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Fishing & Philosophy
There something about fishing that brings out the philosopher in us. Those long hours waiting for something to happen are like meditation: relaxed focus. You need to let go of what you're sure of and open yourself up to what is. You encounter the mysterious.
Oh, but it's hard to let go of what you're sure of. If you let go of what you're sure of, then... where does that leave you??? I guess that's why both fishing and philosophy are lifetime preoccupations.
This morning I picked up "Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord" by Rev. Joseph F Classen, a friend of Ellen's. Fr. Joe's subtitle is "encountering the sacred in the great outdoors." He's an avid sportsman, a holy man obsessed with equipment and trophy fish just like us regular sinners. But he sees God everywhere. And he associates his best fishing with being in a state of grace.
When we are in the "state of grace," we are spiritually in tune. Grace enables our conscience to become more active in guiding us through those confusing and tempting paths that we sometimes travel in life. Grace makes us much more aware of things we should be doing and things we should be avoiding. When one is in the state of grace, it is as if God directly takes you by the hand and leads you through life. Grace is like a legal steroid for the sould (with no side effects). It is a supercharged nitro blast of spiritual energy and confidence. It's like a stiff dose of "miracle grow" plant food for the sould. It's a direct lifeline to the Almighty!... The grace of God just seems to emit out of my heart, travel through my fishing rod, shoot down the line, and out on the water on those grace-filled days...
I know what he's saying. Perfect attunement. His thinking is very Christian. When we're good, we stop by the God's grace station and get our tanks filled with hi-test so that we can speed down the highway of life. God is "out there." Grace gets added in when we're good.
Buddhists might think of perfect attunement differently. It's not about adding in, but about subtracting. You get to a "state of grace" by emptying out all your egotistical delusions. God is not "out there" but what's left inside you when all your illusions are chased away.
But maybe the results are the same — grooving with the fishies.
A lot of nature-writers these days are careful not to project their world views onto the forest and streams. They are purely into their beautiful words as they strive to describe What Is. I think they're boring. I love using fishing as a metaphor for life and living.
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