In our Year of Inquiry group yesterday, we got to look at a terribly painful belief that’s sort of strange to question.
Because it seems like a fact.
He killed the elephant.
I find it profound to contemplate.
How do you react when you believe it happened?
When you think the thought “that person killed something or someone else”…..
…..what goes through your heart and body?
What other thoughts do you have?
In our inquiry group, we noticed how the mind races for some possible answer that would make it manageable, rather than full of pain.
It tries to fill in the story, understand desperately. Maybe there was a reason….
Inside, in your body, the despair and hopelessness….or rage….is firing big energy outward at those who kill.
More thoughts about the wrongness of humanity, or the strangeness and sickness, or the bizarre world, and life and death, and creatures and people.
The pain erupts and it’s immense.
But who would you be without the thought “he killed the elephant”?
I sat internally with this as the beautiful inquirers also wondered what this would be like, who they would be without this troubling thought?
I thought about how I’ve had the belief “cancer killed my father” and had the very same reaction of confusion, terror, despair, and wanting to shout “WHY?!” at the sky.
Who would I be without that belief?
I’m not denying death has happened. I’m not saying this thing called “killing” isn’t accurate.
But without the belief, my mind expands somehow.
I see an image, a picture of a man and a massive remarkable animal. I’m aware the man will one day also die. I’m aware the animal was here temporarily so death would happen no matter what. I’m aware I will die and move to whatever happens without form.
Someone said in our group, that without her thought “he killed the elephant” she looked. She held that picture, without filling the room and her body and the world with condemning thoughts.
I had the feeling of wanting to understand more closely what happens with the one who is doing the killing. What’s going on there? Why would that be the way that person doing this act called killing would move?
This is what scientists and physicians and researchers are asking cancer.
What are you? Why are you here? What makes you tick?
Without the terror, these questions can be explored.
Turning the thought around to the opposite: He did not kill the elephant. The elephant killed him. I killed him. I killed the elephant. I killed myself.
I know these are very odd to write, but that’s the point of inquiry.
You don’t have to find anything interesting there. You can keep your thought of the horror of killing.
My heart still breaks with learning of killing, but without being eternally against it, my heart expands in this breaking.
I see the life and death of all things, and of humans doing the best they can with what they know.
I can find examples of these turnarounds.
The elephant lives, more than ever. It’s all over the internet. It was brought to my attention through this inquiry group. It lives in my mind and thoughts. People are caring about what happens. People are moved and passionate about life and death of animals, and people, and themselves.
In my thinking about cancer, or anything that kills, I kill my love, my joy, my spontaneity. I kill my own happiness. I kill the time I have left here, which is quite temporary.
“‘I should’, ‘I shouldn’t’, ‘you should’, ‘you shouldn’t’, ‘I want’, ‘I need’–these unquestioned thoughts distort the appearance of the good that is as common as grass. When you believe them, you make your mind small, and small-mindedness doesn’t allow you to see why the loss of legs is good, why blindness is good, sickness, hunger, death, a village wiped out, the whole apparent world of suffering. You stay unaware of the good that is all around you, you block out the elation you’d feel when you finally recognized it. Whatever you think, reality is the natural way of it. It won’t blend to your ideas of what it should be, and it won’t wait for your consent. It will remain just as it is, pure goodness, whether or not you understand.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy