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The Enchanted Elephant

Have you heard of the story of the elephant and the rope? It is on the Internet. It will give you some idea of how your subconscious mind works and how distorted perceptions can enslave you.

"A man passing by a group of elephants observes that these huge creatures were being held by a tiny rope tied to their front leg. There were no chains or cages, and one could see they could easily break away from their bonds at any time. But for some reason, they did not.

Seeing the trainer nearby, he asked him why these animals just stood there and made no attempts to get away. "Well," said the trainer, "when they are very young and much smaller, we use the same size rope to tie them. At that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free."

This story shows how we are all conditioned beings. Our perceptions and the cultural environment we grow up in, conditions our thinking. It is, therefore, most essential to learn about our subconscious mind and how we can break free of this conditioning.

Most people have no idea how their subconscious mind works. They eat, they drink, and they sleep without even knowing what their subconscious mind is doing. They work, they play, they argue and fight without even knowing that they have a subconscious mind. When they have any unpleasant experience, they try to forget it. They hope and wish things might be different and use it as a garbage dump. But our subconscious mind never forgets anything. It will behave the way you train it.

Yes, you may temporarily forget a problem and put it aside. But years later it can come back and disturb you. Why? It is because you have not resolved the issue.

Do you know that your breathing, your heartbeat, your digestion, your sexual orientation and other vital functions are all under subconscious control? Even your immune system which protects and heals you are also under subconscious control. So shouldn't you learn more about your mind and the part you don't understand?

Is it possible for you to manipulate your subconscious mind? Of course, it is. You are manipulating it all the time yet are not even aware of it. The world outside you is also manipulating you, and you think you cannot be hyponotised.

If you observe, you will find that most of what we do, our activities are all directed towards appeasing our subconscious mind, that is manipulating our subconscious mind.

So when we pray to God or some Higher Power, for instance, what are we doing? We are saying words and sentences (verbalising) in our mind to some higher authority that help us soothe our subconscious mind. Words, not their meaning, have a powerful hypnotic effect on us. They give form to our feelings. If we did not verbalise, you would find there is no substance to our emotions. Hence when we pray, we are directing our attention to the most potent energy source within us, which is keeping us alive. And that is our subconscious mind.

When we attend a funeral, we always say beautiful things about the person who is gone, although we know the contrary background of that person. Why? It is because when we say all the good things about the other person although they may not be accurate, it helps us to feel better. We do it for ourselves, not the other person to appease our subconscious mind.

Also, we may perform rituals and ceremonies so that the departed soul may rest in peace. But in fact, they are performed for our benefit. It is how we console ourselves for the loss we have incurred. Yes, we are all very selfish individuals. Whatever we do, we do things to make ourselves feel better. We are always trying to do something to appease our subconscious mind.

Again when we are listening to music or dancing to a tune, what are we doing? We are stimulating our subconscious mind in a way that makes us feel happy. We use music in so many ways to entertain ourselves.

Going to a restaurant eating delightful food in a friendly company is another way of enjoying ourselves. Taking part in a game, playing a sport, watching TV, listening to the radio or going to the cinema etc. are all activities designed to make ourselves happy.

Even when people take drugs, drink alcohol, etc., what are they doing? Some people might like to drown their sorrow or get kicks with drinks and drugs. But again, it is the subconscious mind they are trying to please.

As one can see, our subconscious mind is the most powerful energy source we have that keeps us going 24 hours a day. Yet most of us are not even aware of it. We take it for granted, like the elephant in the room.

No matter who you are or what you are, your perceptions and thinking are influencing your subconscious mind all the time. If you ignore this fact, you will be in the same boat as that elephant thinking that the rope you are tied to is preventing you from doing your own thing.

Freedom is a state of mind, and so is enslavement. They both affect our behaviour and physical condition. The secret to breaking free from this conditioning lies in your perceptions. It is your perception you must change. Your perceptions make you think the way you do. Without changing them, you are the same person. And if you do not change, your thinking is the same, and your destiny will be the same as that of the roped elephant.

This article applies not only to all individuals but also applies to groups. The medical profession is a perfect example of an elephant that needs waking up to its responsibilities. You have to congratulate the government for doing such an excellent job with them. They have trained these doctors from being independent thinkers to being bureaucratic thinkers. At the same time, they have also made them believe in the system of self-regulation. Once that achieved, one can see how this dumb animal's perception and thinking is now making it regulate itself- fait accompli for the government.

After reading this article if you agree and see the truth in what I have written, and realise that you are at present in the same position as this roped elephant, what must you do? Do you continue in the same way or try to break free from your tied place? What would you think of yourself if you remained in your present position? Please think. Your liberation lies in your perception.

Please read the second edition of my book "The Enchanted Time Traveller - A Book of Self-knowledge and the Subconscious Mind". This time it has a preface and additional chapters to help you discover your true potential. It is a must-read self-help book for all health professionals and all interested in solving their problems, not living with them. Visit Website: http://theenchantedtimetraveller.com.au/.


