This is a very sad story with a happy ending. It is astonishing, the cruelty that can exist in our world. I have learned from Dr. Peebles, however, that there are many layers to the onion of existence, and perhaps, as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, "Ours is not to reason why..."
This is a true story about an elephant named Raju. According to an article on Yahoo, after 50 years of being shackled in spikes, Raju was freed from captivity in India by a team of ten wildlife experts and veterinarians from Wildlife SOS. Accompanied by police, they entered his enclosure in the middle of the night, removed the shackles from his legs, and rescued him. Tears streamed down Raju's face when his shackles were finally removed. He is now living happily at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center.
The remarkable thing about Raju is that he holds no animosity towards any human being, and is in fact a very gentle being.
I told this story to a friend of mine who had been severely abused as a child. He listened intently, and I noticed his face getting screwed up in anger and disbelief, and then he suddenly softened and sighed.
"Oh, sorry," I said, "Hit a little too close to home, didn't it?" He nodded. "I'll bet you felt like that elephant when you were little."
"It's not that," he managed to choke the words out as he blinked back the building tears, "It's the part about Raju not holding any animosity towards anyone. The shackles came off, and the past was the past. He's not dwelling on it or holding onto it. That's what I need to do! The only way to heal is to let go of the past!"
We talked for awhile about the reasons why, from all different spiritual angles, Raju might have had to endure those 50 agonizing years of abuse.
"Maybe he did some terrible things to elephants in a previous lifetime, and had to learn what it was like to be one of them by incarnating as one in this lifetime. Maybe his lesson has been learned."
As we talked, I realized that Raju is so symbolic of the classic "elephant in the room" that no one wants to talk about. Perhaps the elephant in the room is the past. And, by being unwilling to forgive and to move on with our lives, we have shackled the past, and some of us (as in the case of my friend) have carried it with us for fifty years or more.
When I was abused by my husband many years ago, I was admonished by the examining medical doctor to not hold on to resentment and anger about the situation. "If you keep replaying those tapes in your head, and hold onto this experience, you will end up developing a multitude of health issues later on in life. I know it's hard, but you need to move forward, forgive, and put this behind you."
I could have hugged him then and there, because I knew he had just saved me years of agony. Many years later I wrote him a letter to thank him. Because of his words, I managed to move on with my life, and I forgave my husband by praying for him and for his upliftment. Though my now ex-husband never did (and probably never will) talk to me again, when he was hungry I sent my daughter to his house with bags of food. When my daughter cried because he didn't have a coat, we went to the store and picked one out for him. I gave him cookies and champagne at Christmas time.
Do you have a shackled elephant in your room? Try to think of positive ways to refocus your mind by shifting into your heart. If finances are a concern, see yourself financially secure and feel it in your heart. Tell yourself affirming statements such as "this is only temporary...too shall pass," and "thank you God for all that I do have." With health, thank your "condition" for all it is teaching you...love it to death...in other words, love it until it leaves your body. As Dr. Peebles says, "The cockroaches scatter when the light comes on!" If your elephant is the pain inflicted upon you by someone in your past, pray for them that they one day may understand and change their harmful ways and become a beautiful bearer of God's light in the world. It always feels better to love than to feel pain, so let's choose love and free the elephants in our rooms!
God bless Raju the elephant for his courage in bringing such a message of the forgiveness to the world.