The Rope and The Snake

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Wisdom Story: The Rope and The Snake


The Rope and The Snake is the classic story that sages tell to illustrate the distinction between seeing with the mind and seeing through the mind.

This is the story of a man who is terrified of snakes. It happened that one evening he was concerned that he would be late for a very important meeting, and in order to be at the meeting in time, he decided to walk through a field of tall grass that he would normally have avoided, because other people had said that there were snakes there.

It happened that he was crossing this field at dusk when the light was dim and that he stepped on a thick rope. He thought that the rope he stepped on was a snake and that thought caused him to have a panic attack.

In his panic he turned and ran away from the rope. He had only taken a couple of steps before he collided with another man, who happened to be the owner of the field and rope – he was on his way to retrieve his rope.

At this point the panic stricken man was lying on the ground, gasping for breath, pointing in the direction of the rope and crying, “Snake, snake”.

 The owner of the field guessed that the terrified man had mistaken his thick rope for a snake and walked over to where his rope was to confirm this fact. He then returned to the panicking man and convinced him to calm down. Then with further reassurance the owner of the field convinced the man, who had now recovered from his panic attack, to come with him and see for himself that what he stepped on was a rope and not a snake.

The two men went together to see that indeed it was a rope and not a snake. Thus the man who was terrified of snakes was able to see that he had been experiencing the situation via the content and activity of his mind [he had been seeing with the mind– seeing through the veil or cloud of the content of his mind] rather than seeing things as they are, which he did once his mind was silent [then he was seeing through the mind, which is the case when the veil of the mind’s content has been relaxed and has fallen away].

In this way the means to realize the union between the material and spiritual realms of being that is always available is to see through the mind – this is the way of clarity, insight and wisdom.

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Originally posted 2016-07-13 21:41:59.

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