Monday, December 29, 2014

Through The Eyes Of A Fish

A simple fish is a living creature, a form of life that likely predates humankind.  Consider what existence on Earth looks like through the eyes of a fish.  It is born, grows to maturity, and ultimately dies, either from old age or a fatal event.  During that lifetime, there is food to be gathered and eaten, chores to attend to, and a responsibility to reproduce and sustain the fish community.  Not unlike our human existence.

There are many kinds of fish.  Little ones, big ones, huge ones.  Fish of a variety of colors and shapes.  Surrounded by other fish – different in specific form, but nonetheless still “fish.”  They live in water, the only home they know.  The only home they can survive in.  The water of streams, rivers, lakes, or the great oceans.  Water that comes in various flavors: with or without salt, with varying levels of needed oxygen, with similarly varying levels of unwanted pollution.  Some fish are unique to particular kinds or locations of water; others are found across many parts of the globe.  Most fish stay pretty close to one place in their watery home; others are more nomadic and travel great distances in fulfilling their life.

In water, light is a variable, stratified in layers from the top of the water to the bottom.  But what is “top” or “bottom” to a fish, versus simply “water”?  There is a portion of its home that is less dark.  And at some point it can discover a difference kind of substance that is unlike the usual watery home, a dense material that cannot be swum through.  It is what we call “the bottoms,” filled with mud, rock, and perhaps some kind of plant life.  No swimming through that, just a barrier to avoid.  And, in fact, a fixed boundary to the watery home.

This is the Life that a fish knows, the images a fish sees.  Living perpetually in this liquid substance encompassed by strata of light and a stratum of non-liquid.  Such is the definition of what “life on earth” means – to a fish.  It is a much more limited understanding than we human beings have.  We know of land, of mountains, of trees, of sky, of clouds.  We live in air, not water, though we can experience water for short periods.  We know a fish, but a fish does not know of us.  But do we truly know “us”?

The fish believes that he knows all of Creation based upon its own personal vision and experience.  We know of a bigger Creation based upon our personal vision and experience.  But are we just as blind as the fish, trapped in our own confused Lake of Existence?

We so often fall into the trap of thinking that we are human beings, so we know what “being human” means.  We live somewhere, so we understand all the other “somewheres.”  But while we share some commonalities among ourselves to being human, we share just as many differences which we often neither understand nor acknowledge.

The spiritual challenge is whether we continue to live the limited myopia of the fish, that “what I see is what I know which is all there is.”  Or whether we use our extra human capabilities to not think “I understand it all,” but to acknowledge “how little I truly know of the vastness of what there is to know.”  And then leave our comfortable pond to explore the richness of contrasting worlds, different than our own.

The true spiritualist knows that every door of insight is simply an opening to the next door of insight.  Never truly fully knowing, but always learning.  Like the fish, we are perpetually swimming in the confined waters of our life.  Unlike the fish, we have the potential to see a fuller bigness of Life.  But only if we first admit our true ignorance of it.  It is only when we do not know that we can then know the full majesty of Life.

© 2014   Randy Bell     

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another teaching story! These are like modern parables, common things of everyday existence to illustrate something of the soul! Maybe we should call them "PARABELLS" ???