Depth in Conduct/Values/Ethics, Depth of Livelihood, Depth in Action, Depth in Communication, Depth of Intent, which naturally results in Depth in Understanding.) When we can are the rider rather than the rode, how we face our life is 100% different than when thoughts… obsessions… fantasy… reminiscing… regrets… fear… and anxiety… are riders in the seat, riding us. The experience and view is different, and so naturally natural we can live as Buddha (Universal Identity of Loving Presence) rather than beast. Please confirm for you as YOU.
一May We Live and Die Without Regret