I have a friend who grew up in the company of a wild elephant. The baby elephant was found alone in the bush, and taken in by caring people. My friend grew up with that elephant.
The man on the right in the photo, his name is Tara Singh, or as the Indian people’s respectfully refer to someone they esteem, “Taraji.” He is standing in the photograph next to the first Prime Minister of Independent India, Nehru. Taraji was my good friend for a number of years. In many ways, he was the most important influence on my life, other than my love of nature, my family and friends and the goodness that is inseparable from our deepest humanity.
There is a connection between that elephant orphaned in the African bush and those two men. The connection is me and the uplifting story I now tell; apparent to all who are dedicated and rooted enough to fully attend.
Nehru was left by a challenging situation by the fast exit that the British wrought upon the fledgling story of Bharat (the Sanskrit name for India) born new. And Taraji went to see him and said there must be a way to learn from the industrialized world to see a wholly supportive path of wisdom for the poorest in the subcontinent of India That was an action of real politics, the Ancient Greek word means: the family of man.
My friend who grew up with the elephant told me that when you are quiet, when you are considerate, and deeply loving and wise, the elephant is an altogether different creature to the one we shut up in safari parks and pretend to take care of.
When the mind is profoundly quiet, utterly still, so still it can see into the mystery of the wind and the pertinence of every avenue of life form, there comes a distinguishing discrimination that reveres the distilled beauty that frames our most glorious nature.
We are the children of nature after all. Now, my friend Taraji set out to find a way to bring man back to his senses. He and I met in Los Angeles and he asked me what I would say to Lincoln. He gave me one other gift.
The greatest gift I have ever received. The greatest gift that one can excavate from the pale moon of our furrows into the question of what lies beyond all sorrow. He asked me the question: What is determination?
I saw the value in that gift and it lead me to a place of grounded lessness. Where we are not driven by the mad hounds of insecurity, another river flows. It is to that river you must go to see the elephant. To appreciate its beauty and its adoration of man. If you can see man as the elephant sees man, beyond all his pain mechanisms, you have evolutionized the evolution of humanity. That is the superlative gift of my friends question right there. It introduces one to what is truly valuable. In that sense, that very real and alive sense, there is no greater gift.
Please, please, please take away the conditional in the last sentence, make it now. Not when. That opportunity is before you. It requires no teacher, no coach, no degree or learning, only the artifice of your deepest heart married with that character in the human being that esteems most highly observation and the unlearning of all untruths. I know what I know and I know that no pain or problem is justified to the mind that has attended to who man is, at his core. He is, you are, the paragon of animals.
Claim it in the seat of your stilled attention to what matters. Do not delay. Make no further excuses. It is fully deserved. Reconcile it. Be it. Honor your interests and drop all perverted discretions. In this clarified space the meaning of economy, energy and purpose are granted. And rightly so.
And what is more, the elephant’s trumpet salutes you. It does so, not in haste nor unjustly, but because of the celebration of its most joyous character. For it evolved to do that. And it sees into what you are. It knows. Don’t settle for what you are not. The elephant is watching. And she does not miss a beat. Not a single one.