The student asked his teacher: “Why most people’s minds are restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can we do to still the mind?”
The teacher looked at the student, smiled and said: “I will tell you a story about an elephant and the fly.”
An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more.
This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly: “Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can’t you stay for a while in one place?”
The fly answered: “I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My senses, and everything that happens around me, pull me constantly in all directions, and I cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?”
The elephant stopped eating and said: “My senses do not rule my attention. I am in control of my attention and I can direct it wherever I want. This helps me to get immersed in whatever I do, and therefore, keep my mind focused and calm. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way, I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I control my attention, and not the other way round, and this helps me stay peaceful.”
The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind.