There are various metaphors which serve to place our lives within a metaphysical context. We are all aware of the hypothetical location ‘between a rock and a hard place’ as indicative of life’s difficulties and adversities.
Another Buddhist story comes in several varieites–essentially it involves a monk who is being chased by a wild panther. He sees a large whole in the ground with a rope leading down. He begins his descent as the big cat approaches. Looking down he sees a gigantic python below, slithering and looking up in anticipation.
To add to the image, a mouse is gnawing on the rope just above him. In the midst of all of this he spies a large red berry before his eyes.
He plucks it, pops it into his mouth closes his eyes and deeply enjoys the experience of eating it…..
The message here is similar–we truly live only in the present moment. Birth and death surround us. Danger and fear are our companions. Pain and suffering are never far away.
Yet we must grab the fruit that is before us–it is the only way to live life–in the present moment, between a rock and a hard place.