Empty Fear

Snakes! Hisssss. Watch out for the snakes lurking in the dark. Slithering unseen, getting ready to ‘get yer’ when you are least expecting. They hide in plain view wearing a disguise, step out unmindfully and a snake will have you roped tied and branded before you know it. That deadly sting is a breath away, and after that there is the coiling around and the deathly squeezzzzzze, which will finish you off.

Sound like anything you have ever thought? I know of at least two readers who are, TERRIFIED, of snakes. They live on opposites sides of the world and both live in snake infested places. Come on, not really BIG ones are they? Hisssss. The closest I came to the big ones was while traveling in Northern Queensland, Australia in 1970. I came as close as the long-tall stories I was told, of how they slide into your sleeping bag at night to get warm, hang languishing from trees by day and are the size of a mans arm, at least! In the flesh I might have seen just one tiddler in the outback, that’s all.

I passed by a gift shope in Hexham yesterday and out of the corner of my eye I saw them, slithering up the walls of the shop. Lots and lots of them, slithering multicoloured snakes. Who is going to buy them? Who in this wide world, in their right mind, would even cross the threshold of that shop? Bad for business I thought, don’t they know about snakes and how they scare people?

In Buddhist teachings, specifically in the Wheel of Life, you can see a pig representing greed, a cock representing anger and a snake. The snake represents illusion/delusion/ignorance. These three poisons, as they are termed, chase each other around in a circle thus perpetuating suffering, endlessly. That’s until they, which are all qualities chasing around in the lives of the average person, take stock of the situation and see into the unsatisfactoryness of living like that. Of poisoning oneself from the inside, and drinking in more poison daily. This is when people can, and do, turn their lives around. It really is possible to do that. Interestingly the more poison you have poured into your body/mind, or have had others pour into your body/mind which is particularly nasty, the more potent and complete the turning around can be. Why? Because the poisoning is that much more obvious. Take a tour of the Wheel of Life why not.

To-day I’m celebrating the snake, terrifying as they are for some, and probably for good (karmic) reasons too. Because the three poisons, snake being one of them, are the great liberators when their true nature is seen into. We have a verse:

Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world,
a phantasm a dream, a bubble in a stream.

This posting is dedicated to all those who have been forced to drink poison at an early age and have lived in fear ever since, until now.

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3 thoughts on “Empty Fear”

  1. Thanks Michael. Glad you liked the long-tall snake story. Sometimes it seems good to break out of the mold and be a bit creative. Course, you creative writing types know all about this don’t you.

    I like your moving mountain posting, although I need to be hand held through something like that.

  2. Yeah, I think I did neglect my poor reader with that one. I was captured by ideas of something real and solid (a snowdrift, a mountain, a person) being constructed. Constructed by bits and pieces of life that are gathered to become something real. Something real that will melt, blow away, and actually isn’t real. And I wanted to use the word brumal (characteristic of or relating to winter).

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