Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tigers Above, Tigers Below

This eloquent and lovely story below is from Pema Chondron’s weekly Heart Advice.  As I woke up this morning grumpy with frustrations from my job, anxiety about not hearing from Hot Hair and overwhelmed by the demands from my daughter combined with my mother’s impending move, I was feeling Tigers all around and was commiserating at my circumstances.  

Then the doorbell rang and movers arrived with my childhood piano, being delivered from my mom’s home to mine. I have loved, downright adored this piano my whole life. I love the smooth feeling of the keys beneath my fingers, the perfect weight that they have as each note is derived from precise pressure, and the few signs of wear that came from my mom’s attention and musical affections as a child and then again from me during my youth and into my adulthood.  Now it is in my home and my daughter will be able to love the piano as much as the two generations before her.  Suddenly, I saw the patch of strawberries, and I enjoyed the moment.

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

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