As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants we too are conditioned to believe that we cannot break free from our ego. We have grown up with our ego and believe that the ego is all there is to us. But if we look past our conditioning we can easily realize that the puny ego is nothing before our mighty soul. Once this realization takes root we can easily break free and un-tether our spirit. Just like a small rope cannot hold back a mighty elephant, nor can the puny ego hold back the mighty soul.
Note: This story has been adopted from a similar story whose original source we are not aware of.
Related: An Overflowing Cup