Sleepy Tigers

Sleepy tigers
on my sparse haired chest;
sum total
of my happiness

Many years ago I overheard an old Indian story about a monk – or was it monkey – not sure, anyway he was being chased by a tiger, so he thinks he’s going to outwit the tiger, dashes up a tree thinking he is safe there. But the tiger laughs and climbs up too and is inching towards the poor soul shaking on the branch. The monk – or monkey – is just about to devoured by the hungry tiger when he notices a small cherry, he quickly realises his predicament with the tiger is hopeless, so picks the cherry, he vows to taste that cherry with every morsel of his body, with every ounce of his life, all resistance is gone and doing so he discovers his life is complete by THIS cherry… arhhhhh! He fully awakens.

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2 Replies to “Sleepy Tigers”

  1. Your thoughts about living in the present resonated with me. Many of us have been taught, since childhood, that we need to perform some type of labour before we can achieve happiness. “Eat your vegetables first….” “Do your homework first….” In some way we have labeled vegetables and homework as the opposite of happiness. We continue doing this as we grow into adulthood. You need to work before your reward of a vacation. What if!!!!

    What if we considered vegetables, homework and work as happiness. The moments are too precious to think otherwise.

    Always enjoy your posts…

  2. The process of reconciliation of living on the edge, confronting our basic fears and learning to trust own inner animal, or totem spirit, is a life long journey. I discovered within Shamanism that the tiger is strongly associated with health, vitality nurturing, playful and fierce spirit of love, protection and courage. Taming the tiger is another matter though, especially when confronting difficult emotions in meditation. Buddhist monk, scholar, peace activist, and spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh offers advice on dealing with the difficult emotions that serve as roadblocks to peace and happiness, but first there needs to be recognition, care of anger, mindfulness of others, fear and time, finding refuge and knowing freedom, and the love that springs from insight.

    Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaches us:

    “Please remember that your notions of happiness may be very dangerous. The Buddha said happiness can only be possible in the here and now. So go back and examine deeply your notions and ideas of happiness. You may recognize that the conditions of happiness that are already there in your life are enough. Then happiness can be instantly yours.”

    “When we live in the present moment, it is possible to live in true happiness.”

    “The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom that you have in your heart.”

    “Compassion is a beautiful flower born of understanding. When you get angry with someone, practice breathing in and out mindfully. Look deeply into the situation to see the true nature of your own and the other person’s suffering, and you will be liberated.”

    “No fear is the ultimate joy. When you have the insight of no fear, you are free.”

    This advice is the essence of taming the tiger within, and if we can achieve that, then we can learn to stop running, to rest and possible allow the sleepy tigers heads to rest in our hearts.

    I feel we have to use our own innate wisdom to know happiness. Sometimes we’re happiest alone, letting tigers sleep… and that’s ok :)

    Thich Nhat Hanh (2004) Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions
    Riverhead Books. London

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