One day, while walking through the wilderness, a man encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase.
The man came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.
Halfway down the cliff, the man looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.
Two rats, one black and one white, showed up on the vine above him. As if he didn’t have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine.
He knew that as the rats kept gnawing, they would reach a point when the vine would no longer be able to support his weight. It would break and he would fall. He tried to shoo the rats away but they kept coming back!
At that moment, he noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff, not far away from him. It looked plump and ripe. Holding on to the vine with one hand and reaching out with the other, he plucked it.
With the tiger above, another below, and two rates gnawing on his vine, the man tasted the strawberry and found it absolutely delicious.
The Tao of Daily Life
I just read the above over the weekend and I love it!!!! It is a wonderful fable illustrating the importance of being present, living in the moment and noticing what is beautiful and positive around you!
I know, I know. I have too much time on my hands! But how wonderful to read things like this and let them soak in.
Do you know what each of the things in the fable represents?
The top of the cliff represents the past. The tiger represents the danger of dwelling too much on the negatives of the past: beating yourself up for not doing things how you *should* have, feeling shame over mistakes made. The tiger also represents the impossibility of going back in time and fixing these things.
The bottom of the cliff represents the future: dreams and fears, aspirations and disappointments, victories and setbacks. The tiger at the bottom represents the danger of being excessively worried about the future at the expense of peace of mind and enjoying the present. The tiger at the bottom also represents the finality of death.
The position between the two represents the present. The rats represent the passage of time: night and day. Each gnaw of the vine brings us a little closer to death. By shooing the rats away, we are trying to forestall aging.
And the strawberry! It represents the astounding beauty, bliss, energy and vitality of the present moment.
Did you eat a delicious strawberry today? Did you even notice the strawberries available to you today? Or were you too worried about the future, the past or the dozens of things you *must* get done today? Something worth contemplating perhaps!