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Prey passes the tiger who
Sometimes merely looks,
Sometimes pounces without hesitation,
But never fails to act.

Life is a constant series of opportunities. If we don’t reach out for things, if we don’t take advantage of what comes our way, then we cannot be in harmony with the essential nature of life.

The tiger is the same way. He conforms to every situation that comes. If he spots prey and is not ready to hunt, he will let it go. But he has not failed to act. He has knowingly let the prey escape, and this is much different from someone who loses a situation through slow reflexes or inability. When the tiger wants his prey, he pounces upon it without any thought or hesitation. There are no morals, no guilt, no psychological problems, no ideologies to interfere with the purity of his action. This undiminished grace in action is called nonaction.

This is engagement. Whatever comes to you, you must engage it somehow. You receive it, you may alter the circumstance and let it go, you may interject something of your own into it, or you may knowingly let it pass. Whatever you do, there is no need to be apathetic toward life. Instead, full participation in all things is the surest way to happiness, vitality, success, and a deep knowledge of Tao.


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