This is a post about friendship, love, oneness, freedom, and spiders. Yes, spiders. Let me explain.
I have had a lifelong phobia of spiders, and I live in a place that, for some reason, spiders frequently visit. Several times a week, they would show up in the bathtub whenever I stepped in to take a shower. And for a phobic like me, it was far from a pleasant way to start the morning. I was freaked out and upset, and I’m not proud of the ways I got the spiders out of the tub.
Frankly, I didn’t know what to do and couldn’t foresee any solution.
The Truth Wakes Me Up
Then I read a book that changed everything. Really. My friend Robin Easton, who blogs at Naked in Eden, published a book, also called “Naked in Eden”. On the surface, this book is about Robin’s exploits in the Australian rainforest. But from her experiences with the natural world, Robin conveys so clearly the realization that we are one with life, that we are nature itself, and that there truly is no separation.
Whether communing with a dying bandicoot (a large rat indigenous to Australia) or sharing the journey of a butterfly breaking out of its pupa, anyone reading this book can’t help but meet every living creature with a heart filled with knowing and love.
As a result of reading “Naked in Eden”, I began to look at spiders in a whole new way, and my phobia was finished for good. Shortly after, there was a large spider in the tub one morning. Before, I was literally unable to hold a box containing a spider so I could deposit it outside.
This time, I stopped. I looked at the spider and was amazed to realize that it was not my enemy. I talked to it, literally felt the oneness with it, and gently got it into a box so I could release it outdoors. My heart was brimming over, and I almost couldn’t believe that this phobia no longer plagued me.
Then an odd thing began to happen – the spiders stopped visiting. It was uncanny. They used to appear several times a week, and now months later, they rarely turn up. I have learned the lesson, and I don’t need their presence anymore. But each time they do appear, there is barely a ripple in me as I lovingly capture them and return them to their natural home. In fact, it happened just this morning.
All I can say is, “Thank you, Robin. Thank you, spiders.” You have been my teachers. You showed me where I was stuck and how to be free. And I have realized a deep insight that goes well beyond spiders.
Use Life Experience for Your Liberation
Life offers us exactly what we need to liberate ourselves. If we notice contracted emotion around a thought, person, or situation, we can locate our misunderstanding and gain the clarity that will re-align us to the truth of non-separation and love.
I misunderstood spiders. I was attached to the creepy feeling I got looking at one, and all I wanted to do was get rid of it. But when I see a spider in the truth of oneness, I want to care for it and treat it honorably. It is a privilege to scoop it up and take it outside.
The golden rule tells us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But the truth is even deeper. What you do to others, you do to yourself. There is no difference, no separation.
When we don’t need the lesson anymore, it disappears, just like the spiders, and there is only happiness, freedom, and celebration. A friend of mine who heard this story calls this the “spider effect.”
Lessons from a Phobia
Here is what I learned from the ending of my phobia. Maybe you will experience your own spider effect – the ending of a problem, and the remembering of life, love, and oneness.
- It is possible to be free in areas of life where you feel stuck, held back, frustrated, or hopeless.
- Every moment of life is either a lesson or a celebration.
- The only enemies you have are the ones you create in your own mind.
- If you find yourself in the same stressful situation over and over, take an honest, penetrating look at yourself. Something about your thinking pattern is keeping you from being free.
- There is truly no separation. Everything you see, feel, and touch, including yourself, is transparent. If you look deeply enough, you will see that at the source of everything is life itself.
- The essence that shines through all forms is love.
So what is your spider phobia? Is it fear, physical pain, an addiction, low self-worth, victimhood? Where are you contracted in your life? My prayer for you is that you meet it with eyes open, find your misunderstanding, and clear the way for your light to shine even brighter.
Any comments or reflections? I’d love to hear…