Said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree.
— Alan Watts
Why This Story?
Alan Watts often tells this short story about the monkey and the fish. It is so short, I wasn’t sure it was worth blogging about, and then this happened yesterday.
Watts in His Own Words
Minute 6:23: “Because the road to hell is paved with good intention. Because all the do-gooders in the world whether they doing good for others or doing it for themselves are troublemakers on the basis of ‘Kindly let me help you or you’ll drown,’ said the monkey putting the fish safely up a tree.”
Alan Watts on Virtue (around minute 32): “The highest virtue is not conscious of itself virtue (…) in other words when you breathe you don’t congratulate yourself on being virtuous but breathing is a great virtue.“
“Diabolical things are done in the name of righteousness.”
“Rest assured everybody regardless of nationality, political frame of mind, or religion always goes to war with a sense of complete rightness...the other side is the devil.”
Putin is an Evil Monkey
Except Putin is an evil monkey like the ones from the Wizard of Oz because he knows he’s telling a lie! He knows he’s deluding his people by telling them the war he’s waging on Ukraine is righteous. It’s a righteous bunch of lies! He’s the Nazi the world needs to be rid of. See the resemblance?
WATTSWAVE VI: The Web of Life 2Akira The Don The Secret 4:33 From a Certain Point of View 6:10 Gangster Arrangement 5:03 Consider Death 3:08 You! Love! Yourself! 4:46 The Shadow 5:01 Completely Honest 5:47 That Thing Which Really Is Genuine 4:07 It’s a Trap 4:59 The Sound of the Rain Needs No Translation 7:22 Patterns 3:09 Your Idea of Heaven 5:50 Playful 5:53 What Games People Are Playing 2:52
Music for Second Archetypal Animation:
WATTSWAVE II: How To Be A Better Person Akira The Done 2:56 Alan Watts Motivational WordsAlan Watts Go Out With A Bang Not A Whimper 3:12 Overthinking 2:47 Dont Be Tone Deaf 3:12 What You Really Are 1:21 Man & Nature 3:04 Zen Stories 5:20 The Symbol Has No Value 5:09 Nirvana 3:19 Come Unhinged 3:34 How Do We Love Each Other 2:18 Existence Is A Relationship 3:12
For more about Ukraine and the evilness Putin has unleashed into the world, see:
Poet unknown, but I found a copy of this very same poem in Chapter 55 of a Timeless Place.
For a dear friend who shared this poem recently. I love its imagery and was inspired to animate parts of it with Archetypal Animations.
Have a beautiful and soulful day.
Following are sources for the images and music used to create each Archetypal Animation. All images for this blog come from Pixabay and all music is from Spotify. To hear the music, just click the little sound box in the upper right-hand corner of each animation.
You can follow my Pixabay account to see collections of spectacular photos I have encountered in my searches for images for Archetypal Animations. And follow mySpotify account for meditative and powerful playlists of musicians I have discovered in my search for musical soundtracks for Archetypal Animations.
My small insight in animating parts of this poem is:
Keep moving forward no matter the weather inside or outside.
Every emotion, feeling, and mood is rocket fuel powering us ever forward through new beginnings and endings on our endless and indestructible journey through the feeling of being.
It is only through the dark that we know the light.
It is only by descending to our deepest depths that we can reach our highest heights.
One more insight, actually it is a synchronicity between working on this poem and a movie that my husband and I watched last night. We saw a BBC version of Great Expectations. Neither of us had ever read Charles Dickens book nor seen any of the movies made about it.
Both of us were spelled bound by the convoluted beautiful tale Dickens weaves through all his stories. We were particularly captivated and appalled by Miss Havisham.
"Humiliated and heartbroken, Miss Havisham suffered a mental breakdown and remained alone in her decaying mansion Satis House – never removing her wedding dress,..." -- Wiki
Here is a sense of the depth of despair she has descended to and refuses (or cannot) let go of in this complicated story.
Her endless pain bends and distorts her until she appears more dead than alive, more witch than beautiful maiden, which she was. Still she clings to her unendurable pain, the consequences of which ripple through and define the rest of her life and beyond.
I listen to a lot of Alan Watts, and he talks a lot about letting go because there is no way to hold on to it. It can be pleasure, pain, money, status, whatever it is a person is tempted to hold on to. He also talks about peaks and troughs. You can’t have one without the other.
I immediately sought to find an example of what would happen to a human being who only held onto pleasure. A person who refuses to see, feel, or know their own pain. I could not think of a literary example, but my mother-in-law sprang to mind.
I realized a person who holds on to pleasure also is beaten and battered into more of a monster than a human being by this force–for pleasure is an energy just as pain is energy. We feel these energies as emotions inside of us.
A person who clings to pleasure becomes dim, shallow, and cruel. They become a person who takes pleasure in other people pain, misfortune, and sorrow. They have forgotten their soul needs food to grow and that consuming someone else’s pain is a pretty poor substitute for their own.
To grow, a soul needs to sink into the depths of being a mortal being. Denying their own pain and suffering, cuts them off from other people and slices themselves in half. A person who clings to pleasure becomes the same type of pitiful monster that Miss Havisham becomes due to clinging to her pain.
You can follow my journey in exploring what happens to a person who clings to pleasure through my Big Sky Series.