Spirit Whispers: The trouble with Elephants.. A Parable

You know I thought when Tai left that I would no longer receive the wonderful parables that I have been given over the last couple of years.  To my surprise and delight, the parables have kept coming and coming.   Always appealing to the child in me, I wonder at times we pay more attention to stories than wisdom given by others.  I for one, love stories and more often than not, I can remember these more than the best advice given, I think just because of that resonance with the child within.   I so hope you enjoy them as much as I do and to be honest this one is dedicated to a friend of mine, who over a coffee and a chat, this delightful parable came to light.

The Trouble with Elephants

Once there was a traveller, dedicated in their heart to finding all the answers of the world, they travelled long and far to the ends of the earth looking for all sorts of answers to all sorts of questions.   They were not an egotistical person, rather longing for knowledge to answer the many questions that came from deep within their heart.      The traveller thought that life’s mysteries could be answered on the winds and at the corners of the earth.

One day while travelling through the African plains, the traveller, ever weary and hot, was making his way along an old pathway when he came across a rather large Elephant.    The elephant on seeing him turned and looked him straight in the eye.   The traveller stepped sideways and to his amazement the elephant stepped again in front of him.   Startled the traveller moved to the other side and watched as again the elephant moved and blocked his way.   Perturbed slightly, the traveller step again to the side of the elephant and watched again in amazement as the elephant again blocked his way.     Standing 3 metres away from each other, they looked each other up and down.

The traveller decided it was a rather large elephant and as he was just following a path, which he knew not where it would take him, that he would just go around the elephant.   He backed away from the elephant and was perturbed again to see the elephant in perfect syncroniscity take steps towards him again.   Surely he must be imagining that the elephant was being difficult.   He stopped backing away and again looked at the elephant.  The elephant again looked him dead in the eye and for a moment no one moved.

The traveller thought about it.   He had an idea, maybe he could bribe the elephant.   He took his pack from his back and unpacked the fruit he carried.  He showed the fruit carefully to the elephant who watched his every move and placed the fruit on the ground and backed away again.   The elephant moved forward in perfect syncroniscity again and picked up the fruit and munched on it contentedly but again followed the traveller move for move.     The elephant watched him even more closely and the traveller realised it was probably a mistake to have fed the elephant.      He plopped himself on the ground and the elephant did exactly the same.

The traveller took another piece of fruit from his pack and broke it in half.  Giving half to the elephant, since he considered he already had no way of getting rid of it now having fed it, he munched on his own half why surveying the situation.   He could not go around the elephant, it would not let him.  He couldn’t back away from the elephant, again it would not let him.   He could not bribe the elephant, unfortunately, it seemed now to like him even more.   He leaned back on the grass and looked at the sky.  How on earth would he possible move this obstacle from out of his pathway?

He thought of all the mysteries that he had found answers for, yet this one was completely stumping him.  He looked at the blue, blue sky and sighed, hours passed and finally he rolled over on his side and looked at the elephant.  It also lay on its side watching him, he shook his head bemusedly and the elephant did the same.   He sat up and the elephant got to its knees.    The traveller stood and the elephant stood too.  They eyeballed each other again and the traveller leaned in and said “Why on earth are you blocking my way?”.    The elephant reached out a trunk and tapped him on the head.  “Don’t you have the answer yet?” It enquired.

The traveller looked incredibly startled the elephant’s question and contemplated it for a moment. “No, I do not have the answer for why you won’t move out of my way”.   The elephant said “You could have simply asked, and said “please”.  “Please what?” enquired the Traveller.  “Why please move out of the way” said the elephant.  “It was a simple question, with a simple answer”.    Exasperated, the traveller said “I didn’t think you could talk”.   “Well see” said the elephant “you thought too much when there actually was a very simple answer.  Sometimes asking the question, to the most illogical and seemingly overwhelming question, can bring an answer in such an unexpected way”.

The traveller was stunned.  He would have never of thought of actually asking the elephant to move.  A simple solution to a problem that had held him up for hours.   He leaned in and bowed to the elephant “May I please pass?”.    “Yes” said the elephant “and not only that since you do not know where you are travelling, please allow me to carry you some of the way”.   Again the traveller was completely surprised.  Not only was his obstacle able to show him something new but also it was now assisting him on his journey.  He had certainly learned something new this day.   He bowed again to the elephant “thank you” and with that the elephant gently scooped him up and placed him on his shoulders and turned and carried him down the old pathway.

Moral of the Story:

We have to watch at times that we can create an obstacle, out of no where, out of nothing, for the simple reason that we think we should have all the answers all of the time.   The obstacle once we have created it, becomes larger and larger and more awkward.  Or so we think. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply ask yourself, why is that obstacle there?  Why is it not moving and what haven’t you actually addressed to empower it to move from your pathway.   We create obstacles for ourselves all the time, out of fears, out of insecurity and they are our own.  As large as an elephant and in most ways completely our own doing.   Take a look at it, is it really as big as it seems, or what did you build it on?  It may in fact be something that can help you completely and utterly, in learning about you, and helping you in growth on your pathway.


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