Non-TEF - Understanding the Tiger Within

quadraptor's picture
If there are any typos in this, I will correct them later. I am writing this with difficulty in one eye.


Throughout my life, I have always been guided by animals. The Snake taught me not to be afraid of who I am. The Goat showed me the importance of having a positive outlook on life. The Deer gave me the vision of a beautiful world around me. The Hummingbird inspired me to follow my dreams. The Coyote taught me to lighten up and laugh more. And the Wolf helped me to never give up, even against impossible odds.

But there is one animal who has haunted me, who has stalked me from afar and terrified me when he shows his presence.

The Tiger.

I've never appreciated tigers. I've thought for a long time that they were overrated and often said how I thought they were ugly. It was really because of a local sports team that for the longest I despised, their mascot is the Tiger. So I hated tigers because of them. But there were other things. Much like wolves, I hated tigers because I did not understand them. I thought they were killing machines, mindlessly slaughtering prey for pleasure. I now know better.

Tiger has visited me now, twice. I have woken up in my room in the middle of the night, to be frightened to see a big tiger there, staring at me, snarling, creeping closer and ready to pounce on me and my dachshund. Both times resulted in me frantically running out of my room and shutting the door so the tiger would not follow me out. It would take me a while to come back to reality, to understand that there was no tiger in my room. I would tell myself that I was stupid for falling for the trcik my mind played on me, but after a while I thought about it, and shook it off. Anyone would have run if they saw a tiger right next to their bed.

After a day of thnking why the tiger has visited, I finally understood what he is trying to tell me. He's not trying to scare me into submission, he's trying to strengthen me. He's trying to tell me that it's time to get a hold of my life. It's time to look forward to what I have ahead, and to appreciate what I have now. It's time to wake up.

My Tiger has shown me that I need to get my life together, and from his teaching of 'scaring' me, I can appreciate my life so much more, now that I can consider how quickly it could end if he were really there ready to pounce on me in my room. It is because of this that I appreciate and respect tigers as beautiful and powerful creatures, as well as great teachers.

I wanted to leave this with a famous Zen parable:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!
quadraptor's picture

Once I'm able to read this

Once I'm able to read this better, I'll review and add more to this.
PLK217's picture

If it is not in your

If it is not in your bookshelf already, try to put Tracy's Tiger by William Saroyan on the list of books you want to read.
quadraptor's picture

I will do, thank you! I

I will do, thank you! I wanted to take a look at the symbolic meaning of the Tiger and see if it had any relevance.