Pair of Golden Fish


The golden fish symbolizes all living beings in a state of fearlessness, just as fish swim freely without fear through water.  (adapted from several sources)

Today I watched two goldfish who have lived a decade in my room.

Observing in stillness, motions of the fish feel like large gestures in their matrix. My matrix borrows humidity from theirs while they borrow oxygen from mine. I cannot survive in their realm, but every cell I am contains their home.

Every morning I say hello. Maybe the water listens.

I have come to perceive the water as sacred. Because the bowl water has sustained two lives so long without mechanical heat or aeration, and they sleep where I do, I have taken a bit of it to use in my own made-up water ceremonies to honor water and those protecting it.

Only one of the fish actually has lived a decade. Its partner entered the picture 3 years ago after its former friend died.  It spent three days on the bottom of the bowl refusing to eat, the first time I witnessed grief in an animal many think incapable of emotion.  I tried to cheer it, “Hey buddy, you can be a perfectly fine single fish like me,” to no avail.  Finally I saved its current friend from a feeder tank at a store and fish #1 immediately restored to perfect health.


8 Auspicious Symbols Series

As I work to design a knitting pattern for a blanket involving the 8 symbols, I am choosing one at a time to meditate on to see where it intersects my own life in the moment.  I am no scholar and describe myself as an “unofficial Buddhist.” So instead of a vow of refuge and following a specific teacher, I find gurus (teachers) everywhere, allow dharma (Buddhist teachings) to inform my mind, and sangha (community) to be the entire world.  Sacrilegious to some, helpful for me in my path.



About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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