Gratitude for the Spider

Today’s gratitude posting is a little different than usual. A subscriber sent me a great story about a zen master. Most zen stories have a strong message, but is never apparent on the surface until you think about it. Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing this story with me. I am very grateful.

A Tibetan story tells of a meditation student who, while meditating in his room, believed he saw a spider descending in front of him. Each day the menacing creature returned, growing larger and larger each time. So frightened was the student, that he went to his teacher to report his dilemma. He said he planned to place a knife in his lap during meditation, so when the spider appeared he would kill it. The teacher advised him against this plan. Instead, he suggested, bring a piece of chalk to meditation, and when the spider appeared, mark an “X” on its belly. Then report back.

The student returned to his meditation. When the spider again appeared, he resisted the urge to attack it, and instead did just what the master suggested. When he later reported back to the master, the teacher told him to lift up his shirt and look at his own belly. There was the “X”.

How do you interpret this story? What nugget can you extract from the story?

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru

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