Lessons from an Elephant in Bondage

Lessons from an Elephant in Bondage

article-2682388-1F6E1EA200000578-509_634x523The story had been circulating through Facebook for about a week now and I had been avoiding it because I knew it would upset me. But today I felt the courage to read it.

article-2682388-1F6E1EBD00000578-369_634x661An elephant in India had been in bondage for 50 years. Not just tied up for half a century but shackled with piercing bonds around his ankles. He was forced to hold out his trunk and beg for coins from passers-by and survived only on plastic and paper for food. A group of rescuers (Wildlife SOS) heard of his plight and saved him. Under cover of darkness they took 10 team members, 20 forestry employees and six police officers to help him. They took Raju fruit as they fought with the owner who was illegally mistreating the animal. Their words soothed him and nurtured him as much as the food he so desperately needed. As they began to remove his spiked hobbles and chains, this magnificent creature began to cry. Real tears.

article-2682388-1F6E1F4F00000578-992_634x956As I read the article I too began to cry. Tears for the elephant—this beautiful, kind soul. Tears for the rescuers and their profound compassion. And yes, tears for the man who mistreated Raju.

article-2682388-1F6E23B400000578-803_634x475I pondered the story all day and what I came to understand is how Raju is a powerful teacher for us.

The mind is a powerful tool in our lives that can turn into a slave master. It can create shackles, even spiked shackles, that hold us back, keep us stuck and create a living hell where we are enslaved to starve spiritually and emotionally. Our beliefs can become so powerful that we cannot realize there is a better life available.

article-2682388-1F6E1EA700000578-231_634x422How do we become slave to our mind? Simply by allowing it to create scenarios based on beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of doing. If we grow up believing we don’t deserve happiness or that we’re stupid or we’re not talented…or whatever negative belief we hold…we reinforce this belief by practicing it. It’s like playing golf and developing a bad swing. It’s not that we really want to play badly, we simply build on a faulty or inefficient swing and our game gets worse.

So if our mind enslaves us, then what frees us? What becomes the rescue team that unties our bindings and frees us to stand and grow into the fullness of being?

It can begin with a simple question: What if I’m wrong? What if the beliefs I hold about myself are incorrect? What if I am smart? What if I am creative? What if I’m capable of living my potential? What if I can commit to a relationship? The list is endless.

article-2682388-1F6E1E0200000578-486_634x414If we begin to feed ourselves mental food that is nourishing, the shackles gradually begin to loosen. In other words, we become our own rescuers; however, we don’t have to do it alone. We can form friendships that nurture our wholeness. We can join groups that empower us. We can practice good self-care, however that looks for each of us. We can nurture our dreams instead of deny them.

It is our birthright to fully develop into the potential we were born with and to express the gifts that are part of our soul experience. We can shine brightly and fully when we stop abusing ourselves, stop allowing others to do so and fully embrace the abundant richness of spirit we are meant to experience. We hold the keys to the Kingdom of Love and Light…and the keys that unlock the shackles into which we have locked ourselves.

article-2686961-1F876BE400000578-224_634x421It’s difficult to make sense of such mistreatment of our brothers and sisters such as Raju but if we take a bit of time and seek the lessons contained within, we honor their pain and suffering as we use it to gain better understanding of our own lives. We all have the capacity to be the abuser, the abused and the rescuer. Which do you choose to be to your self? To others?

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