Thirsty Fish In The Water

Written by Gede Prama

The leading English daily newspaper The Telegraph once wrote: “In Bali, even traffic jams are peaceful”. On youtube a lot of Western friends who spread beautiful videos about Bali which are very entertaining. Therefore, it is easy to understand that many times the world has named Bali as the most beautiful island in the world. Some even call it the last paradise.

Although the image of Bali has been so beautiful in the world for a very long time, but in Bali there is a series of sad stories that touch the heart. Suicide rates, mental hospital residents, drug victims and divorce rates are all increasing. In a certain village in Bali, there is a village head telling stories. Although divorce fines were tripled, divorce rates continued to rise in the village.

Stories like this are not new stories of course. Since ancient times there has been an old phrase that goes like this: “Chickens died starving in the granary, fish died thirsty in the water”. In the poetic language of Kabir: “I laugh, fish die because of thirst in the water”. The message, the human body is a body which is full of joy.

Unfortunately, very few find joy there. In this day and age, the main reason why many lives resemble a pool of endless sadness is because people compete too much. This kind of competition not only makes a person a stranger in their own body, but also makes a person like a cat who chases his tail. The more you pursue it the further the tail will go away.

This is similar to an old movie title like this: “Chase me then I catch you.” Anyone who chases too much, will be the first to arrive in the abyss. Especially since the pursued (by which read: desire) always run faster than the one who chases. At the end, the body is tired, the mind is full of anger and the soul is full of anxiety.

At this level, civilization requires a new kind of hero. In the wild and barbaric days, someone was called a hero because he dared to hurt. In this age, someone is called a hero for daring to love. And before someone can love someone else, they should learn to love life first.

In zen there is an old story like this. One day the long living fish in the water asked: “What is water?”. And none of them could answer. One day one of the fish accidentally jumped too far. So he was stranded almost dead on the mainland. Just because of the goodness of a human, this fish then return to their natural habitat.

Once gathered with his friends, there the last fish tells the story of the beauty of the water. In the same way, the people can recognize the beauty of joy whenever they pass through the abyss of grief. In other languages, the deepest teacher of joy is sorrow.

That is why, many parents of children with special needs throughout Bali have been sharing spiritual messages. Having children with special needs is certainly hard. But as darkness makes light radiate brighter, the grief presented by special needs children can make people understand the depth of joy.

For that reason, learn to live with less fighting, less competing and less comparing. At the same time, increase the quality of acceptance, never tired of sharing a smile. For spiritual friends in Bali especially, the world deeply admired the beauty of Bali. Do not allow this paradise to only be enjoyed by the people from abroad. The Balinese can also enjoy the last paradise on earth. All it takes is one thing, a heart which is full of gratitude.

Author: Guruji Gede Prama.
Photo Courtesy: Bali Super Tickets.
Proofread By: Kirsty Spence.

About the author

Gede Prama

Gede Prama started his spiritual journey through a dialogue with his symbolic Guru in a village at the north of Bali. The journey is then being enriched with his experiences of studying abroad, his meetings with the world greatest spiritual Gurus: His Holiness Dalai Lama, The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as Professor Karen Armstrong; and also being deepened by his intense meditation practices.

Despite the fact that he was once a CEO of a large corporation with thousand of employees, and was traveling abroad frequently for the purpose of teaching, yet, being deeply moved by the Bali bombing incident in 2002, he then decided to leave everything and went back to his home island.
He has never leave Bali for the past few years. In fact, he rarely leaves the silence of the forest where he lives, except for the purpose of teaching at the sacred sites within Bali.

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