Friday, 14 October 2011

The Elephant and the Fly, a short story.

Just like dieters hit a plateau and struggle to shift those last few pounds. I'm feeling a bit flat and finding it tough not to give into apathy just as things on the horizon are looking bright. I've been cleaning up the toolbar on my laptop. Removing duplicates and rearranging my folders. During this rather mundane but never less enjoyable time I came across the short story below. It didn't take long for me to recognize myself in the Fly and my longing to be more like the Elephant. So today I'm sticking to one thing at a time. Finishing it, then moving on to the next.
I've had two days with MissG. Lazy starts to each day, a short trip out to somewhere interesting followed by a walk and talk, tea and the biggest cake on the counter. Then home, a read and I'd cook something simple for the pair of us and more talk. Followed by an early night. The phone has been switched to silent for the whole time. So now back to work. I'm feeling guilty about having two days off. Why ? self-worth or the lack of it and money worries probably head the list. The only way out is to deal with it and not hide. So back to one thing at a time and elevate the last two days to happy memories and how the break gave me the chance to reflect and push on. So enough of my navel gazing and on to the story.    

A disciple and his teacher were walking through the forest. The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was in constant unrest.
He asked his teacher: "Why most people's minds are restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one do to still the mind?"
The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said:
"I will tell you a story. An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more."
This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly:
"Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can't you stay for a while in one place?"
The fly answered: "I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses, and everything that happens around me, pull me constantly in all directions, and I cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?"
The elephant stopped eating and said:
"My five senses do not rule my attention. I am in control of my attention, and I can direct it wherever I want. This helps me to get immersed in whatever I do, and therefore, keep my mind focused and calm. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way, I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I control my attention, and not the other way around, and this helps me stay peaceful."
Upon hearing these words, the disciple's eyes opened wide, and a smile appeared on his face. He looked at his teacher and said:
"I understand! My mind will be in constant unrest, if my five senses, and whatever is happening in the world around me are in control of it. On the other hand, if I am in command of my five senses, able to disregard sense impressions, my mind would become calm, and I will be able to disregard its restlessness."
"Yes, that's right," answered the teacher," The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind."

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more but so much easier said than done.