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potters and fishermen – a dive

The fisherman boards. Pushes away from the shore. His nets are with him. He knows where he’s heading. Where he can hope for a catch.
The nets are set. All he can do is to wait.
It happens he’s lucky. It happens his nets are empty. It even happens the current has taken them. Then he’ll have to search. If he finds them, they may be torn, needing mending. If they’re lost he must get new ones. And then – try his luck again.
The potter grabs a lump of clay, weighing it in his hand. He may add a bit or take away a bit, then weighs again and begins working it. Little by little a shape appears, according to his ways and aim.
The work takes its time, but time is always on his side. Shapes appear; changes, too. His hands challenge the clay; the clay responds. Then the moment arrives when this silent dialogue is ended. A new object is created, completed.
The weight of passive earth has been transformed. What was, is no more. A different state of validity is born.
It happens that the potter fails and must start all over again. Or the vessel cracks and bursts in the oven. But every time he starts anew, creating a something that has never existed.
Does the fisherman dive down to guide the fish into the meshes? Does he decide how many he’ll get? Or does the potter sit back, waiting for the clay to choose its shape and even enter it?
These two – the fisherman and the potter – are as different as water and fire.

Two flocks would he lead, and he would bring them together. So he told his friends. That day there would be one herd and one shepherd.
The two flocks are indeed different; he’ll have gathered them from different frames of belonging. They don’t speak the same language, and the same words have different meanings. They can’t accept or understand each other – although every one of us is both.
To fishermen, potters are deft magicians that conjure something out of nothing – suspicious people dealing with dead and silent matter. From their hands come vessels for water and oil, flour and spices, fish and flowers.
To potters fishermen are strange beings, floating between chance and insecurity, completely dependent on the whims of nature and the rhythms of time.
The potter’s fingers never cease to feel the clay. Even in his sleep. He may close his eyes and raise his head to rest a bent neck, and his fingers will still be his eyes.
The fisherman rocks on the water. All his eyes can see is above this surface. All he hopes for is beneath.
They are indeed different, these two. And yet, both reside within you and me.

The potter’s territory is one of insight … into transformation. The metamorphosis of creation is his medium. The molecules and the universe echo. The clay is his speaking mirror; the product, his own image.
The fisherman looks toward the heavens watching for weather signs. Studying the wind patterns in the sky and on the water. He tries yet another cast. Hundreds, thousands are down there. Why not a fine catch? Indeed – may be.
The potter’s territory is dangerous to the fisherman, a mine field if one happens to tramp into it; a wild and rocky desert if seen from a distance. Dead and alive at the same time, open and closed, laden and empty.
Only the ones having a potter’s hand may dare the venture. Once he has entered, however, it may be difficult to turn back. He may try, but a kind of homelessness will follow him ever after.
The realm of making has a direction different from that of catching. The path to that insight makes a fisherman feel kind of a nowhere. Like between emptiness and blasphemy. And still, a certain peace and solemn order are present and clearly felt. The fisherman takes off his cap and waits by the door until the potter looks up.
The fisherman’s territory makes the potter sick. It’s an utter impossibility. The mere idea of holding the slimy creatures in his hands fills him with panic. Nonetheless he can’t avoid a smile: This frankness, seeming to possess no other mysteries than those of whim and chance, seems so childish. And still, this childishness can be trusted.
How different these two are …

The shepherds that arrived from their watch, were some … we don’t know how many. They somehow resemble the fishermen waiting for a catch. Some fishermen catching some fish.
According to tradition, the wise men arriving from the East were three. Their vision, appearance, and number mirror some of the potter’s constancy … a state unknown by the fisherman. They even brought three precious gifts.
The cold night had been a usual one. What happened to them was indeed unusual. They were in no way prepared for an encounter with angels. The shocking event was a true transition, a radical change.
The wise from the East, however, had been well prepared. Their long journey was a result of a foreseen event.
Most likely you can only live in one of these two landscapes. Although both are inside you. At times you may feel you belong to both places. But just as likely only one can be your home, your true reference.
Only He was present in both. He’s the one rock with the two faces. He’s the trunk of the living tree whose branches are fishermen and potters. He uttered, “Where I go you can’t accompany me.” And yet He repeatedly says, “Come – come and see!”
Because He’s the one joining the two, branches that for some secret reason have been growing in opposite directions – perhaps even from the very beginning of time. “I am the true vine. Look, can’t you recognize me? Having been tied up on this rack now. To bear more fruit. Do you see?”
How can they see … having grown in opposite directions?
The stem nourishes both. The only way to that insight is to keep consuming what’s provided by the stem. The very Middle.
Only in Him can fisherman and potter find and accept one another. Not that they can do the other’s deeds. But a breeding insight of some greater belonging is on its way.
It’s in Him the fisherman sees his master, his teacher, the genius who knows to silence winds and tame waters, who sees the bottom as if it were exposed. And the potter sees in Him the initiated master potter, making matter and substance obey His creative will … which every ready vessel longs to serve.
He is their common reference.

The turned-away potter wants to make life hell for the fisherman. Why care for slippery fish and currents and washing waves! And the turned-away fisherman will distrust and reject all which attracts a potter.
The two will fight each other. Although fishermen loath to be hit by hands of skill. Just as potters detest being touched by babbled fists of chance.
Both will seek to destroy one another. But no matter how they try, they will just as much destroy themselves.
Both fisherman and potter reside within you. Within this ambiguous totality which is you … a totality which can only be complete when the greater totality is acknowledged and accepted. When the two are com-posed – by the Composer. Unified – by the One.
To turn back home creates a unique relief. Chaos is exchanged for order. An unfamiliar expectation will unfold. The images may still be vague and muddled. The fisherman will still see his Master Fisherman. And the potter will identify Him as the Master Potter. That’s how it must be – until that very day when the basis of unification is complete.
You and I are created this way. The entire world is made this way. Perhaps in order to complete this human matter … to bring about a fully mature material for a perfect union. It’s only by Him this can happen. He’s Himself that union.
To serve unity by serving Him! Working for unity without Him is to be in the way. In Him you needn’t strive for unity. He’s the one unfolding it. Serving Him you’ll be unfolded, yourself.
He’s the Capstone whose voice will echo in the deep. He had to walk the potter’s path with the fisherman’s goal in sight, and the way of the fisherman focusing on the potter’s destination.
His coming will bring the union. He’ll unite beginning and end. And fisherman and potter will, for the very first time, look into each other’s eyes and discover – with pure and profound joy – their own reflection.
This will be an indescribable event. Imagine something as ridiculous as turning away … something so dumb as ignoring to seek Him!

Words are little more than dust. They are to be swept away immediately. Truly enough, they were brought forth by necessity. But as soon as they have served their purpose they must be swept away. To save them is to collect dust. To celebrate them ends in troubled breathing.
So it is concerning all media helping us along. Numbers, geometry, codes, symbols, parables. The screens of the Earth and of the human body. Altars and temples. Theologies and philosophies. Taps for purified or enriched water. Shining, yet obsolete mantras. When having served their purpose they are anachronisms, dust soiling the path of becoming.
But in this laden moment of crossing light beams there is a need to remain steady. The fisherman concentrate on sight and signs and duty. The potter for his vessel with intensified ardour and skill. For the sake of consistency. If not, the potter himself may burst and get smashed, and the fisherman may be tangled up in his own net. And flames may be choked in lamps that still give light.
But the opus of the Master Potter-and-Fisherman will more and more penetrate, challenge, and enlighten all and everything.

POTTERS AND FISHERMEN is included in my book, AGELESS TESTAMENT: chapter 20. To be published 2009.