Friday, September 30, 2011

The Story of Mohini the White Tiger

Mohini was a magnificent white tiger that lived in the US’s National Zoo in Washington DC in the 1960s. Mohini was a special gift presented to the US president Eisenhower, and the US people.

The Zoo started a major project to build a large enclosure for Mohini, their star attraction. The enclosure would simulate Mohini’s natural habitat as closely as possible. It would have many acres of lush forest with rolling hills and a large pond. It would be Mohini playground for her to stretch and express her natural self as one of nature’s most splendid and powerful creatures.

Meanwhile, while the large enclosure was being built, Mohini was kept in a 12 x 12 feet cage with iron bars and cement floor. Mohini would pace around ceaselessly in this cage while her eventual home was being built.

Finally, the enclosure was completed and the big day of releasing Mohini into it had arrived. A large excited crowd had gathered to witness this much awaited event.

To everyone’s surprise, instead of frolicking in joy in her new sprawling enclosure, Mohini headed straight for a perimeter wall at the enclosure’s edge.

At the wall, Mohini started to pace around in an imaginary cage, just like the way she had while waiting for the enclosure to be build.

Mohini stayed in this tiny corner at the wall for the remainder of her life, oblivious to the freedom and choices she had.

All of us live our life within a mental space created in our unconscious minds.

Is our mental space the tiny iron rod and cement cage like Mohini’s or is it the wide open, sprawling world of adventure and discovery?

Is our space as wide as the sky or are we just viewing it from the end of a straw?

Free your mind.

The Elephant and the Rope

This is a rather well known story worth retelling.

In Thailand, they have a simple way to keep the elephant – a huge animal, much larger than its keeper – docile and under control.

When the elephant was a baby, the keeper ties the baby elephant with a strong rope to a tree. Of course, the free spirited, uninhibited baby elephant will try to escape but it is held back by the rope. The baby elephant will try to break free, time and again, tucking hard at the rope that would not break.

After a while, the baby elephant is exhausted by its futile efforts. Its once free spirit is broken. It believes that there is no hope. It yields and just accepts its assigned position and situation.

This hopelessness and learned helplessness stay in the elephant’s unconscious mind even when it grew into an adult – a strong, huge, hulking animal.

Even when the adult elephant can snap the rope with just one casual tuck, it will make no such attempt. So strong is this limiting belief that has been etched in the unconscious mind of the elephant.

Are there any limiting beliefs holding us back like the elephant? Are there setbacks in our childhood that still have a hold on us like the baby elephant’s rope?

Does aggressive hot-housing in East Asian schools leave a trail of children who buckled under the crushing work load and pace, with lifelong self esteem problems?

Whenever you balked at a challenge, ask yourself if you are being held back by a limiting belief or assumption, carried over from a bad experience from your childhood or just one unfortunate episode from long ago.

Isn’t it time to break free of the imaginary bond of that limiting belief?