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Honoring the Gill Inside You

--by Mark Nepo (Dec 23, 2013)


A simple fish nosing its way along the bottom is in itself a profound teacher, and like the deepest teachers, it doesn't even know it is teaching. Yet in its tiny, efficient gill lives the mystery of how to live as a spirit on Earth.

As we all know, by swimming, the smallest fish takes in water, and its gill turns that water into the air by which it lives. Though there are biological details that explain the mechanics of this, it is, in essence, a mystery.

The question is, what in us is our gill? Our heart, our mind, our spirit, a mix of all three? Whatever it is, like the smallest fish, we must turn water into air in order to live, which for us means turning our experience into something that can sustain us. It means turning pain into wonder, heartache into joy.

Nothing else matters, and just like fish we must keep swimming to stay alive. We must keep swimming through the days. We cannot stop the flow of experience or the need to take it in. Rather, all our efforts must go into learning the secret of the gill, the secret of transforming what we go through into air.

So, what is your gill? For me, it is my heart, and love becomes the unseeable trail I leave behind. But whatever it might be for you, it is more important to swim through the days and honor the gill inside you than to figure out how it all works.

-- Mark Nepo, Simple as a Fish, The Book of Awakening


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9 Previous Reflections:

 
On Jan 4, 2014 Ganoba wrote:

 Me, all of me. Life became a fun adventure when I started taking myself as an harmonious whole, fully attuned with the environment. With this I started accepting, even celebrating, all that was served on my plate. I started to see the value of everything irrespective of its size, shape and color. Now it is love all the way.



On Dec 24, 2013 Charmaine wrote:

 Hazing recently turned 60, I am increasingly coming to honour the gill inside of me! Some people call it 'unconscious competence' and it really doesn't matter what label we give it - this part of us that is beyond personality, beyond ego and beyond mind. The mind does have a part to play, in my experience, I am someone who does like to figure things out - which is how I differ from the fish!



On Dec 24, 2013 Bob S wrote:

 My gill is my passion for improving our environment by protecting wolves and other endangered species, which we, in our ignorance keep trying to eliminate.  Man is the only animal that keeps taking and depriving other species of their place on the planet.  My challenge is to transform my anger and frustration into meaningful actions to educate, inspire and protest the actions of people and organizations that continually push the taking mission at the expense of the higher good. May the sludge pass through my gill and become pure water that all sentient beings can drink without fear of poison and death



On Dec 23, 2013 Amy wrote:

 My "gill" most definitely my Soul . . . when/in Your Words/Soul touch my Heart/Soul.  For this "gift", I am most thankful!
(Praise God for, the good in, technology.)
Blessings and Love . . . always this most Holy Season in Him . . .    



On Dec 22, 2013 david doane wrote:

 What I first thought of in reading this piece is something I learned about the word 'problem.'  'Pro' means forward, and 'ballein' means to throw.  A problem isn't just an inconvenience or pain, it throws us forward.  A problem is an opportunity.  The gill inside me helps me use a problem as an opportunity to grow.  Early in the article, the author says we must put all our efforts into learning the secret of the gill, which I disagreed with, and later he says it is more important to swim and honor the gill than to figure out how it works, which I very much agree with.  Analyzing this ability probably serves little purpose.  Using it transforms us and honors it.  Probably the main gill for me has been realizing that all that is is one and is sacred, including me, and as that awareness grows in me and I abide in it, I feel more part of, more compassion, more awe, and more gratitude.  It is enlightening and transforming, for me slowly an  See full.

 What I first thought of in reading this piece is something I learned about the word 'problem.'  'Pro' means forward, and 'ballein' means to throw.  A problem isn't just an inconvenience or pain, it throws us forward.  A problem is an opportunity.  The gill inside me helps me use a problem as an opportunity to grow.  Early in the article, the author says we must put all our efforts into learning the secret of the gill, which I disagreed with, and later he says it is more important to swim and honor the gill than to figure out how it works, which I very much agree with.  Analyzing this ability probably serves little purpose.  Using it transforms us and honors it.  Probably the main gill for me has been realizing that all that is is one and is sacred, including me, and as that awareness grows in me and I abide in it, I feel more part of, more compassion, more awe, and more gratitude.  It is enlightening and transforming, for me slowly and surely.

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On Dec 20, 2013 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:

 I agree that it is more important to swim through the days and honor the gill inside me then to figure out how it all works. wanting to figure it out is like wanting to be certain and as Richard Rohr said, wanting certainty is our original sin. I do not know what transforms my experience into sustenance. I expect it is my being open to notice; open to be aware of even what maybe temporarily painful. Just yesterday I noticed more of my impatience with events not happening as I thought they should. I noticed that I had desires I was unaware of at that time. As a result of that awareness I a am more open to going with the flow and to desiring less. I notice my desire not to desire is a desire. That I am gradually working on.. Thanks for the opportunity to respond. Warm and kind regards to everyone.



On Dec 20, 2013 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 When my analytical or synthetic mind is quiet and when I am in the pure and bare heart zone of being, I feel the flow of floating, gliding  or flying within me and between people and nature with and around me. The doing-talking, listening, writing a poem and the un-planed bodily spontaneous movements unfold, arise not bound by the external factors or ideas. The doing is in total alignment with the being.  That feels like the sound of one hand clapping without bound by the other hand. In the words of Rumi it is the" Presence" of the pure presence.

Jagdish P Dave



On Dec 20, 2013 Edit Lak wrote:

Yes, yes and yes... My gills had poison at one stage, but I did not know then, because sometimes the survival instinct takes over and nothing else matters,noting else is seen, until we fail miserably and then, when were in a hospital bed thinking 'what went wrong, why did I get ill?' :-) Yes our gills and hearts produce clean energy to live and to share and to love and to give, that is the daily awakening to a beautiful life - yes!!.. So the wonderous gills of life, does not and shouldn't produce a toxic reason to be - no, not at all.. Honoring self is the purest form of light and life... I LOVE THIS passage, I love this passage. I'm passing this passage on. Much love and gratitude to you all xoxox <3