Do you know how elephants are trained? When they are babies, a heavy rope or chain is put around their neck and tied to a tree. The elephant tries to get away but can’t. The elephant finally realizes that there is no way it can get away, and it gives up. Soon, just the feel of the weight of the rope is enough to make the elephant stay where it is.
The Four Agreements describes how children are domesticated in much the same way as animals, with a system of punishment and reward.
“We try to please Mom and Dad, we try to please the teachers at school, we try to please the church, and so we start acting. We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough. Eventually, we become someone that we are not. We become a copy of Mamma’s beliefs, Daddy’s beliefs, society’s beliefs, and religion’s beliefs”–Don Miguel Ruiz
It seems like it should be an easy thing, this freedom, this quest to change beliefs. Well, it is simple, but not easy. We replay our “mistakes” over and over in our minds, never getting to the point of forgiveness, or moving on. We tie ourselves up with the chains of our own making, impacting ourselves and others, by passing down our beliefs to them.
“That is why we need a great deal of courage to challenge our own beliefs. Because even if we know we didn’t choose all these beliefs, it is also true that we agreed to all of them. The agreement is so strong that even if we understand the concept of it not being true, we feel the blame, the guilt, and the shame that occur if we go against these rules.”–Don Miguel Ruiz
The elephant’s memory keeps it chained. Our beliefs keep us chained. It is time to pull against the ropes that have held us in place. It’s time to break free.