The Tiger phase of practice has to do with learning to trust in our being, which is gentleness or nonaggression. It is about the cultivation of contentment, a sense of being full as opposed to insatiably insecure in our body and mind. If you gaze at a tiger at rest, even in the zoo, it emanates a sense of pure, intense tigerness. It doesn’t seem to have one iota of preoccupation, wondering if it should be more like a zebra. It is this fullness of ease with ourselves that forms the foundation for any kind of meaningful personal development, as well as for teaching others.
In order to cultivate this embodied level of gentleness we can begin with an attitude of service. It’s too early to think about teaching others at this point, but we don’t have to think of this as being something that is just about us. By learning to practice self-kindness we are making a great offering to others. We are directly addressing the issue of how we are in the environment we share.
For teachers it’s essential to recognize how important a personal practice is. As my friend Ethan said–this is one place where trickle down theory actually makes sense.