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To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.
-- Georg C. Lichtenberg


Daily Motivator Special Feature

Lessons from the spider

by Ralph Marston

spider webAs the sun appeared from behind a cloud, a fragile glimmer caught my eye. A few feet away was a spider web, so delicate it wasn’t even visible until the sunlight hit it just right. In the middle of the web was a tiny spider. A few insects, seemingly small to me yet as big or bigger than the little spider, were trapped in the web. That’s the spider’s food supply, I thought. It diligently builds the web, then patiently waits, and then the nature of life’s abundance provides sustenance.

Those little insects were already flying around before the spider ever arrived. The spider didn’t have anything to do with that. What the spider did, was arrange to catch some of them for dinner. Had the spider done nothing, and not built the web, the insects would have still been flying around, but none of them would be available for dinner.

There is no shortage of small insects. And there is really no shortage of any kind of life’s abundance. Yet for that abundance to useful, it must be utilized in some specific, meaningful way. For the spider, that means building a web to provide a food supply. After all, food is quite meaningful to the spider.

By building the web, the spider gives meaningful expression to life’s abundance. The same dynamic applies on any level. When there is something meaningful to you, it is absolutely available to you somewhere within life’s limitless abundance. And yet it doesn’t just appear because you desire it. Rather, it appears when you express your desire for it through the living of your life. That’s a crucial distinction. For the spider, that means building its web. For me, it might mean building a website, or writing a book. For someone else it might mean studying to become a research scientist or a gymnastics instructor.

We all must build some kind of web, though. The web does not create the abundance, for the abundance is already there. What the web does, is connect us to whatever particular expression of abundance that we wish to experience. And that, in the manner of a virtuous cycle, makes even more of life’s abundance present and available.

As I watched a stiff breeze blow through the web I wondered. What happens when the web breaks? How does the spider feel about that? Actually, I realized, it doesn’t matter what the spider thinks or feels. What matters is whether or not the spider builds another web.

Life’s abundance never ends. Yet our various connections to that abundance come and go. If we mourn their passing too obsessively, then we miss out on opportunities to make more connections. We treasure each connection, not because of what it is but because of the abundance with which it connects us. If there were no insects to catch, the spider would have little use for any web.

What the spider understands is that the insects are always there. So if the web blows away, the thing to do is simply build another one. Sure, it’s a lot of work. Sure, it’s a shame that the old one is gone. But the abundance is not gone. It just needs a new connection.

We can often lose some connection or other to life’s abundance. Yet even when we do, the abundance is still very much there. And what we have is the opportunity to build an even better connection, an even bigger and stronger web. As soon as we do, the abundance flows more richly than ever.

The spider has now eaten all its prey. The insects are gone and it is crawling around the web, re-spinning portions of it, making ever stronger the connection to abundance.

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