3. Stop 3 – Touching the Elephant

Journal Questions

Journal Reflections represent an interior dialogue with your deepest essential reality. While your responses are for you alone, the relational practice of objectifying a response in written form can be helpful in achieving clarity and determining what may or may not have value to share with others.

  1. What objective realities stuck in my memory from the encounter with Touching the Elephant: images, pictures, objects, sounds, lines of text, etc.? (Quickly re-create a surface-level recall of the experience).

  2. When you hear the words ?The nature of Ultimate Reality is a circle. The center is everywhere. The circumference is nowhere,? what sense do you make out of them?

  3. How have you searched for Ultimate Reality? What does Touching the Elephant have to say about this search?

  4. How have you experienced the frustration of that search?

  5. How do you experience your life as vulnerable, never fully secure?

  6. On the other hand, how do you experience the connectedness of everything and everyone?

  7. What does that do for your life when you experience that connectedness?

  8. What is the demand on your life as you experience that connectedness?

  9. As a result of the encounter with Touching the Elephant life practices, postures, or next steps you are inclined to consider include:

  10. Other questions raised for you by the encounter with Touching the Elephant, that you wish to explore more deeply, include:

*Please star your response to one or more of the questions above to write it in the “Comments” section at the end of the module. This contribution is your personal “seed” in nurturing a depth conversation with others.

Group Questions

  1. What images or pictures caught your attention in this module? What sounds did you hear? What lines of text do you remember? What else connected with your awareness; what else do you remember? (Recreate a group verbal montage of the cinematic art form without reflection on specific elements but simply bringing the material back to mind).

  2. When you hear the words ?The nature of Ultimate Reality is a circle. The center is everywhere. The circumference is nowhere,? what sense do you make out of them?

  3. How have you searched for Ultimate Reality? What does this module say about this search?

  4. How have you experienced the frustration of this search?

  5. Why is this search for Ultimate Reality finally so solitary?

  6. How do you experience both the limitation and the fullness of life?

  7. How do you experience the connectedness of everything and everyone? What is the impact on a life that begins to experience the connectedness of all? How do you personally experience this dynamic?

  8. What does it mean to experience your experience of reality? What difference does this awareness make? What demand does this awareness place on one?s life?

  9. How might your life be different moving forward as a result of engaging this art form? What new life practices or postures are you inclined to consider?

  10. What other questions are raised for you by this encounter with Touching the Elephant that you wish for the group to discuss?

  11. Without concentration on Mystery, which shapes and controls the universe, one cannot unlock the mystery within oneself or become a universal human. ? B.K.S. Iyengar

    What is Mr. Iyengar attempting to communicate with this statement? How is this communication relevant to the subject of Touching the Elephant?

  12. What is the role of Barbie and Ken in this module in illustrating the reality of ?inescapable limitation? as it pertains to money, intelligence, social status, accomplishments, moral righteousness, personal beauty, and other favorite components of ?happiness??

  13. How would you illustrate ?inescapable limitation? in the elements of your own life?

  14. The Final Mystery is a Great Void that human consciousness can reach out and touch but cannot enter.
    ?Gene Marshall

    How do you experience this dynamic in you own life?

  15. How are you beginning to ?notice the elephant in the middle of my life??

One thought on “3. Stop 3 – Touching the Elephant”

  1. Patricia Brandao says:

    This is one of my favorite poems, written by Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade.

    The Elephant

    I create an elephant
    of my scarce resources.
    Some pieces of wood
    taken of old furniture
    might keep him straight.
    And I fill him up with cotton,
    silk and sweetness.
    The glue will fast
    his saggy ears.
    The trunk curls
    and it is the happiest part
    of his architecture.
    But there are also the tusks,
    made of such a pure material
    that I can not duplicate.
    Such a white this richness
    exposed in the circus
    without loss or corruption.
    And finally the eyes,
    where is held
    the most fluid and permanent
    part of the elephant,
    disconnected of every fraud.
    Here, my poor elephant,
    ready to leave
    and search for friends
    in a world already tired
    that no longer believes in animals
    and doubts things.
    Here he is, puissant and
    fragile mass, winnows himself
    and moves slow
    his sewed skin
    where flowers of cloth
    and clouds are allusions
    to a more poetic world
    where love retakes the natural forms.

    There goes my elephant
    through a crowded street,
    but they do not want to see him
    even not to laugh
    at his tail, which might
    leave him walking alone.
    He is all grace, although
    his legs are not of much help
    and his big belly
    threatens to fall off
    at the slightest touch.
    He shows with elegance
    his minimal life,
    and in town,
    there is no soul willing
    to take from that sensitive body
    his fugacious image,
    the clumsy steps,
    yet hungry and touching.

    But hungry for pathetic
    beings and situations,
    for encounters under the moonlight
    in the deepest ocean,
    under the roots of trees
    or in the centre of the shells,
    for lights that do not blind
    as they shine through
    the most thick trunks.
    This step that goes
    without crushing the plants
    in the battle field,
    searching for places,
    secrets, episodes
    not written in books,
    which only the wind,
    the leaves, the ants
    recognize the style
    while the men ignore it,
    for they only dare to show themselves
    under the peace of a curtain
    to their tired eyelid.

    And late in the night
    my elephant returns,
    returns tired,
    the uncertain feet
    melt in the dust.
    He did not find
    what he needed,
    what we needed,
    I and my elephant,
    in which I love to disguise myself.
    Exhausted of searching,
    his engine falls down
    as if it was a mere piece of paper.
    The glue dissolves,
    and all his inner material,
    the forgiveness, the caress,
    the feather, the cotton
    spill over the carpet
    like a dismembered myth.
    Tomorrow I begin again.

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