It has been a challenge in today’s world to remain open to others opinions and to try to understand their perspective. When I hit a wall in being able to “seek first to understand, THEN to be understood,” I read this poem by Rumi and it gives me a different perspective on others views and the way they perceive things.
Elephant in the Dark by Rumi
Some Hindus have an elephant to show.
No one here has ever seen an elephant.
They bring it at night to a dark room.
One by one, we go in the dark and come out
Saying how we experience the animal.
One of us happens to touch the trunk.
“A water-pipe kind of creature.”
Another, the ear. “A very strong, always moving
Back and forth, fan animal.”
Another, the leg. “I find it still,
like a column on a temple.”
Another touches the curved back.
“A leathery throne.”
Another, the cleverest, feels the tusk.
“A rounded sword made of porcelain.”
He’s proud of his description.
Each of us touches one place
And understands the whole in that way.
The palm and the fingers feeling in the dark are
How the senses explore the reality of the elephant.
If each of us held a candle there,
And if we went in together,
We could see it.