Change : Three Fish Story

Change is inevitable.  In every person’s life, opportunities for change come and go.  If person avoids change, nature creates circumstances in one way or the other, and change becomes unavoidable.  As per human nature, some will embrace the change and act positively, some will accept reluctantly and some will  completely deny the fact.  I hope you remember the classic fable on change by Dr. Spencer Johnson ‘Who Moved My Cheese?‘. 

Here is one similar story* by Rumi, draw the conclusion yourself.

In a lake somewhere, there lived three big fish.  One of them was intelligent, another half-intelligent, and the third, stupid.

One day, some fishermen came to the lake with their nets and the three fish noticed them.  The intelligent fish decided at once to leave, to make the long, difficult trip to the ocean.  He thought, “I won’t consult with these two on this.  They will only weaken my resolve, because they love this place so.  They call it home.  Their ignorance will keep them here.”

The wise fish saw the men and their nets and said, “I am leaving.”  So the intelligent fish left and suffered greatly on its way, but finally made it to the edgeless safety of the sea.

Now about the half-intelligent fish thought, “My guide has gone, I ought to have gone with him, but I didn’t, and now I’ve lost my chance to escape.  I wish I’d gone with him.”

Second fish mourns the absence of his guide for a while,  and then thinks, “What can I do to save myself from these men and their nets?  Perhaps if I pretend to be already dead!”  I’ll belly up o n the surface and float like weeds float, just giving myself totally to the water.  So he did that.  He bobbed up and down, helpless, within arm’s reach of the fishermen.

“Look at this! The best and biggest fish is dead.”  One of the men lifted him by the tail, spat on him, and threw him up on the group.  He rolled over and over and slid secretly near the water and then, back in.

Meanwhile, the third fish, the dumb one, was agitatedly jumping about, trying to escape with his agility and cleverness.  The net, of course, finally closed around him, and as he lay in the terrible frying-pan bed, he thought, “If I get out of this, I’ll never live again in the limits of a lake.  Next time, the ocean!  I’ll make the infinite my home.”

Thank you for reading.  Everyone handles the situation in a unique way and that makes our world interesting. *paraphrased

Source: The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, 2004

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