June 22 – Spiritual Fishing – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Honesty is the net by which we fish the deep. 

Though we are taught to make plans and keep to them, and though we work our way through predesigned courses of study to receive credentials and degrees, our attempts at real living don’t happen this way.

For me, finding where I fit in the world feels a lot like spiritual fishing. The vast, mysterious ocean of experience keeps calling and whether it is by buckets of question or nets of honesty, I keep hauling up food from the days. I keep hauling in shells and pearls and seaweed from a common depth that no one can see, and then I spend time cleaning what I’ve found and hearing what it has to say.

In this way, everyone alive must fish, and this requires stillness and patience and willingness to drift. For we never know where deep things live. Even our effort to know ourselves resembles this process, for much of who we are lives cleanly below the surface, and we each must be nourished from what lives below, if we are to survive.

Paradoxically, our essential feelings and personal truths live below like fish, not wanting to be caught. But spiritual fishing yields spiritual food, and the secret nourishment of eating what lives within us is that to eat what lives in our shell we must open that shell, and eating what swims below our surface lets us see with the perspective of the deep.

In truth, every person I have ever loved and every path I have been called to has shown itself to me after fishing in the waters of my spirit, which, entered deep enough, is the ocean of all spirit. I believe we are all connected there, and only by this communion –  of bringing up and taking in what lives within us – can we hope to uncover our common purpose of being. In committing to this honest practice, wisdom becomes that very good net of mindful heart, through which we rinse and claim the smallest of shells, those hidden casings that hold both food and pearls.

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