the elephant

Before we begin the journey of unlearning—stripping away the beliefs that hold up the central character of “me and my world”—we carry a deep-seated, unspoken fear that we will be discovered to be an imposter. This is the proverbial elephant. The sense of being counterfeit is unconscious, and yet very alive at the same time. We are sure that the hole we know is there is a personal lack or failure, and we construct convoluted ways of covering this up. It shows up as bravado, or terrible self-esteem, as pride, or a sense of being better than everyone else; it even shows up as bullying: all trying to cover up the emptiness at the center of our being.

For example, I was convinced that I needed to earn my place on the planet—that there was something essential that I lacked that I must make up for in order to deserve having a human incarnation. Notice the stories I had running, each one with a unique flavor of suffering: I lacked something; I must make it up; I didn’t know how because I didn’t understand what was missing in the first place; all topped off with the much-believed story about incarnation—which might be true, or might not be. I don’t know, and I’m happy to have it remain a mystery.

When we discover that this emptiness that we struggle to hide from others is our natural and radiant birthright, a profound shift occurs. I was overcome with relief that I no longer had to hold up the puppet I had created. Anxiety that I had carried since childhood fell away. Joy at recognizing—and honoring the emptiness inside as completely natural—flooded through. I do not have to be anybody. I can rest in unknowing like swinging in a hammock on a balmy day.

There’s plenty of room. Come join me there.

© Skye Blaine, 2011

4 thoughts on “the elephant

  1. I was just writing a draft post about my own elephant this weekend, and was reading up on the emotions of elephants just a short while ago. And so, I was amazed when I came across your own elephantine post in the blog feed a few minutes ago! The universe does resonate… I think your post is beautiful and freeing; thank you for your openess, and for sharing your freedom to just ‘be’ in the mystery.


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