The Elephant and the Fly

A disciple and his teacher were walking through the forest.

The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was in

constant unrest.

He asked his teacher: “Why are most people’s minds

restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one

do to still the mind?”

The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said: “I

will tell you a story. An elephant was picking leaves from

a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear.

The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly

came again, and the 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, and everything that happens

around me, pull me constantly in all directions, and I

cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay

so calm and still?”

The elephant stopped eating and said: “My five senses do

not rule my attention. I am in control of my attention,

and I can direct it wherever I want. This helps me to get

immersed in whatever I do, and therefore, keeps my mind

focused and calm. Now that I am eating, I am completely

immersed in eating. In this way, I can enjoy my food and

chew it better. I control my attention, and not the other

way around, and this helps me stay peaceful.”

Upon hearing these words, the disciple’s eyes opened wide,

and a smile appeared on his face. He looked at his teacher

and said: “I understand! My mind will be in constant

unrest if my five senses and whatever is happening in the

world around me are in control of them. On the other hand,

if I am in command of my five senses, able to disregard

sense impressions, my mind will become calm, and I will

be able to disregard its restlessness.”

“Yes, that’s right,” answered the teacher,” The mind is

restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your

attention, and you control your mind.”

Author: Remez Sasson

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