Cautionary Tails

During my spiritual quest, I learned that Sri Ramana Maharshi (an Indian sage who suddenly recognized true Self at the age of sixteen) used the analogy of an electric fan–rotating again, after having been switched off–to refer to the return appearance of egoic behaviour and perspective. Mooji, who is a noted speaker and author of books about non duality, refers to the same phenomena by stating that “the tail of the snake is still in the room.”

Language is a major obstacle in the discussion of Truth (in fact, it’s impossible to relate it via words); but most Beings who have recognized their essential nature would probably agree that the realization of true Self (a “person” never becomes enlightened) is not without its setbacks. Habitual ways of behaving in the world often surprise us when we are least aware. Knowing when/if the “tail of the snake” is back in the room can make a tremendous difference in the quality of our life experience. With the goal of improving our collective experience, I offer the following partial list of signs to help you recognize if the tail of the snake has reappeared:

  • Selfishness.
  • Defensiveness
  • Stubborn desire to be “right.”
  • Holier-than-thou-ness.
  • Judgmental behavour.
  • Dishonesty.
  • Hatred
  • Pride
  • Blame.
  • Shame.
  • Guilt.

When the tail of the snake appears, the perspective of Truth may be regained by becoming still. This provides an opportunity to recognize whether attention is flowing from an object of experience (the person) or from “That” which is the knower of it. It may also be helpful to ask, “Who is it that is expressing this self interest right now? What is its nature?” If circumstances permit, a few minutes of meditation may also help to re-center in Beingness.

The egoic structure attempts to convince us that it is vitally important–that the world would fall to ruin if it were to vanish; but the expression of life actually becomes richer when we recognize (Latin, cognoscere: to know again) our essential nature beyond name and form. This is not to state that the ego must be annihilated; only that we are established as Spirit, instead of defending the perspective of the person who, ultimately, is illusory.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🧡

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

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