The other afternoon I was laying on the floor resting my back when, glancing up towards the window, I spotted a cobweb. The light from the window catching the grey and fluffy thing made of web strands – nothing complex or fancy! No sign of an actual spider. Today I’ve been thinking about cobwebs. There is something about them that has one recoil if it’s yours, or stand in judgment if it isn’t! Without too much forethought we bring it down, remove it, get rid before somebody else sees it.
Fluffy cobwebs heavy with accumulated dust and who knows what else indicates what? Poor house keeping, irregular dusting, infrequent cleaning, a slovenly attitude generally? Spot a cobweb in a public place and ones attitude towards that place might diminish. Cobwebs signal neglect and following on from there that the people responsible for the place are negligent. Cobwebs just cannot be tolerated at home or away. They have to go. But like anything that brings on a strong response they are teachers showing us our own minds. Over hasty removal of cobwebs means their teaching can easily get missed. What a shame.
It is all too easy to rush and remove that which is causing a disturbance. That’s to fix the situation out there so (we imagine) peace can return in here. But really we all know that doesn’t work in the long-term. There are an endless procession of cobwebs in our lives which, especially if guilt and shame are in the picture, almost without thinking we jump in to push it into a cupboard, burn, bury or bin it! Out of sight maybe, but like my teaching-cobweb, not out of mind and eventually one acts. Hopefully wise action based on something deeper than guilt and shame or judgment. So, it doesn’t hurt to allow disturbances to hang around, to be with/sit with our webs in a gentle and compassionate way. Welcome cobwebs but best not to let them hang around too long! Mine went this afternoon.
Information about the difference between cobwebs and spider webs here.