Tiger by the tail parable

[from Marsha   How often do we have a conversation with somebody that results in a difference of opinion. Each side tries to convince the other and neither listens – the discussion can become intense.   Each tries to persuade the other of their opinion, conclusions, selected authority, and beliefs. Neither is open; and then here comes the defense, the arguments and hurt feelings.

There are certain things we like and certain things we don’t like. So we all have something called “personal taste”.   If we’re aware of it, we can allow others to have their tastes, their opinions, their conclusions and just allow it to be. There’s just whatever’s going on and you may not like it; but it is called “an event.”

Now sometimes we can liken the “event” to a tiger.   So let’s say If a tiger came into the room where you were; and you let him alone, chances are very great he’ll turn around and walk out in a little while.

But now if you don’t like tigers in your house: and you grab it by the tail and try to get it out, I got news for you. You’re gonna be involved with that tiger for quite some time because he will be annoyed by being grabbed by the tail; and he will start clawing and chewing – so you daren’t let go.  You’ll get clawed and you’ll never be able to turn him loose. And so this is like “an event” – and we have “events” every day.

So somebody comes to your house and says, “You just don’t know what you’re talking about – “I know what’s right and wrong; and you should agree with me or you are misinformed or simply stupid!” – “You should see it my way because I have checked the internet and I know!”   Instantly, you react inside and don’t like that one bit!   It doesn’t fit how you see it — so maybe you “try to keep your mouth shut”; but they continue on; and finally you express your opposite opinion and the argument escalates.

And so you could say that you “grabbed that “event” by the tail” and are hanging onto it. It goes over and over in your head. Sometimes we fight with that same little old tiger for a sleepless night or two which can carry on for maybe months and sometimes even years!

This “event” can be with marriage, children, business, neighbors and sometimes there can never be resolution. We are hanging on to our opinions, beliefs and conclusions and the contention and conflict is like “grabbing the tiger by the tail.” We don’t or can’t let go.

But if you just let an “event alone”, how long does it last?   It walks out the door in just a little while.   You don’t have to change it. Granted there are some events which require more consideration; but how many of these little events do we allow that keep us awake night after night, month after month, year after year. Who’s hanging on to the tail — you?   Is the other person hanging on to the tail?   Do you have to hang onto the tail?

The creator created a great universe, we’re told and I read that he did it by this one thing – he let it be. He didn’t “make” anything. He just let it be. Did it say he created light or did it say “let there be light.”

Let the earth bring forth all these things. In other words just don’t interfere; and it’ll take care of itself real well — it’ll all work pretty good. What a wonderful experiment for each of us. Only thing is to remember that you didn’t interfere and you watched how it was resolved without your control and perceived wisdom of what should be.

So when you “grab it by the tail”, so to speak, it’s more like your inner state and well being that’s being clawed up, isn’t it?   So you can ignore it a little bit.   Why not? Why should you do anything about it — because it disturbs you? But it won’t last indefinitely. As long as you’re not trying to change someone or something in any manner, form, or fashion, then you can do what you want to do and “leave the event alone”.

Now let’s get to reality. Let’s stick to our interpersonal relationships. Now we can carry this over into all other events, but let’s stick to where the problems might be.

Parable of the Captain and storm

If a storm blows at sea, the captain, of course , is gonna do whatever he can to take his ship out of it, but he doesn’t stand and scream at the storm.

If you’re ridin’ in an airplane and it starts getting very bumpy, the pilot will do whatever he can to get out of the bumpy air, but he doesn’t stand there and holler at the bumpy air. He really doesn’t fuss at it a bit. He takes a detour and flies higher or lower and that’s about all he does about it.

But if you have an interpersonal relationship and there’s a little bumpy air, you don’t just go take a walk – you’re gonna stand there and straighten it out. Right?   In that way you can have bumpy air for years. You see, when you “grab that tiger by the tail”, you take the tiger with you no matter where you go or what you do.  So you want to straighten out this “event”’ and you still got the “event” in here, and all the time you’re thinkin’ of right things to say to that tiger to convince; but all it does is keep the fight going on.

So when you can see the bumpy air, and get out of the storm, you pilot your ship away from the sea of contention; and that’s the way “it can be” without making any big production. All your interested in is survival.

