Why most people’s minds are restless: Story of Elephant and Fly

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on September 4, 2014

Beauty of Nature

A disciple and his teacher were walking through a 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 on do to still one’s thoughts?

The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said,

“I will tell you a story”.

“An elephant was sanding and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly flew buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again and 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 pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them. And what is your secret, how can you so calm and still?

The elephant stopped eating and said “My five senses do not rule my attention. Whatever I do, I am immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule my attention and no the other way around.”

The disciple’s eyes opened wide and a smile rose on his face. “I understand. I am in charge of my senses and attention, and then the mind is calm. The outside objects are infinite in number. If I let my five senses pull my attention, then the mind is constantly restless.”

“Yes that’s right”, answered the teacher, “The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is.  Control your Attention, and Control your mind.”

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