Medical practitioner| Author of "The Enchanted Time Traveller - A Book of Self-Knowledge and the Subconscious Mind"


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A lot of books have been written about gratitude. I think it is a well-received idea that gratitude is a nice thing to do. It is polite and people will like you better when you notice them and give thanks, and relationships will thrive with expression of gratitude. But I want to address the use of gratitude in our most vulnerable times, when it is not about being polite, nice or wanting to be liked.

When I was twenty years old, I almost died at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. I was a nursing student there at the time and developed septicemia (a widespread bacterial infection in my blood) from a mismanaged dental emergency from a small dentist in upstate NY while visiting with Barry. Once back at the University, my fever quickly soared to a dangerous 107 and I had to be packed in ice and was placed in the isolation ICU unit. The chief physician called my parents in Buffalo to tell them they must rush to my side as he believed I would die quickly.

But what was happening inside of me while all of this drama was unfolding? I was struggling to maintain consciousness. People around me were wondering out loud how long I might live, as if I couldn’t hear them. Somewhere in my brain that was barely functioning I decided that I would say and feel my gratitude to each person who tried to help me. For even the smallest thing that was done to me, and there were many small and big things, I said, “thank you for helping me.” Sometimes my voice was so weak that they had to lean in closer to my mouth to hear my words. Each time I said the words, “thank you,” I felt the connection to my soul and heart grow stronger. Saying “thank you” became my lifeline of strength. And in a large city hospital where people in crisis are more apt to be treated as a disease than a human being, my gratitude drew their attention back to the fact that indeed here was a human being inside this terrible medical crisis. The nurses, orderlies, doctors and even the janitors treated me with more kindness once they heard my weak words thanking them. There is much about that vulnerable time that I remember, but one thing that stands out is the feeling of strength that returned to me each time I thanked someone.

Gratitude in Vulnerable Times

Another very vulnerable time for me was when our young family of five experienced the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake that totally destroyed our rental home with all five of us inside. Our son was only five months old at the time. Each one of us, especially our son, came very close to being killed. We were all in a state of shock as we looked at the house that had been our home for thirteen years and realized that we would never be able to live there again.

People began arriving at our home and helping in the most amazing ways. Someone sat me down and fed me some healthy food. Someone else washed the blood from our two little girl’s legs. Others found our dogs and cats, and still others rented a U-Haul truck and began packing up the few things that were not destroyed.

After a few hours of being totally taken care of, I realized I must contact my strength again. I began by thanking God for saving us from this disaster and allowing all five of us to survive. Remembering my experience in the hospital, I went to each precious person and held their hands and looked long into their eyes and expressed my gratitude. With each thank you my mother strength returned until I was ready to make the big changes that our family needed to survive.

Gratitude also brings strength and clarity in times of great stress. Twenty years ago, Barry and I were scheduled to do a couple’s retreat in Massachusetts. Since Barry’s mother lived in New York, we both decided he should go ahead a week early and visit with her. I would stay home, take care of our children, and join him in Massachusetts for the retreat. When I arrived at the airport, I was told that all flights with a stop in Chicago were cancelled for the weekend due to extreme weather. I was also told that there was no possible way I would make it to the east coast, and that I should go home.

Barry did not want to do the couple’s retreat without me since we had a very big group at the retreat. It felt so important that somehow I get myself to Massachusetts. I went to the gate and approached a very weary attendant. Many people had been yelling at her with frustration. I kindly looked her in the eyes and thanked her first for the difficult job she had that day, and then for trying to help me. She shook her head and said she couldn’t help me, but I thanked her again for trying.

There were three airports in the San Francisco Bay area and three in the New York City area. Surely I felt a way could be found. I was asking her to check out all of these possibilities. She started once again to tell me that it was impossible while all around me I could hear people yelling at the other attendants because they could not be helped. I kept my voice very calm and kept thanking her for each time she tried. Finally, on the last try, she found one seat from San Francisco to the Kennedy Airport. I thanked her in the biggest way I could and a bright smile crossed her face. Because of my expressions of gratitude, she had given me that little bit of extra attention.

Gratitude brings strength to the heart and allows us to contact the place within us that is wise and powerful, no matter how vulnerable or stressed we might feel. Everything might be falling apart around us, but in the expression of gratitude, first to God and then to whoever is helping, we will feel our strength return. Expressing gratitude is perhaps the most powerful way we can live.

Here are a few opportunities to bring more love and growth into your life, at the following longer events led by Barry and Joyce Vissell:

Feb 11-16, 2020 — The Couples Journey, Aptos (for couples)

Jun 7-14, 2020 — Shared Heart Alaska Cruise, leaving from Seattle (for singles and couples)

Jul 19-24, 2020 — Shared Heart Summer Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, OR (for singles, couples and families)

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are passionate about conscious relationship and personal-spiritual growth. They are the authors of 9 books. Call 831-684-2299 for further information on counseling sessions by phone/Skype or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at SharedHeart.org for their free monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics about relationship and living from the heart.

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