This is a story of the lake and the three big fish that were in it, one of them intelligent, another half-intelligent and the third, stupid.
Some fisherman came to the edge of the lake with their nets. The three fish saw them.
The intelligent fish decided at once to leave, to make the long, difficult trip to the ocean. He thought, “I won’t consult with these two on this. They will only weaken my resolve and discourage me, because they love this place so much. They call it their home. Their ignorance will keep them here.”
The wise fish saw the men and their nets and said, “I am leaving.”
The half-intelligent fish thought, “My guide has gone. I ought to have gone with him, but I didn’t, and now I’ve lost my chance to escape. I wish I’d gone with him.”
He mourns the absence of his guide for a while, and then thinks, “What can I do to save myself from these men and their nets? Perhaps if I pretend to be already dead! I’ll belly up on the surface and float like weeds float, just giving myself totally to the water. To die before I die.”
So he did that. He bobbed up and down, helpless, within arm’s reach of the fishermen.
“Look at this! The best and biggest fish is dead.”
One of the men lifted him by the tail, spat on him, and threw him up on the ground. He rolled over and over and slid secretly near the water, and then, back in.
Meanwhile, the third fish, the dumb one, was agitatedly jumping about, trying to escape with his agility and cleverness.
The net, of course, finally closed around him and as he lay in the terrible frying-pan bed, he thought, “If I get out of this, I’ll never live again in the limits of the lake. Next time, the ocean! I’ll make the infinite my home.”
What we Learn:
Many of us are like the third fish — either reluctant to leave our so called comfort zone or just love to maintain the status quo, and by the time we realize our foolish mistake it would be too late and end up in the most uncomfortable state — “the terrible frying-pan bed!”.
Herein we have both, worldly as well as spiritual lesson. All the great achievers in life had the courage to leave their comfort zone and face the adversities and challenges on their path, to achieve great success in their chosen field. They did not achieve what they finally achieved just by staying put in their comfort zone or maintaining the status quo.
Many of the great realized Masters also attained their highest spiritual attainment by leaving their comfort zone. Prince Siddhartha left the comforts and luxuries of his palace to become a Buddha. Mahavir Jain also attained his spiritual zenith by leaving the comforts of his palace.
Similarly, to attain Infinite Bliss on the spiritual path we need to give up our attachment to finite comfort zones and status quo. In any case, being finite, they are subject to constant change, modification, deterioration and destruction. So why get attached to all the impermanent, perishable entities?
Change is the eternal law in the relative, ephemeral existence. Everything changes except the law of change.
Place, time, objects, people, relationships, financial status, social status, situations, conditions, circumstances, environment, our own body, health, sense organs, mind, intellect, etc.; everything is subject to change and constant modification. Nothing is permanent.
Many a times in order to survive we have to start a process of change. A change is a must for progress and development. The one who is best able to adapt to the changing environment has the best chance of survival and subsequent progress.
We need to keep adjusting our lifestyle and adapting constantly to our changing health and financial status. We need to constantly keep adjusting and adapting to the changing work and business environment in order to survive and progress.
If we keep doing the same thing what we have been doing before, we will keep getting the same result, and in the changed dynamics and environment it may not even give the expected result.
“To achieve something we have never achieved before, we must do something we have never done before.”
“Unless we try to do something beyond what we have already mastered, we will never grow.”
We sometimes need to get rid of old cobwebs of memories, habits and past traditions. Holding on to the past leaves our hands too full to embrace the present. Only freed from the past burdens can we take advantage of the present and chart a new path to the future.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” — Andre Gide
Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.
When it rains, most birds head for shelter; the eagle is the only bird that, in order to avoid the rain, starts flying above the cloud.