A few months ago, I posted about the power of music and the effect that they can have on our chakras. I talked about how specific songs and even particular genres can have an enriching and empowering effect on us through our various energy centers. I have always had an affinity for music and even though I may talk some trash about particular artists or genres, if the music is created with energy and passion, I am able to appreciate it. Even if I would never admit it out loud.
If you are anything like me, you probably have felt at times that certain songs were speaking directly to you. Though the reality of it all tells us that the songs was created to personify universal or wide spread feelings an themes, you just can’t help but feel that the singer is right there crooning to you. Drawing out the exact words that you needed to hear at that time and conveying the emotions that you have inside you.
Sometimes, the message is one of comfort and compassion. Reminding us that we are not alone or that the struggles we are going through will find their end and bring us closure. Other times, we are ramped up and energized by the lyrics. The words seem to inspire in us a way that nothing else can to get us up an moving towards our goals. There are also songs that get us thinking, pondering and philosophizing about some of life’s greatest mysteries. Really, when you think about it, there is likely a song for every circumstance in our lives.. We just may not have heard it yet.
These songs seem to find an added dose of power when the Universe coordinates those serendipitous moments when the needed song plays at just the right time. That happened to me this morning as I was listening to a new album from an artist that I just discovered in the last year or so.
I was bopping along while doing the dishes, when The Tiger Inside will Eat the Child by Kate Miller Hiedke came on. She’s got a few semi-spiritual and philosophical songs in her line up, so the initial lyrics only caught my attention a little. But something grabbed me when she got to the chorus. The lyrics seemed to jump out and smack me to pay attention to the words and this songs in particular.
“The minute you think you know got it
is the minute you know it’s gone for a good
the second you pause his claws are on it
the tiger inside will eat the child”
What the hell? Did she just say something about a tiger eating a child? Lemme back this up and figure out what the heck she is talking about.
As I listened back through the verses, I heard references to multiple religions and the quest for holiness and enlightenment. Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, finding Siddartha’s temple, crawling through the shadowy valley. So many experiences that speak to humanity’s search for the ultimate answers. Yet, through these references there is still the frustration that the answers just aren’t there.
So, going back to the chorus, the first two lines are starting to make sense.
“The minute you think you know got it
is the minute you know it’s gone for a good.”
Too often in our search for enlightenment, we view it as a destination. A goal that can be achieved and then owned. Peace, tranquility, spiritual power, all the things that religions promise are sought after like the proverbial pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. If we are pious enough, if we work hard enough, if we believe enough, if we give enough, then somehow we will achieve this goal. But we fail to see that the holiness and purity that we seek is in each moment. It’s the journey, not the destination that matters. It is in the realization that we cannot grasp for something that can only be attained through releasing the need for it.
The minute that we think we know that we have it, the ego takes over and fills us with pride. Ah ha! Look at me, I have just attained true enlightenment! And in that split second, the enlightenment vanishes in the glow of our sense of pride.
Now about that second part. Yeah the hungry tiger part. What the heck does that mean?
As I thought about this, I seemed to recall a story about a boy and a tiger that wanted to eat him. In true 2012 fashion, I couldn’t remember what the story was, so I googled it and found exactly what I was looking for. The Story of Black Sambo. In this story, a South Indian boy is walking through the jungle alone. He encounters 4 tigers who are hungry and finding him rather tasty looking. Through the encounter, Sambo sees that the tigers are proud and vain. He offers them articles of his new clothing in hopes that they will let him go. The tigers take the items and soon find themselves arguing over who has the best new thing. As the argument ensues, the tigers end up doing themselves in and Sambo escapes unscathed. Naked, but unscathed.
Here again we see the idea of pride getting in the way. In a way, you could say that it was the pride Sambo had in his new clothing that led the tigers to him. He represents the child like wonder we all have as we are attaining new things. The curiosity and amazement at the gifts we have and the things we can do. They personified the danger we face when our egos take over. The demise that can happen when we don’t keep our humility in place and let the good feelings go to our heads. Maybe we are the first on the block to get the latest new gadget. Or a new car that just kicks the pants off of the one your neighbor has. Maybe it is even a new opportunity that you have been given because of the recognition of your talent and hard work. There are a host of reasons to be proud of what we have and what we do. But we need to be smart about it. And we need to be in control of our own egos.
Sambo gave up all of his new things to fend off the tigers that were going to eat him. He released his possessions knowing that he could get more at another time. Being naked was a whole lot better than being tiger chow. He also recognized that the tigers needed to feed on what they were seeking. Attention and glory fueled them and drove them even more than food. By releasing from himself the need for the attention and glory, he was able to escape and witness the destruction of the ego as it imploded on its self.
We need to be constantly vigilant in this effort as the second we pause to hold to our ego, the tiger’s claws sink in and we get eaten up by our own pride.
As I sat back and listened to the song in its entirety, I saw this playing out within the words. All the holiness we seek seems to constantly slip away from us. We spend our lives trying to grab the carrot dangling in front of us only to miss all the apples along our path. The recognition we desire for our hard work and skill means nothing if we stop there and allow ourselves to rest on our laurels. After all, getting a hold of the carrot won’t mean much after the tiger eats you.