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Circle the Elephant

July 29, 2011

Strangely, I found this from something I’d written a long time ago in geocities.com. It is now in a site called reocities.com !

CIRCLE THE SITUATION
Continuing the story of

THE BLIND MEN & THE ELEPHANT

 


 

 

We all know the story of the blind men and the elephant.

 

After each blind man had touched a part of that curiously calm pachyderm, they held a short debate- or rather, a disagreement about what the object was, that they were touching.

 

Not each realized that it was an animal! Or alive! Strangely, this insight did not dawn even after their discussion. Perhaps they didn’t want to come to an agreement. Each wanted to put forth his own point of view as the only correct one.

 

In their blindness they were truly blinded.

 

Obviously, this story has been told to convey a lesson. The story is at once fascinating and incomplete. Are there further lessons below this tale, attributed to the Buddha?

 

Let’s begin by grounding, centering and clearing ourselves. We are beings of light, grounded into the earth, yet expanding towards the stars. Energy pours into us from every pore of our being, clearing and centering us, removing all thought, allowing us to be in this moment.

 

Sit back, relax, and read on. Journey through a waking, active meditation.

 

 

 

This is another time and space. in the world I come from, I am respected, independent, strong, successful.

 

But here….

 

A screen has descended in front of my eyes, and all is dark. There was a time I could see clearly, but I am now in unfamiliar territory.

 

Blinded, I cast about till I touch something solid. It’s rough to the touch, and doesn’t move. Emboldened, I feel the object, moving my hands around it. It’s not smooth, seems to have folds actually. Ah! It’s a pillar, not a very well-crafted one, though. Not smoothened out!

 

 

 

 

Is there anyone with me? Or am I alone? I cast about, keeping a steady hand on the object. But what’s this? A sudden whiff of air, a rough grazing my cheek. Aah! So this is actually a tree. A sudden whiff of air must have caused it to brush its rough branches across my cheek. 

I am grateful that I have not always been blind; else it would have been difficult for me to know what it is I am touching! I am thankful for my inner voice, that somehow seems even louder in this uncertain situation.
Be not alarmed, it seems to convey, there is a lesson to be learnt here. Enjoy learning!

 

 

 

 

 

As if the wind picks up on my thoughts, I feel a draft from above my head, a flapping sound, curiously like a fan. The breeze blows in a strange direction, bringing with it the smell of some animal. There is a slight sound. Is the pat-pat the footfall of a friend?  

 

 

A sudden sharp intake of breath on my right and my unasked prayers are answered. I’m not alone.

 

Watch out! There’s a snake here!”  

A snake. Above the involuntary creeping of my skin, I realize that  my impressions are correct. If a snake is slithering around, then however uncomfortable that seems, it makes sense: we’re in a forest. I’ve just felt the rough bark of a tree, and been grazed by its branches. Things are getting clearer. But also a little scary. What if this snake is poisonous?

 

 

Feeling vulnerable, I call out: “Who is there? Where are we?”

 

Three voices reply, reassuring even in their uncertainty.

We have all been blinded. None of us can see.

The only certainty is, that we are not alone.

 

We can pool our impressions together. From where each of us stands, we estimate we are in a little copse of perhaps four trees. There is possibly a snake about: it seems huge, but possibly somnolent, signaling a non-poisonous variety.

 

 

 

 

 “Ouch!” Watch out, there’s something really hard and sharp here,” says the friend who told us about the snake. It’s tapering, he says. Sharpened by my focus, I can almost hear him crouching down, evidently following the shape of the sharp and hard object.We move uncertainly around the spot where we find ourselves, circling the four trees, handling what the other had touched, blindly bumping into each other, laughing despite the discomfort.

 

“What is this?”  Casting about, I encounter what my neighbor is touching: a low drawbridge between two of the trees. What could that be?

 

 

A sudden loud squeak surprises us. 

 

 

 

Is there another animal disturbed by our probing? I tap the drawbridge, trying to judge whether we can climb onto it. It may be safer than the ground. 

The drawbridge extends upwards. I can’t span its width.

