Make it real

Right now in a park or garden near you there are real spiders weaving real webs. If you watch this video, you’ll probably have forgotten it by this time tomorrow. If you ever watch a spider weaving a web in the real world, you’ll never forget it. I was in my 40’s before I watched a spider weaving, which is pretty sad but makes the point that this isn’t something we usually do. I remember the moment very vividly: There was this astonishing creature creating a thing of exquisite beauty just inches away from me – right here and now!

I was living outdoors at the time, close to the slow cycles of life. I was exploring the many ways in which we can reconnect to the other-than-human world, practising mediation and studying ecopsychology. I was learning how to really be in nature. Does it take all that to be able to watch something as common as a spider weaving a web? No, but it does require you to step away from the habits of everyday life.

First, you’ll have to let go of expectations, because if you go looking for something like this there’s a good chance you won’t find it. We’ve been trained to expect immediate gratification; if you want to hear a song or watch a tv show, it’s there, on demand. Can you make the effort to look and accept whatever happens? Then you’ll have to slow down: Our stressful and frenetic lives leave us little time to just smell the roses. Next, you’ll need to practice looking with open attention. The weaving spider is there, but can you learn to see it? We live in a world awash with images vying for our attention so we tend to screen what we actually see though a dense sensory filter. All this will take patience.

The rewards for releasing expectation, slowing down and allowing your senses to expand will fall on you as gently and countless as blossom. You may feel deep calm, a sense of wholeness, and a quiet joy. Or perhaps child-like wonder and inspiration. You may even see a spider weaving a web!

Right now in a park or garden near you there are real spiders weaving real webs. Why don’t you just go outside and look? The dismal alternative is to stay in a disconnected virtual world.

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