The first elephant to arrive in the USA was in 1796, and was exhibited around the country, so it was a question people asked — “Have you seen the elephant?”

1797 Pamphlet

In the mid 1800’s it was an idea often expressed in the West of America when someone was dying —  “You’ve seen the elephant!”—  meaning they’ve seen and experienced everything worthwhile in this world and it was now OK to die. http://www.awb.com/dailydose/?p=1097

Cartoon by Navie

The modern equivalent of this would be experiencing all that my senses can absorb during this lifetime — whether at home or traveling the globe — seeing and experiencing all that this world has to offer.

But no matter how many “elephants” we see, how much we travel the world, indeed how much money we have, nothing makes us happy.  None of it touches or satisfies the inner self. None of it makes us a better person. It just distracts us from looking inwards and having those quiet times of reflection when we can ask/wonder why we are unhappy, why we feel so alone.

It does not mean we cannot love life or appreciate the world’s beauty however until we contemplate the bigger questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” we will never find real happiness or the real purpose for this life.



5 thoughts on ““I’VE SEEN THE ELEPHANT!”

  1. I am not sure that there is any purpose to existence except that which we give it.

    The best I’ve come up with, is that if there is any purpose to this life, it’s to help each other muddle through it.

    1. Hi Michael, I think all of us have felt that way at different times. From my experience through meditation and contemplation — and guidance from my spiritual teacher — I’ve come to understand my relationship with my brothers and sisters, and my relationship with the Supreme person. These realizations I’ve had have helped me deal with my cancer and the temporary nature of this body. So I’ve been trying to pass on some of that which I’ve learnt. All the best, Charles aka Chaitanya das.

  2. Thank you for the timely post, Charles. It speaks to me on many levels, although you may be disappointed to know that it has reminded me that I don’t need still another guitar to stay happy LOL.
    I haven’t written in a while as our attention has been diverted by a recurrence of my wife’s cancer — after twenty years. This time more extensive surgery was required, but she’s recovering nicely and the prognosis is good. I will take some time out of my day today to focus my thoughts on those who are not so fortunate.

    1. Thanks Paul. Sorry to hear about your wife’s cancer but pleased to hear about her prognosis. One thing about getting cancer is that it focuses the mind on what is important in life. All the best, Charles.

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