An ancient Taoist story tells of a young man who was walking through the jungle. He rejoiced in the beautiful colors he saw, the rich smell of the fertile jungle, and the feel of the soft earth beneath his feet. He was throughly enjoying his day until he heard a low growl. He looked in the direction of the sound and saw a pair of large yellow eyes. Connected to those eyes was an even larger yellow tiger. The young man, being wise beyond his years, ran. The tiger, being hungry beyond measure, ran after him. As he ran breathlessly through the jungle, the young man could hear the tiger approaching ever closer. Suddenly, the young man came to the edge of a precipice. He looked around and, seeing only the approaching tiger and the looming fall, he grabbed a nearby vine and leapt. The vine held and he found himself dangling with a roaring tiger only a few feet above him. He began to climb down and was relieved to hear the tiger’s roar receding. Before long, however, the young man noted that the roar was getting louder. He looked below only to find that a second tiger was awaiting him at the bottom of the cliff. The young man saw few options and realized that he had a long wait until one of the tigers left. Shortly after resigning himself to a long evening, he felt the vine beginning to weaken. He looked up and saw that a rat above him was gnawing on the vine and it was only a matter of time before the vine would give way. The young man looked around and saw a bush. On the bush he saw a red-ripe berry. The young man picked the berry, popped it in his mouth, and thought to himself, “delicious!”
Now that, I submit to you, is living in the present moment.
Do you have the courage to set aside thoughts of the tigers of your past and future long enough to experience the now? If you do, you may be surprised at what you see.