There was a monk who lived in a small village in the jungle with a group of other monks. Each morning this monk would go out into the jungle & gather fruit for the other monks.
One morning this monk went into the jungle and was beginning to gather fruit when he heard a sound behind him. He turned around, and saw – a tiger. Not wanting to be breakfast for the tiger, the monk slowly began to creep away. But the tiger saw the movement, looked up, and began to walk towards the monk. The monk began to walk faster, and the tiger began to walk faster. The monk began to run as fast as he could, but the tiger began to run also, easily gaining on the monk.
Suddenly the monk burst out of the jungle and found himself standing on the edge of a cliff. He turned around, and saw the tiger behind him, reaching through the bamboo with his claws.
This was the moment, when the monk decided to take a risk. He saw a vine lying on the edge of the cliff, and he grabbed tight to it with both hands and jumped off the cliff. The vine held! And the monk began to climb down the cliff. He was halfway down the cliff when he heard a sound below.
Looking down, he saw another tiger at the bottom of the cliff!
The monk looked up and saw that the tiger at the top of the cliff was still there! Now there was a tiger at both the top of the cliff and another at the bottom of the cliff! The monk is trying to decide what to do. As he was thinking, he saw a poked the nose of a very tiny mouse out of a small hole.
In this moment of crisis, the monk saw something. Growing out of a crevice in the cliff right near him was a strawberry plant, and inside of it was the biggest, most luscious strawberry he had ever seen! The monk reached out, grabbed the strawberry, plucked it, ate it, and here’s the key… he ENJOYED it too at this dangerous situation of his life!
Now it happened that just as the mouse finished nibbling through the vine and it fell away, the monk found a tiny ledge to cling to. He held onto it for so long that the tiger at the bottom of the cliff got bored and went away, and the tiger at the top of the cliff got bored and went away.
Very slowly the monk made his way back on up the cliff, through the jungle, and back into his village in time for supper. While they were eating, the monk told the other monks what had happened to him that day. They all smiled and said they were glad that he was safe.
The monk thanked them, and then said: “Yes, I too am glad that I am safe. However, “I learned something today.” said the monk. “What did you learn?” they all asked.
“Too often I spend all my time worrying about everything that has happened to me in the past (the tiger at the top of the cliff). And too often I spend too much time worrying about what might happen to me in the future (the tiger at the bottom of the cliff). Or, worst of all, I spend too much time worrying about the nibbling, nagging worries of each and every day (the mouse).
And when a true strawberry in my life comes along, I forget to pluck it, eat it, and most of all… ENJOY it!