imaginary tiger


Nondual exploration and meditative inquiry is a hands-on kind of approach. It’s not mental or abstract. It’s direct and experiential. Rather than trying to paper over our suffering with comforting beliefs, this approach is about actually exploring directly what seems to be in the way of freedom, peace and happiness, what seems scary, dreadful and unbearable. It’s one thing to believe that the tiger chasing you is only a mirage, and it’s another thing to actually turn around and embrace the tiger and find out for sure.
This embracing is not something you do once and then it’s done. It’s something that can happen whenever a tiger shows up. Some people have more tigers showing up than others. Comparing yourself to others or wondering when you’ll finally be done with your last tiger is delusion.
And you can only do what you can do. Sometimes you don’t turn and embrace the tiger—sometimes fear overwhelms you, old habits take over, and you run away instead. You flee into whatever it is that offers comfort and escape. And that’s okay. Perfectionism is just another imaginary tiger.
So if running away happens, if you wake up with
a hangover, full of despair, then you start here, where you are, right now. You turn to meet the hangover and the despair. That’s your new tiger.

from Nothing to Grasp by Joan Tollifson
Non-Duality Press 2012

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