Once there was a ferocious tiger that was a terror to all the animals in the forest. The tiger would prowl every day and hunt for a meal to satisfy his hunger, and then he would lie down, resting until his hunger pains woke him, ready to hunt again.
One day, the tiger decided to kill a big elephant so that he could relish the meat for several days and save himself from hunting every day.
The hungry tiger waited for the elephant at the lake at the center of the forest and lunged at it, trying to go for a kill. However, the tiger was no match for the elephant’s might and got badly trampled. Watching this scene, the rest of the animals laughed at the tiger’s stupidity. The tiger fled, defeated but determined to come back with a better plan to attack the elephant.
The tiger ventured out into the far end of the forest to see if there were other tigers that could help him. Finally, at the edge of the forest, he saw two more tigers and con- vinced them of his plan to kill the elephant. But they also knew that, even for three tigers, an elephant could be a formidable opponent. To aid them in their conquest, the three tigers decided to bribe a monkey with a handful of bananas to distract the elephant while they attacked.
The owl of wisdom, perched on the branch of the tree under which this conversation took place, immediately reached out to her friend the elephant that night and informed him of the tigers’ plot. They brainstormed, and the owl advised the elephant that his best bet to win the fight was to be in the lake in the middle of the forest.
But the elephant raised a concern: “Tigers can swim.”
The owl replied, “Yes, they can, but they are not as good hunters when they swim. They are more dangerous when they are on the land than in water.”
The elephant liked that idea and woke up early the next morning and hurriedly walked toward the lake. Not aware of the elephant’s knowledge of the tigers’ plot, the three tigers followed the elephant to the lake, thinking that the elephant was just thirsty and going to the lake to drink water. The elephant pretended he was not aware of the tigers’ presence and feigned to drink water. The three tigers approached the elephant quietly to ambush him.
Remember, the monkey’s job was to distract the elephant by getting on top of his head while the tigers attacked. However, the elephant, having known the plot, anticipated the monkey’s tactic and cleverly used his trunk to subjugate the monkey right away, even before the tigers attacked him.
The three tigers were now a little wary to attack the powerful elephant, knowing that the distracter monkey had already been quickly dispatched. Nevertheless, they
The Tale of a Deadly Tiger and a Calm Elephant decided to try their luck. As they lunged forward, the elephant, using his powerful trunk, pumped a jet of water at the first tiger while using his heavy foot to stomp on the second. The third tiger attacked the elephant from behind, but the elephant swirled swiftly around and used its long, sharp tusks to injure the third. The first tiger, recovering from being blown away by the tremendous force of the water jet from the elephant’s trunk, did not dare to come close to the elephant, watching the fate of the other two tigers.
Startled by the abrupt counterattack by the elephant, the three injured tigers fled far away from the lake, learn- ing the lesson of their lives to never dare to attack an elephant! The elephant, unscathed by the fight, gracefully walked toward his dear friend the owl, perched on the branch of the nearby tree, to thank her for her words of wisdom that saved his life. They both laughed out loud and danced around happily, celebrating their victory.
Great teachers say stress is an illusion, and it all originates from our insecure thoughts. I acknowledge the deep truth in that statement, but stress is not an illusion for countless people across this world who are not able to identify its true origin and who are incessantly struggling to find solace in their lives. For people who realize this deep truth—that stress stems from our insecure thinking—stress is a laughing matter and just an illusion; but for people who have not realized that truth, stress is a monster that exists outside their mind.
I hope these teachings will take you through a journey from the belief that stress is a monster outside of you to the realization of this deep truth: stress is nothing but trivial thoughts of insecurity projected by your own mind, powerful enough to give the illusion that stress approaches you from the outside.