“And so, please practice! Please let that be your guide. And I believe that you will find, if your practice matures, that Spirit will reach down and bless your every word and deed, and you will be taken quite beyond yourself, and the Divine will blaze with the light of a thousand suns, and glories upon glories will be given unto you, and you will in every way be home. And then, despite all your excuses and all your objections, you will find the obligation to communicate your vision. And precisely because of that, you and I will find each other. And that will be the real return of Spirit to itself.”
— Ken Wilber
Of Elephants and New Age Folly
Five Blind Men and the Elephant
Once upon a time, five blind men came upon an elephant.
“What is this?!” asked the first one, who had run headlong into its side.
“It’s an Elephant.” said the elephant’s keeper, who was sitting on a stool, cleaning the elephant’s harness.
“Wow! So this is an Elephant! I’ve always wondered what Elephants are like!” said the man, running his hands as far as he could reach up and down the elephant’s side. “Why, it’s just like a wall! A large, warm wall!”
“What do you mean, a wall?” said the second man, wrapping his arms around the elephant’s leg. “This is nothing like a wall. You can’t reach around a wall! This is more like a pillar. Yeah, that’s it! An Elephant is exactly like a pillar!”
“A pillar? Strange kind of pillar!” said the third man, stroking the elephant’s trunk. “It’s too thin, for one thing, and it’s too flexible for another. If you think this is a pillar, I don’t want to go to your house! This is more like a snake. See, it’s wrapping around my arm! An Elephant is just like a snake!”
“Snakes don’t have hair!” said the fourth man in disgust, pulling the elephant’s tail. “You are closer than the others, but I’m surprised that you missed the hair. This isn’t a snake, it’s a rope. Elephants are exactly like ropes.”
“I don’t know what you guys are on!” the fifth man cried, waving the elephant’s ear back and forth. “It’s as large as a wall, all right, but thin as a leaf, and no more flexible than any piece of cloth this size should be. I don’t know what’s wrong with all of you, but no one except a complete idiot could mistake an Elephant for anything except a sail!!!”
And as the elephant stepped aside, they tramped off down the road, arguing more loudly and violently as they went, each sure that he, and he alone, was right; and all the others were wrong.
Whereas the truth is that the elephant is… the elephant.
Whenever I hear someone say that ‘everyone has their reality’, I am reminded of this story.
Rather than trying to perceive the elephant or acknowledge it
it is saying, “yes your’s is like a tree stump, mine is like a rope’ we all have our own way of seeing an elephant
without acknowledging that there is some way the elephant all fits together, in other words , to integrate the views
it feels sloppy because after all the talk about tree stump and rope… there is STILL an elephant standing in front of them
Literally the ‘elephant in the room’ in much of New Age talk
To be honest, I find this attitude somewhat fear based. This could be because many of the people who I’ve spoken to who have it seem to have an issue with people disagreeing with them, very often confusing disagreement with disrespect
It feels as if they have a fear of being seen wrong about something in public
Which leads to why they insist on relative truth, and how truth is different for everyone, and let’s agree to disagree… because in a sense it is a way of avoiding responsibility that their truth may somehow be intimately connected to the very soul of the Universe, and that it is more than about if they see a rope or a tree stump
I tend to take for granted that if the universe is as R Buckminster Fuller said it to be an Asynchronomously apprehended phenomenon (that is too vast to be understood completely all at once) then we are ALL incorrect in some things
working together, combining our views of the universe, testing which of each view is more accurate (and yes disagreeing in order to come to a greater understanding ) we can come to a greater knowing and understanding of ourselves and the greater universe we are but parts of
“The thirst to be boundless is not created by you. It is just life wishing to know itself.”
How can all our realities be different when the desire we all hold originated from the very same soul?
Even our differences are illusions… and that’s what takes courage to see…
Fear keeps us seeing differences… courage helps us see similarities… courage helps us connect… unify.
Click on image to see full-size
Memories of Atlantis by G A Rosenberg