The Spider and the Chair – Mastering the Game of Life

I remember having a conversation with a close friend of mine about this video by a certain philosophical guy by the name of Allen Watts. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr. Allen Watts, he was a brilliant scholar and philosopher from England that moved to America in the 1930s. While in America,  he began to speak to large western audiences about a wide range of topics regarding:

  • Health
  • Love
  • Consciousness
  • The Law of Attraction
  • Weatlh
  • Intellect
  • Reality

Listening to the whole video is need since it’s quite long. The first 7 minutes or so is all I will talk about today. In this video Allen refers to life as a game. He talks about how at an early age we are preconditioned to know the rules of the game and spend majority of our life trying to beat this game with hopes of one day being declared the winner. He talks about the power struggle that has always been present in society as a byproduct and side effect of the playing the game.
By Game, he is referring to the constant competition within beauty standards, fitting in to be “accepted”, striving for greatness to impress others, the battle of the sexes, etc.

For example, we play the game of beauty: “is he/she better looking that me how can I become more attractive” game.

The “I must become more and more and more and more successful game”

The “He has one, so I should have one ” game

Just to name a few.

By the playing the game, without knowing it’s a game you wrap yourself into a never ending twilight zone of constant unfulfillment. You end up living your life based off of the another person’s expectations. While you try to fulfill and meet the criteria of the game, another begins and you are essentially back where you started.

There are winners and their are losers. The winners are rewarded with temporary pleasures within hopes that they will inevitably sit back down, and play the game again to repeat the same process. He essentially hints at the master of the game who figures out that the game doesn’t actually matter.

I want to add that if your like me, my fist opposing thought was centered around this idea that the game is life and while it’s easy from a famous philosopher’s point of view to just “stop playing”, the rest of us ,in a sense , have to play the game. We have lives, people to support, etc. Does he suggest that we give it all up and become a homeless person? While that sounds all mystical and conscious expanding, It just doesn’t seem realistic.

Allen then went on to talk about how the master of the game doesn’t necessarily stop playing the game. He still enjoys all of the spoils in the game but frees himself from investing too much emotional energy. The master of the game knows it’s a game while his opponent is unaware of the game’s existence.

We get wrapped up into so much societal conditioning, we forget to live for ourselves. Whether its to maintain a good reputation, or making your parents or even your family proud, the game is a never ending cycle of being in the present while always living in the future. He also talks about anxiety being a result, investing too much into whether or not a scenario will give us a desired outcome. While mastering the game, you detach from the outcome of the game.

Side Note: He does based some of his ideas off of a lot of ancient religious text like the dharmas of detaching in Buddhism

The Spider and The Chair

Now i mind you, I’m not a part of any major religious outlet. I tend to have my own beliefs and piece together bits and pieces of what makes sense to me. So this message from god, or the universe, or Allah, or even just a coincidence for (my left brain thinkers) is purely subjective. I am merely describing something I saw that inspired me to write this article.

About a year a go I was outside like any other normal day and noticed a spider crawling horizontally across the table I was sitting at. Now mind you this was the same place I would sit every other day for months. I want to add also that funny as it is, what caught my attention was that I recognized the spider. This same spider always stood out to me because it did “weird” things considering I never bothered it. Like walking up and sitting in front of laptop while i played jazz music, or running full speed at me across the table, or appearing on my arm. Long story short, this was one weird spider!


Anyways, this time as I spotted him scurrying across the table, he stopped mid stride for a second to stare at me. This went for about 8 seconds until he returned to his initial path. I watched him jump from the table to this chair that was placed on the opposite end of the area I was sitting at. What was unique about the chair wasn’t it’s structure, but how the light touched it through a nearby tree. There was a dark shaded side to the chair which was the closest part to me, and a light side that the sun shined through.

The spider on its path made it to middle of the chair and just sat there. then, he began to move backwards into the shaded spot: forward 3 steps into the light, 4 steps into the dark, 10 steps into the light 20 steps into the dark. This same series of movement went on for about a whole minute until the spider decided to begin making it’s way back down the way it just came: Into the dark area even so much as jumping off the chair entirely onto the shaded table area.

