The ‘Tigers’ Within

by meditative - March 19th, 2015

As a “thinking machine” with a “monkey mind” chasing here, there, and everywhere, we are constantly abuzz with thoughts of the past or the future. We’re so busy problem solving and anticipating our next move- looking, searching, and perceiving potential “threats” to our way of living and to our sense of “self”. The ‘tigers within’ stalk us relentlessly activating our “fight-or- flight” emergency response system and leaving us little ‘space’ for stillness, peace, and stability. The weight of this burden to protect and preserve an ego-constructed (i.e. conditioned) existence helps to create perpetuating cycles of anxious thoughts and feelings.

Fears and regrets seed our states of arousal and stress the “fight-or-flight” emergency response system. Self-talk, mental chatter, and sub-conscious impulse currents run constantly adding to our already tentative and reflexive state of being. Enmeshed in our disturbing, highly conditioned, and layered patterns, we experience little restorative value in our being- relaxed alertness, calmness, steadiness, and stability of mind seem impossible when there is so much to do and think about… all the time… “and if I do surrender, then the tigers within will devour me”.

With a hard-wired, “negativity bias,” as our “default mechanism” we perceive so much to be a threat to our standing of a “separate self” not realizing that we are more of an “occurrence” than we are a being of existence. Restlessness and agitation are the norm for those of us embattled in living outside of our nature to be calmly abiding by our moment-to-moment happenings. To ally the tigers within, we need to wake up from this relative ‘dream state’ to become more relationally flexible to how we emerge and occur outside of the repetitive patterns formed by our own experiences. The mindsight of our illuminating and discerning awareness helps us to see the tigers within as illusory separate from our experience itself.

The abiding presence or awareness of our mindfulness practice- the deep knowing and trusting of our natural intelligence- is what brings forth a freedom of mind and freedom from the reflexive conditioning that keeps us from being fully present with our experiential process of emerging and becoming. To know the mind is to relax into the realization that the tigers within are simply constructs of illusion seemingly conjured up to support a separate and delusional self.

With an expansive & clear mind, we can “see” and integrate all sorts of contents without becoming overwhelmed by them. Our emergency response system can rest as we are now able (i.e. “response flexibility”) to stay within awareness and allow streams of uncertainty to come and go without perceiving them to be threatening of “self”. Events of consciousness are impersonal in nature- simply phenomena of mind. Our expanded capacity to pay attention in an open, caring, and discerning way transforms our trepidation into equanimity.

It is the honest realization of our vulnerabilities that makes us stronger. In our mindfulness practice, we are all psychological warriors transcending beyond the conventional and conditioned mind. Here and now, we are stepping into an unchartered frontier armed with intention, curiosity, openness, and care- to look, explore, and examine the depth of our consciousness away from all the mind’s scattered preoccupations and false perceptions based upon fears and trepidation that just aren’t reality-based.