The real idea is if your interest was in survival and evolvement, wouldn’t your behavior be decidedly different than if you’re interested in having everything your way, keepin’ all your opinions in order – makin’ everbody else toe the line to fit your opinions. If you allowed them to have theirs and you just kept yours to yourself, would the “events” be altogether different?  If you pilot away from the bumpy air, could that be called an act of survival?   You’re not going to change them no matter how hard you try, so why get all involved.

Man got himself so educated that he is conditioned to survive by having his way. It rarely happens that way; in fact it’s absolutely unsure. But if you’re awake and aware, you can respond adequately to the event as it arises. Defending yourself and trying to convince doesn’t work.

So here’s some alternatives:

Sometimes you just let the other person have their opinions, beliefs, and conclusions; and if they’re too heated, maybe you take a walk or go to the bathroom and the subject can change itself when you come back.

And sometimes it’s been said that you can just agree with them and say “Thanks for reminding me” or just coo – what a wonderful experiment and practice that can be. Your body will thank you.

So when you observe that you’ve grabbed the “tiger by the tail” and you can’t seem to change it, what ideas can you come up with to let go of the “event” you don’t like?

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I want “that” not “this”

What does that phrase mean to you? We could maybe look at it as greed – always wanting more, better, and different. I’ve heard greed defined as “I want it to keep you from getting it”. long ago, I observed my children as infants, toddlers and teenagers, as they had to get it no matter what because they wanted it “right now”!

We’ve been conditioned by big business to always have the latest fashion, the latest car, the latest medicine, even the latest soap detergent — what’s “in”.  And big business determines “what’s in.”

But this idea can also apply to many other things in our daily lives. How many of the “I want this – not that”s can you observe as you go through your day? Do you observe the same in others. Maybe we could even run an experiment in seeing that when we get what we wanted the joy in the “getting” lasts how long? Do we still want it or do we immediately move on to another something? Some examples.

I don’t like this boyfriend/girlfriend anymore, I want that guy/girl. She’s prettier, he has more money, he would “take care of me”.

I don’t want this being tied down, I want to be free to do what I want to do when I want to do it..

I don’t want this being alone, I want a companion.

I don’t want to live here, it’s too hot – I want to move to a cooler place – I don’t like so much snow, I want to move to the tropics.

Seems we’re never satisfied with what we have, we find fault with it instead of appreciating it and being thankful for what we already have. We’re always looking for something that will make me “happy” as if that were a permanent state of being. How long have you ever experienced happiness?

So as we observe ourselves and others through the day; it can be interesting to see where this idea of “this and that” is working.

I don’t like “this”. I want “that”. And the minute you get “that” in your little hot fist, what is it?

It’s a “this”, right?. So now I don’t like it for very long — it’s old, it’s boring.   And here goes the struggle that most people are in. I’ve just got to have “that” – I don’t like “this”.

And here is a strange thing that you will find runnin’ through everbody’s mind. I don’t like “this” but take a look – “this” is always in the present. Where is the “that” – it’s always in the future.

And so the “that” is made it into a goal and is glomed onto as very important because I’ll be “in”, “healthy”, “happy”. Does that ever happen on a permanent basis? When we get it, it’s now a “this” and I tire of it quite quickly.

So a person tears themselves to pieces to gain a goal – once they get it, it’s suddenly not good enough, it’s old, it didn’t produce what I thought it would — what was promised – the thing, the circumstance or the event is no longer of any interest – one is then looking for another “that”.

Just to see what’s going on can be of value.   Look around and see what you can see?

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Non-disturbance vs Peaceful

Do these two words sound like the same thing?

It can be enlightening to check out the four dual basic urges and observe self throughout the day.

The teaching speaks of wanting non-disturbance.  In other words we do and say things to GET non-disturbance.

Just what is non-disturbance; and what are we trying to GET?   There is an outline of the four dual basic urges on the webpage – See under “Illustrations.”

On the physical level we unconsciously try to gain comfort and pleasure and escape pain or discomfort

On a mental level we unconsciously try to gain attention and escape being ignored or rejected.

On an emotional level we unconsciously try to gain approval and escape disapproval.

