A Tibetan student was practicing
meditation in his cell when a spider
descended from the ceiling and hung
suspended in front of him.
It slowly spun around, attached to
the end of its web, until the novice
tried to catch it, at which point it
raced back up to the ceiling in a
Every day for a week the student's
meditation was disturbed by the spider.
It even seemed that it was getting
bigger, that it was becoming more
adventurous, and sometimes tried to
swing back and forth in front of him,
with all its legs spread wide.
"This spider is bothering me,"
thought the novice, "and making fun of
me. I'll catch it one day, I know will!"
He became so upset that he went to
ask the advice of his Spiritual Master.
"I hid a knife in my sleeve while I
was meditating," he said. "I wanted to
kill the spider when it came down, but
I didn't succeed. It disappeared the
moment I thought about catching it."
"Replace your knife with a piece of
chalk," the Master replied, "and make a
cross on the spider's back each time it
disturbs your meditation. Come back and
see me in a week."
A week later the novice returned to
his Master's cell and knelt down before
him, his head lowered.
"Lift your robe and look at
yourself," the Master instructed.
To his great surprise, the novice saw
a big X drawn on his own chest.
This short parable may seem absurd,
and yet it contains a profound truth.
The spider that disturbed the novice
during his meditation was his own bad
conscience, which always surfaces when
we are most relaxed. And what do we do?
We accuse it of trying to harm us, we
say that it is someone else, we seek a
threatening monster to fight with. But
the monster, the spider, is our own
We have to be able to look at
ourselves objectively in order to
overcome our worries, before they
assume a form that we have not chosen.
This phrase is attributed to
Socrates, but it also appears on the
facade of the Temple of Delphi. 2500
years later it is still relevant, and
will always remain so!
Posted by Priya Deelchand