Posted in Chronic Pain
by admin | Feb 01, 2022
“Another way to know your progress is to learn whom you’re compared with. A donkey is never compared with the tiger.” ― Sarvesh Jain
The lunar New Year begins on the first of February. My young friend Tibor, shown sitting with me, was curious about what that is all about and particularly, why tigers do not come first in the cycle of the zodiac. After all, they are the largest cats in the world and are very powerful. Tibor loves to be read to and, like most young ones, learns from hearing fables. Perhaps you would like too as well.
Unlike the western zodiac with such symbols as Gemini (twins), Scorpio (scorpion), and Pisces (fish), the lunar zodiac is represented by a bird, two reptiles and nine animals. Ages ago when this was first put together, a difficult decision had to be made as to which animal would be honoured by going first. The decision was left to the Buddha who narrowed it down to either the ox or the rat.
The ox boastfully claimed the right as he was by far the biggest, strongest and the hardest worker. The rat challenged this by stating that being strong is not all that important if you are not very smart. With a sly grin on his face, he suggested that the decision be left up to the people as to which of them they would pay the most attention to. Assuming everyone would recognize how big and handsome he was, the ox immediately agreed. The rat then asked the Buddha that that he be made twice his size to make the contest fairer. The ox nodded his approval.
Through his magical powers, the Buddha then doubled the size of the rat. The ox and the smiling rat then went walking amongst the people to get their reaction. Everywhere they went, people ignored the ox while they pointed and remarked about the rat. “Wow! Look at the size of that rat. I have never seen one so big.” The ox then conceded and took second place in the zodiac followed by the tiger.
I explained to Tibor that tigers like him are not boastful like oxen nor as clever as rats and pigs. They are quite independent and do not like being told what to do. They are also not at all like the snake, the dragon, or the rabbit.
He giggled as I tickled his tummy by stroking his stripes. I explained that they are his camouflage so he could blend in with the tall grass and bushes. Tigers can run very fast but cannot run as far as the horse. They can do things which none of the other animals could, while the others can do things which tigers could not.
There is no shame in being third, or seventh, or even last, if you are focused on being your best at whatever you should be doing. I pointed to a picture of a snake in the book and explained that they also use their colours to conceal themselves, they can also be very fast, and like the dragon, can appear to be very scary for some people. However, they cannot fly to the top of the post to have a look around like the rooster, they cannot be snuggly like a rabbit, nor can they be loyal friends like the dog. They just do snake-y things to the best of their ability.
Then Tibor asked, “Are people like that too?” I gave him a hug. “Yes, very much so. Our problem is that as we look similar, we try to be like everyone else rather than just being the best we can be.”
Tibor has been with me for a number of years and has not yet met any other tigers. It behooves me then to offer whatever guidance I can. I have explained to him that I once felt isolated as well and was very unsure of myself. Just as he is doing, I turned to others for advice and learned to understand the messages wrapped up in fables, legends, and mystical tales.
Most importantly, I learned to be myself rather than wishing to be someone else. With self-acceptance, discipline, and determination, I created my own path.
With that, I will wrap this up. Tibor has nodded off and I just might join him for a nap.
– Happy Haddy