The following story originates from a taoist parable and sums up mindfulness in a nutshell (or a strawberry!).
A man is being chased through a jungle by a tiger. He runs as fast as he can with the tiger hot on his heels. Soon enough he reaches the end of a cliff, he looks around and the tiger is nearly upon him.
He looks down – it is too far to jump. He climbs over the edge and hangs on to a vine to stop himself from falling.
He looks below him and sees another tiger waiting for him to fall. Above him, the other tiger has caught up and is looking over the edge – he cannot climb back up or it will get him.
As he hangs there – caught between two tigers – some rats come along and start chewing on the vine he is clinging too. In time they will chew through the vine and he will fall. The tiger at the bottom is still waiting for him. He tries to shoo the rats away but he cannot because if he moves too much he will break the vine himself.
He looks over and notices a juicy strawberry next to him. He picks the strawberry and eats it – delighting in it’s juicyness and taste….
The first tiger can be seen as our past. The tiger at the bottom can be seen as our future. The rats can be seen as the every day stresses and pressures that threaten our present circumstances and may force us to fall into our scary unknown future.
In those moments we can choose to worry about the things outside of our control. Or we can look around us and notice the strawberries within our reach….