A few days ago, I took my car to the gas station. I was standing outside the car while it was being refueled. The window of my driver’s side door was half open. When the refueling was done, I handed over the required cash to the vendor and sat in the car. So far so good.
As I was pulling up the window of my door, I saw 3 houseflies flying out from the window before I could pull it completely. Then I saw one of the flies was still inside the car, stuck as the window was now up. It was sitting next to the steering wheel on the dashboard.
I thought the poor fly is left in the car and would be separated from its friends, so I pulled the window down in the hope that it will fly off. It didn’t. Then I moved my arm in a wavy manner to somehow direct the fly toward the open window, it flew on the other side far from me on to the front screen of the car! So much of cat and mouse chase.
I decided to drive ahead, and open the window whenever the fly comes close so it can fly away. In the next few minutes, it did come toward the window, I opened and it flew. Story over.
Or is it?
What just happened? With no ill will at heart, I was actually trying to do good for the fly from the first instance. And had it paid heed to me at the gas station only, it would have met its friends then and there itself. But it didn’t.
The reason being, it felt threatened. Although I had all the good will at heart for the fly, it didn’t know any of that and felt threatened by the wavy motion of my hand. Therefore it flew away from me.
The question is, is there a lesson that can be learnt from this particular instance, a lesson for you and me?
For that small yet significant occasion, I was the person who knew what was best for the fly.
That is because I was looking at things from the bigger picture. I knew the mechanics of the car, I knew that if it doesn’t fly off at that very moment it will be left away from its kin, I knew that if it doesn’t fly off, it might have to stay in the car for long, or, the place where it will eventually fly off would be far from where its friends would be. But the fly didn’t know all that.
For the fly, the truth was small and limited to its own perception of reality. Further, my intentions were completely unknown to it and there probably was no way for me to communicate them to it anyway. It assumed that I was coming as a threatening person and naturally flew away.
In a lot of ways, isn’t it what our elders or our teachers have been telling us? That at the age that you are at right now, your perception of the truth is limited and therefore you choose to act in a certain way. I, however, having gone through that stage of evolution, am now able to see things from the bigger picture and hence am better equipped to make that choice for you.
Haven’t you ever told this to your younger brother, sister, or friend about certain life choices about love, career, family or any other similar situation?
Then what’s the difference?
The difference is, for that small yet significant occasion, I was acting as the Guru to the fly. And the fly was not ready to accept me as its Guru. Because of that, it felt as if I was trying to infringe on its personal space and therefore ran further away from me.
The advice or suggestion given to a younger by an elder, of howsoever much value it may be is, to an enormous extent, dependent on the acceptance of the elder as a Guru by the younger.
If such is not the case, the fly will always fly away.
Have you ever seen any younger one in your family making the same mistake as you made some time back? And now you want to stop them but they are so much into it that they don’t want to listen to you.
Guess what, they are not ready to accept you as their Guru for that particular small yet significant occasion! And as long as there is no acceptance, the fly will always fly away.
So what’s the best thing to do?
As far as I think, three things can be done:
- Inform them, not advice/suggest/force them but inform, that the path of their choosing is not the best one and that you have fallen victim to it before. Tell your story. Be honest and open. Chances are they might listen to your story, understand the lesson learnt from it, and at least keep that in mind even if they continue to go on the same path.
- Give an air of freedom and non-judgment to the other about the path that they are choosing. This will ensure that if they do fall eventually, they have you to come back to. This is of significant importance.
- Pray that they are okay and come out of it soon.
As in case of the fly, when action doesn’t ensure action, patience, sharing a personal story and waiting with goodwill does.
We receive all kinds of ideas about doing things this way, behaving that way, this is the protocol, that is the culture etc from our family, teachers and the closest ones. For all such elements on which we don’t agree to them, the main reason is we don’t accept them as our Gurus for that particular small yet significant occasion.
Many times, the elders lead to forcefully acting upon the younger ones to get them to the ‘right track’. Saam, daam dand, bhed (inform them, lure them, force/punish them, divide them). This, when it comes to personal matters is in my opinion, violence and breach of trust, and does lead to outcomes unimaginable in the long run. More on this later.
As an epilogue, I would say that as long as the fly has not accepted me as its Guru for that small yet significant occasion and as long as it has strength – mental and physical, it will always fly away.