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#1162 - Saturday, August 10, 2002 - Editor John

Gill spiritual friends

"The Three Fish"
by Jelaluddin Rumi
Translation by Coleman Barks

This is the 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, because they love
this place so. They call it home. Their ignorance
will keep them here."

When you're travelling, ask a traveller for advice,
not someone whose lameness keeps him in one place.

Muhammad says,
"Love of one's country
is part of the faith."
But don't take that literally!
Your real "country" is where you're heading,
not where you are.
Don't misread that hadith.

In the ritual ablutions, according to tradition,
there's a separate prayer for each body part.
When you snuff water up your nose to cleanse it,
beg for the scent of the spirit. The proper prayer is,
"Lord, wash me. My hand has washed this part of me,
but my hand can't wash my spirit.
I can wash this skin,
but you must wash me."

A certain man used to say the wrong prayer
for the wrong hole. He'd say the nose prayer
when he splashed his behind. Can the odor of heaven
come from our rumps? Don't be humble with fools.
Don't take pride into the presence of a master.

It's right to love your home place, but first ask,
"Where is that, really?"

The wise fish saw the men and their nets and said,
"I'm leaving."

Ali was told a secret doctrine by Muhammad
and told not to tell it, so he whispered it down
the mouth of a well. Sometimes there's no one to talk to.
You must just set out on your own.

So the intelligent fish made its whole length
a moving footprint and, like a deer the dogs chase,
suffered greatly on its way, but finally made it
to the edgeless safety of the sea.

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"
Don't regret what's happened. If it's in the past,
let it go. Don't even remember it!

A certain man caught a bird in a trap.
The bird says, "Sir, you have eaten many cows and sheep
in your life, and you're still hungry. The little bit
of meat on my bones won't satisfy you either.
If you let me go, I'll give you three pieces of wisdom.
One I'll say standing on your hand. One on your roof.
And I'll speak one from the limb of that tree."

The man was interested. He freed the bird and let it stand
on his hand.
"Number One: Do not believe in absurdity,
no matter who says it."

The bird flew and lit on the man's roof. "Number Two:
Do not grieve over what is past. It's over.
Never regret what has happened."

"By the way," the bird continued, "in my body there's a huge
pearl weighing as much as ten copper coins. It was meant
to be the inheritance of you and your children,
but now you've lost it. You could have owned
the largest pearl in existence, but evidently
it was not meant to be."

The man started wailing like a woman in childbirth.
The bird: "Didn't I just say, Don't grieve
for what's in the past? And also, Don't believe
an absurdity? My entire body doesn't weigh
as much as ten copper coins. How could I have
a pearl that heavy inside me?"

The man came to his senses. "All right.
Tell me Number Three."

"Yes. You've made such good sense of the first two!"
Don't give advice to someone who's groggy
and falling asleep. Don't throw seeds on the sand.
Some torn places cannot be patched.

Back to the second fish,
the half-intelligent one.
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, as Muhammad
said to."
So he did that.

He bobbed up and down, helpless,
within arm's reach of the fisherman.

"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.

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 a lake.
Next time, the ocean! I'll make
the infinite my home."

John Duff Centre Of Friends

David Hodges Live Journal

Praise be to God for hot weather...

Praise and benediction to you all because I did NOT go to the free Wilson Pickett concert on the
Green, no, I went to the Yale Bookstore and, having money in my pocket, bought TWO books of
poetry by Gerald Stern, that I had not previously seen.

Praise to God the most high and benediction to the checkout clerk at the Yale Bookstore, a young
black woman who was whistling the theme from Peter Gunn. Huh? Is Henri Mancini making a

Praise be and benediction to all for earlier in the day having money in my pocket I also bought the
Director's Cut DVD of the original Woodstock, with 40 minutes of restored footage and digitally
remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1. Far out man.

Praise and benediction for it's Saturday night and I'm alone (thought I did have a last minute invite to
that damn concert) and I have had no social life worth mentioning since my mother got sick, the two
facts are related though I'm not sure how.

Praise to God and benediction to my Mother, who, from her sickbed, is confused and thinks its a
shame that my ex-wife has not invited me to her wedding (she is getting remarried next month). "Oh, I
don't think I'd be welcome there, Mom" I said, but she said, "You might be surprised".

Praise to God and benediction to the girl on roller skates, bandana over her long brunette hair, deftly
climbing the steps of St. Mary's in her skates to get a look inside

Praise to God on high and benediction to you all, for I remember my father standing in the pulpit
when we were children, giving the benediction at the end of the Sunday Sermon, saying,

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without
fault and with great joy -- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through
Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

And I, not having understanding metaphor at that age, thought it was wonderful that God would keep
me from falling, since small boys fall down all day long...

And now much later along in life I have fallen many a time literally and metaphorically and even if
perhaps God was able to keep me from falling he sure didn't do it...

Praise to God and benediction for Wu Wei Wu and his book "Ask the Awakened" where he says,

"The State of Awareness
I-less I Am."

Yes, Praise and Benediction to God, Praise and Benediction to you all.
Amen and Good Night. I'm going to watch Woodstock. Far far out.

Brother Void

"This thing called corpse we dread so much is living with us here and now."
-- Milarepa

In each of us is an inner corpse struggling to be exhumed. Unlike the corpse you will one day
become, this shadow corpse is alive. It is the living presence of the death that you carry within you. It
is more than your certain knowledge of death's ultimate triumph; it is your portal to nothingness, the
other ocean of Being. If you can find the courage to unearth and embrace your inner corpse, you can
lead a more vivid, expansive and authentic life. But if you keep your inner corpse buried away, you
live a great lie. You distort your search for truth into a project of false immortality. You deny the most
solemn core of your being, condemning yourself to premature cheerfulness. To the outside world you
might seem healthy, happy and successful -- but your inner corpse might just as well be dead.

My inner corpse is not dead.

Christiana sends:

Joyce Wycoff [email protected]

Seeing Abundance

small enough to live in a word
large enough to hold a wounded soul.

A milkweed pod pops open and a thousand seeds drift gently to new destinations.

A sunset thunderstorm kaleidoscopes colors and shapes into a pageant too dazzling to capture or

A choir of frogs chant a holy serenade in the church of the woods.

Diane Ackerman says 'How sense-luscious the world is.' Nature is profligate with her gifts, an
abundance too seldom perceived and appreciated. Spend the day noticing and reveling in the
abundance around you.

At the end of the day think about the abundance in your life.

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Jerry Katz
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