A Fish Out of Water…is a Dead Fish

Posted by on June 13, 2016

A Fish Out of Water...is a Dead Fish

A Fish Out of Water…is a Dead Fish

A Fish Out of Water…is a Dead Fish.

Imagine, if you will, a Mistress Master with such strength and weight that she is able to stand on creation itself. She is potent. Her potency is felt in the work Ming Zhen Shakya declared to me in a rather subtle voice;  ‘Writing’ she said, “is your master and the devotional path for you towards the transcendent.” It was, and still is, a bit surprising but I have come to accept it. My acceptance comes in the form of experience, not in the form of an idea or concept regarding the act of writing. Although I must admit that I began with a head full of ideas when it came to this new, potent Master and practice.

Before I begin to explain let me first exclaim my true master is writing and ‘Writing is not an easy master; it tends to use a gut hooking approach.

I suspect, however, whenever we meet our true master it is never easy. I suppose it’s the nature of masters. After all, their job is to show us that we need to burn up our old seeds of stupidity. The difficulty seems to always arise because we (and I speak from experience) are attached to our stupidity. Also, as far as I am able to tell a Master is looking to club us with some provocative reality in order to stop us from yet again making another fabrication from one of those terribly, unwholesome seeds that gets us into trouble. It’s been my experience that this is so.

”Gratitude follows when you surrender to the master.

For anyone who has not met a master who is willing to point out the necessity to burn up the seeds of karma this article may be of little interest; except it might light up a need within to search for someone or something that masters you in such a way as to burn up those ugly seeds (greed seeds, hate seeds, delusion seeds). All I might do is suggest that finding a master might be a consideration, especially for those who are searching for God.

If you have found a master, then you know what I mean.

It may seem I have strayed from the title of this piece but I felt as though I needed to explain where I am otherwise it might be more difficult to get a grasp of what a fish out of water…is a dead fish means for a spiritual aspirant.

Working with a Master is a spiritual experience unlike any relationship I have ever known. It is a constant awareness of the devotional demand of the Master. Writing is the form my master takes which means I am forever drawn upon to devote my life right where I am to writing. I say this in order to suggest that you might want to look at the form your spiritual master takes.

Wait! I am sorry but I must add another comment. Masters in the form of human beings are vulnerable to error, but masters that are ideals are not.

This above comment is important. Oftentimes we meet up with a teacher and think they are our master. It might even go along pretty smoothly for awhile but because this human master is fallible we might give up, get disgusted, disappointed rather than see the obvious flaw in our choice of a master. To be very clear…a human master is not such a good choice, but a human master who points to a true, ideal master is an excellent choice.

Master Ming Zhen Shakya is my human master who diligently with great resilience pointed me towards the ideal master of writing. Master Ming Zhen Shakya holds no positional power in the material world as a master, but she is the sine que non master of pointing to the true ideal, to the true master for me.

I am very lucky. I wish every person such luck.

But do not think your master comes to console, comfort or make everything sweet. Writing from my experience is agony; mostly agony with brief moments of joy. I am speaking of writing as an inner devotion. Writing, the actual task of writing, is not easy. But when I write from this inner shift to a devotion to writing I am in quite a different place. There is no ambition, no desire for a result, no prospects or pursuits of any kind. I am tending to my master.

Yet, it still makes me nuts, sometimes.

Being nuts arises when I think. Yep. That’s it. When I think about how I am devoting my life to my master. When I measure my devotion. And all the other ego-obstacles that I fabricate. Then I am nuts.

Since I have made the commitment (I want to whisper that commitment since I get shaky thinking God hears this commitment and will hold my feet to the fire)…nonetheless, I have made the commitment and the commitment as a vow sparks something that goes beyond my ego. MAking a commitment is lighting candles all around the altar of my master.

This next part is important.

The True Master always goes beyond the ego. When I realize this truth and see it, then I feel stronger in my commitment. It only makes sense. The ego is a burden that weighs down my efforts. But when I slay the ego, my commitment is stronger. It comes from slaying the ego.

The way this Master works is that it is constantly making an effort to get my attention and to use what shows up in my life as an offering and devotion to/of God (God being the true master in the disguise of a writing master.1)

Here’s the example in the form of experience.

When I am beset by misgivings about writing I get stalled and fall prey to the legions of Mara (those devilish demons of self-centered interest). My moods begin to shift and for some time I thought that I could NOT devote my time to writing when in such and such a mood because (this is important) I had an IDEA of what writing is. I had an idea of what writing should be! I had ideas of how I should write! All these ideas were in league with Mara. They blocked my attention to use whatever shows up as the devotion to writing in the moment. When in a mood, write!  This means I stay in the water and move in it to the end. I stick with whatever shows up.

To close I’d like to tie together the title in a more precise, clear way.

A fish out of water…is a dead fish refers to the Zen teaching of a fish (you and me) needing to be in our element (our life) to the end (which means fully experiencing our situation and place) before we can begin practice. When we distract ourselves, when we get distracted we fall prey to losing the Way and fall into all sorts of delusions.

That’s a mouthful!!! Let me repeat it differently.

If I do not live this life right here where I am, I am not able to practice. Practice requires we give up our wishes, dreams, desires for things to be otherwise; to go off somewhere to get away from what is happening right where we are.

As long as we have those sorts of wishes, we can’t begin to practice with a master.

In other words, I am dead in the water, much like a fish out of water. I am dead to being alive in the elements of life right in front of me. I need to be fully attending to what’s showing up before I am able to offer devotion to my master, to my true master who is disguised in the robes of a writing master.

We all know a fish out of water…is a dead fish, but somehow we fail to see that it refers to us, to our spiritual efforts, our spiritual experiences, right where we are. When we are in pursuit, when we are on the hunt, when we are in the minefield of concepts, when we are becoming somebody we are a fish out of water; more dead than alive.






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