And the fourth level is referred to by different names —  sometimes spiritual, sometimes transcendental; but we unconsciously try to gain a feeling of being needed or importance and try to escape a feeling of inferiority or insignificance.

In “The Place of Language” of the teachings, (also on my website) peace is defined as an “absence of competition.”  I’ve also heard it defined as “not wanting to change anything”.  So if I’m peaceful, it is a “state of being” rather than trying to GET non-disturbance.

I AM peaceful, but sometimes I go to sleep and seek non-disturbance – i.e. gain comfort, attention, approval, being needed; and escape pain, ignored, disapproval and insignificance.

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Trust — another way of looking at the concept

— from the Half Moon Bay workshop.

[from Marsha…..What is trust?   The dictionary says: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

This subject is looked at from a completely different view below.   We start out with a statement from the audience.]

(I have a hard time with forgiveness –)

You don’t forgive ‘em. You don’t need to.

(There are people who have been really close with me and I felt that I trusted and they hurt me.)


(I mean even when I hear you say those words that they felt justified – I was so hurt in the process, I just can’t seem to do it.)

Well, you don’t need to.

(Well, it seems like the whole basis of…..)

The whole basis is to see that he felt he was right, proper, and/or justified no matter what he did to you. Now, the next thing out is – you say you trusted him.

Now, trust means that you have already come to the conclusion that they’re going to do what they ought to do.

You said you knew what ought to be in the first place, and that they’re gonna do that. You are predicting that you know the future, is that right?


……otherwise you wouldn’t trust anybody, right? Nor distrust. You wouldn’t have either one. You see, the biggest part of the “hurt” is because you “trusted”. And then what was “trust to you was betrayed” – that’s the big “hurt”, isn’t it? You know, you can get over having your face slapped or somethin’ like that; but being betrayed with the trust… Now, what grounds do we have for trustin’ anybody? What grounds do you have?


No, you just don’t have any except that you assume you know the future and they’re gonna do so and so and so and so. And when they don’t, you crash; and you saw your trust was an illusion, is that right?


And that’s what upset you – that you’ve been chasin’ an illusion. And they told me that the struggle towards an illusion is the only disintegrating factor in man. That’s right. You’re strugglin’ towards an illusion. You assume, number one, that you knew the future, hmm? And this person, therefore, was gonna do thus and so because you assumed. And sometime or other you found that they didn’t do that; and you, therefore, demonstrated that you did not know the future, right? And you were, therefore, strugglin’ after an illusion. When you saw the illusion, you crumbled up over it and you got what you called “hurt.” Hmm?

(So why do you trust people?)

I don’t know any reason to trust anybody ‘cause I don’t know the future and that’s the only thing you can go on.

Now, I will make certain assumptions. I’ll assume that the person I sell something to; and they say they’ll pay in 30 days, that they will. But that’s only an assumption on my part, isn’t it? So we do have to use those assumptions; but I wouldn’t call that trust. Would you call it trust, John?

(First of all I’d assume they’re probably not going to pay it.) (laughter)

That’s a start anyway, but there ain’t no reason to trust it, is it?


None whatsoever. Okay? Does that help you out a little bit? That what? You have no reason to trust; and if you do, you’re struggling after an illusion; and what hurts is seeing that you had an illusion instead of a fact. That’s where the “hurt” comes from, believe it or not.

(I believe that. I know that I can’t go do anything unless I can justify it. I mean, we’re looking right at it.)

BUT…those other people cannot justify it and do wrong anyway.

The teaching idea says: Wisdom is the knowledge that whatever myself or anyone else has ever done, is doing, or ever will do, it is felt at the time of doing to be right, or proper, or justified.

                               Check it out.

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Google Translator added to blog & webpages

We have added Google translator to the blog sidebar and the webpages.  Look at the bottoms of the webpages for where you can choose your desired language. While it, of course, doesn’t  really approach human-level accuracy as yet; we hope it is a help to our many friends around the world who access the blog and website.  Hovering on a link or highlighting text should show the original (English) language.  Let me know if it helps – as always you can email Teachings@MarshaSummers.com


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The knowledge that whatever myself or anyone else has ever done, is doing, or ever will do, it is felt at the time of doing to be right, or proper, or justified.

Check it out.

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