Strawberries (...& Pema on wretchedness & gloriousness)

Zen Poem:

A man travelling 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 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 then saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.

How sweet it tasted.

<< not sure where I harvested that from>>


LIFE IS BOTH WRETCHED AND GLORIOUS
By Pema Chödrön

"Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the
gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger
perspective, energizes us. We feel connected.

"But if that's all that's happening, we get arrogant and start to look down
on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being
really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness
becomes tinged by craving and addiction.

"On the other hand, wretchedness–life's painful aspect–softens us up
considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there
for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right
into somebody's eyes because you feel you haven't got anything to lose–
you're just there.

"The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only
wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We'd be so depressed,
discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn't have enough energy to eat
an apple.

"Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the
other softens us. They go together."

- Pema Chödrön, *Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living*

<<this item an excerpt from the Brezsny horoscope on Nov. 8/17.>>