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Jun 13
Dharma Teachings
Golden Fish

From the weekly column, Dharma Snacks, by Cynthia Kneen

Once when I was living at a meditation center, a famous American writer came to visit. He asked about doing a solo retreat. I was young, junior to the venerable author, yet there I was with responsibilities to help retreatants. He said he wanted to take a typewriter into retreat, that he would lose the ability to write if he meditated by sitting doing nothing at all. It was an awkward moment. I was a young gatekeeper, yet I said, “No. I’m sorry. That won’t be possible.” I shared instruction in solo retreat and meditation. And he didn’t do his writing retreat, not in that hut, at that time, anyway.

On reflection, I understand the importance of keeping to simplicity. I understand that by relaxing without losing clarity, we lose nothing of our wealth. Gradually the mind settles down, and slowly we gain everything we desire. Once Trungpa Rinpoche described meditation like this. “Sit and do nothing. Every once in a while a golden fish swims by and lays her golden eggs. You’ll know.” I think that golden fish swims so beautifully, so deeply, and her golden eggs are so obvious, that what she lays is confidence in our nature. If we hold on too tightly, or are too tentative or lazy, we don’t gain confidence. And so we sit, open, and are clear and engaged. Gradually golden eggs are laid, and realization grows.


Cynthia is author of Awake Mind, Open Heart: The Power of Courage & Dignity in Everyday Life (Avalon, 2002), and the CD course, Shambhala Warrior Training (Sounds True, 1996). Cynthia has taught Shambhala Buddhist programs throughout the mandala for over thirty years and is currently writing a book on business and dharma. Visit her website at www.cynthiakneen.com

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