Chasing Tigers and Eating Strawberries

This past week I had the distinct pleasure of attending two meditation sessions taught by my sister-in-law Jamie Beck.  She is a wonderful art therapist in the Boston area.  (Here’s the obligatory website plug –  Personally, I’ve never thought about meditation much but being the open minded person that I am, gave it a shot.  It was really fantastic.

During one of the sessions, she told an incredible story that I thought would make a great blog article.  So, in the spirit of meditation…sit back and get comfortable.  Don’t close your eyes, because you need to read, but just pretend you are meditating in a quiet tranquil room.  Breathe.

This is a story about life.  It’s starts with a young woman, and she is being chased by a bunch of tigers.  They are big.  They are mean.  They are relentless.  Nearly at the point of exhaustion, it is all she can do to run away from them.

She comes to a cliff at the edge of the jungle.  The woman can hear the tigers crashing through the underbrush.  She knows there isn’t any way she can escape back the way she came, but luckily she sees a thick vine growing over the edge of the rock face cliff.

She scampers down the vine well out of the reach of the snarling pack of tigers.

Relieved, she keeps climbing down the vine and eventually looks down to where she is heading.  Another ambush of tigers waiting below her.  Oh no!  She looks up and the tigers are all peering over the edge.  She looks down and the tigers are leaping up to try to get her.  Quite the predicament.

Just then she notices a tiny mouse up on the craggy rock face above.  It is grey and small and very inconsequential looking.  The tigers aren’t observant enough to see it, as their focus is totally centered on the woman.   But the woman sees the mouse, and it is chewing on the vine.

She can’t climb the vine to go up.  She can’t climb the vine to go down.  Eventually the mouse will chew through the vine.  Options?

Just then she notices a luscious patch of strawberries growing on the side of the cliff face next to her.  They are quite possibly the plumpest, reddest and most gorgeous strawberries the world has ever seen.  She reaches over and picks one and bites into it.  Juice drips down her chin and onto her shirt.  It is the best strawberry she has ever eaten.  Perfectly ripe.  Sweet.  Delicious.

She swings over and sits on the ledge and eats another strawberry.  It is just as good as the first one.  She then sees the trail leading down the mountain.  Away from either ambush of tigers; away from the mouse that would be the reason for her demise.

The lesson?  The jungle tigers are the past that we carry around with us, and are always chasing us.  The tigers below are the worries and concerns we have for our future.  The mouse is of course, the trigger of outside forces that may alter our future.

By only being open to options in our immediate present can we eat the strawberries placed before us and find our way down the mountain.  Quit being distracted by the frenzy of our past, or the anticipation of the future and how you may get there.  Just bite into the strawberry in front of you and enjoy it.

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