We all like to travel. As Rumi said, “Travel brings power and love back into your life.” They teach us in school about 6 continents and 1 unique continent of snow and ice called Antarctica. Those who are lucky enough, they pack their bags and travel the world. In travel, we don’t only see new landscape, but we form new eyes of cultures, traditions, thoughts, history, and even habits! That said, there is one continent we tend to avoid traveling to. In fact, it is quite strange that most people can live all their life and pass away without even putting one step there. The irony is, that continent is mentioned in many documentaries, we argue about it now and then, and many claim knowing a lot about it. Practical wise, you can access it without any visa, all passports accepted, and although it might take you years to explore, you can reach and access it in few minutes! Aren’t you eager to know about that secret continent? At the end “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” As Augustine of Hippo said.
Guess what, as the title says, this continent consists of ONLY two habitants….YES….only two. 1 man (rider) and 1 elephant. Living by themselves; there is a unique bond between them that you almost forget that they are separate beings. The rider, is sure he’s in control, but when he and the elephant disagree on which way to go, guess in which direction they’ll go?
This is the daily, if not hourly in some cases, paradox in that continent, the rider always feels that he is powerful and in control, and why not, if he is always on top of that elephant. When he tells him go left, the elephant goes left, and when he say right, it is a right! Sit…sit, stand….stand! The elephant though, is much larger and powerful than that tiny little man, not accustomed to change, and surely, doesn’t want to learn this new skill the man tries to teach him. Seems calm, but when in bad mood, the elephant most of the time wins, and force his choices, which ruins the rider’s plan.
Reaching the continent
As I told you, it’s few minutes away. This continent is inside your brain! Our rational self is like that tiny man riding an elephant. The elephant is our emotional side, our subconscious. If he can avoid it, he doesn’t like changing his habits. This paradox mentioned above most of us live and sense regularly. Do you remember that time when out of no reason you don’t feel well, or when you feel that two forces inside you fighting each other. Sometimes you almost feel as if a second person is inside you that guides you in a direction you totally disagree with, in fact, you even act upon that direction once a while, and regret later, like having an emotional break, or losing someone you care about, or a job, or creating tension and confusion with your couple or family.
To rule it out, your life should address both the man and the elephant. It is true that the man is truly in power, it’s not over dominance by your rational mind, but those in power should act as one! He is responsible for training the elephant, Furthermore, he should work first on himself (your rational mind) by learning new skills that will facilitate training the elephant. The man should learn as well some communication skills to be able to whisper to the elephant. Yes, you can’t talk to your emotions using your rational mind, you need to learn to whisper; motivate the elephant and engage emotionally.
As the process of befriending develops, a dramatic shift will happen in the misunderstanding, frustration, and even antagonism you have in your internal relationship, thus no more discomfort, depression, and feeling lost. It is important to know though that you can’t guarantee 100% that the elephant will not throw a tantrum of something! The difference yet, is that this time the man have the skills needed, he can stay calm, and skillfully handle the situation. A skilled rider will know when to be strict, when firm discipline is needed, and when some pampering is required.
How about the elephant? So far, it looks like the man is responsible for everything! Although this is partially true, yet, with time, and the regular training (by mindfulness), the elephant will be more open to listen to the man whispering, the elephant will be more obedient. And even when things go wrong, the elephant will still be easily predictable than before. And as far as it’s predictable, the man can plan and be ready for educated actions. Your emotions will still be emotional, and your subconscious will still be out of full control, but you will be able to control the result, and to tame your subconscious for a less confused thinking.
So don’t forget to pay a visit to the 8th continent, as you see, it rules everything. Make sure while there to train your man – above all – on how to whisper to your elephant, and to make him train the elephant to listen. Best way to do so is practicing some mindfulness techniques, which will be shared in another post.
How about others?
Remember, that’s YOUR own 8th continent; in social life, every person has his rider, and his elephant; every one perceive a personalized version of the 8th continent. To gain a healthy relationship, with a friend, couple, family, in addition to riders’ communication, you need to make sure your elephants goes around calmly, and you need to train your rider/man and elephant even more to adapt to such situation. Still, ALWAYS remember, your rider/man has ZERO control on others’ elephants, so don’t try to whisper to them, the only way to reach other elephants, is through your own elephant. Beliefs are in the subconscious, the only way to explain it, is from and to an elephant. Oh! See, now you know the great value of having such a hard-to-handle elephant; it’s your access to others, and to the world. The catalyst for sharing the 7 other continents.