ADHD and Lord Ganesha (A Tale of the Differently-Headed)
I was a happy little thing as a child. Then, at some point, I started feeling like a freak. People called me names, and I didn’t know why.
Sometimes, they‘d push me, or punch me. Once, I ended up face down in gravel in the schoolyard.
I looked into the mirror to see if I was bleeding. Tears streamed down my eyes, clouding my vision. Finally, my tears dried. That’s when I saw it.
My eyes opened wide. I jumped back in shock. My head was so very strange. I didn’t look anything like any of my friends.
No wonder they didn’t like me. No wonder they all made fun of me. No wonder they wouldn’t let me play games with them, instead calling me names as I walked away.
I was grotesque.
I ran home crying. Mom! Mom!
But mom couldn’t do anything. Reluctantly, she told me that this was my head and I would have to live with it.
No! I cried, running out of the house. I ran and ran and ran. I couldn’t believe it. Why would my mom lie to me? Of course we could fix my head. Of course we could. She just didn’t know how, so she was lying to me.
I ran to my school’s library. I sat tucked away in a corner where no one could find me. Mom was right! I would have this head for ever and ever. It was true: no one could save me. I hung my head.
My teardrops formed dark circles and spread on the page. The wet paper bubbled, each drop coming alive, the words rising up to mock me. I cried and cried. I would always have this head.
This is the story of many with ADHD. This is also what vividly came to my imagination as I meditated on Lord Ganesha, the Hindu elephant God, one of Hinduism’s major deities.
There are several versions of Lord Ganesha’s story, but he’s generally accepted as the son of Shiva and Parvati, themselves Hindu deities. Still a babe, Lord Ganesha suffers a terrible tragedy: through a misunderstanding, his head is lopped off by dad.
Mom Parvati is of course grief-stricken, so dad thinks fast and replaces the babe’s head with that of a young elephant.
And the little trooper turns it all around, conquering adversity to become Lord Ganesha, inspiring millions of followers. Metaphorically speaking, his many qualities can also inspire those of us with ADHD.
Symbols as sources of inspiration
The symbolism of Lord Ganesha is singularly relevant to those of us with ADHD. For example, his large ears remind us to listen; his small eyes, to focus and concentrate; and his tiny mouth, to speak less.
Lord Ganesha rose above his misfortunes, becoming revered as the Remover of Obstacles. You think you’ve got challenges? Think about what Lord Ganesha had to overcome with his strange, unusual head.
Now think about what you’ve had to overcome with your unusual head. Lord Ganesha can inspire us to keep fighting to overcome our own obstacles, which, let’s face it, are as small as mice when compared to having the head of an elephant.
Count your blessings.
As India celebrates its annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival in honor of Lord Ganesha (September 19 – 29, 2012), I’m offering gratitude for Lord Ganesha as a source of inspiration and insight in my daily meditations.
What inspires you?
I’d like to invite you to contemplate your own sources of strength and inspiration. Look closely: you might find more than initially meets the eye. I began to pray to Lord Ganesha to remove obstacles, and found myself relating to having a very different head.
When you look deeply into the face of the Divine, you too may find yourself reflected back.
Kessler, Z. (2012). ADHD and Lord Ganesha (A Tale of the Differently-Headed). Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2012/09/of-adhd-and-lord-ganesha-a-tale-of-the-differently-headed/