Tigers Above, Tigers Below! Gratitude Excerpt

tigersA reading excerpt on the lesson of finding gratitude even in the most difficult of situations…

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and 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 onto the vines. Looking down, she sees 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 look up and she look 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. 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.

When you realise that, behind all the worry, complaints and disapproving chatter that goes on in your mind, the sun is always coming up in the morning, moving across the sky and going down in the evening. The birds are always out there collecting their food and making their nests and flying across the sky. The grass is always being blown by the wind or standing still. Food and flowers and trees are growing out of the earth.There’s enormous richness. You could develop your passion for life and your curiosity and your interest. You could connect with your joyfulness. You could start right now!

Extract from ‘The Wisdom of No Escape’ by Pema Chodron, American Buddhist Nun.