January 18 – The Spider and the Sage – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

I would rather be fooled than not believe. 

In India, there is a story about a kind, quiet man who would pray in the Ganges River every morning. One day after praying, he saw a poisonous spider struggling in the water and cupped his hands to carry it ashore.  As he placed the spider on the ground, it stung him.  Unknowingly, his prayers for the world, diluted the poison.

The next day the same thing happened.  On the third day, the kind man was knee deep in the river, and, sure enough, there was the spider, legs frantic in the water. As the man went to lift the creature yet again, the spider said, “Why do you keep lifting me? Can’t you see I will sting you every time, because that is what I do?” And the kind man cupped his hands about the spider, replying “Because that is what I do.”

There are many reasons to be kind, but perhaps none is a compelling as the spiritual fact that it is what we do. It is how the inner organ of being keeps pumping. Spiders sting. Wolves howl. Ants build small hills that no one sees. And human beings life each other, no matter the consequences. Even when other beings sting.


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