Monday, May 16, 2011

A Tool for Getting More by Taking Less

I have been a Catholic, a polytheist, an atheist, and a glorified agnostic. In varying amounts I’ve studied Zen, Christianity, Wicca and so on and so forth. I’ve read Nietzche, D.H. Lawrence, Albert Camus, Abraham Maslow, Voltaire, Aristotle, Plato, Derrida. I enjoy anything that opens my mind, gives me a broader perspective on life and teaches me that acceptance is the road to contentment. Be where you are and all.

There is one philosophy that has carried me through all of my education, formal and informal. The basic version everyone knows: “take life with a grain of salt,” but I have another metaphor that I think more accurately defines the point I want to make and it’s all about fishing.

Fish with a net, not a bucket.

I don’t believe any one person or any one source has all the answers. There is no need to conform completely to any one idea or path. What makes us unique as human beings is that each piece of information we gather resonates differently with the experiences we’ve lived through. Like fishing, there’s a purpose to our learning, and that’s to gather fish with which to nourish our minds. (It’s the omega 3s, you see).

Let’s imagine it’s a hot, summer day. You live a mile from some of the best fishing in the area. Your favorite fishing hole takes a path through the woods, so you leave your car far behind. When you arrive, you settle in and the water is busy with fish jumping. You wade in. Within minutes, the first fish bites and you excitedly reel it in. As it gets closer, you see it’s a big one and it’ll feed you more than once. So here’s the question. Net or bucket? Let’s explore the consequences of both.

Bucket: you scoop up the fish, along with a good four gallons of lake water. You begin the two mile hike with fish, bucket, water, fishing pole, and all. Everything that’s in the water, you’re carrying with you. The extra burden of its weight. Some algae. Probably giardia. A fish that’s flopping madly about bruising its flesh against the side of the bucket. Once or twice, it escapes entirely, dropping to the ground and splashing you with water. After all these trials and tribulations, you make it home. You collapse on a chair, exhausted, damp, and smelling like fish water. The fish, when you finally do get to eat it, tastes much like you’d expect after that journey.

Net: you scoop up the fish, string it up, grab your pole and head home. Fifteen minutes later, you’re there. You clean it, grill it, enjoy a delicious meal of fresh bass.

Which sounds better to you?

No comments:

Post a Comment