The Elephant and the Ant
by Leslie Sann
Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.
Insanity is holding onto thinking that doesn’t match reality. Then we argue with reality because it doesn’t look like our thinking. This is an attempt to control reality to make it look like what we want it to in our imagination.
Wrestling with reality is like an ant telling an elephant to get out of its way. There’s no way the elephant is going to move. No matter how loud the ant yells, or how hard it stamps its tiny foot, how much it begs, pleads or flirts, the elephant is going to do whatever it wants to do. Elephants are like that.
The ant is doomed by holding on to thinking that doesn’t match reality.
So much for defying the reality we live in.
I have a friend who mentioned that the carpet in her home was dirty, even disgusting. She then told me she could live with it. She would just look elsewhere and ignore the reality of her dirty carpet.
When she told me her strategy for dealing with her conditions I imagined she must rent. I figured she had a lousy landlord who refused to accommodate an upgrade.
Months later we’re having lunch, and she referred to her property taxes. It dawned on me that she is the landlord. My brain wrinkled in wonder about complaining over something she can change.
Then I remembered that I am not unlike that. I was once in a relationship with a man who was consistently unkind to me; I didn’t get new carpet either. I just pretended it wasn’t happening. I looked someplace else thinking I could get the elephant to do what I wanted to do if only…
And highly anxiety provoking.
The world (people, the polar icecaps … my mother) does what it does. We are not in control. The Magnificent Mystery that breathes all of Life is in charge. If we don’t like it we suffer. If we argue with our circumstances we suffer. If we think we know better we suffer.
“Move!” said the ant.
Anxiety is a result of the recognition that the world does what it does and we’re not in control. We suffer when we grasp on to results that do not appear. Holding onto thinking that doesn’t match reality. We attempt control by pretending we can get an elephant to do our bidding, even though we know it ain’t gonna happen.
The key is to be loving to the part that is anxious. It doesn’t matter what you are thinking or feeling. Your concerns about the world’s activities or elephants in the road are irrelevant. Take a few breaths; bring yourself to peace.
Loving is the antidote to disturbance. Bring your loving to the disturbance and it will calm. From calm you will discover you have the energy, insight, and wisdom to handle the situation. Including crossing over to the other side of the street, and letting the elephant have his way.