I, the goldfish, amidst my friends, live happily each day, enjoying every moment of our time. One day I started to notice that the “one” that feeds me food is not like me – not in the sense of appearance, as shapes are obvious to me by observing the friends that comes and goes around me. This “one” that feeds me seems to be in touch with the ground wherever he goes – whereas I don’t. I need not be at the bottom all the time but yet this “one” seems to have the need to fix himself to the ground. Hmm.. I start to realize I am floating and he is not. That keeps me wondering why. I checked out with my friends and they too starts to see the obvious. Some are interested and some are not. Some just brushed me aside. Some are intrigued but did not go further than that. Me, being me, become curious and wanted to know why. The “one” out there seems oblivious to my calling, no matter how hard I tried. Is he deaf?
I looked around me and find that everything is familiar. Suddenly it strikes me that I have never gone further than where I am in. What I saw afar is only as close as I can see but not there. Strange, I never thought of this before. I wondered why. As I move around I find that I have never left where I am though I thought I am around the space where I can see. There seems to be some kind of boundary that separates me from what is around me “out there” What is it that I do not know?
I become frantic and start moving around more and more and out of a sudden I realized that there is a space between where I float and above me. I took a peep out and felt that I am out of breath. Weird, why is it so, I wondered again. A few trying convinced me that I am in some kind of material that helps me to float, and out there, there is none. So I am actually being supported by this material rather than thinking that I am floating. I am getting more curious. Why am I being supported by this material? What is this material than I am dependent on? And what material is this that I can’t see but only knows when I felt the contrast without it.
I investigate further and came to a conclusion that the material that supports me and the space out there can only be found above me but not around. There seems to be some kind of separation between where I am and what is out there. Could it be I am contained by this material? If that is so, am I in some kind of a space, never gotten out of it – am I trapped? Is there something that I am not knowing? What is it like to live without this material around me?
. . .
I am that goldfish. The water is the mind. And the glass that separates me is the delusion that separates me from the world. In the beginning of time, the one million dollar question of who am I does not arise in me. I live each day oblivious to this thing call “mind”. I have never known what is the mind, except to experience its function like feelings, thinking, etc. Like the goldfish, it will never know what is water until it gets out of it. Breathe is the same too. I never know I am breathing in air except breathing alone until I am told about it. In the beginning I never question what the mind is except being with it. Only later do I realized that the mind is another.
Have you ever seen a dragonfly trying its best to fly out of the glass window? Or a bird looking puzzled why it could not get out to the “other side” – the trees that is outside the house, separated by the the glass window. Consider that the goldfish is not aware that it is in the glass bowl, separated from us. The fish may not know that there is such a thing call water, neither does it know that there is no water surrounding outside the bowl. More importantly it does not know that it is separated by this thing call glass. To the goldfish vision, what it sees is what the world is all about. If I put the goldfish in a small room, it see the room as the entire world – nothing beyond that. Worst, it is not even aware that it is in the glass bowl looking out – as wherever it swims it only sees the room but not the glass. Metaphorically, it is in the room but yet it is not, except in the glass bowl. Who cares? That is the conspiracy of delusion.
I thought I am with the world. But in truth I am with the mind. I have never left the mind. I am playing out all my actions with the mind. I have never, never, touches the world. The mind touches me.
Until one day I am being told to be aware of myself, I start to observe what the mind is. I have never left the mind. Only when I am aware can I notice the mind. Without awareness there is only one – me.
When I am unaware of the mind, I am one with myself. When I am aware, the situation becomes two – me and the mind. And when I am able to be aware of myself and the mind, there are three. Each situation allows me to look at the world differently.
Once I get to know the mind well, I begin to see the nature of delusion – the goldfish need to know the existence of water first before it knows the bowl that contains it.
Delusion is not an option. Delusion separates me from the world. When delusion is realized, Truth reveals. In truth, delusion does not exist. It exist because of the mind. There is no need for the bowl if not for the water. There is no need for the water if not for the fish.
The mind has no need to exist when “I” ends – not only at death, but in the Now.
5 Replies to “The Gold Fish in the Glass Bowl”
Hi, I found your blog on google. I’m pretty happy to have found your blogbecause I think it is interesting! Really good content. Ruth
Hi Ruth, the blog is about everyone of us, the thing that is so intimate and yet so far – the nature of the mind, and I am glad you find your way here as you will get to know yourself better and probably wiser and freer too :). You are welcome to question and also to share.
Howdy, great day! Your work is incredibly uplifting. I never considered that it was possible to accomplish something like that until after I checked out your write-up. You undoubtedly offered an excellent understanding on how this whole scheme performs. I will make sure to come back for more advice. Keep it up!
It takes right attitude of exploration and self-inquiry to come into understanding, which in normal standard is what we usually do when we are interested in something. In this case it is the mind that I am interested – the suffering I am inflicting upon myself, the cause and the end to it.
Hello, great comment. I look forward to your next article. Thanks, Samantha