I am sitting on my front deck working and when I look up, I notice that a spider has built a web between two spindles in my deck railing. The web has caught my attention, it is so intricate and beautiful. I always marvel that spiders are able to weave webs that are so strong, yet look so delicate.
As I gaze at the web, it takes a moment before my eyes can locate the spider. Then I see it, tucked up in the right hand corner of the web, half hidden by a branch on the cedar tree. It is sitting upside down and very still. It makes me think that this is what relaxing and waiting looks like. The spider is just hanging out in its web. Watching it makes me settle down and feel more stillness within myself.
Suddenly, a fly lands in the web and the whole thing begins to quake and shiver. In a flash, the spider has gone from stillness to motion. Within seconds, almost as fast as I can blink, the spider has immobilized the fly by wrapping webbing around it. As soon as the fly is subdued, the spider goes back up to its corner and sits in stillness.
I am amazed at the quickness and deftness of the spider. It went from stillness to motion in a second. It makes me aware that it was in a state of watchful waiting. It was at rest, yet it was also ready to move when Life brought it a fly.
As I am pondering this spider and its web, I catch a flash of something moving in the field across the road. It is the neighbour’s cat and I can tell that it has found a mouse to hunt in the grass. The cat is stalking the mouse and then racing all over the field giving chase to it. Then it stops, hunkers down low to the ground, watching and wiggling its back end in anticipation of the next chase. Moments later it is off again, racing around the field.
I am struck by the difference between the spider and the cat. Each have been hunting prey, they just go about it very differently. The spider spins a web to catch its prey. It sits in a very restful state and waits, trusting that, eventually, a bug will land in the web.
The cat, on the other hand, is still racing around the field, chasing after its prey. It is enjoying stalking the mouse. I don’t know if it will ever catch it, but it is certainly preoccupied with the chase.
The spider and the cat are my teachers in this moment. As I watch how each one behaves, I feel like Life wants me to learn something from them. As I sit in the sun, pondering what I am witnessing, these words come to me:
“Life will come to you, you don’t always have to chase after it.”
These words bring me a sense of peace. I am being invited to be more like the spider and to practice watchful waiting…and trusting that Life will bring me what I need.
Watching the spider and the cat, I am reminded of this traditional tale:
Rabbi Levi saw a man running in the street, and asked him, ”Why do you run?” He replied, “I am running after my good fortune!” Rabi Levi tells him, “Silly man, your good fortune has been trying to chase you, but you are running to fast.”
We don’t have to chase after life, it knows where to find us. Our job is to open to it with receptivity.