 

Time to rethink. This is obviously not a drawbridge. “It’s probably like a tree-house or some such structure,” I declare, tapping on the structure with a fist. “We’ve been thinking these are trees: maybe they’re really columns. That means, people made them. They’re probably nearby.”

Before I can call out to find out if there are others, something unexpected changes my intention.

 

 

 

The noise almost deafens me. It’s a sharp bellow.  

It is followed a moment later by a startled shout from one of us. The sound almost drowns our running footsteps.

 

We scatter. That sounded like…

Once again we’re all talking, our impressions getting mixed up:“A gorilla.”

“It’s an elephant.”

 “No, I think that’s a hippo.”

 “Probably a herd of them.”

“You’re all wrong: it’s so obviously a tiger.”

“Impossible.”

 

“Well, whatever it was, has apparently moved on. We’ll be safer if we stay under those columns.”

“Trees,” my companion corrects me.

“Whatever. It’s a solid structure.”

 

That’s cold comfort when we are so unsure what it really is that we encountered. Our morale is getting low.

We’re lost in a strange land, without sight, with little clue to where we are, and it’s getting cold.

 

At this lowest point of our night, as we sit, glum, finally silent; the little voice is once again heard within: are you sure you are clue-less?

Perhaps what we have is a surfeit of clues but no structure to place them into. Nothing to give it meaning…yet.

 

I shiver, from anticipation or the cool breeze. I know not.

But now I sense my companions stirring even as I begin to rise from the glum spot.

 

Then we are moving towards the general direction whence we ran, unsure how to find the trees-columns… looking for some support.

 

“I feel it!”“Yes, so do I. The same columns…Wait! Aren’t these a little warm? If the air is so cold, how is this so warm?”

 

There is an unexpected answer: a snake-like slither around my waist. A slight snort. This is certainly not a snake!

 

“We are really foolish. This is no inanimate structure. It’s an animal!”

 

“Such a strange creature. Have we gone back to the past? Is this a dinosaur?” One of us is getting a little fanciful.

 

As if some higher power hears the desperation in our voices,and the steadily climbing fear, the mist in front of my eyes begins to clear.

 

I can barely make out the shapes of my companions, and register that they are all in the same situation as me: sight is miraculously returning, as strangely as it had left.

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the object of our examination; as a broad-backed, thick-legged, round-bellied pachyderm flaps its ears and half-raises its trunk at us in a friendly salute, before disappearing with a farewell bellow, into a copse of trees in the distance.

 

 

 

In my blindness I have explored an object far longer than I would have when I had sight.

If I could see the elephant, it would have registered in my brain, I would have watched it for a while, and then we would have each gone our way. Now I have touched it, felt it, explored and distinguished it from other objects.

 

In my blindness, I have not taken the first impression for granted. Recognizing that I am deprived was the first step in understanding the situation.

Not being satisfied with a first impression – or the second or third-has made all the difference.

I came back to where I started- but oh! How different the starting place is, now!

 

 

In my blindness, I discovered the extent of knowing that I reach with other senses.

My hearing, smell, touch- and my inner knowing- all awoke when sight slept. And now when sight has returned, the others, strengthened by my focus, will stay to provide perspective to what I see.

 

In my blindness, I discovered the value of working together with friends and companions.

My uncertainty caused me to manifest the helpfulness of friends.  

 

 

The inner voice was true. I am not alone.

 

 

I woke the next morning with a start.

 

If I was not so blind when I thought I was; was I actually blind when I could see?

What was I missing about the people I knew- or thought I knew?

About the places I visited- which I may not have fully looked at

About the circumstances of my life- which I may be quick to judge

When I relied so much on first impressions, was I actually blinding myself to a sizeable chunk of truth?

 

As I began to view my experience in the new light of awakening awareness, I prayed:

Let me not lose sight of inner truth while I see clearly the truth about the world outside.

 

 

Take a deep breath in and out. I breathe in the light, I breathe out all self-doubt

I breathe in open-ness, I breathe out all judgment

I breathe in strength, I breathe out strength

 

 

What could be worse than being born without sight? Being born with sight and no vision.

Helen Keller

 

If you forward this writing, please keep all information intact.

http://www.reocities.com/holistic-life/circle.html

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