In recent meditations, and as I walk in the world, endeavoring to allow a greater light to work through me, rather than micromanaging my experience, my security and my service, I increasingly the sense of never, with my limited faculties of perception, having the whole picture. And the more I might “try,” the more narrow my vision becomes, as the focus is narrowed by the sphincter of mind.
And I’m so aware that the more I operate from the position of someone directing, the less I am in touch with the ambient sense of connection to the whole. The more I am controller the less I am conscious conduit. This is nothing new.
We, as beings with an apparent location in time and space, an apparent history, an apparent direction, become myopically, unconsciously impaired in our perpetual access invisible power and connection. There is a Zen term ShokoKyakka, that refers to the ground we stand on, the mysterious source of our being, which is ever out of sight to us. We can only know and receive from it by trusting, and resting open to it.
Another classic image is Indra’s web, the web of creation: all of us dew drops on that web, living intersections of infinite threads. We are ultimately the web itself, the dew drops, the threads and the space between, and we are also the Spider who weaves it all. If you look at a dew drop, you can see the world around it reflected in it. But when we self-identify as dew drop, gazing out at the world or at the web around us, we can lose the sense of being of the web and forget our continuity with all we see and can’t see.
These themes were drifting about in my being this morning when I stepped out onto the porch and caught sight of a beautiful spider web catching he morning sun. The web seemed structurally complete, but in the blinding golden light illuminating it, I could never see the whole web at once. I could move about and catch different quadrants and strands, but physical-world factors conspired to make a comprehensive view impossible for my mortal eyes.
It’s a beautiful analogy for the paradox of a spirit’s human embodiment.
And as I looked at this single spider’s web, I was aware that there is a similar web on the back deck, which rarely catches the light so well, and which is also impossible to take in in its full glory all at once. And as I focus on either one of these webs, it seems to be quite separate from me, as I stand on a patch of ground I cannot see, surveying a microcosm of the macrocosm, which seems complete without me.
But if I close my human eyes, let go of the need to be someone who sees or understands, I become a part of the web, gently floating on the breeze, until some fly –a ringing phone, a grumbling tummy, inspiration for a poem —stirs my inner spider toward it’s next intersection in the web, toward its next dance partner in the Mystery. And with my every move, a most delicate filament unfurls infinitely forward and back from the invisible center and source of my being.
How much of the web do you see?