I have to work today...
As most of you know, I love stories. I collect stories like other people collect stamps, or baseball cards, or whatever! LOL
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-=[ A Taste of Honey ]=-
Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis
Hypnotized by you if I should linger
Staring at the ring around your finger
-- Sting, Wrapped Around Your finger
What good is a path if I isn’t relevant to everyday contemporary life? The following is adapted from an old Buddhist story that describes a possible response to life’s slings and arrows...
A man was being chased by a tiger in a remote jungle. As anyone who’s watched a National Geographic special knows, tigers can run faster than humans and some have been known to eat men. This tiger was hungry; therefore, the man was in a shitload of trouble.
Just as the tiger poised to pounce him from behind, the man jumped into a hole he saw in a clearing. As soon as he committed to leaping into the hole, the man saw he had made a huge mistake: at the bottom of the hole, he saw the coils of huge poisonous snake.
Instinctively, he reached for the side of the hole where he was able to stop his free fall by hanging on to protruding tree root. When he was able to recover his senses, he looked down to see the snake raise itself to its full height and try to strike his dangling feet. Luckily for the man, his feet were just out of reach of the snakes efforts. As he looked up, he saw the tiger leaning into the hole trying to attack him from above. Again, the man was fortunate in that his hand holding on to the tree root was just out of reach of the tiger’s enraged efforts. As he was contemplating all this, he saw two mice, one white, and one black, emerge from a hole and begin chewing on the root.
The tiger’s efforts at pawing the man forced its hindquarters to rub against a small tree, in the process making it shake. On a branch of that tree, directly over the hole, was a beehive. Honey began to drop into the well. Taking in the whole predicament, the man stuck out his tongue and caught some, tasting and enjoying the honey’s sweetness.
“Mmmmm that tastes good,” the man said to himself, and smiled.
Traditionally, the story ends here. That’s why it is so relevant to life. Life isn’t neat, nor does it fit nicely into categories or tidy endings. Life is a process, not a competition, though we often live it as if it were a race. If anything, life resembles a dance more than a tournament.
In addition, we often find ourselves torn between Scylla and Charybdis -- we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. It is as if we were sometimes wedged between a hungry tiger and a poisonous snake -- between death or something worse, with day and night (the two mice) slowly chewing away at our already tenuous grip on life. But even in such harsh circumstances, though there may not be an answer or solution, there is always some honey dripping from somewhere. If we are wise, if we can stop the maniacal dash and look, we will know when to stick out our tongue and enjoy some of the honey.
If there’s nothing to do, then do nothing and enjoy what you can of life’s honey. This all you will have when the end comes: the times you tasted the honey.