I have good will for footless/ two/ four/ many-footed beings…
May footless/ two/ four/ many-footed beings do me no harm.
May all creatures… meet with good fortune.
May none of them come to any evil.
– Ahina Sutta
Ajaan Fuang, my meditation teacher, once discovered that a snake had moved into his room. Every time he came in the door, he saw it slip into a narrow space behind a storage cabinet. And even though he tried leaving the door to the room open during the daytime, the snake wasn’t willing to leave.
So for three days they lived together. He was very careful not to startle the snake or make it feel threatened by his presence. But finally on the evening of the third day, as he was sitting in meditation, he addressed the snake quietly in his mind.
He said, “Look, it’s not that I don’t like you. I don’t have any bad feelings for you. But our minds work in different ways. It’d be very easy for there to be a misunderstanding between us. Now, there are lots of places out in the woods where you can live without the uneasiness of living with me.” And as he sat there spreading thoughts of metta [i.e. loving-kindness; friendliness; goodwill] to the snake, the snake left.