home - site map
"Ancient Pali texts liken meditation to the process of taming a wild elephant. The procedure in those days was to tie a newly captured animal to a post with a good strong rope. When you do this, the elephant is not happy. He screams and tramples, and pulls against the rope for days.
Finally it sinks through his skull that he can't get away, and he settles down. At this point you can begin to feed him and hand him with some measure of safety. Eventually you can dispense with the rope and post altogether, and train your elephant for various tasks. Now you've got a tamed elephant that can be put to useful work. In this analogy the wild elephant is your wildly active mind, the rope is mindfulness, and the post is our object of meditation, our breathing...
Meditation tames the mind.(Gunaratana, 1998, pp. 153-154)"
Which means, now the elephant and I are trained, controlled, we may do many useful jobs.
But maybe knowing the elephant (and ourselves) is not possible after he is tamed. Perhaps taming in itself destroys the most beautiful and valuable part of what is tamed. This is one of the problems of science and dictatorships: control is sometimes achieved, but at what cost? Sometimes by destroying what led us to want to take control in the first place - now we understand sexuality in a clinical way, beauty is no longer there. Now we have control over our mind, and we find that peace is death/boredom - children no longer want to play with us - creativity is in a maze of do's and don'ts. In the end, we have control, over a desert, over nothing of importance, a silenced delight, a castrated desire that, although tamed, just wants to be free: - a tamed elephant, a tamed mind, whoever wants that? - p.