As it made it about a foot from the chair, it stopped and looked me again for about 10 seconds before turning around for the 20th time and proceeding back to towards the light area. This time however, the spider seemed to just know exactly where he wanted to go. He jumped on the chair again, made it past the middle and jumped onto the nearby sunlight bathed table never to be heard from again.

Now like I said, what you take from the instance is subjective but I aim a firm believer that “signs” aren’t usually an entity itself coming down  in physical form to have a face to face conversation. Only thing I want to add is that around this time I very torn towards the direction in life I wanted to take.

What I took from the spider was trying to show me at the time was how my life will play out: a premnition if you want to call it that. I have high aspirations for my life and I thought it was a sign that worst (the spider going into the shaded area) was yet to come. That things would get a lot worse before they got better. There is this quote which states that

“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven, unless it’s roots reach down to hell.”  C.G Jung

I remember at the time life was pretty good, and I was in a comfortable place. Well lets just say within the span of 8 months after that my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I lost my job, failed my licensing test and my uncle who struggled with cancer for 3 years passed away. Now even though, things have begun to move in the right direction I didn’t know whether or not I am in the beginning when the spider was back and forth between losses and wins, or at the stage where it went completely into the shaded area. Scared of the possibility that still the worst is yet to come, i spoke with one of my open-minded friends and shared my spider story.

His response changed my life because he said maybe the spider jumping off of the chair into the shaded part of the table wasn’t a sign that something terrible will happen, but a sign of the spider “escaping the wheel” or mastering the game. He continued that he believed the excessive back and forth on the chair (life/game) was the constant struggle Allen talked about playing the game and investing too much emotional energy into the outcome. The spider wasn’t descending into hell. He was detaching himself from the entire game itself. His smooth journey into the sunlight area at the end symbolized smooth sailing once the game is played with a clear mind conscious of the illusion. Simply put, the spider was trying to show me that mastering the wheel was the only way succeed in the life I wanted.

I seemed to resonate more with his idea more than my original idea,

what do you think?

leave a comment below!

8 thoughts on “The Spider and the Chair – Mastering the Game of Life

  1. This is an amazing article and something I’ve been looking into a lot lately. I actually prefer to see the world as one big video game, I am the main character and I pave my own path with my actions. It’s been working lately as I now see the bigger picture and not the small things, as they don’t matter. I’m a huge believer in doing whatever you want to make you happy (within the law of course), and that’s exactly what I’ve been striving for. Thanks for the article.

    1. Hey Brandon , I actually did this big report in college comparing life to a video Games’ choice and level up system . The only thing is and the point of this article is no remember it’s all “just a game.”

      Thanks for commenting my friend !

  2. Fascinating theories. the podcast is very thought provoking and you are really challenging us to look at what ‘games’ we are embroiled in, within our own lives. Thank you for sharing your story about the spider, it sounds as though that small instance in your life provided you with an epiphany of your own. best wishes, Karen

    1. Hey, thanks for taking the time to view my article. I do think we tend to involve ourselves in the “push and pull “ of it all considering the material world we live in. If U take anything away for the article , I hope it’s to stop and really take a look at what matters ! You will be surprised at what conclusion you come to !

  3. I too truly appreciate interactions with other “species”. I also believe that there are many signs out there, you just need to notice them.
    Animals notice you, especially that you sit there all the time. What a cool story!
    I had this interaction with a HUGE spider coming down on its web from the tree overhead of me. I yelled, NO and it stopped dead in its tracks and went back up in the tree. I proceeded to give it thanks and asked for it to stay up there, and wouldn’t you know it did just that!

    1. Hey Colleen, I’m not really one to impose my spiritual beliefs on anyone but I believe animals are a lot more in tune with the universe. They help us in a number of ways and are usually key in our evolution. One of my spiritual teachers told to look for Animals that act out of the ordinary because sometimes they are doing so to get your attention for a specific purpose.
      Thanks for your comment and hope this article helps you to look more closely 😉

  4. Yust a few weeks ago I was introduced to the wisdom of Allen Watts. And now I bump into this. Law of Attraction at work.
    I like your post very much! I’ll be coming back for more.

    1. Hey Ivan , Yes Allen’s talks are very thought provoking and unorthodox! Especially his one on synchronicity! Thanks for your comment and I hope this passage aids you in deciphering your own signs and conclusions !

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